Urban fantasy(was Charles DeLint (OT))

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at Proffitt.com
Wed Apr 4 18:09:19 EDT 2001

On Wed, 4 Apr 2001 16:15:39 +0100, Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk wrote:

>No.  I can accept "urban fantasy" = fantasy in urban setting, although I don't
>like it.
>I emphatically _do not_ accept the idea, which to me is totally confused, that
>"urban fantasy" = fantasy in a technological setting.  Technology does not imply
>urban, or vice versa.

I agree.  Technological is the wrong word.  Frankly, urban is tough to pin
down, too.  For me, Urban Fantasy is a setting that is "urban".  Which I
define as impersonal city with multi-story buildings, lots of traffic, and
more than a little run-down.  An urban story has characters who are really
part of the faceless hordes but we care about them and learn their stories
even though others around them might not give pause or look twice at them.
An Urban Fantasy (my definition, not necessarily shared by anyone else)
story has these characters, but it gives them some situations that are *not*
encompassed by the urban setting.  Urban Fantasy stories are, to me,
high-contrast stories about bright, redeeming, or magical characters in
urban, depressing settings.  Picture a patch of bright flowers blooming in a

>Closer to home, is Fire and Hemlock "urban fantasy"?  For that matter, is
>Hexwood?  Time City is, even almost by my definition, though...

Not in my opinion.  Neither one has the depressing faceless masses that I
define as Urban.  In fact, both Fire and Hemlock and Hexwood are, if
anything, Suburban Fantasy--the characters live in a defined, residential
neighborhood and know who their neighbors are in personal terms.  Obviously,
I'm taking the dimmest view of Urban and that's why I'm glad you called me
on the "technological" phrase.

Jacob Proffitt
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