Over the last decade, there has been a takeover of speculative fiction from the urban fantasy genre. We can barely turn around without stepping on the toes of a vampire that sparkles.
In class, we recently discussed what exactly urban fantasy is. From everyone's research, it's obvious that the definition of this genre isn't clear, and that there are as many takes on it as there are people who write it. I think that might because it's still growing and coming into its own.
My definition? I think its synonymous with contemporary fantasy--a fantasy that takes place in current day. It's our world, with magic or some other fantastic element thrown in. Of course, the story tends to take place in a city, or at least a town (as was pointed out in class discussions, the Sookie Stackhouse novels are more rural, not a city, but still considered urban fantasy).
As mentioned, though, there are many other definitions out there. All you need to do is a simple internet search on urban fantasy and you'll find a wealth of debate and viewpoints.
Here are some links I came across in my research that I found interesting:
All Things Urban Fantasy is a blog that reviews and discusses urban fantasy (as well as paranormal romance). It seems like a good place to go if you are looking for opinions on more recent urban fantasy.
Carrie Vaughn wrote an article for Tor.com in 2010; Urban Fantasy Recommendations. It's always great to see what other writers think is good in the genre.
Is This the Year Urban Fantasy Conquers Science Fiction? - This article was back from 2009. So what do you think? Has urban fantasy taken over the speculative fiction genre? The statistics they discuss are interesting. Urban fantasy has seen a big boom in recent years.
On the Geeks of Doom website, they have a Top 10 List for urban fantasy and horror books in 2010. One of the Dresden Files books is on the list!
Origin of Urban Fantasy? is a blog post from 2008 discussing the where urban fantasy has its roots.
Urban Fantasy Cliches is an article from 2010. We all want to avoid cliches, and if something is overdone enough, it'll get corralled into that category. One of the things mentioned on a couple sites was how cliche the cover art for urban fantasy has become.
NEXT UP: A look at the novel Spin.