Charles DeLint (OT)

Nat Case ncase at
Tue Apr 3 13:59:37 EDT 2001

Phillip wrote:

>Urban fantasy?  Yes, what I've read is contemporary fantasy, and some of the
>books have urban elements.  But I wouldn't describe anything I've 
>read of his as
>"urban fantasy" - even the building in Moonheart formed the gateway quite
>independently of its urban setting.  I am perhaps using a narrower 
>definition of
>urban fantasy, though.
>To me, "urban fantasy" means that the fantasy world system (there's probably a
>term for this, but I don't know it) depends on the city.  Like, say, 
>Our Lady of
>Darkness by Fritz Leiber.  There's another example I'm thinking of, 
>but I can't
>remember author or title.  Suffice it to say that New York City 
>mapped onto the
>fantasy world, and the fantasy world was under threat from 
>development projects
>in NYC.

The Borderland books (Shetterly, Bull, Windling, etc), for example? 
How about Diane Duane's books. The alternate NYC in SO YOU WANT TO BE 
A WIZARD is one of my favorite nightmare landscapes.

When I was in grade school, I wanted a term to describe stories where 
everyday people from our world fall down the rabbit hole, have 
strangers hand them Symbols, or otherwise find them working in an 
extraordinary world, either a different world or a hidden one under 
our own. I never found a really satisfactory term, but "real-life 
fantasy" was my own shorthand for Penelope Farmer, Jones, Mahy, etc. 
In asking around if others had a term for this slice of the fantasy 
world, "urban fantasy" was one of the options that came up, along 
with "contemporary fantasy." Neither really satisfies me, because for 
me the thing I love is when the ordinary bumps into the extraordinary.

Anyone else have a term for this kind of story?

To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list