View Full Version : Timeframe for urban fantasy?

09-25-2005, 08:05 PM
Does "urban fantasy" necessarily mean contemporary? Would a fantasy novel taking place in an urban setting in, say, 1830, count?

Cathy C
09-25-2005, 08:34 PM
No. Urban fantasy generally has the definition of "today/now." Contemporary, as a genre, is considered post-1910. A piece set in 1830, regardless of whether it's set in a major city is considered historical. But if it's fantasy anyway, then it'll probably be placed in the fantasy category without regard to contemporary.

Hope that helps! :)

09-25-2005, 09:59 PM
It does, thank you!

Sharon Mock
09-25-2005, 10:31 PM
An urban fantasy set in 1830 would probably be magical steampunk.

09-26-2005, 03:07 PM
I agree, both with the urban fantasy definition that means modern as well as the 1830s fantasy as steampunk. (Heh. I love these subdivisions of genres.)

Right now, I'm trying to decide if my WIP is a magical chick-lit novel or an urban fantasy novel.

09-26-2005, 06:00 PM
Of course, there will be some exceptions. You can have an urban fantasy story that happens in the past if your protagonist is from the present and returns to it in one or more instances where some action also takes place. Of course, you're now invoking time travel in your fantasy, but I don't believe there are any rules that state time travel is limited to science fiction.

09-28-2005, 01:53 AM
OK, now I'm confused again. :D

I've seen publications differentiate between urban fantasy and contemporary fantasy. What's the diff?

Lenora Rose
09-30-2005, 01:32 AM
I didn't really think there was one, except that some contemporary fantasy does take place out in the country (Megan Lindholm's Cloven Hooves is set mostly in Alaska, with forays into farm country).

There is a specific subgenre of the subgenre which seems to involve street kids, bouncers, buskers, or other streetwise, punky folk, and elves. (Examples range from Mercedes Lackey-and-various-co-author's Bedlam's Bard and SERRAted Edge series', the Bordertown shared world, and Emma Bull's War for the Oaks). Maybe this is what people mean when they differentiate Urban fantasy form Contemporary fantasy in general.