Thursday, December 2, 2010

Guys Writing Urban Fantasy (& Win Mario Acevedo's Werewolf Smackdown!)

So, here's the list of urban fantasies being released in December. As always, you can read full descriptions at my Fiction Affliction columns at Tor.com. I'm a huge urban fantasy fan, and there are some really good ones coming up. Looking forward to new ones from Diana Pharaoh Francis and Nancy Holzner, and a couple of new-to-me authors whose books look really interesting.

As usual, not many guys represented on the list. And why is that? I was going to blog about why there aren't more men writing urban fantasy, but I honestly don't have the answer. You tell me! Every time I come up with a theory (massive success of kickass-heroines, for example), I come up with an exception (Jim Butcher). I mean, Neil Gaiman's sort of out there on his own planet (in a good way), and Charles de Lint could arguably called the godfather of UF. But, let's face it, this is a woman-dominated genre.

So I threw it out on Twitter and my Tweeps had a couple of ideas:
--Guys might be more interested in writing the epic heroes of more traditional fantasy;
--Romance has seeped into the urban fantasy genre as a whole, and publishers are expecting romantic elements now--which guys don't want to write; feeding into this is more women read it, so women are writing for women, and so it goes.

Huge exceptions! So let's hear it for some of the boys--and this is by no means an inclusive list, so share some more with me: Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green (new Darkside out next month!), Mark Henry, Marcus Pelegrimas, Scott Westerfeld, Alex Bledsoe, MLK Hanover, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Golden...who else?

Why, Mario Acevedo, of course! His Felix Gomez, undead P.I., series is great. It's so warped I can't even tell you how much I love it. So today, in the Holiday Happening giveaways, I have a new copy of Mario Acevedo's Werewolf Smackdown. You know the drill: comment to enter (tell me your favorite male urban fantasy writer), +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, +1 for tweet or retweet.

Oh, and here's the list of December new releases (in order of release)!
Dragons Deal, by Robert Asprin & Jody Lynn Nye The late Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye up the ante in the tale of dragons in the Big Easy, which Nye completed after Asprin’s 2008 death.
If Walls Could Talk, by Juliet Blackwell First in a new cozy paranormal mystery series about a woman who owns a construction company specializing in historic home renovation—and ghosts.
Goddess of Legend, by P.C. Cast A world-weary photojournalist caught in  Camelot, chases Lancelot, seduced by Arthur. Oops.
Right Hand Magic: A Novel of Golgotham, by Nancy A. Collins  Like most Manhattanites, aspiring artist Tate can’t resist a good rental deal—even if it’s in the New York's paranormal underworld.
Demon Underground, by S.L. Wright Second in a new series about a half-human, half-demon bartender in New York City. First was Confessions of a Demon.
Yarn, by Jon Armstrong Fashionpunk! Tane Cedar is the master tailor who journeys through the shadowy underworld to untangle the deadly mysteries and machinations of deceit.
Killing Rocks, by D.D. Barant In this second Bloodhound Files outing, FBI profiler Jace Valchek is after series killer Aristotle Stoker with a sorcerer known as Asher.
Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty online 419 scam habit—and a talent for finding lost things. Set in a speculative Johannesburg.
Crimson Wind, by Diana Pharaoh Francis  Max and Alexander set out to save her family in a wild quest full of unexpected revelations in this new Horngate Witches outing.
Hellforged, by Nancy Holzner A demon is stalking Vicky’s dreams-just as several of Deadtown’s zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. Second in a new series, following Deadtown. UF
Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls, by Victoria Laurie M.J. Holliday and the crew of her cable TV show, Ghoul Getters, venture to the haunted ruins of Dunlow Castle in Ireland.
Arcane Circle, by Linda Robertson The fourth book of the Persephone Almedi series finds Persephone dealing with the aftermath of facing down the forces of Fairy.
Soul Hunt, by Margaret Ronald The Red Sox fanatic and supernatural tracker known as “Hound” for her power of scent, Genevieve finds her magic fading as she discovers she owes a very large debt to someone or some thing.

17 comments:

  1. I love that title so much, Werewolf Smackdown, and since I don't really have a favorite guy fantasy writer (I'm slowly learning to accept the genre. slowly), I'm going to suck up and say old Mario is my new favorite, just because I love that title.

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  2. My favorite male urban fantasy author is Jim Butcher. I also like Kelly McCullough but his books aren't really UF. They are magic meets mythology meets computers.

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  3. I'm only beginning to read urban fantasy, and so far it has only been women writers that I've read, so I can't really comment on any male writers. I would like to see more female writers tackle scifi though!
    (P.S. No need to enter me into contest.)

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  4. My fave is probably Jim Butcher, but I also love Mario and Mark.
    Comment, blog follower, twitter follower & retweeted...

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  5. Hi, Suzanne, don't forget J.F. Lewis, Mike Cark, and Mark Del Franco. And what about Christopher Moore? There's also John Levitt.

    Of course, Mario has the most awesome book trailers!

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  6. Hi Marta--How did I forget Christopher Moore! Ack. Those are some good additions. Also, I love the old bloods by Sean Stewart (Galveston, especially), even though he isn't writing UF anymore.

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  7. The "Epic" fantasies pretty nearly always fall into what Joseph Campbell called the "monomyth": the quest archetype of departure, initiation and return. Tolkien's great innovation was that his quest was not to gain the magic item, but to lose it. That is why LotR is specifically a story of Christian symbolism. The challenge is to remain pure, a challenge humans can't win because of Original Sin, but possible through grace.

    But the quest really is only one of many mythical structures, and perhaps Urban Fantasy is a home for such stories. If "Beauty and the Beast" were published today, it would most likely be UF, even if it is not strictly speaking urban. It has much in common with romance novels because it's a retelling of Cupid and Psyche.

    I haven't been privileged to read all of Royal Street, but I see at least two mythic themes in the parts I've read, possibly three. The first is coming of age. DJ is stepping into a more responsible role, and chafes at the supervision of the Elders (!). So I expect that she will win recognition of her responsible status by the end of the story. The second mythic theme is that of the wounded king. In that myth the land is poisoned by a wound to the king or father figure. In this case the wound is to DJ's mentor Gerry's reputation, which coincides with the chaos of Katrina. It would be unthinkable for the story world to be set right without restoring Gerry's reputation. The possible third would be Hippomenes and Atalanta who like Alex and DJ are rivals with romantic undercurrents.

    Romance of course is its own myth (see Plato's Symposium), and possibly UF gives workers of that myth a new outlet for their efforts. But why specifically fantasy? Why magic? Because in fantasy the word is made flesh. *Who* you are is very much a function of what you are: vampire, werewolf or human. In contemporary times class, race, ethnicity or even religion aren't acceptable ways of defining someone. Montague vs. Capulet won't cut it anymore. We'd *expect* Romeo and Juliet to tell their families to go stuff it. But vampire and human? That's a significant gulf to cross.

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  8. At the risk of appearing immodest, I'd mention that there's this Justin Gustainis guy, whose books some folks seem to enjoy.

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  9. Justin, yikes, I should have remembered, especially after you did those great interviews with me at Vampire Wire!

    http://vampirewire.blogspot.com/2009/01/vampire-chat-with-justin-gustainis-evil.html

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  10. Justin! *Hangs head in shame* PLEASE add Justin Gustainis to that list, folks!

    @Matt...I'm always amazed how much you remember from that early draft of Royal Street! Two of your mythic themes definitely play out...one, I'm afraid, not so much. How's that for a tease?

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  11. Jim Butcher does it for me. And I've been meaning to read Magic Street by Orson Scott Card.

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  12. My favourite male UF authors are Jim Butcher and Mike Carey.

    +1 Blog follower
    +1 Twitter follower: (@Sparima)

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  13. Jim Butcher.
    +1 for following blog

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  14. Harry Connolly is another excellent urban fantasy guy. The second book in his "Twenty Palaces" series came out a few weeks ago, and I just started it today. Great stuff.

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  15. Ack--I should be beaten for leaving out Mike Shevdon (read Sixty-One Nails and Road to Bedlam). They're awesome, and I'm not just saying that because Mike was kind enough to read some early chapters of my first book :-)

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  16. Suzanne -- you write like you expect people to find your work forgettable. Of course I remember Royal Street very well, because it was huge cut above the rest of the dreary critique slush pile.

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  17. Mary Henry is a killer UF writer

    +1 comment,
    +1 blog follow-Lisa Richards
    +1 twitter follow @alterlisa
    +1 tweet or retweet -http://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/12739786179616768
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    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com

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