Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Worldcon Treasures: What Will Replace Urban Fantasy?

Urban fantasy has been a huge subgenre in the fantasy genre for years now, so huge, in fact, that it’s impacted other genres such as romance in the form of paranormal romance. But no trend lasts forever, and you can always find discussion of what the next Big Thing might be. In this case, the next thing after urban fantasy.

The topic is big enough that it warranted a panel all its own at this year’s Worldcon in San Antonio, Lone Star Con 3. Authors Leigh Perry, Steven Diamond, Gini Koch, Susan Krinard, and Cat Rambo couldn’t say precisely what this Next Big Thing might be, but they had lots of ideas about what be in store in the future for the genre.


  • There’s a big crossover between urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
  • One of the big differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance is that urban fantasy has a lot more world building and its plot is not based on the romance.
  • Susan Krinard said that when she wrote romance, she had too much world building and too much character psychology. As a result, she didn’t get anywhere and her publisher let her go, which freed her up to write FSF.
  • Despite the name, urban fantasy doesn’t necessarily have to be located in a city.
  • In the UK, urban fantasy is called dark fantasy.


  • Urban fantasy will expand out into other areas.
  • Now that the subgenre has been around for a while, it has opened up more and now allows authors to play with what they’re really interested in including in their stories.
  • There are still so many creatures and legends out there from other cultures and parts of the world that remain untapped which authors can bring into urban fantasy.
  • The fae in urban fantasy are going the same way as weres and vampires, told in both light and dark stories.
  • We’ll likely see more SF in urban fantasy like scientific elements thrown into the magic such as genetically altered werewolves.
  • Urban fantasy won’t go back to monsters as just villains because we’ve learned to sympathize with the monsters and can’t un-sympathize with them.
  • We’ll see more monsters as villains and as those we sympathize with.
  • Zombies are dying down in popularity.
  • Fiction, generally, is representative of the zeitgeist. As a result, there’s no surprise that post apocalyptic stories are popular right now.
  • In times of optimism, science fiction is more popular. In times of struggle, fantasy is more popular.
  • When the economy gets better, we’ll see an uptick in epic/high fantasy.
  • From another perspective, trends come out of when one person hits it big and opens up that market.


  • Some say it’s harder to sell a male lead in urban fantasy.
  • Don’t write to a trend or write something you hate.

Next Friday will be the last of Worldcon Treasures where we’ll discuss how to turn a rejection letter into a positive. Until then, swing back by on Monday for the next segment of our read of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

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