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19 May 2011

How do you define urban fantasy and paranormal romance?



How do you define urban fantasy and paranormal romance? I have never found a definition that really fits, as some of the books I read like to mess with the boundaries. I happily read both sub-genres, but I know some people who choose to read one or the other. It is a topic I have hear people mention (the fuzziness of the definitions) however, I have never really heard a definitive stance on their definitions. I love all the books I have read in both genres (okay, I had an issue with Jim Butcher’s Dresden series – don’t hate me) and I do not really mind if a book is technically UF or PNR, but I am curious about the definitions.

My personal definition is urban fantasy deals with one main protagonist who may or may not have one or more love/lust interests, and generally has important secondary characters. They go off and kick arse and/or have adventures/save the world/partake in a quest/etc. Urban fantasy series revolve around the same protagonist and their actions, and generally are written from their point of view throughout the narrative. Paranormal romance is set in an urban fantasy world/supernatural world/fantasy realm/science fiction setting and primarily focuses on the hero and heroine and their dual story of romantic discovery, which may or may not involve arsekicking, adventures, saving the world, partaking in quests, etc. Paranormal romance series are a series of separate novels about couples, but may be set in an overarching narrative with interweaving stories making up the whole. Each book is writing from the point of view of a single couple (or ménage, etc.) and while the following books may come back to them to highlight their happily ever after, generally their personal narrative is finished with the end of their own novel.

Do you read urban fantasy? Do you read paranormal romance? How would you define them? Do you bother defining these sub-genres, or are they one and the same, or irrelevant to you? Do my personal definitions make sense to you or do you take umbrage with them? I would love to know what you think!!




3 comments:

Vanyel Kane said...

I almost don't want to define it. Everytime you define something, you don't allow for it to evolve without someone complaining. I think that is what the appeal is of this genre. Its a world similar to our own but with tweaking in any way you like. Beyond that anything goes.

I hate the this new cookie-cutter boom of stories that all follow the same track. This post says it better than I could but it sums up how I feel:
http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Explorations-The-BN-SciFi-and/Attack-of-the-Clones-Is-Paranormal-Fantasy-s-Own-Reputation/ba-p/996218

staticsan said...

I'm not entirely sure a clear difference is entirely useful. Yet there are books which are clearly one or the other. Twilight is clearly paranormal romance. Take out the paranormal and it doesn't work. Most really good books will cross genres and sub-genres. Like life, really.

Oh and have I said how I love your Luis Royo image? :-)

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