Found at fondos-gratis.net
You know, I didn’t set out to write urban fantasy or paranormal romance. It’s just sort of what happens when I start writing. A story starts out all realistic and stuff, and then BAM! Magic.
God, I love that. But have you stopped to wonder why urban fantasy and paranormals are so hot right now? I have my own theories, of course, but I was a bit uncertain. And then I went to a book signing for Susan Mallery (months ago). I’d never read one of her books before, but I recognized the name, and why not go, right? She’s well respected, and I knew I could learn from her. But a strange thing happened near the end when she opened up the floor to questions: somehow the entire conversation kept circling back to the popularity of urban fantasy and paranormal. Now, I should have prefaced this by telling you that Susan Mallery writes totally realistic romance, and according to her, she has no desire to write fantasy. So, WTF? Why did people keep asking her about it? Leave the woman alone, people.
Okay, it’s sort of my fault.
Because I asked if she thought it would be worthwhile to join RWA even though I wrote YA. She was very kind and asked me what kind of YA, and I responded: urban fantasy and paranormal romance. And then, holy crap, it’s like a freaking tornado blew in—people just couldn’t stop themselves from talking about UF and PR in this spasmodic firing of question and comments about how much they were drawn to it.
Susan was very gracious and handled it very well. To appease her audience, she gave her thoughts on why UF was so hot right now. Her theory was that 9/11 changed everything. Nobody believes in real living, breathing heroes any more. Because real heroes, like firefighters and police officers are clearly just as vulnerable as the rest of us. Now I’m paraphrasing, hoping I didn’t just butcher her thoughtful answer, morphing it with mine. Because this is a conclusion similar to what I also came up with, though I think it’s not just about 9/11, but rather predates it. I think perhaps we just want the invincible hero. Think about it. Edward Cullen cannot die. He can run into a fiery, crumbling building and save you (before you ever realize the building’s on fire) and totally sparkle while doing it.
Is it true? Do we want invulnerable heroes? Angels that fall to Earth and fall in love with us and demons that can be changed for the love of us?
Many of us read to escape this world that really sucks sometimes. And what better way to escape than to read about a world—this world—in which magic really happens. Where abused little boys discover that they’re actually powerful wizards who are loved by people he’s never met. Imagine if Hagrid had showed up at Anne Frank’s door? Or if Heathcliff had actually lived for a hundred years, sparkling and vegging it out with deer blood before he met Cathy? Maybe he would’ve been a little less emo.
The thing is, we still want to believe in heroes. But I think we’re struggling to believe that they really exist among the average Joe Schmo. Because the average Joe Schmo just lost a home to the bank. The average Joe Schmo was just held up at gunpoint at the 7-Eleven or got fired after twenty years of service or got sent to Iraq and lost an arm in a land mine. But Joe Fantasy? Now there’s a guy who will never lose his house. In fact, he’d mind control the crap out of the banker who tried to take yours.
So, is UF and paranormal here to stay? I think to some degree, it’s always been here. The fairy tale goes way back. And the Brother’s Grimm weren’t exactly the pioneers of the weird and magical either. Greek mythology? Oh yeah. Totally urban fantasy (or paranormal, depending on the story). Contemporary fiction is still quite popular, but I think as long as people want to believe in a magical way out of desperate situations, UF and paranormals will remain. Right now, things feel a little desperate. The economy is crap, homes have lost their value, people are losing jobs left and right, terrorism is real, gang violence multiplies, drugs, guns, knives, bigotry, suicide, politicians…where does the madness end?
I don’t know that it does.
So, no, I don’t think UF/paranormal (or Sci-fi/Fantasy) will ever go away. It might change and it might lessen some in popularity, but I think no matter what, we will never stop wanting to believe in magic.
But, no more sparkly vampires. Okay? And while we’re having this discussion, please don’t create werewolves that vomit rainbows.