Urban fantasy. I understand this to be fantasy which takes place outside of the traditional parameters that usually mark a fantasy, such as distant lands, low technology and magic. It can also be as simple as literally meaning fantasy stories which take place in an urban setting.
This type of fantasy – the kind I write most at the moment – speaks to me because of its simplicity. There is no need to build incredible new languages or design new worlds (unless you want to). It’s possible and often the norm to set your fantasy story in your home town or one you know very well (that’s what I did with Silk Over Razor Blades. Local readers are sure to recognise many key spots in and around Leicester). Just because the place is real doesn’t mean that it can’t be fantastic as well.
I’ve not read as much urban fantasy as these posts may lead me to believe, however. I lean towards writing urban fantasy while I read traditional/high fantasy. Something I’ll discuss a bit more next week.
The most prominent examples of urban fantasy that I’ve read have to include The Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris (more commonly known as The Sookie Stackhouse books or True Blood – thanks HBO!) and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. These stick in my mind because they are such big and well known books, but also because they feature vampires so heavily. And you all know I love me some vampires! Werewolves are awesome too and a few years back I became a frothing fangirl of Graeme Reynolds and his High Moor series. If you haven’t looked into those yet I highly suggest you do. Brilliant stuff!
I guess part of the current draw for me right now, with regards to urban fantasy is the fact that I can put my favourite creatures in there. I may well be reading the wrong books, but I see very few vampires outside this setting. I think that’s partly why I chose to include such a strong historical plot in Silk Over Razor Blades. The lore of vampires stretches back so very far, it’s odd to me that I see so little of it outside urban settings beyond the obvious ones like Dracula.
The traditional fantasy project which follows Saar’s Legacy will be another example of me playing about with vampires and doing something fresh and I hope it will be interesting set among the more common inhabitants of traditional fantasy like elves, dwarves and dragons.
What I’m trying to say – after all that rambling! – is that urban fantasy is a great catch-all for those fantasy elements that don’t always have a place elsewhere. And it doesn’t have to involve weird and wonderful creatures either. I’ve read perfectly good urban fantasies in which the most peculiar creature around was a human man with a drug problem.
What are you favourite urban fantasy novels? Authors? I’m actively looking for more books to read and review next year and I’m open to suggestions. Anything out there you think I might enjoy? Hit me with it!
Oh… and… before I go. ^_^
It’s time to make an announcement. You know I’ve been working on Silk Over Razor Blades for a crazy amount of time. You know it’s consumed my life to the point that this time last year I decided it was ‘do or die.’ Well the time has come. I now have a release date.
I’m recruiting hosts for a blog tour, something I’ve already mentioned. But I’m looking to make this as big and as fun and as interesting as I can. Pretty much from now until the first week of December my posts on this blog will be a mixture of teasers, excerpts and reveals to get you all as excited about it as I am. ^_^
If you’d like to be part of the tour and haven’t yet filled in the form, why not go visit it now? I’m eager to bounce as far and as hard as possible and nearer the time I’ll be letting hosts know what’s in store for them as ‘thank you’ pressies.
Right. That’s it. Sorry the post is late but it has been a really mad day. Raven mentioned last Thursday that our goals will be separate from our main posts going forward so coming up soon will be a run down on how I’ve managed my goals in the past week.