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Urban Fantasy Anthology Paperback – 1 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (1 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616960183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616960186
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,431,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Beagle proves that he is as good an editor as he is a writer, with this anthology of modern fantasy short fiction" -- Booklist "This is one of the best reprint anthologies of the year in terms of literary value, and you certainly get more than your money's worth of good fiction." -- Locus (November 1, 2011) "An essential book not only for longtime followers of such intriguing stories, but those who thought fantasy only took place in the completely imagined worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien" --www.Bookgasm.com "[This book was] as thought provoking as it was enjoyable." -- All Things Urban Fantasy (August 2011) "A rich, full, experimental and long-lasting contribution to the ecology of Fantasy. It's perfectly arranged and intentionally diverse." -- New York Journal of Books (August 2011) "An excellent collection of stories that showcases the best of urban fantasy writing (however you define it). Definitely a must read!" -- Interzone (September 2011) "Every single story in this collection has been well chosen and polished brightly... I highly recommend those with even a vague interest in urban fantasy to add The Urban Fantasy Anthology to their collection." -- Green Man Review "An excellent collection of fantasy that showcases the best of urban fantasy (however you define it). Definitely a must read!" -- Interzone (October 15, 2011)

About the Author

Peter S. Beagle is the best-selling author of "The Last Unicorn," which has sold a reported five million copies since its initial publication in 1968. His other novels include "A Fine & Private Place," "The Innkeeper's Song," and "Tamsin." His short fiction has been collected in four volumes by Tachyon Publications, including "The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche," "The Line Between, We Never Talk About My Brother," and "Sleight of Hand." He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, and Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire awards as well as the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than thirty novels, including the Edgar Award-winning Hap and Leonard mystery series ("Mucho Mojo," "Two Bear Mambo") and the "New York Times" Notable Book "The Bottoms." More than two hundred of his stories have appeared in such outlets as "Tales From the Crypt" and "Pulphouse," and his work has been adapted for "The Twilight Zone" and "Masters of Horror." Lansdale has written several graphic novels, including "Batman" and "Fantastic Four." He is a tenth-degree black belt and the founder of the Shen Chuan martial art.

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Format: Paperback
It's raw, it's vibrant, it's undeniably popular, but just what is urban fantasy? The editors of this new anthology from Tachyon attempt to define the genre by offering us twenty short stories they regard as typical. These stories have been subdivided into three categories: mythic fiction, paranormal romance and noir fantasy. By way of introduction, Peter Beagle offers a useful critical overview of the book as a whole, while Charles De Lint, Paula Guran and Joe Lansdale do the same for each of the three subdivisions.

Mythic fiction is the oldest and best established of the three types of urban fantasy. However, as Charles De Lint points out, the term was originally chosen by him and Terri Windling precisely to avoid describing what they were writing as `urban fantasy'. It is probably the most easily definable of the three categories. Essentially, mythic fiction refers to any story that takes traditional fantasy tropes and/or mythic elements and places them in a (sometimes loosely) contemporary setting. In this collection, the category is illustrated by stories from Emma Bull, Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey Ford and Peter Beagle. All the stories chosen to represent mythic fiction are excellent reads, but the Jeffrey Ford offering (`On the Road to New Egypt') seems rather out of place in this company: there is a surrealism about it that to my mind makes it more akin to the category described here as `noir fantasy'.

The term `paranormal romance' immediately put me in mind of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Twilight saga and Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake novels. Paula Guran's take on the category certainly overlaps with those works, but she puts more emphasis on `kickassitude' and detective-style plots than on any element of romance.
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By Peter C on 22 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
Just received this book -- very tasty looking anthology. Just be aware, though, that of the twenty stories herein, just one is original to this book. Now, that's fine -- if you've not read (m)any of the other stories. I just wish they'd made it clearer in Amazon's description. I've scored it four on the basis of the authours included: Charles de Lint, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Emma Bull ... etc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Thought provoking, fun walk through Urban Fantasy's history. 16 Aug. 2011
By @Julia_ATUF - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
[...]

This is my first experience with this type of broad, category driven anthology, and I find myself as enamored with the physical organization of the book as I was with it's contents. Opening with Charles de Lint's exploration of Urban Fantasy and it's more precise sub-categories, the book itself is divided into "Mythic Fiction", "Paranormal Romance", and "Noir Fantasy". Each section begins with an essay that explores the origins and characterizations of this genre so much of us enjoy, and while the stories in each section don't actually match the content from de Lint, Guran, or Lansdale's essays, they do have an interesting relationship to one another that makes this anthology as thought provoking as it was enjoyable.

De Lint's essay opens the Mythic Fiction section and sets the stage for stories with a mood of wonder and uncertainty. The magical threads in this section dip and weave underneath reality and bring to life the myths of older worlds, gods and unicorns and Fae. My favorite stories of the mythic fantasy section were Neil Gaiman's "The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories" and Peter S. Beagle's "Julie's Unicorn". Gaiman mixes the gilt of Hollywood with the everyday magic of reverence in a way that creates a quiet pool of the extraordinary that I know I will return to. "Julie's Unicorn" explores the real world consequences of magic, but without letting camp overcome a sense of infinite possibilities. My least favorite story in this section, Jeffrey Ford's "On the Road to New Egypt", reminded me of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS with magic in place of ether as the drug of choice. Chaotic and arbitrary, if this story was reaching for greater significant or religious meaning, it missed the target with me.

While the stories in Mythic Fiction completely fit my concept of that sub-genre, the Paranormal Romance selections seem out of sync with their heading. Rather than the highly sexual, magic driven Happily-Ever-Afters that I associate with this sub-genre (and that Guran references in her essay), the Paranormal Romance section of this anthology serves only as a bridge between the wonder of Mythic Fiction to the less upfront portrayals of common paranormal creatures in the Noir Fantasy section. For the purpose of this anthology, "Paranormal Romance" means stories where both readers and characters recognize the magic they're dealing with: vampires and zombies, ghosts and werewolves. There is little more than references to sex and other than Patricia Brigg's "Seeing Eye" and Bruce McAllister's "Hit", none of these stories have anything close to a romantic happily ever after. However, once I adjusted my expectations, I found some things to enjoy. This was my second experience with "Seeing Eye", previously published in STRANGE BREW, and it was my stand out favorite for the section. Briggs is adept at setting her characters into place quickly, without ever resorting to caricature, and I can never finish one of her short stories without hungering for more. I also enjoyed Suzy McKee Charnas's "Boobs" for her new take on an empowered adolescent heroine and the werewolf mythology, and Norman Partridge's "She's My Witch", which brought a crazy Bonnie and Clyde vibe to the paranormal table, with a tone that manages to engage, concern, and creep out, all at once. Francesca Lia Block's "Farewell, My Zombie" seemed out of place for this section, more in line with the borderline realities and questions of Noir Fantasy, but despite this mismatch, the heroine was so bleak and compelling that the story left me shattered.

As I mentioned above, the third and final section in this anthology, Noir Fantasy, takes the vampires and werewolves we urban fantasy fans are so familiar with and turns the mythologies on their head. Either through the addition of mundane details, as in Susan Palwick's heartbreaking "Gestella", or through a questionable narrator, as in Thomas M. Disch's "The White Man", the stories in this last section marry the tone of Mythic Fantasy with the headliner paranormal phenomenon established in Paranormal Romance. I adored Holly Black's "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown", which managed to create both a stellar heroine and an interesting world in the short space allotted (and is one of the few stories in this anthology that was deep enough to introduce characters I would want to read more about), and found Tim Powers's world building and characterization in "The Bible Repairman" haunting and gritty. Joe R. Lansdale's own "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks" didn't contain a single woman who wasn't a prostitute, a zombie prostitute or a cultist, and reaffirmed why few post-apocalyptic stories ever get any reaction out of me other than rage and/or a personal intention to bury myself in a bunker should society ever collapse. My reaction is meant more as a affirmation of my preference for pleasant, escapist reading material than any indictment of Lansdale's entertaining, if utterly bleak, story.

Upon finishing all three Urban Fantasy sub-genres, I realized that despite essays that discuss the commercially prevalent brand of Urban Fantasy that is fueled by "kickassitude" and happy endings, THE URBAN FANTASY ANTHOLOGY is composed of an older and darker strain of selections than I would have expected from the title. The stories I've mentioned above are only a few of the offerings, but overall, this book's tone brings home the sense that magic doesn't guarantee happiness (and sometimes can't even save your life), but it is always, and inevitably, fascinating to poor humans and preternatural creatures alike. Unerringly provoking (both in a good and bad sense), while I sometimes found myself wishing for something different, I never could have asked for anything more out of these stories. This is one book I will be sure to keep on my shelf so I can revisit these varied moods and conundrums in the future, but while the essayists themselves point out that these stories aren't meant to capture all aspects of the Urban Fantasy genre, it feels Beagle and Lansdale only focused on the bleak side of this genre.

Sexual Content: No explicit sex scenes, but references to sex, rape, and incest are made.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Featuring the Mystical, the Fun, and the Weird 28 Aug. 2011
By Sniffly Kitty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I didn't realize until I read this anthology how many kinda of stories fall under the umbrella of urban fantasy, and I really enjoyed the essays at the beginning of each section which introduced the 3 broad categories. A note to the reader, some of these stories are disturbing and not just in a violent way.

There were definitely stories I really liked (The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories, Julie's Unicorn, Hit, and A Haunted House of Her Own). They hit (no pun intended) just the right notes of fantastic and good storytelling. There were several that were just plain weird especially in the noir section (although that was to be expected), and I'm not sure I understood what was going on.

All in all, it was definitely an interesting sampler of stories, and I have some authors that I want to check out novels for. As an overview of what you might encounter in Urban Fantasy, this definitely achieved that although I didn't enjoy every story within.

Copy Courtesy of Tachyon Publications
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Reprints 6 April 2012
By Denni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An eyecatching anthology. Arranged into three divisions (Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Noir Fantasy) each has an extensive introduction.

Starting with a disclaimer, I'm not a big fan of anthologies but a fan of a couple of these authors.
Secondly, almost none of the stories are original but reprints from earlier works. So fans may find they have already read these in previous books.
And finally, the books chosen (at least those I read) seem to lean towards the older sci-fi model (short and vague with ambiguous endings). Not to judge the writing style (not my personal favorite), fans of the that story type should enjoy this book.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Dark and Darker 19 Sept. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Good writing, of course, but most of the stories are much darker than I enjoy or even read by choice.

Reminds me of why I stopped subscribing to F&SF magazine.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
fun anthology 16 Aug. 2011
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Urban Fantasy Anthology is divided into three sections: Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance and Noir Fantasy. Each contains an introduction essay defining the section and several stories.

In his essay on Mythical Fiction, Charles De Lint defines the category as having mythological and supernatural beings in modern day society. His entry "Make a Joyful Noise" stars a shapeshifting Native American spirit helping a depressed ghost. "On the Road to Egypt" by Jeffrey Ford has Jesus, smoking a camel, and a companion traveler stopping at MacDonald's for a burger and shake.

Paula Guran defines Paranormal Romance as key characters possessing special powers; females typically kick butt. Suzy McKee Charnas' "Boobs," stars a teenage girl dealing with the changes of her body due to being a werewolf in puberty. "Farewell, My Zombie" by Francesca Lia Black's protagonist opens with that Attitude when she asks what to call a female investigator if a male is called a private dick. Two lovers, one recently reanimated, star In "She's My Witch" by Norman Partridge.

In defining Noir Fiction, Joe R, Lansdale states not to categorize tales as a "club", but instead makes the case that the Noir is the link not the fantasy/paranormal background. His short contribution "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks" stars a bounty hunter working with the reanimated dead.

The essays are interesting attempts to define three subcategories, but come across more like a Venn diagram. The collection includes nineteen reprints and one new tale ("Talking Back to the Moon" by Steven R. Boyett). The anthology is fun to read with no clinkers, but few are excellent; as Ms. Guran says novels are the prime method of Paranormal Romance.

Harriet Klausner
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