David L. Ulin

David L. Ulin is the author or editor of ten books, including Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. The former book editor and book critic of the Los Angeles Times, he has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The Nation, The New York Times, and other publications. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Lannan Foundation.

Looking Backward from the Future

Relevant to the real world as much as to the worlds it imagines, science fiction has always offered more than is expected.

The Best of West Coast Science Fiction

Across the decades, these groundbreaking works of West Coast science fiction have shown us where we are and where we might be headed, from speculative postwar histories to cyberspace, the near future, and beyond.

Alta Asks Live: David L. Ulin

Books Editor David L. Ulin joins Alta Asks Live to discuss the groundbreaking work of author Philip K. Dick, how the sci-fi genre is especially timely right now, and the challenges Alta writers faced while trying to report during a nationwide shelter-in-place.

Passage West reimagines a forgotten piece of California’s past—that of South Asian agricultural workers in the Imperial Valley during the early decades of the last century.

California Dreaming

Rishi Reddi’s novel, Passage West, explores an underrepresented narrative.

Joy Harjo, author of An American Sunrise, is the first Native American poet laureate of the United States.

Joy Harjo’s Trail of Tears

Joy Harjo reimagines a national narrative in An American Sunrise.

Harrison Ford as Rick Decker in the 1982 film Blade Runner.

‘Blade Runner’ and Los Angeles, Then and Now

The iconic film’s futuristic vision of life in 2019 is already in the past.

City Lights publisher and executive director Elaine Katzenberger is taking the venerable San Francisco imprint into the future.


Elaine Katzenberger reflects on City Lights’ past—and looks to its future.

Upton Sinclair, militant international author and Socialist, who captured the Democratic nomination for Governor of California, reads a paper at a desk in 1934.

The Jungle of Politics, Then and Now

Upton Sinclair’s 1934 bid for California’s governorship has lessons for today.

Author Lucia Berlin, 1963, in Albuquerque, N.M.

Lucia Berlin Lives On

"Evening in Paradise" burnishes the reputation of this relatively unknown writer whose posthumously published "A Manual for Cleaning Women" was widely acclaimed

Neal Cassady leans against a door, holding a cigarette, the epitome of Beat-era cool.

The Beats’ Holy Grail

Jack Kerouac called it “the greatest piece of writing I ever saw” and cited it as inspiration for the style of “On The Road.” After years of legal wrangling, the “Joan Anderson Letter” is now surfacing. Read an exclusive excerpt from the landmark of Beat literature.

Illustrations by Josh Ellingson

Reinventing the Wheel

New transportation innovations are forcing planners and city officials to rethink everything about how we'll get around in California's cities of the future.

Unmade bed at daybreakUnmade bed at daybreak

Tightrope Walker

It may seem like overstatement to call Gina Berriault’s “Women in Their Beds” a masterpiece, but that’s what it is.


Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20). Your California Privacy Rights. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Alta.