The sun’s come out and you may have something better to do than burble around with me on this one. It was a very interesting Twitter with Amy Boggs @notjustanyboggs about UF. We may have been exchanging meta-level parries on the subject of Unpacking Felines, a growing problem in space-saving households relying on vacuum packing stuff to put under the bed but I think it was about Urban Fantasy as a genre. I’m sure Amy won’t mind if I repeat her scrumptious one-liner.
Genre is genderless.
That sums up anything I was thinking of saying about UF and gender bias. I certainly hope so, but anyway, the one-liner always rules.
Moving onto how stretchy UF is, it seems to have all the benefits of other ambiguous, shelf-shifting genres. It is genre reflecting faithfully where it comes from. UF with major cred from ultimate genre writers like China Miéville’s The City and The City pitches up and authors who live mainly in LitFic, Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, take second homes. Some authors lived there before it had a name; I have a personal theory that the best writer of urban fantasy EVER was Muriel Spark. These houses are recognisably smarter, they have more dosh spent on them than the rest of the neighbourhood but basically, UF, like parts of south London, is open to interpretation.
Hokusai created The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. He also drew manga, rambling excursions into his visual imagination like the hairy-finned mermaid and even-hairier fish. UF offers the same freedom, over 100 years’ later, to write what you want to write. So far, UF isn’t worth enforcing planning regs over.