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  1. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Urban Fantasy

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Melzaar the Almighty, May 23, 2011.

    What gets defined as it? What is it? More importantly, what are the thematic things, the tropes that appear more often, and so on?

    I've read a little that would probably be classed as it, but then I got told that my story was urban fantasy, when I felt it was absolutely nothing alike to any I'd ever read/heard people talk about/watched movies about, etc. Or do I just have a narrow stereotypical view?

    Is it literally just modern age + magic = urban fantasy, or should the definition be narrower?

    Edit: is this a debate everyone who *cares* about the genre has already hashed out years ago and I'm just coming slow to? :p
     
  2. Caldenfor
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    Caldenfor Member

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    In order to be considered Urban, it can't be rural, can it? :cool:

    Modern + Fantasy =/= Urban Fantasy in my mind. I also find the definition of Fantasy to be very vague as well. Are we talking elves and magic, or any supernatural capabilities acquired by non-scientific means?

    I am not a huge fan of labels, but I understand having genres established as being a good thing, but not always an accurate thing.
     
  3. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    To me, Urban Fantasy means this. It takes place in a modern setting that is in a city, hence the urban name. But, it can also take place in the past, however always in a city. The characters usually live in said city, and are normal outside of their paranormal activities, however this obviously isn't always the case. So, Harry Potter doesn't count because it doesn't take place in an urban setting, despite being in the modern age.

    I can't tell you much more than that sadly, not having huge experience in the genre, but I know that much. For an example, look at the Persona series. That's an excellent example of urban fantasy, however it's quite different from traditional fantasy. Teenagers that have to deal with normal school while fighting at an unseen hour? Check. Shooting themselves in the skull to get out personas to fight demons? Check. Said demons residing in a tower that in the day is their school? Check. That's just Persona 3.

    I guess a theme could perhaps be the fusion of the supernatural with the modern world, however I don't have enough experience with the genre in literature to assure you of that. Now, your story may be closer, if it takes place in a city, and involves characters that are normal outside of living in a city.

    Hope this helped.
     
  4. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    Anthony Horowitz's The Power of Five series is pretty much this. It's set now, and not away in some magical land such as Hogwarts or Middle Earth.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    See, I got told my story set in a tiny English village was urban fantasy, hence asking about the greater thematic elements. :p

    A lot of the stories I've read, published, unpublished, and self-published on the internet that followed the gritty inner-city magic thing had systems of magic closely based on the life in the city - for example, referencing a published one, A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin had sorcerers who drew all their power from the city and all their magic used it so it was all pigeons and car horns. It pretty much turned the city of London itself into a religion. The religious aspect came up a lot in some others I've seen - some more Chthulu, some more paganism, or just a few magical sort of religion based on wizards. I have that sort of magic/religion in mine, but again with the totally traditional English village instead.

    I dunno, to me there isn't a thing supernatural in my stories - I just took all the magic we suppose might exist if we let it, and let it. :p It's all Catholocism and rites and practices even secular people hold to. I was wondering if that was why someone called it urban fantasy.
     
  6. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Yeah, yours isn't urban fantasy, mainly because it isn't in a real city, the key aspect. Yours is too rural for that.
     
  7. IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer
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    IfAnEchoDoesntAnswer Member

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    I would argue that "Urban Fantasy" doesn't have to be in a real city, or even "urban", per se. For instance, I would call Raymond E Feist's "Faerie Tale" Urban Fantasy (even though I don't think the sub-genre label existed when it was written.), even though it takes place in a rural area.

    However:

    It sounds like what you have is more along the lines of "Magical Realism". (Which is another one that no one can agree on the boundaries of).

    "Urban Fantasy" would generally have very overt fantastical or supernatural elements, whereas "Magical Realism" tends to be a lot more subtle about it.
     

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