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The Urban Fantasy Anthology

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Star-studded and comprehensive, this imaginative anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one roof. Previously difficult for readers to discover in its new modes, urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Whether they feature tattooed demon-hunters, angst-r Star-studded and comprehensive, this imaginative anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one roof. Previously difficult for readers to discover in its new modes, urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Whether they feature tattooed demon-hunters, angst-ridden vampires, supernatural gumshoes, or pixelated pixies, these authors—including Patricia Briggs, Neil Gaiman, and Charles de Lint—mash-up traditional fare with pop culture, creating iconic characters, conflicted moralities, and complex settings. The result is starkly original fiction that has broad-based appeal and is immensely entertaining. Contents Introduction by Peter S. Beagle Mythic Fiction Introduction: “A Personal Journey Into Mythic Fiction” by Charles de Lint “A Bird That Whistles” by Emma Bull “Make a Joyful Noise” by Charles de Lint “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories” by Neil Gaiman “On the Road to New Egypt” by Jeffrey Ford “Julie’s Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle Paranormal Romance Introduction: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Urban Fantasy” by Paula Guran “Companions to the Moon” by Charles de Lint “A Haunted House of Her Own” by Kelley Armstrong “She’s My Witch” by Norman Partridge “Kitty’s Zombie New Year” by Carrie Vaughn “Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs “Hit” by Bruce McAllister “Boobs” by Suzy McKee Charnas “Farewell, My Zombie” by Francesca Lia Block Noir Fantasy Introduction: “We Are Not a Club, but We Sometimes Share a Room” by Joe R. Lansdale “The White Man” by Thomas M. Disch “Gestella” by Susan Palwick “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black “Talking Back to the Moon” by Steven R. Boyett “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert With Dead Folks” by Joe R. Lansdale “The Bible Repairman” by Tim Powers “Father Dear” by Al Sarrantonio


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Star-studded and comprehensive, this imaginative anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one roof. Previously difficult for readers to discover in its new modes, urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Whether they feature tattooed demon-hunters, angst-r Star-studded and comprehensive, this imaginative anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one roof. Previously difficult for readers to discover in its new modes, urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Whether they feature tattooed demon-hunters, angst-ridden vampires, supernatural gumshoes, or pixelated pixies, these authors—including Patricia Briggs, Neil Gaiman, and Charles de Lint—mash-up traditional fare with pop culture, creating iconic characters, conflicted moralities, and complex settings. The result is starkly original fiction that has broad-based appeal and is immensely entertaining. Contents Introduction by Peter S. Beagle Mythic Fiction Introduction: “A Personal Journey Into Mythic Fiction” by Charles de Lint “A Bird That Whistles” by Emma Bull “Make a Joyful Noise” by Charles de Lint “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories” by Neil Gaiman “On the Road to New Egypt” by Jeffrey Ford “Julie’s Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle Paranormal Romance Introduction: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Urban Fantasy” by Paula Guran “Companions to the Moon” by Charles de Lint “A Haunted House of Her Own” by Kelley Armstrong “She’s My Witch” by Norman Partridge “Kitty’s Zombie New Year” by Carrie Vaughn “Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs “Hit” by Bruce McAllister “Boobs” by Suzy McKee Charnas “Farewell, My Zombie” by Francesca Lia Block Noir Fantasy Introduction: “We Are Not a Club, but We Sometimes Share a Room” by Joe R. Lansdale “The White Man” by Thomas M. Disch “Gestella” by Susan Palwick “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black “Talking Back to the Moon” by Steven R. Boyett “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert With Dead Folks” by Joe R. Lansdale “The Bible Repairman” by Tim Powers “Father Dear” by Al Sarrantonio

30 review for The Urban Fantasy Anthology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    An interesting collection of short fiction. For those who think that urban fantasy consists only of paranormal romance, this volume will surprise you. The Mythic fiction and Noir Fantasy sections may be just what you’ve been wanting. At least one of the stories reminded me strongly in atmosphere of Stephen King’s novel The Stand. I was particularly enamoured of the Patricia Briggs story, Seeing Eye, which fills in some backstory in the Alpha & Omega series, namely the story of the blind wi An interesting collection of short fiction. For those who think that urban fantasy consists only of paranormal romance, this volume will surprise you. The Mythic fiction and Noir Fantasy sections may be just what you’ve been wanting. At least one of the stories reminded me strongly in atmosphere of Stephen King’s novel The Stand. I was particularly enamoured of the Patricia Briggs story, Seeing Eye, which fills in some backstory in the Alpha & Omega series, namely the story of the blind witch Moira and her werewolf companion. The volume was a worthwhile read for me with just this one story. I also found Susan Palwick’s “Gestella” to be a haunting story, well worth the read. A nice selection of stories to read “in the cracks” between other books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    All Things Urban Fantasy

    This is my first experience with this type of broad, category driven anthology, and I find myself as enamored with the physical organization of the book as I was with it’s contents. Opening with Charles de Lint’s exploration of Urban Fantasy and it’s more precise sub-categories, the book itself is divided into “Mythic Fiction”, “Paranormal Romance”, and “Noir Fantasy”. Each section begins with an essay that explores the origins and characterizations of this genre so much of us enjoy, and while t This is my first experience with this type of broad, category driven anthology, and I find myself as enamored with the physical organization of the book as I was with it’s contents. Opening with Charles de Lint’s exploration of Urban Fantasy and it’s more precise sub-categories, the book itself is divided into “Mythic Fiction”, “Paranormal Romance”, and “Noir Fantasy”. Each section begins with an essay that explores the origins and characterizations of this genre so much of us enjoy, and while the stories in each section don’t actually match the content from de Lint, Guran, or Lansdale’s essays, they do have an interesting relationship to one another that makes this anthology as thought provoking as it was enjoyable. De Lint’s essay opens the Mythic Fiction section and sets the stage for stories with a mood of wonder and uncertainty. The magical threads in this section dip and weave underneath reality and bring to life the myths of older worlds, gods and unicorns and Fae. My favorite stories of the mythic fantasy section were Neil Gaiman’s The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories and Peter S. Beagle’s Julie’s Unicorn. Gaiman mixes the gilt of Hollywood with the everyday magic of reverence in a way that creates a quiet pool of the extraordinary that I know I will return to. Julie’s Unicorn explores the real world consequences of magic, but without letting camp overcome a sense of infinite possibilities. My least favorite story in this section, Jeffrey Ford’s On the Road to New Egypt, reminded me of FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS with magic in place of either as the drug of choice. Chaotic and arbitrary, if this story was reaching for greater significant or religious meaning, it missed the target with me. While the stories in Mythic Fiction completely fit my concept of that sub-genre, the Paranormal Romance selections seem out of sync with their heading. Rather than the highly sexual, magic driven Happily-Ever-Afters that I associate with this sub-genre (and that Guran references in her essay), the Paranormal Romance section of this anthology serves only as a bridge between the wonder of Mythic Fiction to the less upfront portrayals of common paranormal creatures in the Noir Fantasy section. For the purpose of this anthology, “Paranormal Romance” means stories where both readers and characters recognize the magic they’re dealing with: vampires and zombies, ghosts and werewolves. There is little more than references to sex and other than Patricia Brigg’s Seeing Eye and Bruce McAllister’s Hit, none of these stories have anything close to a romantic happily ever after. However, once I adjusted my expectations, I found some things to enjoy. This was my second experience with Seeing Eye , previously published in STRANGE BREW, and it was my stand out favorite for the section. Briggs is adept at setting her characters into place quickly, without ever resorting to caricature, and I can never finish one of her short stories without hungering for more. I also enjoyed Suzy McKee Charnas’s Boobs for her new take on an empowered adolescent heroine and the werewolf mythology, and Norman Partridge’s She’s My Witch, which brought a crazy Bonnie and Clyde vibe to the paranormal table, with a tone that manages to engage, concern, and creep out, all at once. Francesca Lia Block’s Farewell, My Zombie seemed out of place for this section, more in line with the borderline realities and questions of the noir fantasy section, but despite this mismatch, the heroine was so bleak and compelling that the story left me shattered. As I mentioned above, the third and final section in this anthology, Noir Fantasy, takes the vampires and werewolves we urban fantasy fans are so familiar with and turns the mythologies on their head. Either through the addition of mundane details, as in Susan Palwick’s heartbreaking Gestella, or through a questionable narrator, as in Thomas M. Disch’s The White Man, the stories in this last section marry the tone of Mythic Fantasy with the headliner paranormal phenomenon established in Paranormal Romance. I adored Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, which managed to create both a stellar heroine and an interesting world in the short space allotted (and is one of the few stories in this anthology that was deep enough to introduce characters I would want to read more about), and found Tim Powers's world building and characterization in The Bible Repairman haunting and gritty. Joe R. Lansdale’s own On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks didn’t contain a single woman who wasn’t a prostitute, a zombie prostitute or a cultist, and reaffirmed why few post-apocalyptic stories ever get any reaction out of me other than rage and/or a personal intention to bury myself in a bunker should society ever collapse. My reaction is meant more as a affirmation of my preference for pleasant, escapist reading material than any indictment of Lansdale’s well entertaining, if utterly bleak, story. Upon finishing all three Urban Fantasy sub-genres, I realized that despite essays that discuss the commercially prevalent brand of Urban Fantasy that is fueled by “kickassitude” and happy endings, THE URBAN FANTASY ANTHOLOGY is composed of an older and darker strain of selections than I would have expected from the title. The stories I’ve mentioned above are only a few of the offerings, but overall, this book’s tone brings home the sense that magic doesn’t guarantee happiness (and sometimes can’t even save your life), but it is always, and inevitably, fascinating to poor humans and preternatural creatures alike. Unerringly provoking (both in a good and bad sense), while I sometimes found myself wishing for something different, I never could have asked for anything more out of these stories. This is one book I will be sure to keep on my shelf so I can revisit these varied moods and conundrums in the future, but while the essayists themselves point out that these stories aren’t meant to capture all aspects of the Urban Fantasy genre, it feels Beagle and Lansdale only focused on the bleaker side. Sexual Content: No explicit sex scenes, but references to sex, rape, and incest are made.

  3. 5 out of 5

    CatBookMom

    This clunker in the Introduction has me wondering about this anthology, in the section about 'paranormal romance': "Around the time you have cheerful werewolf heroines running radio call-in shows - as in Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series - something has definitely changed." I rather thought that role was held by Kitty Norville, in the series from Carrie Vaughn. 4/1/17 - couldn't get into any story. Abandoned. The Patricia Briggs story was one I'd read before.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A Bird the Whistles - It did a good job creating the setting, but its just an overall storyline that is so. overdone. What a Joyful Noise. A mess. Got as far as the third page and just gave up. Its a short story. If you can't catch me early, then why would I waste my time? The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories - Excellent. Then again, it's you know, Gaimen, who could probably jot something on a cocktail napkin and have it come out amazing and win an award. The Road to New Egypt - Wonderful black h A Bird the Whistles - It did a good job creating the setting, but its just an overall storyline that is so. overdone. What a Joyful Noise. A mess. Got as far as the third page and just gave up. Its a short story. If you can't catch me early, then why would I waste my time? The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories - Excellent. Then again, it's you know, Gaimen, who could probably jot something on a cocktail napkin and have it come out amazing and win an award. The Road to New Egypt - Wonderful black humor about the Devil and Jesus hitch hiking in the same car. Julie's Unicorn - a fantastic twist on a missing person piece. Sort of. Companions to the Moon - no idea. Lost me at the second page. A Haunted House of her Own - I have to admit, this story pleased me far more then it did - it took a rather overdone concept and flipped it quite nicely. She's my witch - Er, not bad, but I felt like half the story was missing. Kittys Zombie New Year - dark and grim, even for Kitty, and even for a zombie story. nicely done. Seeing Eye - I spent awhile looking to see if this was published elsewhere. It was (Strange Brew). Well, thats just annoying. Hit - mob killer hired by an angel to take out a vampire who is interested in becoming a mortal. That is a plot line you don't see everyday. Boobs - jesus, this had potential and after three pages i gave up. It just sound like bad sleaze. Farewell, my zombie. Fine story, but just terribly sad. The white man. Mildly disturbing. Ok story and writing. Nothing great. Gestella - eh. gave up. Coldest Girl in Coldtown - very great take on what could have been a pretty boring vampire story. Talking Back to the Moon and On the Far Side of the... - eh. Both awful and unable to read all the way through. The Bible Repairman and Father Dear - both pretty good. All told, I am glad that I didn't pay for this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This is one of those books that is easy to revisit. The best part of this anthology is the introduction that appears at the beginning of each section and fully explains the sub genre in the Urban Fantasy area. This anthology fully covers the most popular authors of the day. I made notes next to my favorite stories. Mythic Fiction Introduction: "A Personal Journey into Mythic Fiction" by Charles de Lint Emma Bull, "A Bird That Whistles" Creepy, very creepy but told with This is one of those books that is easy to revisit. The best part of this anthology is the introduction that appears at the beginning of each section and fully explains the sub genre in the Urban Fantasy area. This anthology fully covers the most popular authors of the day. I made notes next to my favorite stories. Mythic Fiction Introduction: "A Personal Journey into Mythic Fiction" by Charles de Lint Emma Bull, "A Bird That Whistles" Creepy, very creepy but told with love! Charles de Lint, "Make a Joyful Noise" Neil Gaiman, "The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories" This is the first story I turned to and I wasn't disappointed in the whimsical and slightly off beat ghost story. Jeffrey Ford, "On the Road to New Egypt" Peter S. Beagle, "Julie’s Unicorn" - I admit I am a sucker for unicorns, who doesn't love a good unicorn story? Paranormal Romance Introduction: "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Urban Fantasy" by Paula Guran Charles de Lint, "Companions to the Moon" Kelley Armstrong, "A Haunted House of Her Own" Norman Partridge, "She’s My Witch" Carrie Vaughn, "Kitty’s Zombie New Year" As always, Carrie does a unique spin on Zombies complete with Kitty trying to fix what ails the Zombie. Patricia Briggs, "Seeing Eye" Bruce McAllister, "Hit" Suzy McKee Charnas, "Boobs" - Francesca Lia Block, "Farewell, My Zombie" Noir Fantasy Introduction: "We Are Not a Club, but We Sometimes Share a Room" by Joe R. Lansdale Thomas M. Disch, "The White Man" Susan Palwick, "Gestella" Holly Black, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" Steven R. Boyett, "Talking Back to the Moon" Joe R. Lansdale, "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks" Tim Powers, "The Bible Repairman" Al Sarrantonio, "Father Dear"

  6. 5 out of 5

    Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides

    A solid anthology. Not all the stories were previously unpublished. The introductions to the urban fantasy and paranormal romance sections were interesting. (I'm not as much of a horror fan, but Susan Palwick's short story "Gestella" was about as chilling as gender-based horror can be without involving rape. Still possibly triggering for people who have been emotionally abused, though.) For War for the Oaks fans, the Emma Bull story features Willy Silver. I also particularly enjoyed the short stories A solid anthology. Not all the stories were previously unpublished. The introductions to the urban fantasy and paranormal romance sections were interesting. (I'm not as much of a horror fan, but Susan Palwick's short story "Gestella" was about as chilling as gender-based horror can be without involving rape. Still possibly triggering for people who have been emotionally abused, though.) For War for the Oaks fans, the Emma Bull story features Willy Silver. I also particularly enjoyed the short stories by Neil Gaiman and Holly Black.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Craig Childs

    This is an uneven anthology, with five really good stories, two or three that are just ok, and a bunch of disappointing ones that failed to resonate with me at all. My favorites were "The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories", "Boobs", "Gestella", "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown", and "On the Far Side of Cadillac Desert with Dead Folk". Here are my individual story reviews: "Introduction" by Peter S. Beagle Peter S. Beagle defines urban fantasy as inclusive of three related but di This is an uneven anthology, with five really good stories, two or three that are just ok, and a bunch of disappointing ones that failed to resonate with me at all. My favorites were "The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories", "Boobs", "Gestella", "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown", and "On the Far Side of Cadillac Desert with Dead Folk". Here are my individual story reviews: "Introduction" by Peter S. Beagle Peter S. Beagle defines urban fantasy as inclusive of three related but distinct types of fiction--mythic fiction, paranormal romance, and noir fantasy. This definition has obvious shortcomings--and I am not sure even Beagle believes in it. He admits that, really, it can include any fantasy other than pastoral worlds of the type made famous in Lord of the Rings. He concludes by labeling the entire genre as "raw, consciously commercial" and differentiates it from serious literature that may borrow fantasy ideas. This categorization fails to mark any line of distinction between urban fantasy and horror, even though both genres can use many of the same elements--vampires, werewolves, demons, and zombies. It has no category for fictional worlds based on comic book tropes like George R.R. Martin's Wild Card series or the type of books James Maxey writes. It also excludes magical realism on the subjective basis those works are serious as opposed to commercial. So, Kij Johnson's The Fox Woman is probably in (even though it takes place in a rural Japanese village) but John Updike's Witches of Eastwick is likely out. MYTHIC FICTION "My Personal Journey into Mythic Fiction" -- Charles De Lint opens this section with a brief introduction why he prefers his own fiction to be labeled "mythic" instead of "urban." He talks about the power of myth. He lauds slower paced, character-driven works that tap into primeval folklore to explore culture and personality. He differentiates this from adventure novels that just use creatures of myth as window dressing. (In this latter category, he specifically mentions Charlaine Harris, who writes the popular Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries.) “A Bird That Whistles” by Emma Bull -- A teenage musician in 1970 pines over a beautiful waitress, protests the Vietnam War, and befriends a banjo player who turns out to be one of the daoine sidhe--an Irish fairy. Unfortunately, the author does not make much use of the fairy folk in this lackluster snoozer. “Make a Joyful Noise” by Charles de Lint -- in this novella two ancient deities, the Crow Sisters, help the ghost of a young boy find closure so he can move on to the afterlife. Well written, but the ending was a tad maudlin. This story was originally published in a standalone hardback edition. It fits into the author's Newford series. As far as I can tell, de Lint has created his own extensive mythological system that is loosely based on Native American religions. “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories” by Neil Gaiman -- An author travels to Los Angeles to adapt his novel into a movie. As he suffers through the insanity of this process, he still finds traces of magic remaining from Hollywood of yesteryear, idealized in an old man's memories. This is a superb modern fantasy that is funny and satirical, but also reflective and moving. One of Gaiman's better short stories. “On the Road to New Egypt” by Jeffrey Ford -- A driver picks up Jesus and the Devil hitchhiking on the side of the road. They smoke pot, play pranks, and then have a short battle against a creature of the underworld. It was hard to make much sense out of this story beyond its need to mock Christianity. “Julie’s Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle -- In this whimsical and overly cutesy story, Joe Farrell and his new girlfriend accidentally free a kitten-sized unicorn from a fifteenth century tapestry in a museum. It is an immortal being of magic, not always content to act as a pet, on a mission to find its lost friend from centuries past. Joe Farrell is a recurring character who previously appeared in the novel The Folk of the Air and the story "Lila and the Werewolf". Apparently, his girlfriends are always getting him into magical predicaments. (Hopefully, the others were more exciting than this one.) PARANORMAL ROMANCE Introduction: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Urban Fantasy” by Paula Guran -- This subgenre began as a true offshoot of romance novels. They were written primarily from the perspective of female characters. The romantic relationship was always the heart of the story even if it had trappings of fantasy, time travel, robots, or other speculative elements. Now, the genre has evolved primarily into action-adventure tales featuring heroines who display strong "kickassery" skills against dark creatures of myth -- ala Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “Companions to the Moon” by Charles de Lint - A free spirited woman follows her boyfriend, whom she suspects of cheating, but discovers he is instead a prince of the fairy folk. This story is interesting but feels like only the start of something longer. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger--the boyfriend is gone, leaving an angry doppelganger behind in his place--and the central conflict does not feel resolved. “A Haunted House of Her Own” by Kelley Armstrong - A realtor buys a bed and breakfast believed to be haunted, which she thinks will help business. This story succeeds in evoking a creepy atmosphere, but ghost stories are difficult to resolve in satisfying fashion. This one goes for a double-twist ending that seems to betray everything we knew about the core relationships in the story. “She’s My Witch” by Norman Partridge -- A murdered boy is brought back to the life by the girl who had a crush on him in high school. “Kitty’s Zombie New Year” by Carrie Vaughn -- A New Years Eve party is crashed by a slave zombie still bound to her ex-boyfriend. This story is slight, not nearly as good as Carrie Vaughn's work in the Wild Cards universe. It fits into her Kitty Norville series. “Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs-- A werewolf cop enlists the help of a blind witch to rescue his brother from a coven. Takes place in the same world as the author's Mercy Thompson series. “Hit” by Bruce McAllister-- A hit man is hired by an angel to kill the world's oldest vampire in exchange for forgiveness of his sins. Fun and snarky, but the ending falls flat. “Boobs” by Suzy McKee Charnas -- A girl who is going through a particularly embarrassing stretch of puberty discovers that not all her monthly cycles are, strictly speaking, human. She also discovers primal, dark urges too strong to ignore. A great story, won the 1990 Hugo Award. “Farewell, My Zombie” by Francesca Lia Block-- A woman who lost her son in a zombie attack opens a private investigator agency to help others with similar paranormal problems. This story turns on an unreliable narrator twist that feels rushed and unexplained. NOIR FANTASY “We Are Not a Club, but We Sometimes Share a Room” by Joe R. Lansdale -- Labels do not matter as much as the stories themselves, but JRL offers this working definition of noir fantasy: “The fiction has the stink of the urban about it… either because they take place in the city, or display the weaknesses of humanity in large numbers and close quarters”. He demonstrates how this relatively new commercial subgenre owes its roots to both crime fiction from the likes of Dashiel Hammett, James M. Cain, and Raymond Chandler, as well as the horror and fantasy tales of Fritz Leiber, Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson. “The White Man” by Thomas M. Disch --Tawana is the teenage daughter of Somalian refugees living in a rundown section of Minneapolis where public services for the poor are disappearing. She is befriended by a preacher who tells her strange stories of vampire outbreaks in Africa. She becomes convinced vampires are living next to her, which leads to personal tragedy. This story seems to be trying to say something about poverty and racism and immigration, but it loses its plot somewhere along the path. I am still trying to figure out if the vampires were the school teachers, the WHO health workers, or the priests. “Gestella” by Susan Palwick--Stella is a werewolf trying live a normal existence but she ages seven years to every human year, which strains her friendships and marriage. This is the most inventive take on lycanthropy I have ever read and it made for a complex metaphor for love and aging. One of the best stories in this anthology. “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black -- Sixteen year old Matilda is bitten by a vampire at a party. She is infected but has not turned Cold yet. She is trying to stay drunk for eighty-seven days to avoid the ravenous hunger long enough for the virus to leave her system, but the task becomes more difficult when one of her friends decides to sneak into Coldtown with hopes of becoming an immortal herself. This is a fun story that hints at a wider mythology. I like the fact the teenage characters all make rash, impulsive, wildly destructive decisions. The author eventually turned this into a successful YA novel for older teens. “Talking Back to the Moon” by Steven R. Boyett -- A werewolf and her centaur companion wander through a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles fighting wild scavengers and trying to find food. This story is dull and plodding; I do not know where the characters are going or why. The fight scene is tedious, the landscape full of dystopian clichés. It appears to be set in the same world as Boyett’s novels Ariel and Elegy Beach. “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert With Dead Folks” by Joe R. Lansdale -- Lansdale was writing dark brutal zombie stories 25 years before Walking Dead and World War Z made them part of the American cultural zeitgeist again. This novella begins with a bad hombre trying to sexually exploit a naked, muzzled 12-year old zombie in a bar… from there, it gets really stark and offensive… great stuff! Won a Bram Stoker Award (1989) and a British Fantasy Award (1990). “The Bible Repairman” by Tim Powers -- Torrez is a murderer with a broken soul, which makes him valuable to psychics because his blood can be used to quiet the voices of the spiritual realm. He has parlayed this into a lucrative business ransoming the ghosts of children, but every time he donates blood his physical and mental abilities become diminished. For a short story, only 12 pages, the author weaves together a surprisingly complex magic system based in part on Catholic doctrine. I am surprised there have not been any further stories in this universe because it seems expansive enough for a whole novel. “Father Dear” by Al Sarrantonio -- Alfred has grown up hating his father who never let me go outside and burdened him with a series of bizarre, oppressive rituals. On the night of his father's death, however, he may learn about his secret origins and the consequences of ignoring the rules. I would consider this more of a traditional monster story than a noir fantasy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Harris

    A rather interesting anthology exploring the evolving and growing sub-genre of “urban fantasy,” this collection of short stories demonstrates the diverse, nearly undefinable points where the fantasy, horror, romance, and and even mystery genres overlap and boil into one another. The stories included in “The Urban Fantasy Anthology” contain flavors of all of these segments of genre fiction and more, making for a very unique blend of elements, which are themselves organized into three broad topics A rather interesting anthology exploring the evolving and growing sub-genre of “urban fantasy,” this collection of short stories demonstrates the diverse, nearly undefinable points where the fantasy, horror, romance, and and even mystery genres overlap and boil into one another. The stories included in “The Urban Fantasy Anthology” contain flavors of all of these segments of genre fiction and more, making for a very unique blend of elements, which are themselves organized into three broad topics; the early brand of urban fantasy which draws on traditional fantasy tropes in a contemporary setting, “Mythic Fiction,” the newly hot relationship driven “Paranormal Romance,” and “Noir Fantasy,” a grittier take on the genre (of course, even these wide divisions can be difficult to make and several of the stories could have been comfortable in two or more of these broader segments, especially paranormal romance and noir). In particular, I enjoyed the introduction by Peter S. Beagle and the articles by Charles de Lint, Paula Guran, and Joe R. Lansdale ruminating on these categories and their various histories. As for the stories themselves, they were as usual with an anthology, a bit of a mixed bag, but I generally enjoyed most of them. Though many were reprints from other sources, I had not encountered any of them before, and felt that they represented a wide and representative slice of the hard to pin down sub-genre. My favorites, of course, included Emma Bull's “A Bird That Whistles,” (a prequel to her “War for the Oaks” novel) and Tim Powers' odd tale of ghosts and magic, “The Bible Repairman.” “The White Man,” by Thomas M. Disch, a dark and thought provoking tale set in a crumbling (and perhaps vampire haunted) Minneapolis, was one of the works most unsettling. Susan Palwick's “Gestella” was also an extremely well written and deeply tragic werewolf story, one that really affects the reader. In any case, this anthology offers a good variety of urban fantasy short stories in a variety of diverse styles and settings and should offer a good introduction to the sub-genre and a little something for anyone who might be interested in it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    Ok lets make something clear upfront I am a fan of sub-genre, and as a concept I am fine with the idea of urban fantasy. One of my favorite reads last year was King Maker by Maurice Broadus which was basically gangland version of King Arthur’s court set in modern Indianapolis. That is urban fantasy, and The Crow is another fine example. Alot of my favorite stories in this collection are ones that just seemed like horror, but I am biased I suppose since horror is one of my favorite genres. Ok lets make something clear upfront I am a fan of sub-genre, and as a concept I am fine with the idea of urban fantasy. One of my favorite reads last year was King Maker by Maurice Broadus which was basically gangland version of King Arthur’s court set in modern Indianapolis. That is urban fantasy, and The Crow is another fine example. Alot of my favorite stories in this collection are ones that just seemed like horror, but I am biased I suppose since horror is one of my favorite genres. This board and diverse anthology features three sections Mythic Fiction, Paranormal romance and Noir Fantasy. Each section comes with an introduction about the sub-genre of the sun-genre and honestly those essays were my favorite part of the read. The Mythic fiction essay was written by Charles De Lint, the Romance one by Paula Guran(long time editor, agent and Cemetery Dance columnist) and bestselling author Joe R. Lansdale. As for the stories I honestly felt my eyes rolling a lot and and many of the zombie love stories, zombie private eyes, vampire at rave yadda yada led to a lot of subconscious skipping around and less than memorable stories. My favorite stories were the bizarre surrealist tale “Bible Repairman” by Tim Powers, “Haunted house of my very Own.” By Kelly Armstrong and the classic by Joe R. Lansdale’s "On the far side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks,” Which I read when it was released in Skipp and Spector’s classic zombie anthology “The Book of the Dead.” I was too young to understand the story the first time I read so it was awesome to relive it. The reality about my favorite stories were they seemed like horror tales and not urban Fantasy, but what do I know. I do think regardless of my opinion as a reader and a critic this book SHOULD be in every library collection. This is a growing new sub-genre and I think this book is an important look at how and why it exists.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Love the editors, plus shorts and articles by de Lint, Bull, Gaiman, Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong... how can this book go wrong? A Personal Journey into Mythic Fiction • essay by Charles de Lint A Bird That Whistles by Emma Bull Make a Joyful Noise by Charles de Lint The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories by Neil Gaiman On the Road to New Egypt by Jeffrey Ford Julie's Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to U Love the editors, plus shorts and articles by de Lint, Bull, Gaiman, Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong... how can this book go wrong? A Personal Journey into Mythic Fiction • essay by Charles de Lint A Bird That Whistles by Emma Bull Make a Joyful Noise by Charles de Lint The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories by Neil Gaiman On the Road to New Egypt by Jeffrey Ford Julie's Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Urban Fantasy • essay by Paula Guran Companions to the Moon by Charles de Lint from Realms of Fantasy and its own e-chapbook read 4/29/2015 A Haunted House of Her Own • (2009) • shortfiction by Kelley Armstrong She's My Witch • (1995) • shortstory by Norman Partridge Kitty's Zombie New Year • [Kitty Short Fiction] • (2007) • shortstory by Carrie Vaughn Seeing Eye • [Mercy Thompson Universe] • (2009) • novelette by Patricia Briggs Hit • (2008) • shortstory by Bruce McAllister Boobs • (1989) • shortstory by Suzy McKee Charnas Farewell, My Zombie • (2009) • shortfiction by Francesca Lia Block We Are Not a Club, but We Sometimes Share a Room • essay by Joe R. Lansdale The White Man • (2004) • novelette by Thomas M. Disch Gestella • (2001) • novelette by Susan Palwick The Coldest Girl in Coldtown • [The Coldest Girl in Coldtown] • (2009) • novelette by Holly Black Talking Back to the Moon • shortfiction by Steven R. Boyett On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks • (1989) • novelette by Joe R. Lansdale The Bible Repairman • (2006) • shortstory by Tim Powers Father Dear • (1983) • shortstory by Al Sarrantonio

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This collection of short stories is broken into three sub-genres of urban fantasy: mythic fiction, paranormal romance, and noir fantasy. Before each of these sections is an essay detailing why short stories and novels would be broken into these categories and which authors contributed to the forming of the sub-genre. These essays are not very exciting (I would have left them out of the book in favor of a more succinct description of the stories that would follow) and all that I took away from th This collection of short stories is broken into three sub-genres of urban fantasy: mythic fiction, paranormal romance, and noir fantasy. Before each of these sections is an essay detailing why short stories and novels would be broken into these categories and which authors contributed to the forming of the sub-genre. These essays are not very exciting (I would have left them out of the book in favor of a more succinct description of the stories that would follow) and all that I took away from them were novels that the authors of the essays thought I should read. The Paranormal Romance section was my favorite and the Noir Fantasy was my least favorite. I wish that Holly Black's 'The Coldest Girl In Coldtown' wasn't included in this anthology because I have already read it twice in the past two months (in different short story collections) so I ended up skipping over it this time. My favoritenstories were 'A Haunted House Of Her Own' by Kelley Armstrong, 'Seeing Eye' by Patricia Briggs, 'Gestella' by Susan Palwick, 'Make A Joyful Noise' by Charles de Lint, and 'Julie's Unicorn' by Peter S. Beagle. I also liked the world created in 'The Bible Repairman' by Tim Powers, but I liked the world more than the story. All in all, a decent anthology with a lot of authors I've never read before.

  12. 4 out of 5

    M.L.D.

    Eh. I found the story selection for this anthology to be puzzling and frustrating. When I see Urban Fantasy on the cover, that is what I expect to read on the pages. I liked the breakdown of Urban Fantasy types: Mythic Fiction (Charles de Lint style stories); Paranormal Romance; and Noir. Made sense to me. And then I read the stories...the editors, who must have come up with their categories of UF, didn't follow through. I don't expect to read literary horror in either Paranormal Romance or Noir Eh. I found the story selection for this anthology to be puzzling and frustrating. When I see Urban Fantasy on the cover, that is what I expect to read on the pages. I liked the breakdown of Urban Fantasy types: Mythic Fiction (Charles de Lint style stories); Paranormal Romance; and Noir. Made sense to me. And then I read the stories...the editors, who must have come up with their categories of UF, didn't follow through. I don't expect to read literary horror in either Paranormal Romance or Noir. I don't expect any rural settings in an *urban* story. In fact, I *don't* want those things. The Noir section in particular falls flat. Mostly horror here. Expecting stories along the lines of bleak crime fiction in gritty, urban settings, I got literary stuff. Holly Black's story, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" saves the section. I found "Father Dear" to be the most annoying story of the bunch, since it poses many questions, and answers none of them. Oh, and of course, is predominantly set in the country. Phooey. There are better Urban Fantasy anthologies out there. Naked City, edited by Ellen Datlow, springs to mind. Go read that instead.

  13. 4 out of 5

    L (Sniffly Kitty)

    I didn't realize until I read this anthology how many kinda of stories fall under the umbrella of urban fantasy, and I really enjoyed the essays at the beginning of each section which introduced the 3 broad categories. A note to the reader, some of these stories are disturbing and not just in a violent way. There were definitely stories I really liked (The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories, Julie's Unicorn, Hit, and A Haunted House of Her Own). They hit (no pun intended) just the right notes of fa I didn't realize until I read this anthology how many kinda of stories fall under the umbrella of urban fantasy, and I really enjoyed the essays at the beginning of each section which introduced the 3 broad categories. A note to the reader, some of these stories are disturbing and not just in a violent way. There were definitely stories I really liked (The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories, Julie's Unicorn, Hit, and A Haunted House of Her Own). They hit (no pun intended) just the right notes of fantastic and good storytelling. There were several that were just plain weird especially in the noir section (although that was to be expected), and I'm not sure I understood what was going on. All in all, it was definitely an interesting sampler of stories, and I have some authors that I want to check out novels for. As an overview of what you might encounter in Urban Fantasy, this definitely achieved that although I didn't enjoy every story within. Originally posted at Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    [Review from Library Journal, September 1, 2011] With this impressive collection, Beagle, best known for The Last Unicorn, and Lansdale, author of the cult classic novella Bubba Ho-Tep, demonstrate their knowledge of the urban fantasy genre. Included here are pieces from well-known contributors in three categories: mythic fiction, paranormal romance, and noir fiction. The authors run the gamut from YA magical realist Francesca Lia Block (Weetzie Bat) to Charles de Lint, the creator of [Review from Library Journal, September 1, 2011] With this impressive collection, Beagle, best known for The Last Unicorn, and Lansdale, author of the cult classic novella Bubba Ho-Tep, demonstrate their knowledge of the urban fantasy genre. Included here are pieces from well-known contributors in three categories: mythic fiction, paranormal romance, and noir fiction. The authors run the gamut from YA magical realist Francesca Lia Block (Weetzie Bat) to Charles de Lint, the creator of the expansive Newford series, who also contributes the introduction to the mythic fiction section. Most of these stories have appeared in both multiauthor anthologies and personal collections (Neil Gaiman's "The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories," for instance, was first printed in David Copperfield's Beyond Imagination and then in Gaiman's own Smoke and Mirrors). Others are previously unpublished and well worth a read. VERDICT While urban fantasy is often misconstrued as containing only paranormal romance, this anthology collects various examples of the genre that will delight and entertain a wide array of readers. Buy at least one copy. — Stacey Rottiers Comfort, Dexter District Lib., MI

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    A very interesting walk through the history of Urban Fantasy, though definitely the darker, more mythical side of the genre. I have mixed feelings about this anthology, if only because of that story choice. The essays included address everything from Charles de Lint's mythic fiction to paranormal romance, but there was very little by way of a happy ending in sight. Despite the discussion, this anthology still makes the racier and kick ass side of the genre the ugly step-sister, definitive triump A very interesting walk through the history of Urban Fantasy, though definitely the darker, more mythical side of the genre. I have mixed feelings about this anthology, if only because of that story choice. The essays included address everything from Charles de Lint's mythic fiction to paranormal romance, but there was very little by way of a happy ending in sight. Despite the discussion, this anthology still makes the racier and kick ass side of the genre the ugly step-sister, definitive triumph or sex are not invited. Still four stars, the stories included are wonderful, and there's a few that I wouldn't have encountered otherwise. Urban Fantasy fans just shouldn't expect to see short stories that look too much like their favorite books, Patricia Briggs and Carrie Vaughn's short stories excepted. Full review at All Things Urban Fantasy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    JoyfulK

    I found this book disappointing. For example, the "paranormal romsance" section didn't contain much romance. The editor who introduced the section defined romance well: "A story involving a romantic plot that ends with the assurance that the couple will be together." or something like that---I haven't looked up her exact wording. But only one of the so-called romance stories followed that model. Indeed, throughout the book, many of the stories ended badly for the main characters. There's not muc I found this book disappointing. For example, the "paranormal romsance" section didn't contain much romance. The editor who introduced the section defined romance well: "A story involving a romantic plot that ends with the assurance that the couple will be together." or something like that---I haven't looked up her exact wording. But only one of the so-called romance stories followed that model. Indeed, throughout the book, many of the stories ended badly for the main characters. There's not much hope here for dealing with adversity well. Also, some of the great authors in urban fantasy were lightly represented. De Lint, Beagle, Gaiman, & Bull, yes; Hoffman, Huff, & Windling, unfortunately missing. Although this book is billed as a representative collection of urban fantasy, I found it to be a poor selection.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    A Bird That Whistles Emma Bull 3 stars Make a Joyful Noise Charles de Lint 3 stars The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories Neil Gaiman 4 stars On the Road to New Egypt Jeffrey Ford 2 stars Julie's Unicorn 4 stars Companions to the Moon Charles de Lint 2 stars A Haunted House of Her Own Kelley Armstrong 5 stars She's My Witch Norman Partridge 3 stars Kitty's Zombie New Year Carrie Vaughn 5 stars Seeing Eye Patricia Briggs 5 stars Hit Bruce McAllister A Bird That Whistles Emma Bull 3 stars Make a Joyful Noise Charles de Lint 3 stars The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories Neil Gaiman 4 stars On the Road to New Egypt Jeffrey Ford 2 stars Julie's Unicorn 4 stars Companions to the Moon Charles de Lint 2 stars A Haunted House of Her Own Kelley Armstrong 5 stars She's My Witch Norman Partridge 3 stars Kitty's Zombie New Year Carrie Vaughn 5 stars Seeing Eye Patricia Briggs 5 stars Hit Bruce McAllister 3 stars Boobs Suzy McKee Charnas 3 stars Farewell, My Zombie 4 stars The White Man Thomas M. Disch 3 stars Gestella Susan Palwick 2 stars The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Holly Black 5 stars Talking Back to the Moon Steven R. Boyett 3 stars On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks Joe R. Lansdale 3 stars The Bible Repairman Tim Powers 2 stars Father Dear 2 stars

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was an interesting and varied collection of tales, although I am not so sure about the titles for subsections (Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Noir Fantasy) of the book. Even the essayists preceding each subsection seemed a bit uncertain what to call those contributions! Despite this, the essays do provide some nice history and suggested reading for their particular flavors of the urban fantasy genre. I think that Mythic Fiction most aptly matched description with contents, but the This was an interesting and varied collection of tales, although I am not so sure about the titles for subsections (Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Noir Fantasy) of the book. Even the essayists preceding each subsection seemed a bit uncertain what to call those contributions! Despite this, the essays do provide some nice history and suggested reading for their particular flavors of the urban fantasy genre. I think that Mythic Fiction most aptly matched description with contents, but the Paranormal Romance and Noir Fantasy stories were mixed. Some of the PNR stories were rather lacking in romance, and some of the Noir entries skewed heavily toward dark fantasy/horror. It might have been better to not categorize the tales beyond Urban Fantasy and to have put the essays in their own chapter.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a strong book. I enjoyed it immensely, more for the fact that I didn’t expect to enjoy it rather than the feeling that any of the stories were absolutely mind blowing or amazing. While I do feel that this anthology doesn’t show the current urban fantasy trends, it does show what urban fantasy could be (and is, if you search hard enough for the right books). This book isn’t what you’d expect it to be, and for someone as jaded with urban fantasy as I am, that’s the absolute highest complim This is a strong book. I enjoyed it immensely, more for the fact that I didn’t expect to enjoy it rather than the feeling that any of the stories were absolutely mind blowing or amazing. While I do feel that this anthology doesn’t show the current urban fantasy trends, it does show what urban fantasy could be (and is, if you search hard enough for the right books). This book isn’t what you’d expect it to be, and for someone as jaded with urban fantasy as I am, that’s the absolute highest compliment I could ever pay it. Read my full review here: http://bookwormblues.blogspot.com/201...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Albright

    I bought this because Peter Beagle, and was initially disappointed when I found out it has sections from ALL of the types of urban fantasy. IE, it includes a section on the kind of paranormal romance that I dislike -- I've always hated that they use the name "urban fantasy" for what they do because it makes finding the books I want so much harder. Imagine my surprise when I liked nearly all of the stories in the antho, including the paranormal romance. There's a lot of variety, some authors that I bought this because Peter Beagle, and was initially disappointed when I found out it has sections from ALL of the types of urban fantasy. IE, it includes a section on the kind of paranormal romance that I dislike -- I've always hated that they use the name "urban fantasy" for what they do because it makes finding the books I want so much harder. Imagine my surprise when I liked nearly all of the stories in the antho, including the paranormal romance. There's a lot of variety, some authors that I want to check out further, and some standout short stories. "Gestella" by Susan Palwick was amazing, and she is now on my must-read list.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pogue

    I know that there are people out there who do not like anthologys. I am not one of them. I see reading an anthology as a way to read authors that I other wise would not have read. I liked this one a lot. The stories were well laid out, the authors well chosen. The book had just two stories that I had read before and that was a suprise. Many times there are more than five short stories in an anthology that I have read before. What I liked about this book is that there are stories that fit almost I know that there are people out there who do not like anthologys. I am not one of them. I see reading an anthology as a way to read authors that I other wise would not have read. I liked this one a lot. The stories were well laid out, the authors well chosen. The book had just two stories that I had read before and that was a suprise. Many times there are more than five short stories in an anthology that I have read before. What I liked about this book is that there are stories that fit almost every genre mystery, romance, fun, and noir are just some of the type found in this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Most of the stories in this book were published elsewhere first, and were written as long ago as 1983. The book is separated into three parts for different subgenres, with interesting introductory essays. Despite the rationales offered by the essays, some of the stories were not what I have considered urban fantasy. Most are well written, with some gems. But I'd read several of them years ago, and others are from genres (horror-ish, for example) that I am not interested in. So reading it wasn't Most of the stories in this book were published elsewhere first, and were written as long ago as 1983. The book is separated into three parts for different subgenres, with interesting introductory essays. Despite the rationales offered by the essays, some of the stories were not what I have considered urban fantasy. Most are well written, with some gems. But I'd read several of them years ago, and others are from genres (horror-ish, for example) that I am not interested in. So reading it wasn't as enjoyable experience as I'd hoped.

  23. 5 out of 5

    willaful

    I enjoyed most of what I read of this book, but thought it very funny that a book with an entire section for paranormal romance, including a freakin' essay, got it completely wrong. One out of the eight stories ("Seeing Eye" by Patricia Briggs) was paranormal romance. The rest strongly leaned towards horror. Another minor nitpick: Beagle mixes up Carrie Vaughn and Laurell K. Hamilton in his intro. Perhaps not so minor for Vaughn.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    I had planned to read only the stories by Kelley Armstrong, Carrie Vaughn, and Patricia Briggs, so this review is based only on those. While I enjoyed these little shorts, they have been published in other works. I wish that they had been brand new ones.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Margo Collins

    from http://margobondcollins.com/2013/08/2... In The Urban Fantasy Anthology, Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. Lansdale have created a much-needed collection of urban fantasy suitable for classroom instructors, academics, and interested laypersons alike. As Beagle notes in his introduction, "urban fantasy has become so vibrant, and has evolved so rapidly, that it has emerged as a distinct marketing category." This book brings together a variety of important stories in the field from both grand masters of fiction and comparative newc from http://margobondcollins.com/2013/08/2... In The Urban Fantasy Anthology, Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. Lansdale have created a much-needed collection of urban fantasy suitable for classroom instructors, academics, and interested laypersons alike. As Beagle notes in his introduction, "urban fantasy has become so vibrant, and has evolved so rapidly, that it has emerged as a distinct marketing category." This book brings together a variety of important stories in the field from both grand masters of fiction and comparative newcomers, creating an important text for anyone interested in urban fantasy. Perhaps more importantly, however, the anthology creates a collection that leaves the impression of a genre (and series of sub-genres) still developing. Beagle and Lansdale have chosen to divide the collection into three categories: Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Noir Fantasy. The sections are introduced by Charles de Lint, Paula Guran, and Joe R. Lansdale, respectively. However, the section introductions illustrate the difficulties inherent in defining a genre, particularly one as new as urban fantasy. Indeed, beyond the basic element of the fantastic in a modern setting, the various section editors themselves show little consensus about what constitutes an "urban fantasy" story. In the introduction, Beagle claims that "I still think that urban fantasy’s most important distinction is that it isn’t The Lord of the Rings" (9). Each section editor’s introduction provides his or her ideas about the concept of “urban fantasy,” deepening and enriching the conversation surrounding the genre and its various sub-genres—a move that will, I suspect, more firmly entrench the various categories, despite everyone’s apparent reluctance to do just that. Charles de Lint entitles his section introduction “A Personal Journey into Mythic Fiction”—and given the fact that de Lint’s novel The Jack of Kinrowan: A Novel of Urban Faerie inspired the term “urban fantasy” (much as his fiction participated in inspiring the genre itself), the development of the genre and de Lint’s development as an author might well be synonymous. However, de Lint writes that he “found the terms ‘urban fantasy’ and ‘contemporary fantasy’ unsatisfactory . . . partly because not all the works we were looking at were urban, or set in the present day” (18). His use of the term “mythic fiction,” then, arises out of the fact that, as he notes, the difference between other urban fantasy books and what he calls mythic fiction is that “the magical/mythic/folkloric elements of these books is colour and shade, rather than the substance of the story. The new urban fantasy story remains rooted in the genres from which it sprang. Its magic is more often matter-of-fact—bricks and mortar—rather than something that leaves the reader with a sense of wonder.” Mythic fiction, he implies, should create that wonder missing in other kinds of urban fantasy. Included in the first section are two stories by de Lint himself, as well as one each by Emma Bull, Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey Ford, and Peter Beagle. These are certainly not stories of the matter-of-fact or brick and mortar, but their forays into the mythic vary widely. Gaiman’s otherwise apparently prosaic tale of a novelist-turned-screenwriter invokes the magic of the silver screen in the era of silent film as well as that of Victorian stage magicians, while Beagle’s story of a medieval tapestry unicorn set free in the modern world by a sympathetic museum-goer reads more like the works included in the “Paranormal Romance” section. All of the stories, however, deal with worlds of myth and legend, from a road-tripping Jesus and Satan in Ford’s “On the Road to New Egypt,” to an elf who plays music in a coffee shop in de Lint’s “Make a Joyful Noise,” to a Native American shape-shifting crow in Bull’s “The Bird that Whistles.” Like the other section editors, Guran is uncomfortable with the term “urban fantasy”—but unlike de Lint and Lansdale, she also takes exception to the term “paranormal romance,” noting that many of the works categorized as paranormal romance are as likely to trace their origins to other genres. As she points out, Charlain Harris’s initial Southern Vampire Mysteries novel (the basis for the HBO series True Blood) “won an Anthony Award as Best Paperback Mystery of 2001” (139, emphasis Guran’s). For Guran, the central shared characteristic of fiction in this category is “an intersection of ‘the other’—the magical, the strange, the weird, the wondrous, the dark that illumines, the revelation of the hidden—with the mundane, the world we know” (145). The anthology includes in this section stories by de Lint, Kelley Armstrong, Norman Partridge, Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs, Bruce McAllister, Suzy McKee Charnas, and Francesca Lia Block. In many ways, Guran is right—Block’s story of a grieving-mother-turned-zombie-hunter-P.I. (“Farewell, My Zombie”) and Vaughn’s tale of a party-crashing zombie created by a controlling boyfriend (“Kitty’s Zombie New Year”) seem more mystery than romance. Similarly, Charnas’ “Boobs”—the story of an adolescent girl becoming a werewolf—ends more in horror than romance (though not entirely in either), as does Armstrong’s “A Haunted House of Her Own.” Indeed, of all of the excellent offerings in this section, only McAllister’s “Seeing Eye” seems to conclude with the potential for love that seems the hallmark of commercial fiction romance novels. Although none of the authors of the introductions are entirely at ease with the term “urban fantasy,” Lansdale is the most outspoken: “It’s not my purpose here to round up these stories and brand them. They can be tagged to some degree, but they are not confined by the tag” (275). Lansdale also notes that “this section of stories owes less to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more to noir and writers who tripped the dark fantastic with gleeful enthusiasm” (276) such as Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, and Flannery O’Connor (among others). The Noir Fantasy section includes two stories by Lansdale and one each by Thomas Disch, Susan Palwick, Holly Black, Tim Powers, and Al Sarrantonio. Steven R. Boyett’s short story “Talking Back to the Moon,” also included in this section, is the only previously unpublished work in the collection. Only in this portion of the anthology do the selections seem to fully live up to their section name: these stories are dark. Disch’s “The White Man” is chilling in its depiction of a young Malawi girl encouraged to hunt vampires in Minnesota, and in Palwick’s “Gestella,” the reader follows a domesticated werewolf wife as she spirals down to her inevitable horrific end. Black’s “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” dispels any romantic notions about vampirism, while “Talking Back to the Moon” offers a bleak post-apocalyptic world, even for werewolves and centaurs. “The Bible Repairman” and “Father Dear” both feature parents making dreadful sacrifices for their children. The anthology has a few weaknesses, perhaps unsurprisingly for a collection attempting, in part, to both stabilize and expand conceptions about a relatively new genre. Guran’s section introduction, for example, relies fairly heavily upon comments in Landsdale’s section introduction, though Guran’s precedes Lansdale’s—but this is really only a problem for a reader reading the anthology in strict order, and I suspect that most casual readers will pick and choose among the stories available. More problematically, Beagle’s introduction attributes “cheerful werewolf heroines running radio call-in shows” to Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series (10)—a mistake that perhaps indicates an only passing familiarity with the “Paranormal Romance” version of urban fantasy, as the werewolf in question is actually from Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series. Ultimately, though, The Urban Fantasy Anthology offers a much-needed collection of what Beagle calls “raw, consciously commercial fiction, feeding an unquenchable hunger for walks on the wild side, blending and shaking up familiar themes until they are transformed into something new and meaningful” (11)—an affordable collection that brings together some of the best stories to be found in urban fantasy, accompanied by an accessible critical framework. Despite its minor flaws, it’s an absorbing collection—so much so that I read it in a single sitting—and the consistently well chosen stories overcome the taxonomical tensions among the various section introductions. Margo Bond Collins * Originally published in Monsters and the Monstrous. 2.1 (2012): 96-8. (http://monstersjournal.net/)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shanshad Whelan

    So, I finished this finally. I have to say I wound up disappointed. The subheadings make no real sense, and Beagle's intro is a rather odd in that I can't feel for sure whether he's completely approving of this genre specific anthology. Looking it over, I think all of these stories have been published elsewhere first, which also makes the anthology a little off--since the writings were not tailored to this, they are pretty wide ranging. But I do think that's the editor's intent. They've purposel So, I finished this finally. I have to say I wound up disappointed. The subheadings make no real sense, and Beagle's intro is a rather odd in that I can't feel for sure whether he's completely approving of this genre specific anthology. Looking it over, I think all of these stories have been published elsewhere first, which also makes the anthology a little off--since the writings were not tailored to this, they are pretty wide ranging. But I do think that's the editor's intent. They've purposely stayed away from the kind of urban fantasy that tends to be commonly on the shelves these days. The first section, Mythic Fiction, contains a sub-intro by de Lint, which only makes sense. Having any kind of urban fantasy anthology and discussing mythic fiction invariably should inspire thoughts of de Lint. Following the intro are five short stories deemed appropriate for the "mythic" section. A Bird that Whistles by Emma Bull--It's rare I've seen a short story by this author lately. This one's not bad and certainly fits the description. Not my favorite from the anthology though. Make a Joyful Noise by Charles de Lint--a perfect little offering from the master of this particular subgenre. I think it captures nicely the flavor that the section was going for and was very entertaining reading. The Goldfish Pond and Other Stories by Neil Gaiman--a strange entry that is both vivid and powerful in it's writing . . . but tough to label as urban fantasy exactly. Like so many of Gaiman's works, this one straddles a few genres, but didn't quite capture my love of fantasy. On the Road to New Egypt by Jeffrey Ford--only discovered this author recently and he is certainly bizarre. This particular story is definitely out there. Julie's Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle--A curious offering, and one I really like that manages to be charming and disturbing but altogether satisfying. The Second Section is labelled "Paranormal Romance". Introduction by Paula Guran. I am dubious about the label Paranormal Romance here, simply because it might have been better to go with Paranormal or Paranormal Fantasy. What Paula touches on seems to be more the whole kick-ass genre of urban fantasy heroines and heroes battling things that go bump in the night. She brings up forerunners like Mercedes Lackey's Children of the Night, and Tanya Huff's blood Chronicles--something I'm pleased to see since too often younger readers appear to think the whole vampire thing started with Twilight and True Blood etc. Companions to the Moon by Charles de Lint--why does de Lint have the first story in this section? It's a really tepid piece to my mind, has nothing to do with kick-ass style heroines and more to do with lousy relationships. It's okay I suppose, but I was more than a little disappointed that this was the story picked to lead off this subset. A Haunted House of Her Own by Kelley Armstrong--this is a better story, but I really get tetchy when things get placed in a subset where they don't make sense. This is pretty much a straight ghost story. Doesn't really work for me in the subset. I'm hoping the offerings get better, but I'm beginning to think the editor's picks and my ideas about what should be here differ tremendously. She's My Witch by Norma Partridge--A better story, much more on point for paranormal romance. Not my favorite but not bad. Kitty's Zombie New Year by Carrie Vaughn--I have a feeling I've read this elsewhere. Probably in a Kitty short story anthology. I suspect the requirement of the anthology was primarily to disconnect most short stories from any series references whatsoever. Vaughn pulls Kitty in here, but pretty much only as the narrator of what is a rather tragic New Year story. Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs--Briggs is one of the authors I can count on to do paranormal romance well. She's a veteran at the genre, and this story works well enough without alluding to any of her main characters. It's still set in her Mercy Thompson world though, so fans will enjoy that aspect. While not her best work, it's still a lot of fun. Hit by Bruce McAllister--A hitman gets hired by an angel. An interesting, very masculine tale. But I'm one of those readers who just has a tad bit of dislike for angel/demon stories. Boobs by Suzee McKee Charnas--sort of teen paranormal horror story--not really much in the way of romance, to be honest. Also feels a little young for this anthology despite its gruesomeness. Farewell, My Zombie by Francesca Lia Block--this weirdly sad tale is less fantastic than it is commentary on the narrator's state of mind. It's not bad writing, but it seems particularly strange to have it the anchor piece in the paranormal romance subsection. Noir Fantasy is the last subsection and frankly annoyed the crap out of me. Noir speaks to detectives and shady bars and the "naked city" feel. Joe Lansdale writes this intro and makes it clear he's not a fan of genre subsets. Almost as much as tells us this section is going to be a mixed bag of things and not really devoted to noir at all. The White Man by Thomas Disch--a bizarre tale of an immigrant girl growing up in Minneapolis. The writing is superb but the whole story was not quite my thing. Gestella by Susan Palwick--not really urban at all. This story is a pointed awful tragedy of a tale. It's good if you like being disturbed and upset by short stories. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black--Best of the bunch IMO. This kept me reading and fascinated from start to finish and does indeed read like Noir fantasy. Talking Back to the Moon by Steven R. Boyett--Huh, this one hasn't been pubbed before, but after reading ,despite it being sort of post apocalyptic fantasy, I'd like to see more. On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with the Dead folks by Joe R. Lansdale--gee, I didn't like this guy's intro and I really don't like this guy's short story. If you like to read about the absolute worst horrors humanity is capable of with lots of guns, violence, sex, drugs etc, then this is for you. Frankly I could have gone my whole life without some of the images from this story. The Bible Repairman by Tim Powers--I've always liked Powers' stuff--this one's no different. It's a good story with a really bizarre premise. Father Dear by Al Sarrantonio--A weird story I didn't really get and didn't really like. On the whole, this anthology rings very masculine, not very true to a specific genre and some pointedly odd inclusions. I think I would have been more forgiving if this had not been labelled with subsets of urban fantasy. But you break down the subgenre into three more subgenres and then tell us--'we don't like subgenres, they're stupid and we're not going to pick stories that have any rhyme or reason for this subgenre' then I get annoyed.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    It's always incredibly difficult to rate an anthology fairly. The sheer volume of work defies an uniform rating. Do you rate the book on the worst short story, or the best one? The average of every story? In this case, I chose to rate the book on how well it completed its premise. The book is divided into three sections, each one attempting to capture the essence of one aspect of urban fantasy. Each has a preface that reflects on the evolution of the genre, and what the editor for that section w It's always incredibly difficult to rate an anthology fairly. The sheer volume of work defies an uniform rating. Do you rate the book on the worst short story, or the best one? The average of every story? In this case, I chose to rate the book on how well it completed its premise. The book is divided into three sections, each one attempting to capture the essence of one aspect of urban fantasy. Each has a preface that reflects on the evolution of the genre, and what the editor for that section was looking for in the stories selected. I think it accomplished its goals; there was a sense of evolution as the stories progressed. From the start of "mythic fiction", modern and real stories that are grounded in fairytales and rules from other realities, through to paranormal romance, it was easy to trace the genre's progression. There are some simply superb stories in this anthology. "Gisella" takes werewolves somewhere totally unexpected, and broke my heart. I cried reading it. Other stories were also great, or good, or alright. There were some I didn't adore, but I didn't read a story and think "this doesn't deserve to be here." While not, perhaps, THE definitive book on Urban Fantasy, I think it's valuable to anyone interested in the bounds of genre, and how they affect the marketability of stories. The essays alone provide insight that can't be overemphasized.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Dorneman

    This 2011 collection does itself more harm than good by sub-categorizing its stories, rather arbitrarily, in to Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance, or Noir Fantasy. The material would have been better served without those distinctions, as you could easily argue for many of the stories to be included in any of the groups. I also felt that at least two of the pieces weren't Urban Fantasy at all -- much closer to straight-up literary horror. That said, lots in here worth reading, and still Recommen This 2011 collection does itself more harm than good by sub-categorizing its stories, rather arbitrarily, in to Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance, or Noir Fantasy. The material would have been better served without those distinctions, as you could easily argue for many of the stories to be included in any of the groups. I also felt that at least two of the pieces weren't Urban Fantasy at all -- much closer to straight-up literary horror. That said, lots in here worth reading, and still Recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    T.S. S. Fulk

    Very different than what I thought it would be. A good collection of tales set in the modern cities with a mythic aspect. I think I liked the description of the various sub-genres even more than I did the stories. However, as with any anthology the stories range from "meh" (too many in this anthology) to "wow" (very few in this one). If you are expecting supernatural love triangles gripping the kickass female protagonist, look elsewhere (to the YA novels of this genre). These are more traditiona Very different than what I thought it would be. A good collection of tales set in the modern cities with a mythic aspect. I think I liked the description of the various sub-genres even more than I did the stories. However, as with any anthology the stories range from "meh" (too many in this anthology) to "wow" (very few in this one). If you are expecting supernatural love triangles gripping the kickass female protagonist, look elsewhere (to the YA novels of this genre). These are more traditional short stories.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This was amixed bag for me, the stories in the earlier part of the book weren't bad, but they (to me) became steadily darker as the book went on. A Haunted House of Her Own” by Kelley Armstrong, “Kitty’s Zombie New Year” by Carrie Vaughn and “Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs stood out as the best stories. I may be biased since I enjoy all three series these are taken from, so YMMV...

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