Almost two months ago, Bastard of Bastards Books asked me to write a guest post about why I’m not so jazzed with urban fantasy. I agreed, but it wasn’t a real easy post to tackle and I kept fussing with it. I finally got around to finishing it, and he finally got around to posting it.
My name is Justin, and I don’t like urban fantasy. This is where everyone says, “Hi Justin” and then I regale you with the stories about how the genre has burned me so often that I can longer stand to be in the same room with it. I might finish my little speech by saying, “And I’ve been urban fantasy free for 98 days.” Someone might even give me a pin to commemorate my unreliance. Of course, that isn’t really true. . . I do read urban fantasy. I’m just scared of wasting my life every time I do.
I think it’s important to take a minute to discuss what I mean by urban fantasy. It’s a horrifyingly easy term that means something different to every one who hears it. As a marketing subgenre, urban fantasy means a story set in contemporary times which contains supernatural elements (examples: Dresden Files, Anita Blake, et al.) and contains some element of romance (from a little to a ton). For the purposes of this article, that’s the definition I’m working with because the actual definition, fantasy set in a city, is so benign as to be useless. Based on those assumptions, I find the subgenre predictable, hackneyed, and all together boring.