Urban Fantasy series' discussion

39 views
General > How do you distinguish between Fantasy/UF/PNR/SciFi

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Tony (new)

Tony | 200 comments Reading through various forums, here on Goodreads as well as others, I see differences in how people put books into different genres. I find this interesting so I open this discussion for the Group. How do you distinguish between these Genres? In your mind when does a book/story move from Fantasy to UF to PNR to SciFi?


I found these definitions via a Google search:

Fantasy - "the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable."

SciFi - "fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets."

UF - "subgenre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting, because it seems that stories with said setting are distinct enough to warrant their own sub-subgenre. ... Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements."

PNR - "PNR is short for paranormal romance, a romance sub-genre. It is a sub-genre that is a branch of speculative fiction. Unlike Urban Fantasy, it focuses more on the romance element of the story."

I think I agree with the above definitions as a starting point. Someone once told me that if more that 50% of a book/story was dedicated to "romance" then it is PNR. I think that number should be more like 15% - 20% max. As far as SciFi goes, anything that is Fantasy and deals with future Tech. UF is Fantasy staged in a city/suburbs with Tech that is currently available or being developed (anything staged from the mid 1800's thru 100 years or so in the future).

So what do you think?


message 2: by Amyiw (last edited Jun 11, 2017 06:48PM) (new)

Amyiw | 141 comments I've seen on other scifi groups, scifi being a sub-genre of fantasy. Even using the definitions above, I would still say that is the case. They will say pure fantasy for that which is more magical and imagined places. There is a lot of overlap. Same with PNR/UF and there is no easy % definition for that. Some great UF worlds are really more based in the PNR worlds and vise versa. Case in point, Psy-changelings for UF in a PNR, and Kate Daniels PNR in a UF. Or if you want one that is really both, Nighthuntress, total overlap.


message 3: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 48 comments Urban Fantasy to me is set in current time with alternate place underneath. Example Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman or Somewhere to be Flying by Charles de Lint - also War for the flowers by Emma Bull. PN usually is like vampires, werewolves, etc. Sci fi is like star trek


message 4: by Lindsey (last edited Jun 17, 2017 01:04PM) (new)

Lindsey (ucdlindsey) The Google definitions are not bad. For me personally, I do tend to categorize something as fantasy but not urban fantasy when it is not set in contemporary times but more medieval as many fantasies are. Urban fantasy for me usually includes not just an urban setting, but modern day locations and is written using modern day language. When I'm reading regularly fantasy, sometimes I have to go look up words because they aren't in common usage today, since the author is going for that medieval setting.

PNR definitely the key point is that it's romance... I don't mind there being a romantic relationship in the fantasy or UF I read, but it is not the main plot point of the story. Plus from what I've seen, or in things I categorize as PNR, they feature a lot of things like fated love, insta-love, and generally characters just falling madly in love (or sometimes lust) within the space of a single book. To me it feels very unrealistic, and even PNR series seem to focus on different characters each book, so all of them can fall in love in just one book. UF romance tends to focus on the tension and building the relationship, and UF series generally take 3 books or more for the couple to get together.

I don't read much sci-fi, it isn't as appealing to me as fantasy. But even if you agree with the Google definitions, there are some books that don't fit neatly into one genre. I've read several books that are fantasy or UF to me because they feature make-believe "fantasy" creatures and/or magic, but yet they take place either on another planet, or the "fantasy" creatures are actually aliens from other planets... One Fell Sweep The Better Part of Darkness Dragonflight. The Raine Benares series (Magic Lost, Trouble Found) feels like a cross between fantasy and UF to me, because its setting isn't present-day, but the language is modern day so it's a quicker read than fantasy, and it sort of has an urban setting, but more in a medieval town...


message 5: by Amyiw (new)

Amyiw | 141 comments Anne Aguirre's Sirantha Jax is like that for me, Grimspace, as it feels very UF but it is Scifi. I think the same as you for Raine Benares, Magic Lost, Trouble Found, as it really is pure fantasy, yet it has that UF feel. One Fell Sweep, is UF fantasy because it happens (mostly) in an Urban setting of our world, yet it is Scifi in that the Inns are the gatekeepers to aliens and other planets. So really lots of cross over sometimes.


back to top