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bear by san

December 2021



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bear by san

My editor, Liz Scheier, gastbloggeiten on Urban Fantasy at the Irene Goodman Agency blogsite. moschus saw it first.


I think you should send a LttE.


Love, Emma Bull."

*passes the coffee*
Aha. I think I may have figured it out. Liz, I think, is talking about urban-fantasy-the-marketing-category. As opposed to urban-fantasy-the-subgenre.

If that makes any sense?
Heh. I was sort of wondering about that. *g* I mean, urban fantasy equated with Buffy.

Because, yanno, I read The War for the Oaks in college. And, um, Buffy wasn't on yet.
The articles seem to be pretty much drive-by point shootings (they even share the same style and imagery). The one on historicals totally ignores anybody but Jean Plaidy, and talks as if historical novels are an easy, fast, or plausible sale (not to mention the fact it appears to to be talking about historical romance, which is a far cry from straight historical). I would like to live in the universe in which they are.

War for the Oaks, as much as we all loved it, did not start a trend. It's tough being years ahead of your time.
But the real vogue happened after Joss--to my mind, long enough after him that I don't think he's directly responsible, either. I see Buffy as a symptom rather than a cause. My own unsupported theory is: Chick Lit Meets the Zeitgeist.

The articles I glanced at are rather simplistic and seem to specialize in finding one particular name to hang a marketing trend on. I mean...Jean Plaidy?

One thing that struck me about so many of these post-Buffy books was how they're all first-person, single-perspective narratives with that kind of chatty, colloquial, girlfriend to girlfriend kind of tone. Whereas fantasy & horror (especially the writers that influenced me) tend to be more ranging multiple-perspective kind of things (since multiple perspectives layer tension and create a more thorough sense of storyworld).

So yeah, that strikes me as the real trend -- not the subject matter so much as the chick-lit, fantasy-fulfillment (you get the cute sexy werewolf boyfriend AND you're a cool woman who kicks ass) handling of it.
Well, the writer of the article *is* a rabid Buffy fan and says so; I would expect her perspective to reflect her own interests and knowledge, and possibly be set up on different standards than we're using.

Also, I think with such a trend, it is difficult or impossible to say where it *started*. You would need to find out the influences on every writer of the stuff, particularly the soonest-published, and you might learn that 5 out of 7 of them read the same children's book that percolated through college writing classes and a reading of Tolkien into leather-clad elves in the streets of Las Vegas.

I've often noticed that ideas seem to percolate---blame that coffeem person (grin)---through some pool of creativity that exists in non-tangible form, some overmind gluttony of dreams.

Frex, two books on unicorns in one year, and three the next. That means that five writers were working on unicorn ideas for at least what, 3 or 5 years? And which of them got the idea first, or just wrote faster, or whose book pub date was pushed back so there'd only be two books the first year and not three? But the first one or two pub'ed get credit for setting a trend.

War for the Oaks may have started a trend for readers who liked it and began searching for more. I know my mom badgered me unmercifully for "another one of those books with the pookha" and "isn't there anything like that book with the wonderful creature". I wouldn't, from my small twig, dare claim I knew what it did in the wide wide world, just in mine.

And maybe I'll full of cake mix and ought to catch a few eggs. :g:
Yes, but the article is not about Great Old Ones and original creators but about who started the marketing trend right now for urban fantasy. I'm not totally sure it's Joss, either; it feels more like a general shift in taste among the reading public. Buffy was part of a trend toward kickass tv heroines (along with Xena, La Femme Nikita, and lesser lights and fading now with Sydney Bristow). Whether that trend led to the urban-shaman genre...I dunno. Maybe.

How's that for firmly stating a point?
I have trouble combining kick-ass tv heroines with the urban shaman genre, actually (now that you've poinpointed that issue) possibly because as I remember, the urban-shaman-genre heroines are only kick-ass in the moments of triumph and have many miserable non-ass-kicking moments before. Are there no urban-shaman-genre heroes?

Emma Peel might work better as a precursor to Buffy than Buffy to . . . an urban shaman heroine. But maybe I'm just not giving Buffy enough credit.

My biggest whine about the whole trend thing is that I don't feel certain one can credit a trend to any one or even two persons. An article of that length is more a teaser than a research paper.

Well, I have to admit, a certain pookha was among the inspirations for a maneating, milk-white steed who shows up in my Faerie books now and again.

So, um. I guess you dripped on me.
With my allergies, I think I'd rather press than drip. ;)

Soon to be overheard at a signing table in the local store:
"Her ideas are so Columbian!"
"Dark roast, I think."
"Oh, obviously this one was written in her *blend* stage."

If we're tossing thankses around, I'll put mine in for Falcon and even more for Finder.

Let's just say that the list of things my friends won't talk about in front of me is long, starting in 15th-century Wallachia and extending to Las Vegas, present day....
There's some urban fantasy I like, but there's none of it, I mean, none, that's anything like Buffy in tone, theme, anything (I am tempted to add "quality" to the list but then nobody would take me at all seriously. What a shame.) You see this especially in things like McKinley's Sunshine, where the trappings are fairly similar, which just points up how entirely unlike Buffy the overall effect & gestalt are.
That must've been a hell of a workshop. :))
Yes indeedy, seeing your book on the shelves gave me hope that maybe somebody would actually read/buy the 'weird' novel that I was working on over years -- Laurell K Hamilton must have been around then but she wasn't on my register by any means, and I had not yet watched a Buffy or Angel episode (I didn't devour all the Buffy & Angel DVDs until AFTER my own book -- BLOODANGEL -- had already sold to Roc, and I was on bedrest and going out of my head).

So I will most happily give you credit where credit is due -- and I'm really glad you were around.

And how cool you have a livejournal! (wow, all the cool kids seem to be here.) Must Friend you forthwith.
Chicks in leather R Us

OK, maybe its just me but I have trouble relating Buffy to serious, quality fantasy of any kind. I know that makes me the odd one out.

Urban Fantasy for me probably began with The Wizard of The Pigeons which has a male protagonist. Kick-ass heroines came in via Red Fox and Mary Gentle's Valentine White Crow though Rats & Gargoyles is more a precursor of China Mieville than of Buffy really.
There was also Misty Lackey's Elves in Racecars stuff. Just as a random datapoint.
... okay, gigantic It's A Small World moment, i.e.: dude, I did not know Liz Scheier is your editor. She's a friend of my wife's from college, and we stay in touch. It's A-- yeah, I said it.

It's a small industry, anyway.