Today I saw someone’s forum post about an urban fantasy novel which is praised because it’s different from all the other urban fantasy novels out there: “finally, an urban fantasy without vampires.”
This sort of thing pisses me off.
I hate it when people who are [expletive deleted] clueless about the genre go around spouting complaints about how urban fantasy fiction is always about vampires and werewolves and isn’t it about time someone wrote urban fantasy that didn’t have any vampires in it.
Apparently, these kids have never heard of Emma Bull’s novel War for the Oaks (published in 1987), which is (as is pointed out in the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry) “a pioneering work in the subgenre of urban fantasy.” And look – no vampires! Bone Dance, by the same author — no vampires. Charles de Lint (Wikipedia says, “Along with writers like Terri Windling, Emma Bull, and John Crowley, de Lint popularized in the 1980s the genre of urban fantasy”) wrote Moonheart (published in 1984), and Yarrow (1986) — and both of these novels have (say it with me) no vampires. The Gypsy (1992), by Steven Brust** and Megan Lindholm — no vampires.
(** Totally off-topic, but I have to share: Wikipedia says, “Brust was seen again in a one-shot special issue, Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem, in which the mutant superhero Shadowcat attends a Cats Laughing concert in Edinburgh and mentions previously having seen the band at Windycon.” A character from one of Emma Bull’s novels — more or less, because he certainly isn’t the version I know — also appears in that scene. I blogged about that — more or less — a while back. No matter what Mr. Claremont would have you believe, this character is not a musician — that’s the other guy. And that the hell is up with that moustache??)
Anyway. Seems the urban fantasy sub-genre has a pretty well-established tradition of not being all about vampires. But don’t let that stop anyone from praising a new novel as the most unique urban fantasy ever because it doesn’t have vampires in it.
Kids these days… *shakes head* Read — or at least read about — a few books published more than 5 years ago, why don’t ya? And get off my lawn.