the last visible dog (intertext) wrote,
the last visible dog
intertext

Bittercon: It's so Magical to be Homeless! The Romance of Urban Fantasy

This is really a lot of open questions and food for thought than a fully developed thesis. It just struck me, in my - admittedly somewhat limited - experience of urban fantasy, that the "urban" in "urban" seemed to reflect a somewhat limited and romanticized view of the "street."

Just to put my thoughts into a context here, my exposure to urban fantasy rests mostly on Charles De Lint, most of whose works I have read, Emma Bull, Will Shetterly and Neil Gaiman, whose Neverwhere I include in the genre. I would, or could, also include Justine Larbalestier's "Magic" trilogy and there are one or two others that I have forgotten. Amongst Emma Bull's work, I have read and enjoyed both War for the Oaks and her and Will Shetterly's Borderland novels, and my comments and questions here relate to all of those.

Anyway, it seemed that among these works, there is a common sympathy for and interest in the marginal, the scruffy, the downtrodden. Not that this group is in any way undeserving of sympathy or interest, but it struck me that these works definitely downplay the disadvantages of life among the disadvantaged and - yes - romanticize life for the homeless and the income-deprived. What I wonder is, is this some intrinsic part of a greater literary tradition? Are the authors riffing on folk-tales, whose heroes, if not princesses, tend to be clever thieves, disadvantaged or displaced innocents and so on? In some ways, what I'm asking is whether in fact this is the opposite side of the "Fantasy of Manners" coin - Fantasy of Bohemian Manners?

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere is the only somewhat anomalous example - its hero, if I remember, is an average guy who gets lost in a strange alternate or parallel world. And as far as that goes, I guess it's not really "about" magic or fantasy in an every-day urban setting. Does anyone write about magic among the stockbrokers? Or ER, except with magic?

Anyway - that's my pitch. Any thoughts?
Tags: bittercon, urban fantasy
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  • RIP Ray Bradbury

    I wanted to write something about Ray Bradbury

  • 50 Book Challenge #23-27

    I can't believe it's taking me so long to get through 50 books, remembering the days when I used to read 8 or 10 a week, never mind 50 in a year...…

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