Urban fantasy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Fantasy media

Genre studies


Urban fantasy is a subset of contemporary fantasy, consisting of magical novels and stories set in contemporary, real-world, urban settings--as opposed to 'traditional' fantasy set in wholly imaginary landscapes, even ones containing imaginary cities, or having most of their action take place in them. The modern urban fantasy protagonist faces extraordinary circumstances as plots unfold in either open (where magic or paranormal events are commonly accepted to exist) or closed (where magical powers or creatures are concealed) worlds.[1]

Critic John Clute distinguishes urban fantasy from other sorts of contemporary fantasy by the role of the urban setting in the story. In The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, he writes:

A city is a place; urban fantasy is a mode. A city may be an icon or a geography; the U[rban] F[antasy] recounts an experience. A city may be seen from afar, and is generally seen clear; the U[rban] F[antasy] is told from within.... U[rban] F[antasie]s are normally texts where fantasy and the mundane world interact, intersect and interweave throughout a tale which is significantly about a real city.[2]

Nevertheless, Clute also remarks that "Many texts can be described simultaneously as C[ontemporary] F[antasy] and as urban fantasy."[3]

Modern urban fantasy as an acknowledged subgenre arose in the late 1980s and early nineties. Emma Bull's 1987 War for the Oaks, in which the geography and culture of the city of Minneapolis play an important role, is a seminal work.[4] Charles de Lint's Dreams Underfoot (1993) and its sequels, set in the imaginary city of Newford, are other early entries.[5] Both Dreams Underfoot and War for the Oaks were edited by Terri Windling, who also created the groundbreaking urban fantasy Borderland anthologies (1986 and following) with Mark Alan Arnold.[1][6]


[edit] Urban fantasy authors

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Donoghue, "The City Fantastic"
  2. ^ Clute and Grant 1999, p. 975
  3. ^ Clute and Grant, p. 225
  4. ^ Clute and Grant 1999, p. 148
  5. ^ Clute and Grant 199, p. 264
  6. ^ Clute and Grant 1999, pp. 264, 148, 859
  7. ^ Campbell, Heather M.. School Library Journal 53(2007): 130.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Personal tools