[Hot Topic] Is J.D. Robb urban fantasy?

Recently, someone asked me if J.D. Robb’s In Death series is urban fantasy. I’ve included Ms Robb’s books here many times in links to reviews and the bestsellers lists, as you may have noticed, and that’s in part because I know UF readers also enjoy Robb’s books. It’s also in part because I consider Robb to be soft-UF. Here’s my thinking: the books were originally shelved in mystery/crime, because the stories always center around a crime, and then Robb was outted as Nora Roberts, and the shelving lines became muddied. Is Robb futuristic romance? Personally, I think not. The relationship between Eve and Roarke is a long-term one, not the usual boy-meets-girl variety of futuristic romance. But the books are set in the future. Is Robb science fiction then? Again, I don’t think so. Any SF fan will tell you that a food replicator, like the kind featured in Robb’s books, is more fantasy than science fiction. And other than this and the futuristic setting, there’s not much more that makes Robb’s books SF.

So where does that leave her? Well, why not urban fantasy? Her books have an urban setting, with a crime story, a touch of the fantastic, and a long-term relationship. Sounds like many urban fantasy books to me, including Kim Harrison. True, Robb’s books don’t feature fantastic creatures, like vamps and weres, but does that matter?

So, it comes down to this: a poll. Tell us what you think J.D. Robb’s In Death series is. You can use the poll, and/or explain your thinking in the comments. We look forward to hearing from you!

Is J.D. Robb’s In Death series urban fantasy?

1) Yes
2) No, it’s mystery/crime
3) No, it’s science fiction
4) No, it’s futuristic romance
5) No, it’s romance
6) No, it’s something completely different

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One comment on “[Hot Topic] Is J.D. Robb urban fantasy?

  1. I think it’s mystery/crime in a near-future time setting (IIRC, can’t quite remember what the dates are) – so if pushed, I’d agree with the Mystery/Crime shelving. And SF, which is normally SF/Fantasy anyway! Or Romance would work as well – I suppose it varies, because some books are more relationship-focused than others.

    I don’t think I’d classify them as urban fantasy, just because UF to me includes either supernatural creatures or paranormal powers, none of which appear in this series. Just my take though – this is definitely open to debate.

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