Today I welcome R.B. Wood, the editor of the upcoming urban fantasy anthology WINTER IN THE CITY. There are only a few days left to back this anthology on Kickstarter, and there are some pretty awesome goodies for those that do. I highly encourage you to check it out! Some of the authors included are Kevin J. Andersen, Brad Beaulieu, Richard Bowes, Pat Cadigan, Ken Liu, Mike Resnick, Mercedes M. Yardley, and Nick Mamatas. Click HERE to get to the Kickstarter page, and check out the great prizes for backers.
Without further ado, I give you R.B. Wood!
It’s no coincidence that many of the authors interested in participating in the Winter in the City urban fantasy anthology also write science fiction.
The two genres have many things in common—for one, both started in what was called the “pulp” fiction (or non-mainstream) arena. Also, both are considered “Speculative Fiction.” Many of the earliest of authors wrote in both genres, and bookstores would lump the authors works together (think of Asimov’s mysteries. They had no science fiction in them at all—but could almost always be found in the Sci Fi section because people expected Asimov to write science fiction).
Even today, George R. R. Martin started primarily in the science fiction and horror genres. But guess where are the bulk of his works are found?
With authors such as Pat Cadigan, Harry Turtledove, Kevin J. Anderson, Tim Pratt, Mike Resnick, Paul Di Filippo (in no particular order)—Winter in the City has attracted many authors who cross the genre line.
This is a good thing. Because I’ll tell you a secret, urban fantasy means many different things to different people
For example, the the old trusty Wikipedia definition:
“Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods, as well as fictional settings. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.”
Well, okay. Sub-genre of fantasy, got it. And the city setting piece, obvious, really. It’s the middle bit that gets a bit wooly:
“Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods, as well as fictional settings.”
Wait. What? Urban fantasy is set in contemporary times, but could be futuristic or historical? Real or fictional setting?
And it gets a bit more confusing if we throw in romance, which is a key element of how some define urban fantasy (think authors Patricia Biggs or Kelley Armstrong, or sparkly vampires). The line begins to blur with the sub-genre of paranormal romance.
And wait there’s more!
On the other end of the sex-spectrum are the dark fantasy or horror genres. Often, urban fantasy will contain monsters and mayhem on par with a Stephen King novel or an H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu story. I’d put the Dresden series by Jim Butcher and some of Laurell K. Hamilton’s stories firmly in the darker categories.
If we go back to Wikipedia’s definition—especially the line about “futuristic cities,” there’s a case to be made for urban fantasy bumping up to science fiction.
Which brings me to the one constant component across whatever definition of urban fantasy you subscribe to.
And that, dear reader was the initial thought-nugget for the Winter in the City anthology. Short stories of the fantastical that take place in different cities around the world.
The definition of the ‘Urban’ portion of urban fantasy will be fairly fixed in the guidelines distributed for our nearly four dozen authors. That is the constant and focal point.
The ‘Fantasy,’ portion, however. Well, we expect our authors to indulge themselves with giddy delight.
R. B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy. His first novel, The Prodigal’s Foole, was released to critical acclaim in 2012. Mr. Wood is currently working on the second book of his Arcana Chronicles series called The Young Practitioner, multiple short stories, a graphic novel and a science fiction trilogy that he dusts off every few years. Along with his writing passion, R. B. is host of The Word Count Podcast – a show that features talent from all around the globe reading original flash-fiction stories.
R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, his dog Jack, three cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.