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emberling

Urban Fantasy?

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Admit it. You like the idea of a world much like ours where magic is real and danger stalks the night in the form of monsters and witches, at least one type of which is invariably "just misunderstood" and actually quite nice once you get to know them.

Problem is, I've been having trouble finding anything in this copious subgenre that doesn't fit somewhere between "mediocre and forgettable" to "horrendously bad". Nightwatch is the only exception that comes to mind. There's also a couple excellent vampire books, Agyar and Fevre Dream, but they aren't really the kind of tone I'm thinking about. There's also the excellent Vampire: the Masquerade: Bloodlines video game. But considering I can't browse the B&N SFF section without tripping over at least three leather-clad heroines a shelf, I'd think there would be more of this stuff that actually turned out readable.

So if I'm in the mood for some Underworld style action or whatever, how can I sate the urge while inflicting myself with the least badness possible?

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Hm. I've been getting a kick out of Liz Williams' Detective Inspector Chen/Singapore Six novels. Here's a link to a blurb about the first one, Snake Agent: [url="http://www.amazon.com/Snake-Agent-Detective-Inspector-Novels/dp/1597800430"]http://www.amazon.com/Snake-Agent-Detectiv...s/dp/1597800430[/url]

I'm not sure it's exactly what you are looking for, since it's more of a planes-of-existence crossover threat than actual single-world creatures. I also wonder how well-represented this futuristic Singapore is, and the Chinese beliefs and traditions that are supposedly represented in the books. Regardless, I enjoy them as pretty light adventure stories, so you might take a look at them and see what you think.

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Somebody else is going to pimp this soon, but I just read Charlie Huston's [b]Already Dead[/b] and found it shockingly good (and original in some ways).

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I don't know if it really matches what you want, but what about Douglas Adams' [i]Dirk Gently[/i] books and Gaiman/Pratchett [i]Good Omens[/i]? Both have real world with fantasy background.

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There certainly is a lot of this stuff around. But any of it which is any good? Damn, that's tough. You could, of course, read some of the books written that are set in the World of Darkness...
But that could be a painful experience. A few are ok, I'm sure, but there's a lot of dross in there as well.

I guess this is a genre which, like romance, doesn't attract quality as much as quantity? People will read anything without regard to whether it's good or bad.
That raises an interesting question. Are there any good romance novels? Or only bad ones? Or are good romance novels just called 'fiction'? Discuss ;)

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kk,

I have to admit I'm a fan of "the Dresden Files" books by Jim Butcher. They are Detective Fiction/Fantasy but they are fun. Butcher is doing a good job of building a modern fantasy built out of old myths.

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[quote]I guess this is a genre which, like romance, doesn't attract quality as much as quantity? People will read anything without regard to whether it's good or bad.
That raises an interesting question. Are there any good romance novels? Or only bad ones? Or are good romance novels just called 'fiction'? Discuss[/quote]

I hesitate to say "good" (it's such a general and subjective term) but The Outlander Series gripped me and had me reading like a fiend, especially for the first three books--Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. They aren't genre romances, but they are definitely books centered around a love relationship and how it develops. I really enjoyed the first three in the series. Got stuck on book #4...

This isn't urban fantasy at all though. I have never found any urban fantasy that I actually enjoyed.

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I suppose [i]Neverwhere[/i], by Neil Gaiman, is sort of urban fantasy. But not as much with the vampires and such things as with faeries.

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[quote name='Ser Scot A Ellison' post='1659500' date='Jan 23 2009, 15.35']kk,

I have to admit I'm a fan of "the Dresden Files" books by Jim Butcher. They are Detective Fiction/Fantasy but they are fun. Butcher is doing a good job of building a modern fantasy built out of old myths.[/quote]


Why the apologeticness? Butcher is brilliant. The first three books are merely fun, but from four onwards, I'd put him up there with the best current fantasy writers, and the long-term planning of the series is so far proving unparrallelled in writers I know of, Erikson and Martin included. Ten books so far and nary a hitch. You could accuse him of being a bit formulaic, but it's a formula that works bloody well.

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pg,

I said is sheepishly because they are a bit fluffy (with blood thrown on the fluff.) I have to wonder if he has an end point in mind for the series? I am looking forward to [i]Turn Coat[/i]. It'll be nice to see Morgan dependent on Dresden for assistence.

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I have heard that he does indeed have a plan for the overarching plot that's been developing. From what I've read over at Jim's forums the idea is to have 20 books in the series top it off with an 'apocalyptic trilogy'. Even with out confirmation I've got to admire the fact that Jim manages to, as early as the first book (IIRC he wrote the first two or three before getting published) begin dropping hints that there's more going on than regular out of the ordinary, and there's a reason that all this crap keeps happening to in Chicago.

Just the fact that he's banging out a good quality Dresden Files book every year(aprox. 350 - 500 pages paperback), and is writing another series (haven't had a chance to read any of these yet), plus the occasional Dresden Files novelette is reason enough for me to keep reading. You don't need a huge "there is something big going on here, please have some patience the pay off is worth it" sign if you can keep the books that regularly, and have them be nice self-contained page turners to boot.

-Poobs

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My favorites include:

Charlie Huston's [u]Already Dead[/u] (and the three other books that are out, with the final book to come out at the end of this year).

Toby Barlow's [u]Sharp Teeth[/u] - three werewolf packs converge in LA, and it gets messy.

Richard Matheson's [u]I am Legend[/u] pure brilliance. Don't think you know the story if you've seen the abortion of a movie.

I think most of Neil Gaiman's books fall in the urban fantasy genre. Some of Tim Powers, Graham Joyce, and Christopher Priest's book do as well, and they are all top notch authors.

MLN Hanover's [u]Unclean Spirits[/u] fits the chicks in tight leather kicking ass category and it's pretty good.

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It depends if you can have the stomach for reading about supernatural relationship problems. I can, but think the whole concept is slightly stupid, but whatever.

1) Charlaine Harris has a nice vampire in real land [i]exposed[/i] series, that doesn't feel a total waste of words. Ok there is a little to much oh, all the men want to get in my pants, and such, but i can only remember two sex scenes on the whole series. I actually think its getting better.

2) Carrie Vaughn has the kitty series about a weregirl, that doesn't buy into the packs are cool stupidity. Also getting betterish.

3) Jim Butcher. The guy is finally moving the plot on apparently.

///NO RELATIONSHIP AWKWARDNESS:

4) Charlie Huston. The Caught Stealing books are better but bah.

5) John Burdett has a urban series that has a little supernatural. Ok its about prostitutes, bite me.

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Forgot to add [u]Devil's Cape[/u] by Rob Rogers. It's superheroes/villains not supernatural, but definitely urban and definitely fantasy. I absolutely loved this book.

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So how come no-one has mentioned Twilight yet? :leaving:
:lol:

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I'll agree with the Joe Pitt and Dresden books. Also really liked Sharp Teeth.

One series I haven't heard much about on the net is the Felix Castor books by Mike Carey.
Book one is [i]The Devil You Know[/i] and book two is Vicious Circle. I really enjoyed both.

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[quote name='Ser Scot A Ellison' post='1659640' date='Jan 23 2009, 16.54']pg,

I said is sheepishly because they are a bit fluffy (with blood thrown on the fluff.) I have to wonder if he has an end point in mind for the series? I am looking forward to [i]Turn Coat[/i]. It'll be nice to see Morgan dependent on Dresden for assistence.[/quote]


Fair enough. Myself, I hold no truck with the notion that a story must either be serious or have a Theme to be taken seriously as a book (unless it's a straight comedy or satirical, of course). Dresden is light hearted, but for me it's well written, well structured and with engaging and interesting characters, which are the three things which, in my opinion, define the quality of a story...

On the end point, I've heard the same as Poobah - 20 books of 'Files' and an apocalyptic trilogy to cap it off - which I have to say, the prospect of which has me salivating. Butcher's building his plot slowly, but it does seem like it's building to something enormous. That's what most impresses me about him, I think - when you reread them, the amount of subtly placed elements for later plots is pretty notable. Nothing just shows up to save the day with no previous.


Should second Petec on the Castor books too. The third one is also a lot of fun (Dead Men's Boots). I'd failed to register the apparent presence of the fourth and will pick it up soon enough.

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omg, my post was eated!!! :(


1. Kim Harrison <---my favorite.
2. Jim Butcher (his fantasy series is quite good too)
3. Lilith Saintcrow <---dark, very dark
4. Patricia Briggs <---not bad
5. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black
6. Emma Bull <--- damn talented.
7. The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford <----a classic
8. Cast in Shadow (Chronicles of Elantra, Book 1) <----v. talented author
9. Laura Anne Gilman <---damn nifty!
10. (2) Carrie Vaughn has the kitty series about a weregirl, that doesn't buy into the packs are cool stupidity. Also getting betterish.) Seconded!!


NO READ
1. LA Banks
2. Hated Outlanders
3. Rachel Caine


I know more, but I can't think of them offhand. I uhhh, read too much vamp pron. :leaving:

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I have a Jim Butcher thread as I recall i'm going to bump it again when the new book comes out.

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