Urban Fantasy

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christi
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Urban Fantasy

Post by christi » February 11th, 2010, 12:14 pm

I've been trying to figure out if I'm supposed to be listing my book as an Urban Fantasy or just Fantasy.

To be Urban, it's to be set in a city. My teenagers are in a city. It's on a secret island, but it's a city.
Also, it is set in NOW, not the past, and they travel to the human world and mix and mingle with humans.
It's not all sword play and dragon slaying, but there are a lot of magical creatures in my story, but they play video games and watch movies and stuff.

Some help here? Is it fantasy since it's a make believe city or is it Urban because it's in a city and set in modern day?
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

Nick
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by Nick » February 11th, 2010, 12:22 pm

According to the Almighty Wikipedia:
Urban fantasy is a subset of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times or contain supernatural elements. However, this is not the primary definition of urban fantasy.[1] Urban fantasy can be set in historical times, modern times, or futuristic times. The prerequisite is that it must be primarily set in a city, rather than in a suburban or country setting, which have their own genre subsets

Urban, according to Dictionary.com, means "of, pertaining to, or designating a city or town."[3] Thus, urban fantasy has to be set primarily in a city and contain a fantasy element. Urban fantasy sometimes features problems with inner city life, such as gangs and city management,[4] and can also be set in contemporary times and include paranormal romance.[1] However, the city setting does not determine the time period or themes, but merely tells where the action will be set.
Tee Morris's The Case of the Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery, which follows a dwarf detective in 1930s Chicago, qualifies as a non-contemporary example of urban fantasy according to 1990s critic John Clute. The city may also be fictional and set on another planet, as long as the city becomes a character or a major element in the story itself. This is shown with Charles de Lint's Dreams Underfoot (1993) and its sequels, set in the imaginary city of Newford.[5]

Many urban fantasy novels geared toward adults are told via a first-person narrative, and often feature mythological beings, paranormal romance, and various female protagonists who are involved in law enforcement or vigilantism.[6][7] Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series—which follows the investigations of a Federal Marshal during paranormal cases—has been called a substantial and influential work of the genre.[8] Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan novels, taking place in an alternate history setting, feature a bounty-hunting witch who battles numerous supernatural foes.[9] The Better Part of Darkness, by Kelly Gay, explores the challenges a police officer faces while trying to balance her paranormal cases with life as a single mother.[10] Greywalker, a series by Kat Richardson, follows a woman who conducts investigations in a paranormal plane of existence.[11]

In addition to books which present largely independent characters, certain stories feature men and women who are regularly partnered on adventures—often with an underlying romantic element. The Jaz Parks series, by Jennifer Rardin, follows the titular CIA operative and her vampire boss as they combat supernatural threats to national security.[12] Jocelynn Drake's Dark Days novels follow a vampire named Mira and a vampire hunter named Danaus, who work together to protect their people from a mutual enemy.[13] Night Huntress, a series by Jeaniene Frost, centers around a half-vampire named Catherine and a vampire bounty hunter called Bones, who gradually become lovers while battling the undead.[14]

While several adult stories focus on professional heroes, many teen fantasy novels follow inexperienced protagonists who are unexpectedly drawn into paranormal struggles. Amidst these conflicts, characters often gain allies, find romance, and, in some cases, develop or discover supernatural abilities of their own.[7] In Kelley Armstrong's The Darkest Powers series, a group of teens with paranormal gifts go on the run while fleeing from a persistent band of scientists.[15] In The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, a girl is drawn into a long-standing conflict between two mystical societies, and soon realizes that she herself possesses powers.[16] The Immortals series, by Alyson Noël, follows a girl who gains special abilities after recovering from an accident, and also grows close to a mysterious new boy at her school.[17] In addition, love triangles play a prominent part in these and several other urban fantasy novels.[18][19]

In certain books, a boarding school or similar institution holds a significant role in the story. Rampant, by Diana Peterfreund, follows a group of young women at a cloisters as they train to fight killer unicorns.[20] The House of Night series, by P. C. and Kristin Cast, presents a school where future vampires are disciplined while on the path to transformation, during which several romantic conflicts and other clashes ensue.[21] Claudia Gray's Evernight novels center around a mysterious academy, where a romantic bond develops between a girl born to vampires, and a boy who hunts them.[22] Fallen, by Lauren Kate, revolves around a student named Luce who finds herself drawn to a boy named Daniel, unaware that both of them are angels who share a history together.[23] Other series, such as Carrie Jones's Need, have characters moving to new locations but attending public schools while discovering mysterious occurrences elsewhere in their towns.[24]
And that is very long. We need spoiler tags.

Going off of what wikipedia says, I'd say it's fair to call your story urban fantasy if the whole, or at least the majority, of the narrative takes place in the city and it's fantastical. I strongly advise not taking my word for it, though. Wikipedia's good but not that good and frankly I don't know what I'm talking about, hence the reliance on Wiki.

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christi
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by christi » February 11th, 2010, 12:27 pm

Thanks, Nick. I had read Wiki initially and that's what made me go 'but is MINE that?' but I guess it is if I were to compare it to other book series out that that you listed (from Wiki) since mine is a similar situation.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

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shadow
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by shadow » February 11th, 2010, 12:40 pm

I say urban for sure. At least it sounds like that to me :)
~shadow~
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marilyn peake
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by marilyn peake » February 11th, 2010, 6:01 pm

Christi,

My understanding of urban fantasy is that it's set in modern cities, but involves characters from older legends, such as faeries, vampires, etc. I wrote an urban fantasy short story – REPO GIRL AND THE FORTUNE FAERIE http://www.marilynpeake.com/twistedtails4_preview.html – that was published in an anthology of fantasy short stories, TWISTED TAILS IV: FANTASTIC FLIGHTS OF FANTASY http://www.marilynpeake.com/twistedtails4.html. According to modern legend, faeries are harmed by metal, so I developed ways in which my faeries dealt with metal within the city. I wrote another urban fantasy short story, entitled BRIGHT MOON, set in modern-day China. In that story, I specifically used the faerie problem with metal to focus in on the pollution of China’s waterways resulting from the mining of iron ore in modern China. That short story was published on Sara LaPolla’s GLASS CASES blog http://bigglasscases.blogspot.com/2009/ ... -moon.html.

The SF Site defines quite a few science fiction and fantasy genres, including urban fantasy, here: http://www.sfsite.com/columns/amy26.htm.

Hope that helps. :)
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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christi
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by christi » February 11th, 2010, 6:13 pm

Wow. That was totally helpful. Thanks so much! I've been all over the place looking for a site like that.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

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marilyn peake
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by marilyn peake » February 11th, 2010, 6:17 pm

Glad that helped, Christi!
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Jaime
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by Jaime » February 12th, 2010, 6:53 am

Hmm, tonight I put forward this same question in a chat with two agents from a well known agency. I thought that urban fantasy had to be set in a city, too, but the agent told me it doesn't have to be in a city. So now I'm thinking mine might be urban fantasy. It's not paranormal romance, because the ending isn't all that warm and fuzzy, and it's not women's fiction with paranormal and romantic elements, because it's from the male perspective as well . . . bleh, my head is hurting. But the agent said it could be classified as urban fantasy if it's set in the real world, not necessarily a city.

Have I just hurt your head more so?

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christi
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by christi » February 12th, 2010, 9:02 am

Nah, Jaime, I'm good. I'm just annoyed that I sent my book out as fantasy and not urban fantasy to some agents that might have been interested in URBAN and not regular fantasy. Le sigh.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by TheShadow » February 12th, 2010, 10:33 am

I knew your pages gave me an Urban Fantasy vibe when I read them, I'm not always crazy ramblings. I always took urban fantasy to mean "Fantasy set in the modern world", though I am sure there are more qualities to it like some have said here. I got in a debate with a friend of mine who said it has to be set within a city... I dont know, maybe it does.
What dark dreams lay in dormant minds?

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marilyn peake
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by marilyn peake » February 13th, 2010, 3:32 am

I think many of the definitions for sub-genres of fantasy, including urban fantasy and steampunk, are fluid and interpreted differently by different people. Here’s an interesting article about urban fantasy by N.K. Jemisin (N.K. Jemison and Jeff VanderMeer also add comments in the discussion after the article): http://www.jeffvandermeer.com/2009/12/0 ... an-fantasy
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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christi
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by christi » February 13th, 2010, 9:23 am

I read that one the other day while trying to determine where my story fit. He sounds like a perdy smart fella.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

wetair
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Re: Urban Fantasy

Post by wetair » February 13th, 2010, 6:33 pm

Not sure if yours would. Urban fantasy is usually set in an urban area, but I am not sure it has to be (can't think of any examples where urban fantast is set in the country though) and I am pretty sure the city doesn't have to be real, though it usually is. Even if the city is supposed real, it can be changed out of all recognition. YA urban fantasy includes the Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong, Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine, Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, Madison Avery series by Kim Harrison, Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow. I am sure there are others.

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