113 — Defining Urban Fantasy w/ Paul Weimer and Stina Leicht — #SkiffyandFanty

12 Sep

Talking urban fantasy w/ Stina Leicht and Paul Weimer!

It’s been in the making for a while:  a whole episode devoted to urban fantasy.  With our special guest, author Stina Leicht, we try to puzzle out the definition and explore its boundaries.  Feel free to take us to task, though!

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 113 — Download (MP3)

  Intro and Discussion (0:00 – 1:06:17)

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Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

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5 Responses to “113 — Defining Urban Fantasy w/ Paul Weimer and Stina Leicht — #SkiffyandFanty”

  1. davidannandale September 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    I enjoyed your discussion, and was struck by a couple of things in particular regarding the commercial need to categorize genres. Anne Rice and Laurel K. Hamilton were both mentioned as being either proto- or core-UF, and the subject of horror’s relationship with UF was touched on very briefly.

    Now, in almost all the big bookstores in my neck of the woods, neither of those authors will be shelved in SF/F. They’ll be found in Horror, and that is symptomatic of a trend that’s been going on for several years now wherein the horror section is increasingly colonized by what I think of as misfiled UF. My own take is that if a book does not have, as one of its main goals, the desire to frighten the reader, it is not horror. However, your discussion made me see that the genre distinctions, on the surface, might well be even fuzzier than I had thought. After all, a story with supernatural elements intruding into a recognizable, contemporary(-ish) world is also a way of describing many, many works of horror fiction.

    Anyway, thanks for the thought-provoking talk.

    Cheers,
    David

    • Stina Leicht September 15, 2012 at 12:28 am #

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, David. I think it’s good to understand why the catagories become fuzzy in the first place. It’s not just because of marketing. :)

  2. Joshua Kidd September 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    This is a great discussion about Urban Fantasy. I’ve been thinking about the question “What is Urban Fantasy?” since I attended a panel at DragonCon with that title about a week ago. I’ve always seen Urban Fantasy as fantasy which rejects the tropes of the Arcadian or Pastoral works of Tolkien and his imitators. Personally, what I have always loved about Urban Fantasy is that it filled the spaces in which I lived and had always lived with magic. The magic of Tolkien et al. could only ever be the magic of stories. Urban Fantasy was the magic of real life. Fantasy that takes place in a city, fantasy that happens in the recent past, fantasy that brings older mythology into the modern paradigm. Yes, yes, and yes. Also, fantasy that allows magic and technology to coexist. Fantasy that doesn’t see stark lines between good and evil. These last two point towards what makes some works that might meet some of the earlier criteria, like Harry Potter for instance, emphatically not Urban Fantasy.

    • Stina Leicht September 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      “Also, fantasy that allows magic and technology to coexist. Fantasy that doesn’t see stark lines between good and evil.” Ooooh, I like that so very much. Thanks for that.

    • Loopdilou (@LoopdiLou) September 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Your point about UF being in spaces that we live is a really valid one even if I don’t think it’s a necessity ;) But I do think that’s one of the big draws to a lot of Urban Fantasy. Part of the reason that Lev Grossman’s Magicians is so enthralling is precisely because it’s the same dream that so many of us childhood readers of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein had. I wrote an essay on how The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe contains elements that allow adults to journey into the (falsely) pastoral space of childhood. UF takes all the elements of those journeys, subverts them, and then throws them into the space in which we inhabit. They scream, “Not so pastoral NOW, is it??”

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