Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Los Angeles

Nobody knows where LA starts or stops; vast cityscape views of LA – like that at the close of Tron (1982) – do not give perspectives on a City but only glimpses of the interminability of the interstices of the Urban Fantasy. The reference to Cinema is of course significant: from the 1920s, Hollywood (which lies in the megalopolis) has been the movie centre of the English-speaking world. LA itself, ever since 1920s silent movies, has served as a backdrop and agent on innumerable occasions; film noir versions of the darker side of the American Dream are urban fantasies in everything but the presence of the literally fantastic. The bleak underlying realities against which Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) plays – LA's streetcars were in actuality purchased by giant corporations and shut down – are more vividly brought to mind in the cinema by audiences who remember Chinatown (1974). The story of LA is – as Barton Fink (1990) identifies – inseparable from the movie of LA.

Fantasies in which the mundane world and the movie world intersect can, therefore, be found without difficulty; examples are Macdonald Harris's Screenplay (1982), Suspects (1985) by David Thomson (1941-    ) and Theodore Roszak's Flicker (1991); authors with stories in Hollywood Unreel (anth 1982) ed Martin H Greenberg include Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Thomas M Disch and Jack Finney.

Fantasies in which Hollywood reality does not explicitly intervene include James P Blaylock's The Digging Leviathan (1984), Francesca Block's Witch Baby (1991), much of the work of Scott Bradfield and Jonathan Carroll, John DeChancie's MagicNet (1993), Steve Erickson's Rubicon Beach (1986) and Amnesiascope (1996), Ellen Guon's Bedlam Boyz (1993), Garry Kilworth's Angel (1993) and Archangel (1994), Mercedes Lackey's Bedlam's Bard sequence with Ellen Guon, They Thirst (1991) by Robert McCammon (1952-    ) and Golden Days (1986) by Carolyn See (1934-    ). [JC]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.