Sunsets and Neon Lights* is an in-progress annotated bibliography of fiction about Las Vegas by authors who are residents of Vegas or Nevada. Items are added as I read or attempt to read them.
*The title is from Brandon Flowers’ song “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas”
Short Story Collections
Pierce, Todd James, and Jarret Keene, eds. Dead Neon: Tales of Near-future Las Vegas. Reno: U of Nevada, 2010. Print. A collection from authors who are all local to Vegas and tasked with writing a short story about a dystopian Vegas. Unfortunately, the idea is better in theory than in delivery. None of these authors seem very comfortable with writing science fiction, or short stories for that matter. I’d give this book to creative writing students of why “show, don’t tell” is so important for engaging writing. The stories I read rattled off a chain of events without truly showing the reader of what’s going on. Some stories read as if the author had already written them and then shoved some references to Vegas to meet the criteria for inclusion in this anthology.
—, eds. Las Vegas Noir. New York: Akashic, 2008. Print. A short story collection for the series Akashic Noir where each short story collection centers around a particular city. These stories, while some were only ok but not really fleshed out, cover Vegas and close-by neighbors (Pahrump, Test site, etc). I enjoyed this collection because I felt that it showcases all of Vegas, and not just the Strip. Favorite stories include “This or Any Desert,” by Vu Tran, “Pretty Little Parasite” by David Corbett, and “Atomic City” by Nora Pierce. For more on the Akashic Noir series, check out their catalog.
Watkins, Claire Vaye. Battleborn. New York: Riverhead, 2013. Print. A debut collection from Nevada native. Stories take place in Vegas and surrounding areas in Nevada and Death Valley. CVW writes with clear precision about the Mojave and areas surrounding. Some stories are more compelling than others. “Ghosts, Cowboys,” “The past perfect, the past continuous, the simple past, and “The diggings” are all standouts. Vegas is explicitly found in the story “The last thing we need,” a tale of two teenage girls experiencing Vegas for the first time. Review