Posts Tagged ‘urban fantasy’

I’ve been puzzling around this for a while, but have you ever noticed how many Epic Fantasies are quest narratives? I mean, a lot of it is couched in war, that’s a pretty common feature of epic fantasies. But for the most part – I think maybe nine times out of ten – the Epic Fantasy is defined by the fact that the central engine of the story is a small group of people Going Somewhere to Do Something. All those stories that followed Tolkien’s mold, you know, they’re about people taking a long trip in a strange land.
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So, some time ago, I reviewed Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files novel Changes, and in it I suggested that, while pop culture references were nice, there’s something a little weird about having all of the pop culture references in an Urban Fantasy novel be:  Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or the Wizard of Oz.  In his newest book, Ghost Story, Butcher — with a change so dramatic that it actually felt like he was personally addressing me in particular — there is a different pop culture reference in almost every chapter, and they come from all over.

A lot of Star Wars, still, but also X-Men, Pirates of Caribbean, it’s all over now.

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Amazon.com has declared that Richard Kadrey’s Kill the Dead is one of the ten best SF/Fantasy books of the year.  Pursuant to that, I decided to finally sit down and read Sandman Slim, the precursor to the aforementioned Kill the Dead, and see how it is.  Sandman Slim is fairly good; in case by some mischance you’ve been living in a cave and haven’t encountered it yet, it reads as a mash-up of the (sadly) little-watched TV show Brimstone and the movie Payback (which is one of the best movies that Mel Gibson has made in, oh, let’s say fourteen years?), with some Spenser for Hire and Dresden Files slathered on top.

The supernatural-noir, or supernatural detective fiction subgenre is pretty wildly popular these days (actually, it’s been going strong for several years), and I think it’s a really interesting kind of a splice of genres, so I want to talk about some of the things that I’ve noticed on the subject.

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