Op-Ed Piece in Latest On Spec


Cover for the latest issue of On Spec (Spring 2013)

I’m thrilled to announce I have an op ed piece in the latest issue  (Spring 2013) of On Spec magazine.

“Next Stop: Suburban Fantasy” talks about why Urban Fantasy has become such a dominant genre. Is this combination of gritty urban setting, kick-ass heroines, romance/sexuality, and fantastic creatures a parallel of our modern, urban lives?

More than that, could the societal forces that made Urban Fantasy so popular shift the focus of speculative fiction into the suburbs in the next few decades? (From the title, it’s obvious I think the answer is “yes”.)

Here are the opening paragraphs:

It’s human nature to fear what we don’t understand. To reduce our fear, we strive to explain or rationalize it. These explanations often fit into some contemporary context so we can relate to them. At the same time, we may project something greater than ourselves onto these fears to justify our lack of comprehension.

It’s is not surprising, then, that Urban Fantasy is such a popular genre as it’s a way for us to come to understand our urban lives. More and more we are becoming an urban population and cities present new unknowns. The concentration of people, the constant movement, and the density in all three dimensions is something that inspires feelings ranging from awe to dread. While we might be able to comprehend the goings-on in a town of 2,000, we can’t hope to understand more than a fraction of what’s happening in a city of 100,000. To say nothing of a Toronto or a Montreal. So Urban Fantasy as a genre has become the way we try to make sense of our urban lives—by projecting the fantastic onto our cities.

This is my second column with On Spec. In Fall 2011, Adam Shaftoe and I wrote “All This Has Happened Before: Cycles in Genre Fiction”. Also, I made my first fiction sale to On Spec. My nanite lycanthrope SF/horror story “Full Moon Hill” ran in their Fall 2007/2008 issue.


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