Urban fantasy(was Charles DeLint (OT))

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
Fri Apr 6 08:01:44 EDT 2001

>>Why do you take such a negative view of "urban"?  This has happened to me with
>>some words in the past - a word has negative connotations for me; as I learn
>>more about the context, I find less and less to be negative about, but instead
>>of throwing off the negative connotations, the word takes for me a narrower
>>narrower definition...
>>To answer your other question first, "how depend?  And what do I mean by
>>Urban?", to me "Urban" means "in or of a city".  No more, no less.  I don't
>>like cities, but I don't attach "depressing faceless masses" or "dark and
>>gloomy" connotations to them.
>>To me, urban fantasy is fantasy that must be set in a city in order to work.
>>can't define it more clearly than that, except by example:

Actually, last night I did think of a better definition.  For "In or of a city",
in the context of urban fantasy, read "Of rather than merely in a city".

> Let me clarify.  The Urban in Urban Fantasy has dark, negative connotations.
> Urban itself isn't necessarily bad, and I certainly enjoy large cities
> enough that I don't hold that prejudice personally.  But when it comes to
> what I consider Urban Fantasy, I think polarize both terms to get a
> deliberate contrast set up by an Urban, gritty, faceless, negative setting
> and the brighter, hopeful, colorful Fantasy.  Both the Urban and the Fantasy
> are not your standard definitions when you combine them into Urban Fantasy.
> They polarize to create the flower in the gutter image that I think lies at
> their heart.

OK.  I understand now.  A valid definition, even if I don't much like it.  CdL
certainly does that well (I'm about 3/4 of the way through Someplace to be
Flying atm.), although he also contrasts dark fantasy with bright cities at

> Under this definition, I think you're probably right that Archer's Goon is
> the closest to this genre because of the dark overtones of the town and the
> facelessness of the mundane minions vs. the fantastical family that lies
> underneath with all their awful color.

Splendid.  I think it's also the closest by my definition, so we can safely
declare it the winner ;-)


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