What I love about urban fantasy is the juxtaposition of those two very elements, “urban” and “fantasy.” The “fantasy” part explains itself well enough: tales of magic and mystery, of inexplicable powers and unknowable creatures. “Urban” for me, though, goes beyond being ?in a city? to mean a story set anywhere in our world of manufactured, constructed, and human-controlled environments. Just as importantly, it means having a modern mindset, with all of our materialism and skepticism, our longing to believe in the ineffable hidden by a veneer of snark. A good urban fantasy has a setting firmly grounded in all the mundane details so familiar to us–the traffic-locked freeways and half-forgotten alleyways, the cookie-cutter stretches of strip malls and strip clubs–where, guided by the author’s knowing hand, we suddenly see the magic that?s hidden there, just out of sight of our daily lives.
That sense of place shines clearly in each of our stories this month, although the locations are scattered across the globe. First up, Stephanie Lor?e shows us where magic cracks the sidewalks and parking lots of downtown Jackson, Mississippi, in “Ginny & the Ouroboros.” Then we head to Sydney and, from there, slip sideways into the jungles of Vietnam to visit “Uncle Bob’s Crocodile” with Australian author Ian McHugh. And finally, we head to the seedier side of London, where dark magic stalks a hit-hungry record producer, in the first part of “Dead Records,” a novella co-written by Ryan Reid and Steven Savile. We’ll bring you new installments of “Dead Records” over the next five months, so please let us know what you think about our experiment in serialization.
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