A while back I asked on Twitter if you wanted to see something specific from me for Wyrd and Wonder this year. I got a suggestion for some subgenre discussions which was backed by more people. The one I’m going for now is Paranormal vs urban fantasy.
Subgenres can be hard to determine because so many books tend to use this and that from various subgenres. Even the bigger genres of sci-fi, fantasy, romance etc tend to flow into one book here and there. That is the beauty of books.
A while ago I did a discussion on Urban Fantasy and Contemporary Fantasy where in it was determined that Urban fantasy is a subgenre of contemporary fantasy. Urban fantasy basically means fantasy set in current time in a city. It is that simple. One can also say that urban fantasy often has creatures like vampires, werewolves etc.
Paranormal is often said as Paranormal Romance. But paranormal doesn’t nessecarily have to be paired with romance. Paranormal romance is a subgenre of Paranormal. Paranormal is what is beyond the normal scientific explanation. Powers like telekinises, telepathy, being able to put things on fire with your mind that isn’t connected to magic. But also ghosts and angels I would put in the category of paranormal. Some also put time travel, aliens etc in paranormal where it crosses over with science-fiction.
So what is the difference then?
Shortly put, the difference between urban fantasy and paranormal is that urban fantasy is very much tied to the setting of a city and to our current time period. Paranormal can be anywhere and in any kind of time period as long as it has things that are beyond a normal scientific explanation. This means that an urban fantasy can be paranormal as well.
Examples Urban Fantasy
The City We Became | Mercedes Thompson | October Daye | Rivers of London
The Haunting of Aveline Jones | The Library of the Unwritten | The Wicked Deep | City of Ghosts