Defining Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy (UF) can be defined as a unique subgenre within fantasy. Its primary point of departure from the larger genre of fantasy is its use of the city or urban locale as a portal through which the extraordinary, magical or supernatural is able to intersect and interact with the ordinary, mundane, real world. The city must operate as more than a backdrop and should reflect the experiences of life within a real city.

The Origins of Urban Fantasy

This paper offers a wide overview of the various inspirations, sources and roots that have inspired the development of the new subgenre of urban fantasy. Reaching as far back as ancient mythologies coming forward to the great shift in fantasy literature that was Tolkien, the paper aims to suggest the deep roots of urban fantasy literature. With only a cursory connection to seminal and current texts, such as Emma Bull, Charles de Lint and Laurell K. Hamilton, the paper is a document interested in developing a framework for situating the growing subgenre.

An Etymological View of Urban Fantasy

Theorising the basis of any sub-genre requires an understanding of the etymology of the terms. Urban Fantasy is a sub-genre built upon a mixed heritage of low fantasy and urban realism. This paper is an overview examination of the Oxford English Dictionary's definitions of the key terms that form an understanding of the title of Urban Fantasy.

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