Epic and Urban Fantasy Linkdump

Lots of people are thinking about epic fantasy, urban fantasy, gender and what makes a genre at the moment. And since I’m too tired to write something myself, here is a linkdump:

At the Guardian website, Damien G. Walter writes about women writing fantasy. Definitely a laudable article and yet very illustrative of what I described here down to the female writers being named.

Talking of gender and fantasy, everybody in the SFF community probably knows by now that the TV miniseries A Game of Thrones, based on the George R.R. Martin novel of the same title, will premiere this Monday on HBO in the US. I won’t be watching, until it hits our German screens, because my TV time is limited, there’s stuff I’d rather be watching and I have never been that big a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire anyway. Still, it’s interesting how much coverage and publicity George R.R. Martin gets pre-series premiere, compared to what the other bestselling fantasy author, whose novels became the basis for a HBO series, got. At any rate, George R.R. Martin gets a long profile in the New Yorker, another profile in The Guardian, though the show doesn’t even run in Britain yet, and an interview in the New York Times which I can’t find right now because of that damned paywall.

Now exactly how many interviews with Charlaine Harris did you see before True Blood started?

Meanwhile, Daniel Abraham’s post at the Orbit blog about the importance of war for the epic fantasy genre (which I linked to here) is also still making waves.

Helen Lowe, a fantasy writer from New Zealand, responds to Daniel Abraham’s Orbit post here, wonders about what makes fantasy epic here and talks some more about epic fantasy here.

John Ginsberg-Stevens also responds to Daniel Abraham and weighs in one the debate about war in epic fantasy.

Sam Sykes wonders where all of the fantastic races have gone.

Personally, I’d they migrated to urban fantasy, which is a big grab bag of fantastic beings at the moment, whereas the big names in epic fantasy write about human dominated or human only worlds. And who could blame elves, fae, gargoyles, trolls, ogres, dwarves, etc… for migrating to urban fantasy? Indoor plumbing, TV and the internet are nice amenities to have, so why not leave the cod medieval worlds to humans?

Paul Jessup is on a roll of late and responds to Helen Lowe here, to me here and to John Ginsberg Stevens and Sam Sykes here.

He also discusses genre definitions, templates and what makes a blockbuster genre here, here, here and here.

I don’t quite agree with him, because I don’t see urban fantasy as much as a template genre as he does, because there is a lot more variety in urban fantasy these days, in spite of certain similarities, than there was in epic quest fantasy in the 1980s and 1990s and then there is in some romance and mystery subgenres. Besides, I also think that he overestimates the impact of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but then pretty much everybody does. However, I just typed out some long comments over there and since I don’t feel like repeating them here, just head on over and take a look.

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2 Responses to Epic and Urban Fantasy Linkdump

  1. Paul Jessup says:

    Actually, I don’t think I’m overestimating the impact of Buffy- what I meant was, that hit upon this cultural thing that Urban Fantasy also hits on. When I first saw BtVS I remember thinking- THAT. That’s what I’ve been thinking about for awhile. And writing in some ways. And I think a lot of other people felt that way as well- Dresden Files, Harris’s vampire mystery/souther gothic books, and the Anita Books were all published well before BtVS. But, they hit on something, I’m not sure exactly what it is, but they hit on something the public wanted. Readers wanted to read, and writers wanted to write.

    • Cora says:

      Oh, I totally agree that Buffy hit upon a cultural trend, which is why it developed a cult following and is still remembered today, while other shows from the same period have been forgotten. And the popularity of Buffy certainly influenced many of those urban fantasy series that came later.

      However, there are people who think that Joss Whedon not only created urban fantasy and kick-arse heroines with Buffy, but that the man practically created the entire post 1996 genre landscape himself. Which is simply not true, because Joss Whedon did not introduce that many new ideas at all. His genius instead lies in dissecting, retelling and recombining the old tropes in new ways.

      I briefly mistook you for one of those “Joss Whedon is god” people – wouldn’t be the first time I’ve argued with them. However, since that’s not what you’re saying at all, I guess I agree with you.

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