Hi here’s another list of things I’ve read that are really important to me, on the loose theme of ‘fantasy urbanism.’ I still haven’t read Dhalgren.
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. This is the most essential thing to read if you are even tangentially interested in anything about this list i think. Revelatory to me as a pulpy-literalistic fantasist.
Imaginary Cities by Darran Anderson. Inspired by the Calvino book, an enormous overview of planned or dreamed cities that were never built.
Kalpa Imperial by Angélica Gorodischer. Some of my favorite secondary-world fiction I have ever read. Short stories from the history of an empire at the ludicrous extreme of size, depth, history. The English edition was translated by Ursula K. Le Guin who is my favorite.
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar. Beautiful book and deals with an invented setting and urban spaces with a more densely intellectual approach than I have ever seen.
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas. An architectural history and “retroactive manifesto” for Manhattan, but some of the most interesting bits are about Coney Island in particular. Huge futuristic conflicts underlie every modern city.
The City & the City by China Miéville. This isn’t a lot of people’s favorites of his because its fantastic elements aren’t the loudest, but it’s so smart and bewildering and develops an allegory for emergent social strata in urban spaces that is really compelling.
The Event Factory by Renee Gladman. Just finished this; it feels loose and dreamlike and engages very clearly with real feelings of exploring new spaces, radically repurposing urban environments…
Country of Ghosts by Margaret Killjoy. Not as totally concerned with cities as the rest of the list, but a really exciting and unusual example of worldbuilding from an intentionally political/utopian perspective.
Surregional Explorations by Max Cafard. The first few essays in this book deal with Surrealist and Situationist approaches to urban space and the unconscious of cities; it’s a weird jumbled book but I liked it