I dragged myself out of bed Friday morning for two anticipated panels: Defining Urban Fantasy and YA Urban Fantasy. *Defining ______* panels are always hit and miss. Sometimes you get a fascinating discussion about the origin of the genre, other times it's a panel of people disagreeing on what they're even there for. This year I discovered that the two aren't mutually exclusive.
|Defining Urban Fantasy: L-R S.M. Sterling, Tim Powers, Linda Poitevin, Ginjer Buchanan,|
David B. Coe, Adria Laycraft
Tim Powers insisted that Urban Fantasy had to involve cell phones*, while editor Ginjer Buchanan pushed for a change of the name to Contemporary Fantasy because many Urban Fantasies aren't actually Urban (a point echoed by the presence of Adria Laycraft, editor of the Urban Greenman Anthology). This led David B. Coe (D.B. Jackson) to bring up the question "What is contemporary?" His Thief Taker series is set in Revolution-era America, but is arguably Urban Fantasy--it's also arguably Historical Fantasy, Alternate History and even Steampunk (though that's a stretch). He said that at Dragon Con, defining Thief Taker had been discussed so much that it was eventually decided that he'd invented Tri-Corner Punk. (David's point was echoed in Sunday's "The Road to Urban Fantasy" where Farah Mendelsohn made the point that in England, "contemporary" is defined as anything 1750 and later.)