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Shadow_Ferret
12-18-2009, 09:06 PM
:D

And the Rollcall thread got me thinking about this thing we call Urban Fantasy.

I wonder why some of it isn't called Urban HORROR? Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosties, and such, are traditionally MONSTERS, and would traditionally be horror. Frankenstein. Dracula. The Exorcist. The Wolfman. Those were all horror.

Why did someone decide to brand it Fantasy? To me fantasy has other elements in it, elfs, trolls, fairies, dragons, wizards, magic, swordsmen, and things like that.

So to me, Beastmaster II: Through the Portal of Time is a true Urban Fantasy. :D

Kitty Pryde
12-18-2009, 09:09 PM
:D

And the Rollcall thread got me thinking about this thing we call Urban Fantasy.

I wonder why some of it isn't called Urban HORROR? Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosties, and such, are traditionally MONSTERS, and would traditionally be horror. Frankenstein. Dracula. The Exorcist. The Wolfman. Those were all horror.

Why did someone decide to brand it Fantasy? To me fantasy has other elements in it, elfs, trolls, fairies, dragons, wizards, magic, swordsmen, and things like that.

So to me, Beastmaster II: Through the Portal of Time is a true Urban Fantasy. :D

Cause it's not scary! Horror is meant to freak you out. So if you're reading it home alone, you have to turn on all the lights and the tv. Urban fantasy is just adventure.

Fantasy itself is just stuff that doesn't exist IRL. It doesn't have to be specifically things that one can find in a D&D manual.

Shadow_Ferret
12-18-2009, 09:24 PM
Cause it's not scary!

Ay, there's the rub.

yttar
12-19-2009, 09:28 AM
:D

And the Rollcall thread got me thinking about this thing we call Urban Fantasy.

I wonder why some of it isn't called Urban HORROR? Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosties, and such, are traditionally MONSTERS, and would traditionally be horror. Frankenstein. Dracula. The Exorcist. The Wolfman. Those were all horror.

Why did someone decide to brand it Fantasy? To me fantasy has other elements in it, elfs, trolls, fairies, dragons, wizards, magic, swordsmen, and things like that.

So to me, Beastmaster II: Through the Portal of Time is a true Urban Fantasy. :D

My take on it is that the monster is the hero/heroine and there's usually some magic/psychic/supernatural phenomenon happening.

It's not considered horror because it's not meant to be scary/horrifying.

Also, I tend to think of contemporary fantasy as elves, trolls, dragons, wizards, etc. in the modern day. Whereas, I think of urban fantasy as mages, hunters, shapeshifters, psychics, vampires, etc. in the modern day, whether it takes place in an urban setting or not. And, I consider it paranormal romance when the romance consists of more than half the plot, where the romance is the plot. But then these are just my definitions of these closely related sub-genres.

Yttar

Shadow_Ferret
12-19-2009, 06:52 PM
Right. I know it's not scary. But why? Is that unintentional? Or are the authors deliberately trying to downplay the horror and focusing on the action/adventure aspect with a little humor?

If you did make a true horror Urban Fantasy, would people be interested? Is it even possible?

Do people even want to be scared any more? (I thought I actually read somewhere that people today don't like being scared. I'm too tired to hunt it down.)

ChaosTitan
12-19-2009, 07:36 PM
Cause it's not scary!

But it can be.

While true horror is very different from urban fantasy, I've read many UF's with horror elements in them. I mean, we are talking about monsters who want to eat you, demons who want your soul, or vampires who are trying to suck your blood.

Horror tries to elicit a visceral, negative reaction in the reader. It wants to shock and scare you. Urban fantasy is often action/adventure, but there are also elements of humor, romance, and horror mixed in by varying degrees. I don't know that Urban Horror Fantasy would work, exactly, because for me, horror is horror.

But I like some horror elements mixed into my UF's.

SPOILERS FOR A FEW BOOKS - Highlight to read

Iron Kissed, by Patricia Briggs - near the end, Mercy is drugged, raped, and her arm is crushed. More than just the awfulness of the rape, the description of her arm made me shudder and wince. Horror.

Child of Fire, by Harry Connolly - One of the character's hands are burned and horribly disfigured by magic. Ew, ow, and gross, but effective and visceral. Horror.

Red, by Jordan Summers - A take on the Little Red Riding Hood myth. The werewolf transformation is described as bones popping, joints re-shaping, skin splitting, hair growing, muscles tearing, and blood spurting. It's messy and painful and had me squirming in my seat. Horror.

I use horrific elements in my own books, as well. I was reading a review of Three Days to Dead earlier today, and the reader was talking about some of the things I wrote that made him squirm in his seat. :D



ETA: this discussion deserves a thread of its own, I think

rugcat
12-19-2009, 10:14 PM
But it can be.

While true horror is very different from urban fantasy, I've read many UF's with horror elements in them. I mean, we are talking about monsters who want to eat you, demons who want your soul, or vampires who are trying to suck your blood.It's also a matter of tone. Horror is meant to disturb and upset you, to make your skin crawl or your heart race. Uf can contain a lot of the same tropes -- vampires, werewolves, etc, but the tone can range anywhere from matter of fact to totally tongue in cheek.

If the MC cracks a joke when faced with death, it's not horror.

And certainly terrible things can happen to characters in UF, and many of them aren't funny at all, but the tone is still distinctly different, imo.

Shadow_Ferret
12-19-2009, 10:24 PM
My MC cracks jokes, but its often the black humor Police Officers use at crime scenes. And I try to describe the violent death scenes in intimate detail. Yes, there's humor in it, but life has humor, as well as horror.



Red, by Jordan Summers - A take on the Little Red Riding Hood myth. The werewolf transformation is described as bones popping, joints re-shaping, skin splitting, hair growing, muscles tearing, and blood spurting. It's messy and painful and had me squirming in my seat. Horror.



:( That's how I describe it in mine.

ChaosTitan
12-19-2009, 10:46 PM
It's also a matter of tone. Horror is meant to disturb and upset you, to make your skin crawl or your heart race. Uf can contain a lot of the same tropes -- vampires, werewolves, etc, but the tone can range anywhere from matter of fact to totally tongue in cheek.

If the MC cracks a joke when faced with death, it's not horror.

Agreed. Tone is definitely important, and there is a tendency for the Buffy-influenced one-liner during the scarier moments that alleviates a lot of the "horror" of the moment. And it has its place.

The books that shy away from the darker tone, that avoid the quips and snarkiness, are much more rare. And may be closer to the "urban fantasy horror" that Shadow was asking about. I'd love to find more UF's like this.

Of course, quips have been in horror since before Buffy. Just look at Freddy Krueger. :D


:( That's how I describe it in mine.

Cool! :) Nothing to worry about. There are only so many ways a human can transform into a wolf, right? In my reading experience, the truly messy and painful method is extremely rare.*


*In Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, the transformation from human to cat takes several minutes and is painful, but without the blood sprays and skin splitting.

Sai
12-20-2009, 03:23 AM
I think Clive Barker is the master at melding urban fantasy and horror, and he even does it without the usual tropes of vampires, ghosts, or werewolves. While he might be best known for his straight-up horror books like 'Hellraiser,' his more fantastical novels like 'Weaveworld' and 'The Thief of Always' still managed to freak me out (and the last one was a kid's book!).

I think yttar is right that it's really a matter of intent. If the author's main aim is to scare (and succeed) then I think that pushes the book into horror territory.

HConn
12-20-2009, 06:46 PM
I think it's a matter of the power imbalance between the protagonist and the villain, provided other elements of conflict, setting and tone are included. If the protagonist is wildly over-matched, like Jonathan Harker is by Count Dracula, you get horror. If the protagonist is Buffy, then it moves into the contemporary fantasy genre.

Urban fantasy heros take on baddies that are more powerful than them all the time (the antagonist in most every genre is a tremendous challenge to the protagonist). But when the villain is overwhelmingly powerful, you get horror instead of contemporary fantasy.

rugcat
12-20-2009, 09:10 PM
. Urban fantasy heros take on baddies that are more powerful than them all the time (the antagonist in most every genre is a tremendous challenge to the protagonist). But when the villain is overwhelmingly powerful, you get horror instead of contemporary fantasy.I never thought of it that way, and an astute observation. Even in non supernatural horror, where the bad guy is only another human, the victims are almost always in a position of being absolutely powerless, under the control of the baddie (i.e. Saw, etc. )

Maybe that says something about our fears of loss of control over our lives.

SWickham
12-21-2009, 03:41 AM
I think I may have posted this in the other thread, or another thread somewhere, but, Tanya Huff said on a UF panel at VCON (and I paraphrase) : the goal of fantasy is to triumph, the goal of horror is to survive.

ChaosTitan
12-21-2009, 03:41 AM
I think I may have posted this in the other thread, or another thread somewhere, but, Tanya Huff said on a UF panel at VCON (and I paraphrase) : the goal of fantasy is to triumph, the goal of horror is to survive.

Hmm...makes me wonder if I do write horror, after all. ;)

Shadow_Ferret
12-21-2009, 10:11 PM
I think I may have posted this in the other thread, or another thread somewhere, but, Tanya Huff said on a UF panel at VCON (and I paraphrase) : the goal of fantasy is to triumph, the goal of horror is to survive.

I think that's a rather faint distinction. My character survives against a more powerful foe, and by surviving triumphs. If you overcome the adversity, even if it is just surviving, that's a triumph in my mind.

Take Halloween, those who survive in the end, haven't they triumphed over Michael Myers?

In The Thing from Another World, they triumph over the monster by reducing it to a pile of ashes.

Frankentstein, Dracula, Wolfman, the people who destroy the monsters both survive and triumph.

Alien, Sigourney Weaver triumphs by surviving.

Those are all labeled as horror.

Tasmin21
12-21-2009, 11:06 PM
I think my distinction between the two comes in the treatment of the supernatural/extraordinary elements. (I think I talked about this in the original UF thread, once upon a time)

In UF, the supernatural/extraordinary stuff is part of the world. The creatures, the magic, the what-have-you is there, but the plot itself is a mystery, or a romance, or political maneuvering, or whatever, set against this fantastic backdrop.

In horror, the supernatural/extraordinary stuff IS the plot. It's all about defeating the monster or overcoming the adverse factor (like Shadowferret said above)

Oberon89
12-22-2009, 12:37 AM
Methinks we could make a further distinction: the people in horror stories are prey. Nothing scares the bejesus out of us more than losing our primacy atop the food chain.

But to respond to surviving vs. triumph: while you could certainly count surviving as a personal triumph, I think Huff's point was that the heroes triumph by routing evil, not merely surviving it, and restoring the kingdom/wee village or whatever or perhaps ushering in a golden age where people get fat and happy and forget what war is. (Aragorn crowned in LOTR; Ender and Valentine leading a colonization push in Ender's Game, etc.) In horror stories there's none of that; people just come down shakily off their adrenaline highs and go get a drink.

Shadow_Ferret
12-22-2009, 01:51 AM
Well, I'd like to think that I'm trying for the latter in my stories. I want people shaky, even if they think the UF MC is a hero. He certainly isn't ushering in any sort of golden age. He's merely prevented one terror while on the horizon another terror lurks.

Kweei
12-28-2009, 06:43 PM
This is an interesting discussion which I think proves just how hard it is to make distinctions and categorize.

Every time I want to say, horror is this and urban fantasy is that...I run into a road block. There is so much crossover.

But I guess what helps me determine between the two if focus. I see horror as focusing more on tone, mood, and atmosphere with a tendency to have endings where the antagonist - whatever it might be - triumphs more than the protagonist. There tends to be a you vs me or an us vs them type of theme. But that's not the say the protagonist doesn't have a victory. But that victory is not happy or even bittersweet. The loss far outweighs anything.

With urban fantasy, I see the focus more on action, adventure, and a bit of subverting horror tropes. In the end, while it may not be a happy ending, the protagonist triumphs more than the antagonist. Usually there is a good vs evil theme, and the good outweighs the bad, even if bittersweet. I find UF more hopeful.

That's not to say that you can't have exceptions and I wouldn't dare say these are absolutes. But I think a lot depends on tone and just how much focus you have on particular threads of the story.

M.Austin
01-04-2010, 11:28 PM
Right. I know it's not scary. But why? Is that unintentional? Or are the authors deliberately trying to downplay the horror and focusing on the action/adventure aspect with a little humor?

If you did make a true horror Urban Fantasy, would people be interested? Is it even possible?

Do people even want to be scared any more? (I thought I actually read somewhere that people today don't like being scared. I'm too tired to hunt it down.)

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158548&highlight=werewolves

Just finger through that thread. My theory: Human "bad-boy" stereotypes no longer exist. Instead, people need a new type of "bad-boy" and they get that through "scary" humanoids. So it shows up in paranormal situations like fantasy, urban fantasy, and obviously paranormal romance.

I guess it's just more romantic if someone loves you that is supposed to eat you. >.>

Shadow_Ferret
01-05-2010, 06:04 AM
To be honest, I'd like to see a return to scary monsters. I'd like vampires not to be sexy hunks, but return them to the living corpses they are. Make them ugly. Scary. With a stench of the grave.

And sorry, but sex with werewolves, isn't that bestiality? Stop making them just horny animals and make them savage, out-of-control beasts.

And we're the prey, we're cows, meat, not a sex toy.

Oberon89
01-06-2010, 03:37 AM
And sorry, but sex with werewolves, isn't that bestiality? Stop making them just horny animals and make them savage, out-of-control beasts.


Well, now that's an interesting question. Perhaps it deserves its own thread, though I sure wouldn't want to be the one to come up with the title for it.

I'd argue that it's not bestiality, because they're humans first and wolves second. The wolves (in most stories) come out either only at the full moon or in times of great stress. The human is always dominant...so they're human and not beasts when they have sex, UNLESS they're in wolf form, but in that case it's always with another wolf form, right? Still not bestiality--it's just the Discovery Channel. Nobody's writing about humans mating with a wolf form--that would be bestiality.

As for them being horny animals...well, humans are horny too, and we're animals...so it's tough for me to see a distinction. Sorry if I opened a can o' worms, I just thought it was an interesting bit to comment on. :)

Shadow_Ferret
01-06-2010, 03:45 AM
If I recall with LKH, weren't the werethings in the transition period when she had sex with them? Not full werethings, but a cross between human and thing.

Anyway, as far as the humans being horny, too. Yes. I guess I was including humans, since it takes two to weretango.

Oberon89
01-06-2010, 05:34 PM
If I recall with LKH, weren't the werethings in the transition period when she had sex with them? Not full werethings, but a cross between human and thing.

Anyway, as far as the humans being horny, too. Yes. I guess I was including humans, since it takes two to weretango.

Gadzooks, I didn't know that about LKH! I haven't read her...and now I don't think I will. I'd have to agree that what you describe sounds like crossing the line...ew. Not my cup o' tea, but obviously she's found a niche there and she has a lot of happy readers, so, uh, good for them.

M.Austin
01-06-2010, 10:32 PM
To be honest, I'd like to see a return to scary monsters. I'd like vampires not to be sexy hunks, but return them to the living corpses they are. Make them ugly. Scary. With a stench of the grave.

And sorry, but sex with werewolves, isn't that bestiality? Stop making them just horny animals and make them savage, out-of-control beasts.

And we're the prey, we're cows, meat, not a sex toy.
100% agree. I just don't understand it. :(

Torrain
02-03-2010, 03:54 AM
To me, a very important (perhaps essential) element in horror is isolation; the idea that whether alone in practical terms or not, one is functionally alone because it is very important to confide in or reach out to other people and one cannot do it.

A lot of the UF I've seen has protagonists who are dealing with strange things, but even if they have family or friends that they would like to discuss this with and cannot it never really seems to disturb them. Their isolation is a minor issue at best, therefore it isn't upsetting, therefore the story's unlikely to be a horror story.

(I maintain, by the way, that if no-one had known about Sauron, LotR would have been a horror story.)

Love and coffee,
Frances

Torrain
02-03-2010, 03:58 AM
And sorry, but sex with werewolves, isn't that bestiality?

You mean like sex with elves?

If werewolves are only animals, sure. If werewolves are people, then it's not any more bestiality than sex with elves is, or a witch having sex with a human in Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking series, or than having sex with the ghost of your lover is necrophilia.

IMHO. :)

Love and coffee,
Frances

Anaquana
02-03-2010, 09:57 AM
If I recall with LKH, weren't the werethings in the transition period when she had sex with them? Not full werethings, but a cross between human and thing.

Anyway, as far as the humans being horny, too. Yes. I guess I was including humans, since it takes two to weretango.

*shudders* I still remember the scene in Incubus Dreams where she's talking about the "extra bits" on the wereleopard's penis.

jodiodi
02-13-2010, 11:43 AM
Well, crap. I'm not sure what I write anymore.

I think it's horror/fantasy/romance. Romantic fantasy horror. Horrible fantasy romance.

All I know is I like horror. I like something that will scare the crap out of me. I never found Lovecraft scary because he talked everything to death. His 'horrors' were so vague yet wordy I was just irritated rather than scared.

Old Stephen King wrote some good horror. The Shining is the scariest book I've ever read. I want something that makes me afraid to turn out the lights and make sure all the doors are locked.

If I can't go to bed after reading without all three dogs and my husband up there with me, it wasn't scary.

kiplet
02-13-2010, 09:28 PM
I think I may have posted this in the other thread, or another thread somewhere, but, Tanya Huff said on a UF panel at VCON (and I paraphrase) : the goal of fantasy is to triumph, the goal of horror is to survive.

Yeah, this.

The critic John Clute has described horror as a genre of "attrition." It keeps coming at you and stripping bits away and the best you can hope to do is, of course, survive. With fantasy (and sf), you've got a bit more agency. —Buffy started off as a reversal of a horror trope: the girl who walks alone into the alley survives, and in doing so it becomes an urban fantasy, but horror's still in its bones, in the way that all the characters can hope to do against some of the metaphors (not the Big Bads so much, but what they represent) is survive.

Clute has a great address/essay called "Fantastika in the World Storm (http://www.johnclute.co.uk/word/?p=15)" which generalizes ur-stories for fantasy, sf, and horror (the three branches of what he calls "fantastika," for wont of a better umbrella), and like all generalizations it's wrong; like a good generalization, it's a useful starting point. Anyway. The ur-stories, and I'll paraphrase horribly here:


Fantasy begins with a hint that something's wrong with the world; the world is shown to be thinning, the old ways being abandoned, the magic leaking away, what is right is forgotten; there is a recognition or a return, as the key is found, the king remembered, the hero discovered, the magic returns; and the people take up the old ways again. —There's a lot to argue with there, and a lot of fantasy does precisely that, but it still exists in the shadow of, wrapped around, in spite of that conservative, even reactionary core.

Horror begins as well with a hint that something's wrong with the world, but instead of the world thinning the story thickens about the protagonist until there is a final revelation (we defend ourselves as best we can against the horrible truth until we are forced to admit it), and then all that's left is an aftermath (the best we can hope for is to survive).

SF? Begins with the new thing, the point of difference between our world and the world to come, and explores the ramifications of that point of difference until there's something of an epiphany, and that world-to-come reveals itself (and revels in itself) in all its glory.


Again: the map is not the thing mapped. All models are wrong, but some are useful. I like how these three ur-stories set up the bones of each, look to how each has historically as a genre dealt with the same essential seed, the thing that is different between our world and the story world: fantasy, an escape; horror, a survival; sf, a celebration. (Oh but that's even more reductive and terribly unfair. Pay no attention to it.)

It does help explain why urban fantasy as it's written right now (and its antecedents in comics and television) feels more sf than fantastic to me: it doesn't deal at all with thinning and restoration but instead takes the essential point of difference: vampires! werewolves! fae! and runs with it, giddily celebrating the ramifications of that difference between our world and the story-world.

Which is not at all to say that urban fantasy is sf. Not at all. Clute's model describes the response of storytelling to what he calls the world storm, of modernity; we are of course these days writing in response to those responses (or to responses to responses to those responses, however you want to count them); we can take some bones for granted and build different things with them: fantastic tales that are not so conservative, so reactionary, so return-of-the-king.

—I was pointed at Clute's piece by Farah Mendlesohn's Rhetorics of Fantasy (http://www.farahsf.com/extract.htm), which delves much more deeply into fantasy than that simplistic ur-story, and describes a hesitant taxonomy of four types of fantasy: portal-quest; immersive; intrusive; and liminal (she does try to map each of the four types to each of the four beats in Clute's ur-story: the wrongness, the thinning, the recognition, the return). Urban fantasy she classes as immersive—we are immersed in the world as if it is our own (which helps to explain why a reviewer referred to City of Roses as taking place in an alternate reality, even though it doesn't explain my surprise at that); that horror which would end up classed as fantasy she files under intrusive—chaos is brought to the world and ultimately the world is returned to normal (we, again, survive).

I'm still kicking both of these pieces around; they've given me quite a bit to think about, the past little while. I'm still trying to figure out the difference between urban fantasy and magical realism, myself. Has to do with the procedural, but damned if I can put it into words just yet, and anyway would you look at how much I've rambled already?

jallenecs
02-18-2010, 09:48 AM
To be honest, I'd like to see a return to scary monsters. I'd like vampires not to be sexy hunks, but return them to the living corpses they are. Make them ugly. Scary. With a stench of the grave.

Hi. I'm new. Sorry about that.

I totally agree; I want to be scared by the monsters, not date them.

I've actually been playing with what I tell myself is a slightly different take on vampires. They're not precisely animated corpses, but they are definitely the ultimate predator. Kind of like super-ghouls: very fast, very strong, with an unnaturally good camouflage ( see http://weburbanist.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/emma-hack-wallpaper-body-painting.jpg for what gave me some inspiration).

And they want your blood. They're hiding in the corner, waiting, and you'll never even know they're there, until it's already too late....

Oops! Scared myself.

I have to confess, the thread has confused me. I don't know what I'm writing. I thought it was contemporary/urban fantasy (because my heroes are a mage and a psychic), but they hunt ghosts and demons (horror), and I get my biggest charge out of scaring the reader (though there's an unrequited love subtext that I'm looking forward to exploring). Is that horror or UF?

Oh, well. I'm just going to write the thing, and let somebody else worry about what label to put on it.

kiplet
02-20-2010, 08:48 PM
Oh, well. I'm just going to write the thing, and let somebody else worry about what label to put on it.

Which is far and away the right attitude. Write it now and worry about how to describe it after the fact; figure out then whether your characters are living in a world with ghosts and demons or trying to survive it, say, and whether that's important to however you're going to tell other people about it. —I'm amused (speaking of confusion over genre classifications) by noting the following, from the Saturn Awards nominations (http://www.joblo.com/index.php?id=30933):

Best Science Fiction Film:
The Book of Eli
Knowing
Moon
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Best Fantasy Film:
Avatar
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Lovely Bones
The Time Traveler's Wife
Watchmen
Where the Wild Things Are

Can anyone explain how Knowing or Transformers gets classed as SF and Avatar gets classed as fantasy? Because damn.

Jess Haines
02-20-2010, 11:27 PM
Can anyone explain how Knowing or Transformers gets classed as SF and Avatar gets classed as fantasy? Because damn.

Magic 'n moonbeams -- they getcha every time.

:rolleyes:

Seriously, that's ridiculous.

Satori1977
02-22-2010, 09:47 PM
But it can be.

While true horror is very different from urban fantasy, I've read many UF's with horror elements in them. I mean, we are talking about monsters who want to eat you, demons who want your soul, or vampires who are trying to suck your blood.

Horror tries to elicit a visceral, negative reaction in the reader. It wants to shock and scare you. Urban fantasy is often action/adventure, but there are also elements of humor, romance, and horror mixed in by varying degrees. I don't know that Urban Horror Fantasy would work, exactly, because for me, horror is horror.

But I like some horror elements mixed into my UF's.

SPOILERS FOR A FEW BOOKS - Highlight to read

Iron Kissed, by Patricia Briggs - near the end, Mercy is drugged, raped, and her arm is crushed. More than just the awfulness of the rape, the description of her arm made me shudder and wince. Horror.

Child of Fire, by Harry Connolly - One of the character's hands are burned and horribly disfigured by magic. Ew, ow, and gross, but effective and visceral. Horror.

Red, by Jordan Summers - A take on the Little Red Riding Hood myth. The werewolf transformation is described as bones popping, joints re-shaping, skin splitting, hair growing, muscles tearing, and blood spurting. It's messy and painful and had me squirming in my seat. Horror.

I use horrific elements in my own books, as well. I was reading a review of Three Days to Dead earlier today, and the reader was talking about some of the things I wrote that made him squirm in his seat. :D



ETA: this discussion deserves a thread of its own, I think

Most of the UF that I read doesn't have much in the way of horror. I am on the fourth book of the Sign of the Zodiac series by Vicki Pettersson (if you haven't read it, I would highly recommend it). It is much darker than most of the UF I have read, and some pretty horrific/scary things happen to several characters. When they are tortured and killed, it is not pretty. But I am really enjoying the books and would like to find more like them.

Satori1977
02-22-2010, 09:50 PM
Cool! :) Nothing to worry about. There are only so many ways a human can transform into a wolf, right? In my reading experience, the truly messy and painful method is extremely rare.*


*In Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, the transformation from human to cat takes several minutes and is painful, but without the blood sprays and skin splitting.

I hate reading about shape shifters and they just magically transform into a wolf or jaguar or whatever. Doesn't seem real to me. I *LOVE* blood spraying and bones breaking. Like how they do it in the Underworld movies. When I saw the commercial for Wolfman, I got super excited when you saw his hand changing...my husband thought I was weird when I said "that is so cool, I need to see that movie." But then again, he is pretty used to my morbid sense of coolness. :)

jallenecs
02-22-2010, 10:38 PM
I don't enjoy the current "horror = gore" mindset that is driven by a lot of movies nowadays. I grew up on stories like "the Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs or "the Hand" by Guy de Maupassant. To me, horror is about atmosphere, pacing, creating tension in the mind of the reader. Even Stephen King said as much: you can trot out gallons of blood and fifty-eleven monsters, but if you don't have the tension, then you're going to get a yawn instead of a scream.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I've always thought what made UF distinct was character and setting: a strongly written character, combined with a setting that embraces a juxtaposition of modern and fantastic. If that's true, then there's plenty of room to plug in horror's mood. If you can get that part right, then horror would not be incompatible with UF.

Since my current WIP is a horror/UF fusion, I am literally banking on that concept. I sure hope I'm right.

Thoughts? I am TOTALLY open to debate on this.

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2010, 03:11 AM
There are lots of school of horror, I guess. I totally dislike the "Saw" gore-pron type. In my UF I try more for the classic Universal monster feel.

I think if someone could fit psychological horror into UF, that would be pretty cool, too.

But mood, setting, a sort of gothic feel would nice also.

jodiodi
02-23-2010, 06:48 AM
Shadow_Ferret's above post encapsulated my opinion on horror perfectly.

Satori1977
02-24-2010, 09:19 PM
There are lots of school of horror, I guess. I totally dislike the "Saw" gore-pron type. In my UF I try more for the classic Universal monster feel.

I think if someone could fit psychological horror into UF, that would be pretty cool, too.

But mood, setting, a sort of gothic feel would nice also.

I agree. I first watched Saw because of all the hype, but it isn't really my thing. Whether books or movies, I prefer psychological horror to blood and guts. Those are much scarier IMO

Satori1977
02-24-2010, 09:25 PM
I don't enjoy the current "horror = gore" mindset that is driven by a lot of movies nowadays. I grew up on stories like "the Monkey's Paw" by W. W. Jacobs or "the Hand" by Guy de Maupassant. To me, horror is about atmosphere, pacing, creating tension in the mind of the reader. Even Stephen King said as much: you can trot out gallons of blood and fifty-eleven monsters, but if you don't have the tension, then you're going to get a yawn instead of a scream.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I've always thought what made UF distinct was character and setting: a strongly written character, combined with a setting that embraces a juxtaposition of modern and fantastic. If that's true, then there's plenty of room to plug in horror's mood. If you can get that part right, then horror would not be incompatible with UF.

Since my current WIP is a horror/UF fusion, I am literally banking on that concept. I sure hope I'm right.

Thoughts? I am TOTALLY open to debate on this.

To me at least, I think UF is more about character development. Many of the MC's are outsiders trying to find their place in the (supernatural) world. They are trying to find themselves, and they do that by getting through certain obstacles...these might be surviving evil, might not. And the world-building is usually much more complex. The paranormal world created in these books have to be as real and believable as the characters.

In horror, it is more about self-preservation and survival. Usually the monsters are in our world, but they are not a part of it like in UF. So the world is pretty much our own, in UF the world can be much different than the one we know. I do think it is possible to combine the two, but you don't see it too much.

Ria13
08-10-2010, 02:45 AM
—I was pointed at Clute's piece by Farah Mendlesohn's Rhetorics of Fantasy (http://www.farahsf.com/extract.htm), which delves much more deeply into fantasy than that simplistic ur-story, and describes a hesitant taxonomy of four types of fantasy: portal-quest; immersive; intrusive; and liminal (she does try to map each of the four types to each of the four beats in Clute's ur-story: the wrongness, the thinning, the recognition, the return).

the Clute essay doesn't talk about the option of the denied or ironic return. I think he probably has recognized this, though.

Urban fantasy she classes as immersive—we are immersed in the world as if it is our own (which helps to explain why a reviewer referred to City of Roses as taking place in an alternate reality, even though it doesn't explain my surprise at that);

well, for starters "alternative reality" can pretty much anything. alternative reality could mean mimetic reality where people don't take part injolly fantasy adventures, whether or not it purportedly takes place in a variant of our world.

that horror which would end up classed as fantasy she files under intrusive—chaos is brought to the world and ultimately the world is returned to normal (we, again, survive).

I have read horror that doesn't quite fit that model, i.e. the brilliant immersive fantasy graphic novel Through the Habitrails. that takes place in a world unlike our own in some significant ways.

I'm still trying to figure out the difference between urban fantasy and magical realism, myself.

big difference.

big clue in the name: magical realism uses psychological realism. urban fantasy characters act in the way that characters in popular fiction act. they service the plot. if they do not behave realistically, they behave in a blaisé fashion characteristic of fairy tales (real fairy tales, not Tim Burton or Disney movies).

additionaly, magical realism employs intrusive fantasy, portal fantasy or even immersive fantasy. when it employs portal or immersive fantasy, it uses a poetic and dreamlike world.

urban fantasy employs the immersive world almost exclusively, intrusive fantasy seldom (say a detective with psychic powers) and liminal or portal fantasy never.

Ria13
08-10-2010, 03:04 AM
@jallenecs: I like Euro-horror art films. haven't seen Saw or any of that, no interest. as far as the best Euro-horror like Martyrs or Possession IMO they employ gore strategically, to build tension, not in a stupid way.

Shadow_Ferret
08-28-2010, 10:27 PM
You mean like sex with elves?

If werewolves are only animals, sure. If werewolves are people, then it's not any more bestiality than sex with elves is, or a witch having sex with a human in Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking series, or than having sex with the ghost of your lover is necrophilia.

IMHO. :)

Love and coffee,
Frances

Hey, I can't believe I missed this. No. Not like sex with elves or sex with witches. Most of the stories, LKH's for example, they have sex while the creature is the transitional animal form. I wouldn't commented if it was sex between humans and one was suffering from lycanthropy.

Sex with elves wouldn't be bestiality because elves are humanoid and physically close to humans.

And witches are human.

But ghosts, yeah, I think necrophilia. Because the ghost is dead (necro) and you are making love (philia).

TonyBlue
02-02-2011, 05:12 AM
I could be opening another bag of worms here, but... In my never-ending search to find the perfect 'genre-tag' for my WIP, I am always led to 'Dark Fantasy'

So what about it? Dark Fantasy.

It is a sub-genre, usually under fantasy, that is fantasy that incorporates the moods and themes you'd find in Horror. From what I can tell it doesn't need any additional tags like Urban/Contemporary/Historical, etc... though they might help.

Moods/themes of Horror to me? Morality is a big one for me. I like it when MCs have their morals challenged in order to survive. (Oops there's that word again. Survival.)

elmoie
02-02-2011, 02:26 PM
*shudders* I still remember the scene in Incubus Dreams where she's talking about the "extra bits" on the wereleopard's penis.

extra bits!?!?!

Okay....:crazy:

Silver-Midnight
01-02-2012, 03:32 AM
So, then does that mean that "Dark Urban Fantasy" is kind of redundant given that Urban Fantasy already horror elements to it?

ChaosTitan
01-02-2012, 08:50 PM
So, then does that mean that "Dark Urban Fantasy" is kind of redundant given that Urban Fantasy already horror elements to it?

No. There is Urban Fantasy that is considered lighter and more humorous (Nicole Peeler, Kevin Hearne). It isn't usually labeled as such, but I've used the label Dark Urban Fantasy for my Dreg City series, because it does has some strong horror elements. Because UF has such a broad range, adding the extra label can be helpful to readers.

Silver-Midnight
01-03-2012, 01:07 AM
No. There is Urban Fantasy that is considered lighter and more humorous (Nicole Peeler, Kevin Hearne). It isn't usually labeled as such, but I've used the label Dark Urban Fantasy for my Dreg City series, because it does has some strong horror elements. Because UF has such a broad range, adding the extra label can be helpful to readers.

Oh, okay. I understand now.

mshaw2268
02-15-2012, 01:45 AM
Well, now I'm totally confused and have no idea what I write anymore. :P I'm also slightly disturbed with the bestiality angle that was mention, but only slight disturbed... which is actually disturbing by itself.

I think horror gets a negative vibe these days because people seem to equate horror with gore, which is sad. Too many Saw sequels out there, I guess. I originally listed my zombie short story under horror and the sales just sort of trickled in. I took someone's advice and switched it to Paranormal and Supernatural/Occult, and then sales picked up. I guess horror is still on the ropes.

Now I have to figure out how to classify my new book. It takes place in a small town instead of a city so don't know if it still fits the Urban Fantasy tag since the setting isn't urban. Does that make a difference? Maybe we need yet another genre out there called Country Fantasy or Podunk Fantasy.

Incidentally, I live in a small, rural area so I can get away with saying Podunk without it being insulting ;)