What is Urban Fantasy?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
: a genre of imaginative fiction featuring supernatural characters or elements in an urban setting … a sub-genre that has become increasingly popular—urban fantasy. A number of authors have recently told stories of elves and other fairy folk coming to our mundane world, usually setting up shop not in the wooded groves of the past but in crowded modern cities.— William Marden, The Orlando (Florida) Sentinel, 26 Nov. 2000http://www.m-w.com
: a work of urban fantasy It’s an elaborate urban fantasy about sisters Makeda and Abby—the offspring of a human mother and benevolent demigod. — Mindy Farabee, The Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2013http://www.m-w.com
According to Wikipedia:
Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative uses supernatural elements in a 19th-century to 21st-century (or equivalent) urban society.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_fantasy
(The Wikipedia article contains much more info, I recommend checking it out if you’re interested in learning more about the genre, sources at the bottom of the article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_fantasy)
Basically, the way that I understand it, Urban Fantasy is a world where magic and technology co-exist. Where there are all the modern conveniences like cars and cell phones, but there is also magic in the world. For example, in an urban fantasy story, your cab driver could have the ability to teleport to your destination. Or maybe instead of going to college for a business degree, college is mandatory so that people can master their magic gifts before going out and getting hired into the workforce. Or there is some sort of incursion of magical creatures and now the world has to embrace their magical gifts in order to survive and save humanity.
Seriously, the possibilities are endless.
Another popular aspect of Urban Fantasy is alternate historical timelines. For example, what if the Titanic didn’t sink because a magician who could wield fire was on board and melted the iceberg? Or what if the reason that Marco Polo traveled so much was because he was looking for a magical artifact? What if the Mount St. Helens eruption was really the rebirth of a phoenix?
It’s a popular way to take what if questions and look at the world through a different lens, one imbued in magic.
When it comes to Urban Fantasy, the only limit is your imagination, so let it run wild, you never know what amazing thing you will discover around a familiar corner.