From the introduction by Gwendolyn Zepeda:
In a 2004 essay, Hunter S. Thompson described Houston as a "cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West -- which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch." For what it's worth, that quote is now posted on a banner somewhere downtown and regularly, gleefully repeated by our local feature writers.
Houston is a port city on top of a swamp and, yes, it has no zoning laws. And that means it's culturally diverse, internally incongruous, and ever-changing. At any intersection here, I might look out my car window and see a horse idly munching St. Augustine grass. And, within spitting distance of that horse, I might see a "spa" that's an obvious brothel, a house turned drug den, or a swiftly rising bayou that might overtake a car if the rain doesn't let up...Overall, this collection represents the very worst our city has to offer, for residents and visitors alike. But it also presents some of our best voices, veteran and emerging, to any reader lucky enough to read this book.