Posts Tagged With: Urban Fantasy

A Spin on Urban Fantasy

A discussion in my Tuesday evening writers’ group inspired me to think about my own Urban Fantasy world I’ve been developing for a couple of years now (here and there).

At first, I thought it would basically be our own world, but with magic, cryptids, lycanthropes, etc. But that pretty much describes most Dresden/Supernatural/Anita Blake-type Urban Fantasy (except, perhaps my desire to have a greater emphasis on cryptids–I was going to have a main informant be an Appalachian bigfoot named Bob who LOVED reality TV and cheap beer).

So, I started thinking of ways I could make it more unique, something I hadn’t seen before. What if, I made my Urban Fantasy setting a far future version of the fantasy world I’m already writing in?

I’ve already got magic-powered cannons, lights in nobles’ houses powered by magic, and minor clockwork technology. Two thousand years in the future, what sort of tech could industrious engineers have invented?

Teleportation circles I introduce in Salvation (that’s book three of Scars of the Sundering, so there’s a free preview for you!) would shrink the world, especially decades hence after the secret to creating new one was uncovered. A planet-wide network of these could cause rapid globalization. Since I establish in Salvation that only a certain species can activate the teleportation circles, they would obviously become the gatekeepers of global transport. There would be many people who would want an alternative, so magic-powered vehicles could be developed that wouldn’t rely on these people.

My big concern is part of the appeal of Urban Fantasy seems to be the fantastic applied to our modern world. If I apply our modern amenities to a fantastic world, would that strip away the appeal? Or would it create something intriguing that readers would enjoy?

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QUICK REVIEW – Shadowrun: Nigel Findley Omnibus

shadowrun-nigel-findley-omnibusYou don’t have to be a fan of the Shadowrun setting to enjoy these urban fantasy/cyberpunk novels by the late Nigel Findley. The stories are all engaging, illustrative, and thoroughly enjoyable. While some knowledge of the Shadowrun world is helpful, you should be able to catch on fairly quickly through context. If you’re not familiar, the world is our future, magic has returned and so have elves, orcs, dwarves, trolls, and dragons.

I do love these stories, but I there are numerous typos, some of which cause me to re-read the sentence several times to work out what the word really means. I haven’t yet determined if this is a problem with adapting these books to the Kindle format, or if these typos existed in the original work. Still, they aren’t a show-stopper, and I’m sad we will get no more from this talented author.

It appears that neither the Omnibus, nor the individual stories, 2XS, Shadowplay, Lone Wolf, and House of the Sun are available on Amazon anymore, or anywhere I can find in electronic format. It’s a shame; from what I hear, Nigel Findley is among the most well-regarded of Shadowrun authors and the loss of his work in this format is a travesty.

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REVIEW – The Dresden Files, book 1: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

StormFrontTrue Confession Time: Until last year, I had not read any Dresden Files books.

Sure, I was familiar with the property from my involvement in the gaming industry. I just never got around to reading it (and I do wonder where I was when these books came out; I would’ve read the heck out of these).

Storm Front is the first book in the vaunted Dresden Files urban fantasy series. It reminds me of a hard-boiled film noir detective story, if the bad guys were vampires, wizards, and werewolves instead of corrupt bankers and gangsters. (Of course, in Dresden Files, there’s nothing stopping the gangster from being a werewolf or vampire!) The first-person narration style strengthens this perception. Harry Dresden is a down-on-his-luck wizard, the only one listed in the Chicago phone book. He’s likable, despite a character flaw which is a personal pet peeve of mine: poor communication skills (he often withholds information for someone’s own good which ends up causing him much trouble and many misunderstandings… if ONLY he’d told so-and-so the truth… etc.). It remains to be see how much the character grows out of this unfortunate habit in subsequent novels.

In short, Harry Dresden is called upon by the police to help them solve a murder which clearly has supernatural origins. In the meantime, he’s hired to privately investigate a woman’s missing husband case. To give the resolution would be spoilerific, so I’ll just say it’s entertaining, the world is engaging and believable (assuming you buy into the whole urban fantasy schtick to begin with), and the characters are likeable when they’re supposed to be, and hissable when they’re bad. The book was shorter than I expected (I’ve gotten used to doorstoppers by default for anything remotely labeled as fantasy) and read very quickly. Butcher gives you just enough information to “get” the world & characters he is creating without overloading you on unnecessary details. It is an approach I appreciate since reading should be enjoyable, not a chore.

If you’re interested in reading urban fantasy and have not yet begun exploring this rich and entertaining genre, you would be well-advised to start here.

My review of book 2: Fool Moon will be up in a few days. See you then!

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