Monday, August 25, 2008

Detective Wizards, Vampire Hunters, and Werewolves Oh My! (Redux)

The latest discussion making the rounds (at least on my blogroll) is about the whole Urban Fantasy/Supernatural Fantasy/Wizard Detective/Vampire Hunter/Monster Hunter/P.I. In Fantasyland glut of novels that are selling like hotcakes nowadays.

I wrote up a Spotlight blog post back in February, (and we've got pretty active discussion on the topic at SFFWorld) but what spurned this latest go-round is John's newest ask the bloggers feature at Grasping for the Wind: Ask the Bloggers: Urban Fantasy and the Next Big Subgenre.
Larry at OFBlog chimed in and, as is often the case, he makes sense and gets me thinking again. What I didn't say in my original post (and did mention in my response to Larry's linked post) is this: When the Urban Fantasy label was thrown around, oh, maybe 3 to 5 years ago, I think a lot of what we meant was stuff like Charles de Lint, some of what Neil Gaiman was doing, some of what Emma Bull was doing. Stories with more of a mythic flavor that didn't quite mold to the detective story or a series of stories centered on a primary protagonist. I know many of de Lint's stories are told in and around the setting of Newford, but outside of a small collection of stories, most didn't center on a "hero" or protagonist on whom the overall story is centered, from what I've gathered.

Aidan's recent article "Fantasy Oversaturation?" also brought to light this sub-genre in his article. Which also got me thinking of how my reading tastes have shifted over the past few years. As I say in my response to Aidan's article, I find myself drawn to Science Fiction and the Dresden/Marla Mason/Vampire Hunter stuff more in the past couple of years than Epic/Secondary World Fantasy. More consideration for thought as to why, though.

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