Cities is a collection of novellas by four of the biggest names in fantasy fiction -- Michael Moorcock, Paul Di Filippo, China Miéville, and Geoff Ryman -- that explores some dark and disturbing potentials of the urban landscape.
"The Tain" by Miéville is a haunting story set in a postapocalyptic London where vampiric reflections (called imagos) have escaped after centuries of subjugation and are in the process of annihilating all human life. Desperate groups of people have gathered together in hopes of staving off the antihuman reflections, but it isn't until a loner steps forward that long-term survival becomes a possibility -- however slight. His secret plan involves traveling to the now mostly unpopulated London on the other side of the mirror.
Di Filippo's "A Year in the Linear City" is set in a metropolis dominated by one long avenue that stretches on for hundreds of thousands of blocks and where communication between boroughs is virtually impossible. The narrator, Diego, wonders what it would be like to experience the culture of an area thousands of blocks away. "V.A.O." by Ryman pits a group of aging criminals against a high-tech society reminiscent of Big Brother. Also included is "Firing the Cathedral" by Moorcock, a Jerry Cornelius tale set in a post-9/11 New York City struggling with global warming, terrorism, and -- as always -- looming Armageddon.
This exceptional collection of speculative fiction is best described in Crowther's introduction: "We're going to some places that you have most assuredly not visited before, documented by four writers who have in their possession a collection of road maps not to be found in any of the high street stores." Paul Goat Allen