Friday, December 18, 2009

Urban Fantasy: Where's Horror Going?

(This book looks great, check it out at Jeri-Smith Ready's website!)

Fantasy, to me, has always been the Dragon Riders series, Conan the Barbarian, of course Lord of the Rings, or maybe A Wrinkle in Time, or The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, etc.

But Urban Fantasy is normally set in a city-style world (post apocolyptic, future, alternate earth time, etc.) and often features shape shifters, werewolves, vampires, angels, demons, etc--the tried and true elements of the horror genre.

I started thinking about this when I went hunting for urban fantasy at my local book store and saw the horror genre had one small little shelf, and all the vampire/monster books, etc. were placed in the fantasy section. If the horror author was well known (Koontz, King, etc.) they were simply shelved under 'fiction.' Douglas Clegg and Brian Keene were on the horror shelf, and I think Clive Barker, if I'm remembering correctly, but gosh, the whole genre is practically gone from my bookstore.

So is Fantasy absorbing everything? Is horror becoming more of an 'element' than its own specific genre? What's going on?

What do you think?



Nobilis Reed said...

I think horror, comedy, erotica, and tragedy - the literature forms that aim to create an emotional rather than intellectual or spiritual reaction - are elements that can be added to any sort of fiction.

Other things we call "genres" are more setting-based; fantasy, science fiction, historical, etc.

Other things we call "genre" are more based on plot structures; romance, mystery, police procedural, thriller.

So basically you can do it like a Chinese menu.

What is your primary emotional tone? What is your primary setting? What is your primary plot structure?

J.R. Turner said...

I think we're heading toward a situation where cross-genre is going to become so popular, niche publishing will be forced into smaller and smaller...well, niches ;)

Not just in fantasy and horror, but I can very well see those publishing "literary" novels wishing to tap into the mainstream market by packaging and promoting it in a more 'sexy' way, if that makes senses. (For instance, instead of the Kite Runner showing the boys arm in arm on the DVD cover, it might show a Kite being blown to smithereens, or the tail lit like a fuse, etc. The book cover itself is far darker than the DVD cover. You get what I'm saying, I hope! :) )

Thanks for adding your thoughts on this! :)