Exploring Genre: Urban Fantasy

September’s theme is genre, so this month we’ll each be focusing on a different genre and highlighting what makes it great. Today I’m taking a look at my favourite genre to read (and write): urban fantasy.

“Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting. Works of urban fantasy are set primarily in the real world and contain aspects of fantasy, such as the arrival of alien races, the discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence or conflict between humans and paranormal beings, and other changes to city life. A contemporary setting is not strictly necessary for a work of urban fantasy: works of the genre may also take place in futuristic and historical settings, real or imagined.”Wikipedia

As a reader, urban fantasy can be a tricky genre to love. That might sound like a strange thing to say, but it’s true — quite often I go into a book thinking that it’s urban fantasy only to discover that it’s urban fantasy’s kissing cousin, paranormal romance. They share a lot of the same trappings, in that they tend to feature paranormal beings in the real world. And the covers are sometimes quite similar, though urban fantasy book covers lean towards a solo character rather than an embracing pair, and generally feature less pretty dresses and more, well, leather and weapons.

But the fundamental difference is whether the plot emphasises romance as a central element. In paranormal romance, the romance is, unsurprisingly, the main plot (think Twilight), whereas in urban fantasy there is often a romance, but it takes a back seat to other goings on in the world (think Sookie Stackhouse or The Mortal Instruments).

In urban fantasy, you quite often see elements of other genres: mystery, thriller, adventure, superhero, sci-fi. My favourites are the ones with a mystery, a plot twist … and some steamy romance. (I do love a juicy romance, but I’m greedy: I like to have that and more. 😉 )

I was going to include maybe three of my favourite urban fantasies, but who am I kidding? I can’t stop at three!

(Looking at these covers, I think I should add tank tops to “leather” and “weapons”.)


Cassandra Page is an author, editor, geek, coffee addict, Ravenclaw and bookstagrammer. Her fifth urban fantasy novel, False Awakening, was released on 26 August

Exploring Genre: Science Fiction

September’s theme is genre, so this month we’ll each be focusing on a different genre and highlighting what makes it great. Today I’m taking a look at one of my favs; science fiction.

Robots, aliens, space travel, technology … what’s cool about sci fi is the fact that it could almost be reality. It doesn’t take too much of a bend of the imagination to believe/know that a sci-fi reality is just around the corner. With artificial intelligence moving at the current rate it won’t be long before driverless transports, humanoid robots, and computer creating computers will be the norm. Umm guys … the Terminator could actually exist in this decade! I’m not sure if I should be excited or scared by that. Same goes for the scientists who are working on invisibility creating technology right now. We sure live in exciting times.

But let’s talk about sci-fic as a genre. It’s a pretty big umbrella that takes in everything from aliens to other worlds to technology to altered takes on modern day earth. There are so, so many sub genres in sci fic, but I won’t go into those today. What I will say is that science fiction (at its core and at its best) is about using a technology or an advancement to make a comment about the prevailing human condition. The setting of space, or alternate reality, or advanced technology is just that; a setting that distances the reader from their own reality so any commentaries made by the story about the potential of the human race in general are more willingly accepted. Avatar for example, is just as much about current environmental issues as it is about cool blue-skinned aliens. And that is one of the things I love most about sci-fi;

But now we’re getting too deep for a Thursday morning… so, let’s talk awesome books! Some of my favourite science fiction novels include;

Under The Never Sky: I’m still not sure if this one is set on a futuristic earth, or a new planet, but either way it’s great domed-society read about a girl who’s cast out and forced to battle the raging elements outside the dome. Such a fun read.

The Lunar Chronicles: A cyborg main character, people living on the moon, and hover ships all rolled into fairytale retellings. Yes please!

The Lux Series: Aliens integrated into earthen society, a book blogger, a brooding bad boy, and a steamy romance. Umm, sign me up!

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The sole survivor of the destruction of earth hitchhiking his way through space. With all the silly dad jokes and puns, there’s nothing not to love about Hitchhikers.

And that, dear readers, is why I love science fiction. It’s semi-real (without being too heavy), it’s exciting and it’s almost like a peek into the future! What genre do you hanker for? I’d love to hear all about your favourite in the comments.

__________________________________________________________________

Stacey Nash writes Aussie YA / NA. Her Oxley College Saga is a series of romances based in the fictional Oxley College on a university campus. Her Collective Series is YA trilogy about a girl who discovers secret sci-fi technology and the organisation who suppress it. To find out more about Stacey’s books or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.