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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Guest Post: Rachel of Parajunkee's View

Full Name: Rachel Rivera
Birthday: March 30th
Location: New Orleans
Blog URL:
Blog Content: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy & Science Fiction reviews

I have been trying to write a book since I was five, but I can’t focus. I probably would have been diagnosed with ADD or something if my parents would have put me through therapy, or if I would have gone to public school. I just get distracted with other projects. I write half of a book and then another idea pops in my head and I have to start researching that idea and begin writing it. The books that I have floating around in my head include, but are not limited to: A lonely half-elf that has to find her missing father. A kick-butt ex-military chick whom lands herself in the world of the paranormal out of sheer dumb luck. And a 1/8th human shifter that lives on one of the remaining human reservations.

The Fine Subtleties of Urban Fantasy and other SciFi and Fantasy Sub-Genres as Told by a Paranormal Junkee

Never one to pay attention to genres or labels I first heard the term Urban Fantasy only about ten years ago when I first began to read Laurell K. Hamilton's “Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” novels. Before than I had been primarily engrossed in science fiction and fantasy novels. LKH’s novels are such a presence though, that you can’t help but get drawn into the community and thus my discovery of the sub-genres of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Vamp Lit… and since then I’ve been devouring it book by book.

What is Urban Fantasy? Is a question that is asked to me a lot. The wikidef is: Urban fantasy is a subset of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many Urban fantasies are set in contemporary times or contain supernatural elements. However, this is not the primary definition of Urban fantasy.

I’m not too impressed with that definition when pertaining to the subgenre. Urban Fantasy is a fantasy based narrative, but not necessarily based in an urban setting, more to the point it is set in a modern or futuristic setting. Urban Fantasy has as its main theme fantastical creatures, such as vampires, werewolves, faeries, etc. An Urban Fantasy novel usually focuses on the world of the supernatural creatures, and series books seem to be a trend within the genre.

Recommended Urban Fantasy Starter: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures.

Paranormal Romance is another sub-genre that popped up. It is actually a sub-genre of the Romance genre. Paranormal Romance’s main theme is the romance, usually between paranormal creatures, or a paranormal creature and a human. Many romance novelist fluctuate in and out of the sub-genre.

Recommended Paranormal Romance Starter: Adult: Jeaniene Frost’s Halfway to the Grave. YA: Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy

Dystopian fiction. Not necessarily a sub-genre, it has actually been labeled as an actual genre, but I think it could be a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction. Utopian is the creation of an ideal world. Dystopian is the opposite, the creation of a nightmare world. Dystopian fiction is considered the next big thing, now that series such as The Hunger Games and Uglies have garnered a lot of attention. A sub-genre of Dystopian is Ecotopian, which is the genre that takes a dystopian or utopian fiction and revolves it around environmental perfection or destruction.

Recommended Dystopian Fiction Starter: Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games

These are the main sub-genres that have popped up in the paranormal world, but every day I come upon a book that is labeled in some new sub-genre that I haven’t heard about.

Dark Fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy, launched by Anne Rice is probably a precursor of Urban Fantasy. Dark Fantasy is horror based in the supernatural.

Vampire Lit, quite obvious what this one is about, anything and all things vampire.

Steampunk, the sub-genre of fantasy and speculative fiction that centers around steam power. It is usually set in the 19th century, usually Victorian. Yet, while historical it portrays science fiction and fantasy elements.

Cyberpunk is a science fiction sub-genre, which came about in the early 80s.

Urban Gothic is a sub-genre of Gothic fiction and horror. Usually it focuses on post-industrial urban society. A big type of Urban Gothic is Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. 20th century interpretations of this sub-genre have led to Southern Gothic and Suburban Gothic sub-genres.

Thus concludes your sub-genre lessons for today. There will be a quiz at the end of the week!

Thanks for reading. Please leave a message for Rachel.
I am also running contest that Parajunkee will design. Sign up here.


Natasha (Wicked Lil Pixie) said...

Nice to see Rachel interviewed and I'm with you on the Wiki UF, I just don't think you can say it's a fantasy set in an urban setting. Pfft.

Jessilyn said...

Very glad to see an interview with Rachel Loved it ;)

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

great interview and and nice to finally meet rachy

ParaJunkee said...

Thanks so much for having me hun!

Simcha said...

Great post Rachel! I'm ready to be tested :)

PeaceLove&Pat said...

Rachel, my head hurts from labeling my library after reading this. LOL.

I'd love to read the new dystopian The Line and is Maze Runner as awesome as everyone is saying?

Steampunk is my newly found favorite. After reading Soulless, I got other books on that line of genre.

Thanks to everyone who (and about to) drop by and said hi to Rachel.

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Great topics! And great answers, Rachel. Those sounds like they woud have made awesome books (lol), and I love urban fantasy = huge thanks for such a great definition! :)

Book Monster said...

Nice Interview :) Love Parajunkee blog

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Great interview! We are major Parajunkee fans. Lots of great information. So many genres!

Patti said...

Great post - I'm always confused by the different genres, they seem to shift and merge continually. I liked your recommendations too.

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