(formerly writing as Lindsay York Levack)
I first fell in love with urban fantasy in 1999, before urban fantasy had a name. I was reading Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDISH COMPANION, when I hit upon her “Methadone List” (recommended reading while we wait for her next book.) In this list she mentions Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. “A unique series (nine books so far), dealing with the adventures of Anita Blake, licensed vampire executioner and working zombie raiser, who– in the course of the series– is courted by a werewolf and a vampire, and battles just about every form of supernatural creature I’ve ever heard of– and not a few I hadn’t. Extremely violent and bloody, but never gratuitously so. Nonstop action, but the most interesting aspect of the series is the increasing complexity of the moral questions asked, as the chief character explores her own powers in greater depth, and begins wondering exactly what the differences are between the humans and the monsters.” (This, by the way, is as good a definition of UF as any.)
Gabaldon thought she was handing out methadone. Little did she know it was more like crack.
It didn’t take me long to speed through Hamilton’s nine novels and discover there was more like her out there. But the trouble for me has always been having to chase it down, having to seek and find UF. Unlike romance, SF, and crime, there was no gathering of all that is UF. Until now.
Critics thought urban fantasy was a mere blip in the trend charts. I’ve never grown tired of this genre. If anything, I want more. Is that the definition of an addict?
I discovered Urban Fantasy/Mythic Fiction through War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. It was the first book I’d ever read that brought the world of faery into a contemporary urban setting. From there, I moved on to DeLint and Hamilton (actually started with Merry Gentry series first and moved on to the Anita Blake series later) and it has just snowballed from there. I am constantly reading something and there are books that I will re-read with some regularity because of the way they make me feel. And that is key with me. The book needs to make me feel something.
Urban fantasy is a genre I never tire of, whether it’s faeries, vamps, shapeshifters or real people thrown into extraordinary worlds or situations. It never ceases to amaze me where a writer’s imagination can take them and how new life can be breathed into what some people might say is a tired out mythos when seen through different eyes. I think it’s an extraordinary accomplishment to create a story that makes the unbelieveable believable.
Some of my favorite authors are Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, Rachel Caine, Patricia Briggs and Faith Hunter. There are also some new UF authors to watch such as: Stacia Kane, Mark Henry and Anton Strout. I also plan on showing the UF Historicals some love. I don’t think Urban Fantasy or its sub genres are going anywhere for a good, long time. As long as they are kicking out good reads, I’ll stick around to read about it, talk about it and write about it.
I always liked Urban Fantasy before I knew it was called that way. You can blame X-Men for the ideas I got of people with powers, which kind of spun out of control once anime mixed in. As an aspiring writer I have been having ideas in the UF genre before I even knew the term, but I think I mentioned that. Well after the X-Men came TV shows like Buffy and Charmed and then the Harry Potter series, which pretty much set the formula: monsters, magic, mythology + present reality = way cool.
Living in Eastern Europe kind of hindered my initiation in the book genre and the first novel I ever read was “Stray” by Rachel Vincent. This pretty much sealed the deal and from then on I have my house barricaded with UF titles and although there is much for me to catch upon I already have my favorites like Vicki Pettersson, Rachel Vincent, Gena Showalter, but I am most likely to get addicted to almost any author out in print. Just need to read their novels.
As for me, well I am an aspiring writer with too many ideas even for a team of thousand erudite apes to handle; the perpetual poet with a knack for cabaret and mythology; the amateur photographer of sorts and the mad reviewer of everything in the art department.