Saturday, September 3, 2011
Book Review: The Urban Fantasy Anthology by Peter S. Beagle (Editor), Joe R. Lansdale (Editor)
The Urban Fantasy Anthology by Peter S. Beagle (Editor), Joe R. Lansdale (Editor)
Paperback, 432 pages
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.
Should be noted that if your looking for gritty urban horror and noir of the fantastic. Joe R. Lansdale and the same publisher put out a book last year called Crucified Dreams. I reviewed on this blog, I think that was a a far superior collection.