The Qwillery | category: UF


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

A Little Research on Sex in PNR and UF - Poll

I'm conducting some completely unscientific research into sex in Paranormal Romance (PNR) and Urban Fantasy (UF).  I started reading romance back in the 70s. I've seen the number of sex scenes increase from zero to more than zero over the years. Sex might have been implied, but it was never set out in the books I read back then. Things have changed. I don't recall sex in fantasy either. Or maybe I just read fantasies that had no sex in them.

I'd really like to know what you think. All answers are anonymous of course and you can pick more than one answer. I've tried to keep the questions as neutral as possible.

The poll is open for 2 weeks, after which I will share the results and open a discussion.

Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance? Giveaway

I've been thinking about Paranormal Romance (PNR) vis-a-vis Urban Fantasy (UF) lately. I like both subgenres though I lean a bit toward Urban Fantasy. Maybe this is because I cut my teeth on H.P. Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov, William Tenn, Thomas Burnett Swann, tales of King Arthur, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I did not read much romance at all. So I came to PNR via the PN part. Please note that the simple distinctions that I draw are mine. Others have and will continue to define PNR and UF differently than I do.

For the most part I read Paranormal Romance because of the paranormal elements not because of the Happily Ever After (HEA). The endings are not really meant to surprise. I know that there is going to be an HEA. It's how the main characters get there that can make PNR interesting and enjoyable. It's the romance that's important in PNR. The trials and tribulations of the couple-to-be is what drives the story.

In Urban Fantasy events and the world in which the characters exist, rather than romance, drive the story. There can be romance and relationships, but the building to an HEA is not the point of the story. In general UFs tend to be more gritty than PNRs. If you want to strictly define "Urban" Fantasy it should be set in an urban landscape, of course.

This is not to say that there has not been a lot of blurring of the imaginary lines between PNR and UF. Some paranormal romances are very close to urban fantasies and vice versa.

What: Either The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 or Mean Streets. Winner's choice.

Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance? Giveaway

This exciting follow-up to the successful Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance contains more than twenty stories to take you to another time and place. Including the best names in the field, this collection is filled with mythical beasts, magical creatures of all shapes and sizes, handsome ghosts, angels, and mortals with extra-sensory perception that play out their extraordinary desires.

Please note that this book will be published on Oct. 12, 2010.

Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance? Giveaway
An anthology of "solid and suspenseful" novellas from

#1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher

New York Times bestselling author Simon R. Green

National bestselling authors Kat Richardson Thomas E. Sniegoski

Here are four novellas featuring Harry Dresden, John Taylor, Harper Blaine, and Remy Chandler...paranormal private investigators who walk the streets no one else can walk and take the jobs no one else will take...

Of course, if a case involves werewolves, zombies, demons, or other "unusual" circumstances, it may cost a bit extra.

How: Leave a comment telling The Qwillery if you prefer PNR or UF? Have you read any books that you would classify as both? How do your definitions differ than mine? Can someone tell my why so many UF heroines appear on their book covers bare-midriffed and tattooed?

You can receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

When: The giveaway is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Monday, October 6, 2010 so have your comment in by then.

What is "Urban Fantasy" to you?

Before I get started, I want to mention that I am really looking forward to the debut novel by Jaye Wells titled Red-Headed Stepchild. The buzz about this book is exceptional. There is a contest over at Amberkatze’s Book Blog. So head over there and enter and you may win a copy. Red-Headed Stepchild has a March 31, 2009 release date.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog (which is 2 days late):

The blogosphere is replete with discussions about Urban Fantasy, well the part of the blogosphere I seem to read regularly. It seems that the definition of “Urban Fantasy” is murky. Let’s parse this if we can –

Fantasy – Fiction characterized by highly fanciful or supernatural elements.*

Urban – Of, relating to, or located in a city.*

That gives us a very rough approximation of Urban Fantasy (UF) – a fictional work with highly fanciful or supernatural elements in which the locale is a city. It's not a horrible definition but it is lacking. It reminds me of the saying – all generalizations are false including this one.

I think my view of and the way I would like to define UF is influenced by the way I came to UF. I generally don’t like Fantasy, especially Epic Fantasy. I’ve read and enjoyed series by Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz and others. None of those books have remained in my personal library. I do love Thomas Burnett Swann’s books. I perhaps should not admit this, but I’ve never been able to read The Lord of the Rings. I didn’t even make it all the way through The Hobbit.

I much preferred to read H.P. Lovecraft, Machen, and Hodgson to reading fantasy as I was growing up. Later I found Elaine Bergstrom’s Austra Vampire series, Poppy Z. Brite, and Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series among others. I’m also a huge fan of dystopias (Animal Farm, The Overman Culture, R.U.R., We, Brave New World, etc.).

I came to Urban Fantasy because of the paranormal element. And I came to it from horror. I’m not going to argue, tempting as it might be, that it is more closely aligned with horror than fantasy although I reserve the right to do so at a later date. It is called Urban Fantasy. I also perceive a dystopian element lurking in some of the stories. Things are simply not as good as they seem.

Is there such a thing as Urban Farror (Urban Fantasy Horror)? There are some scary things in many of these novels. I'd certainly like to have Urban Farror as a subgenre.

So how do we define UF?

Does it have to be set in modern times or simply in a real place that exists or has existed?
Does it have to take place in a city?
Does it have to have a kick ass heroine?
Can it have some semblance of an HEA or is the HEA strictly forbidden?
Do we exclude or include novels that are primarily mysteries?
How many subgenres of UF presently exist?

I have many more questions about the definition of UF than I have answers, obviously.

So what defines UF? I just don’t know because it’s a genre that has existed for quite a while, seems to include many subgenres, and is still evolving. I think I’ll borrow a line from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it" ... or at least I think I do.

Qwill’s Qwestions: What defines UF for you? What’s your favorite UF book or series and why do you like it?

*From the American Heritage Dictionary. It's the dictionary that I prefer because it has awesome etymologies.

Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance? Giveaway

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