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Author Comment
WaitForIt
Registered User
(2/5/06 3:01 pm)
Urban Fantasy or Modern Myth?
Urban Fantasy or Modern Mythology. Are they different? If so, where are the lines drawn, what's the distinction?
I'm beginning research for my thesis and would like to write about either/both of the two genres, but they are so new there are few secondary sources available.
My second choice is a modern fairy tale. I need info on that, too. (Obviously, I'm not relying solely on this site for help, but I thought I'd post and if anyone has any relevant, reliable material, I'd be grateful.)
Thanks for your help!

kristiw
Unregistered User
(2/5/06 3:41 pm)
modern myth
Have you seen the threads on "Myths Over Miami," which describe a surprisingly complex mythology of homeless children? I don't have a link, but it'll come up if you search the site, and there have been several lengthy discussions about it. I think the Chupacabra has only been around for a couple of decades, too. For a general source on urban myth I highly recommend you check out www.snopes.com, if you haven't already :) . As for the distinctions, urban fantasy (like Charles de Lint's?) only has to be the invention of one person, but modern mythology (I'd say) describes a set of widely held beliefs. You mean secular myths, right? Because it could be argued that if mythologies are just outdated religions, the "modern" equivalent of mythology is just plain old religion.

WaitForIt
Registered User
(2/5/06 10:35 pm)
Re: modern myth
Thanks, Kristi. I'm actually examining urban fantasy like Charles de Lint's, Terri Windling's, Neil Gaiman's, Ellen Datlow's, etc. (check out endicott-studio.com - awesome site) Thanks for your definition - it's along the lines of the conclusion I'm coming to.
Modern mythology and religion are too in-depth and off-topic. I'm an English major, so we're sticking to the writing part. But the idea of the mythology being the invention of only one person is striking. I believe in most of de Lint's books he draws on old Irish/Celtic legend, folklore, and mythology. Would that be considered urban fantasy (which I define as taking place in an urban setting: brownies in Central Park, fairies riding Harleys... subject to change) or modern mythology (seen in de Lint's work as a reshaping of the old patterns)? This is the biggest dilemma I've hit so far.
Thanks again! Anything more would be wonderful!

Writerpatrick
Registered User
(2/6/06 8:56 am)
Re: Urban Fantasy or Modern Myth?
Urban fantasy would be likely fantasy set in an urban environment as opposed to rural settings. Bell, Book and Candle is a story of modern witches (and is the basis for Bewitched). Superhero stories, which are mainly set in New York or a variant of, might also be considered urban fantasy.

Modern mythology would probably be things such as Bigfoot, UFOs, psychic ability, horiscopes and the supernatural. It could also cover things such as the Pilgrims being the first to start a colony in the New World (they were at least the second Europeans, and there were the Vikings before them).

Urban myths might fall into either category, although they would probably be more mythology than fantasy.

I would say the biggest difference is that Urban Fantasy is known to be fictional, whereas some might believe Modern Mythology to be true.

Chris Peltier
Registered User
(2/6/06 4:42 pm)
Re: Urban Fantasy or Modern Myth?
Charles de Lint actually refers to his writing as "mythic fiction":

The best definition I can come up with for my writing was in a review that described it fantasy for people who donít normally read fantasy. I've taken to calling my writing "mythic fiction," because it's basically mainstream writing that incorporates elements of myth and folktale, rather than secondary world fantasy. I've written the latter, to be sure, and dabbled in science fiction and dark fantasy, but an overall view of my work will show that such stories are very much the exception, rather than the rule.

He has archived interviews on his website that might be helpful, and you can find them here:
www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/intervw.htm

~Chandra~

Van45us
Registered User
(3/3/06 12:48 pm)
Re: modern myth
I did a search for "Myths over Miami" and didn't find the thread. I'm thinking it may have moved into oblivion. If you know how to find it, I'd appreciate it - it sounds very interesting. Thanks!

kristiw
Unregistered User
(3/3/06 1:20 pm)
myths over miami
I just did a google search:
www.surlalunefairytales.c...miami.html

It isn't the first discussion, but it links to several-- it's come up a few times. Enjoy!

Van45us
Registered User
(3/3/06 2:20 pm)
Re: myths over miami
Aha! Thanks, Kristiw! Much appreciated.

Van45us
Registered User
(3/3/06 2:50 pm)
Re: myths over miami
Wow - thanks for the links - that's a great article, and the posts look like they have a wealth of info, as well. I printed all that out and will read them more in depth later. I would think that homeless kids in every state and country would have different stories and story variants. I know that while I was working in Santa Monica, we interacted with many runaway kids who hung out there, and they had similar tales, many obviously "urban legends," (some warmed over splatter movie plots!) but some they actually believed in, because of course a friend or a friend of a friend experienced it (another urban legend trait) and some said they witnessed things themselves. You had to take them at their word (not to mention accept paranormal activity), but I would imagine homeless people see and hear a lot of strange things.

Terri Windling
Registered User
(3/4/06 4:00 am)
Re: myths over miami
Waitforit:

There's an article on the subject of mythic fiction/urban fantasy, written by a librian friend of Charles de Lint's, that you might find helpful. If you're interested in seeing it, drop me a line at the Endicott Studio email address (endicottstudio@yahoo.com), and I'll email it to you.

paulidaho
Unregistered User
(3/5/06 1:43 am)
seventh daughter of a seventh daughter
So I was asked to write a story by the Sacramento
Story Telling Guild. But some ideas on what a seventh daughter might be gifted/cursed with would be a
starting point.
Paul Idaho.

Van45us
Registered User
(3/6/06 10:07 pm)
Re: myths over miami
I finally found the time to read the "Miami" article and all the posts about it at length. I know this is old news to those here who discussed it already years ago, but I found the article staggering, and maybe one of the most depressing things I've read in a long time. I'm amazed no one has written a book or compendium of these stories by now, as this is myth in the making. Unless it is all true, and then we are all in trouble! ;)

As I said before, I'd heard stories from runaways, but never this young, or quite as complex as the legends in this article. It sounds like local tales and urban myths as re-imagined by Clive Barker or Stephen King. Amazing that minds as youg as six and seven can weave all that together.

A side note: I am pretty sure I have seen a film that used the Bloody Mary story in it, complete with a girl looking in the mirror and saying her name three times. Of course in the movie she exists and is summoned by the unfortunate girl. Or am I confusing this with "Candyman?" In any event, the mirror summoning device is used in the movie.

Also, I just picked up "Weird California," part of the Weird America series (linked to the cable show: they have four books out on various states with more coming), and the La Lorna (sp?) story is in it, listed as a local hispanic story. I would recommend these books for anyone interested in local folklore and legends, by the way, as it is chalked full of them, from Bigfoot and other wildmen, to lake monsters and lizard men living under Los Angeles! A lot of things I didn't know, and I live here!

Thanks again, Kristiw. That was some amazing reading.



kristiw
Unregistered User
(3/6/06 11:12 pm)
myths over miami
No problem-- it is fascinating stuff. I've worked with kids a lot, and I'm continually surprised by what they come up with. It isn't so much the originality of the material (since, as the article points out, a lot of the characters resonante with various oral traditions and sometimes pop culture) but what the kids are doing with it. We talk a lot about stories changing to suit new needs, and it's not often we see such vivid evidence of that.

Van45us
Registered User
(3/7/06 8:50 pm)
Re: myths over miami
Cool. Another thing that struck me as I was reading the article is that the kids tend to side with light (angels) and not the demons of the "dark side." They seem to have an intrinsic nature of hope and goodness, which is interesting in itself, especially in a situation that should discourage alturism and encourage cynicism. I always knew William Golding was full of it...

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