Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jay Lake's Dark Towns: A list of the stories

I love the conceit of Jay Lake's Dark Towns concept: whole cities somehow hidden away in the midst of the ordinary world, towns filled with strange customs, weird creatures, odd technology, maybe some magic. He's written about these in several short stories.

The denizens of the Dark Towns are aware of the outside world, which they refer to as "the Cities of the Map".

I bumped into a couple of them in online forums, and then I wanted to look for more, so I check around on Mr. Lake's web site and on the web, but I couldn't find a list of the stories anywhere. He's got a bibliography, but it didn't indicate which stories were Dark Town stories. So I asked Mr. Lake for one, and he was kind enough to respond.

Dark Towns stories by Jay Lake

"A Hero for the Dark Towns", Album Zutique, ed. Jeff VanderMeer, Nightshade Books, Portland, OR, April, 2003

"Sloe-Eyed Jacks and Homicide Kings", Chiaroscuro, January, 2004 (online); now at http://web.archive.org/web/20040403192744/www.chizine.com/sloe-eyed_jacks.htm

"Mr. Scalpel and Mr. Gloves and the Cancer at the Heart of the World", Fusing Horizons #3, July, 2004; reprinted (online) at Revolution SF http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=3976
I like what happens to the main character in this one, and I like how it brings an outside character into a Dark Town.

"The Lizard of Ooze", Flytrap #4; May, 2005; Reprint: The New Weird, ed. Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, Tachyon Books, San Francisco, CA, February, 2008
I found a download available here. I like how this one brings in taboos.

"The God-Clown Is Near", Dark Discoveries #10, June, 2007; Reprint: Steampunk, ed. Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, Tachyon Books, San Francisco, CA, May, 2008
I enjoyed this one a lot; highly atmospheric. It also reveals a genius for character names on Lake's part.


  1. I can't believe the timing on this. I just finished "The God-Clown Is Near" in Steampunk and was starting to dredge the 'net for other Jay Lake stories because it was so great. Thanks for the assist.

    1. Anonymous2:39 PM

      Amen! "The God-Clown Is Near" is what drove me to do the same, I was so disappointed it was only like 10 pages.

  2. Anonymous7:11 PM

    Thanks for posting this list. It's a huge help, because I was in the same boat as Beau RN. Read 'God Clown' in the Steampunk anthology and wanted more. The atmosphere and characterization are brilliant. :)

  3. Yes, it's great stuff.

  4. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Ditto (res ipsa locuitor)