The Urban Fantasy Anthology

The Urban Fantasy Anthology

The Urban Fantasy Anthology (2011) — Anthology

Genre and Sub-GenresEdit

Urban Fantasy

Theme Edit

Three of its distinct styles of Urban Fantasy—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir


✥ “It was always frightening when something you thought was firmly under control broke free to run where it would.” The quote is from “Seeing Eye,” a story by Patricia Briggs included in The Urban Fantasy Anthology. Those words of Ms. Briggs nicely capture the tenor of the terrific tales in the collection. Although the settings are modern and mostly urban, the thrills and scares in these stories are based largely on loss of control. Contained in the pages of the volume are studies of individuals who struggle to adapt to a shift in perceived normalcy. Some of the trials the book’s characters must contend with include a rogue unicorn, a lovelorn zombie, a repressive and controlling father. For women werewolves, in two different yarns, aging is a rite of passage that can empower or enslave. ✥ ~ Hellnotes

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Mythic Fiction

Part One is probably the least like what the common reader might consider Urban Fantasy based on the novels with covers like the one the Anthology has. There’s no tattooed women fighting werewolves or loving vampires here, but these are some of the best stories in the book because of the fact that they aren’t pigeonholed by that definition. These stories deal with mythic things in a modern context. These are all strange, sweet, stories that bring to mind something bigger than the reader might usually see the world, and all have a sort of common sadness about them. Something went wrong in each one, and the mythic world is trying to fix it, even if it doesn’t realize that’s what’s happening.

Paranormal Romance

Part Two the most like what the cover indicates, and is perfectly placed between the Mythic and the Noir, because it is exactly the overlap of the two. Harder and grittier than the dreamy Mythic stories, not as dark or bleak as the Noir ones. The stories in this section tend to be more dire; the ‘romance’ in the title is less obvious, or else it is the old form of the word, which really meant ‘adventure’ when applied to books. People here do bad things with their fairytale powers and don’t always get the payback expected. The stories are emotional and personal, and show the real strengths of the writers included.

Noir Fantasy

The third part of the book is the darkest yet: Noir Fantasy. These are also the strangest ones, but the most original and thought provoking, too. The name might bring to mind old-fashioned gumshoes and murdermysteries, but here, it contains much more than that. These are the stories that most stretch the imagination and the credibility of the readers, and they’re all successful. Coming after the Mythic and the PR stories, the reader’s take on fiction has been led to them enough that the need to jump off into the truly weird is easier to take, and the stories are strange, thoughtful, charming and horrible in turns. And they’re more experimental than the rest of the book.

The Urban Fantasy Anthology ~ NY Journal

Editor and AuthorsEdit

Editor: Peter S. Beagle, Joe R. Lansdale (Hor, Myst-Thril, Fict), Paula Guran (intro) (Book & Anthology Editor)

Anthology Introduction: by Peter S. Beagle - Urban Fantasy Anthology


Mythic Fiction Noir Fantasy Paranormal Romance
Charles de Lint (intro) Joe R. Lansdale (intro)  Paula Guran (intro) (above)
Emma Bull (early (UF) Thomas M. Disch (Hor, SciFi) Charles de Lint (early UF)
Charles de Lint (early UF) Susan Palwick (Fant) Kelley Armstrong (UF)
Neil Gaiman (UF) Holly Black (UF) Norman Partridge (Horror)
Jeffrey Ford (SciFi-Fant) Steven R. Boyett (SciFi-Fant) Carrie Vaughn (UF)
Peter S. Beagle (Early UF) Joe R. Lansdale (Hor, Myst)  Patricia Briggs (UF)
Tim Powers (Para-Hist-Fant) Bruce McAllister (SciFi-Fant)
Al Sarrantonio (Hororr, SciFi, fant, myst, westerns) Suzy McKee Charnas (Sci-Fant)
Francesca Lia Block (YA, Sci-Fant)

Supernatural Elements Edit

Werewolves, elves, bird-shifer, Native-American spirit–“trickster”, gods, Devil and Jesus, mythical entity, unicorn, fairy-court royal, faeries, haunted houses, ghosts, witches, angels, hitman, vampires, werewolf mythology, paranormal PI, post-apocalyptic zombies, voodoo slave zombies,

List of Stories Edit

Mythic Fiction Introduction: "A Personal Journey into Mythic Fiction" by Charles de Lint

Mythic Fiction
Story Title Series Author Supes Lead(s)
"A Bird That Whistles" War for the Oaks prequel Emma Bull elves Willy Silver
"Make a Joyful Noise" Newford series Charles de Lint bird-shifter, ghost, ghostt Native American myth
"The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories" none Neil Gaiman ghost, modern gods
"On the Road to New Egypt" none Jeffrey Ford Jesus, the Devil Jesus, the Devil
"Julie’s Unicorn" none Peter S. Beagle Unicorn, mythical entity Julie

Paranormal Romance

Introduction: "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Urban Fantasy" by Paula Guran.

For the purpose of this anthology, “Paranormal Romance” means stories where both readers and characters recognize the magic they’re dealing with: vampires and zombies, ghosts and werewolves—none of these stories have anything close to a romantic happily ever after
Paranormal Romance
Story Title Series Author Supes Lead(s)
"Companions to the Moon" none Charles de Lint fairy court royal
"A Haunted House of Her Own" none Kelley Armstrong ghosts, haunted houses
"She’s My Witch" none Norman Partridge witch, zombie
"Kitty’s Zombie New Year" Kitty Norville series #1.5  Carrie Vaughn zombies, voodoo Kitty
"Seeing Eye" Alpha & Omega #1.5, Mercy-verse #3.5 Patricia Briggs werewolves, witch Charles, Anna
"Hit" none Bruce McAllister angel
"Boobs" none Suzy McKee Charnas werewolf
"Farewell, My Zombie" none Francesca Lia Block zombie, paranormal PI

Noir Fantasy

Introduction: "We Are Not a Club, but We Sometimes Share a Room" by Joe R. Lansdale

Noir Fantasy
Story Title Series Author Supes Lead(s)
"The White Man" none Thomas M. Disch vampire
"The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" none Holly Black vampires
“Gestella” none Susan Palwick werewolf
"Talking Back to the Moon" none Steven R. Boyett
"On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks" none Joe R. Lansdale
"The Bible Repairman" none Tim Powers ghosts, magic
"Father Dear" none Al Sarrantonio

To expand the table, right-press on a row of the table or (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add row.

Synopsis by StoryEdit

Mythic FictionEdit

Introduction: “A Personal Journey Into Mythic Fiction” by Charles de Lint

A Bird That Whistles” by Emma Bull — War for the Oaks prequel. ([ Free])

✥ A story about elves. ✥ Touching prequel to her novel War for the Oaks. (Link) ✥ About a strange but talented folk musician who appears at a coffeehouse in the 1970s. ~ Bookgasm

Make a Joyful Noise” by Charles de Lint

✥ touching story of a Native American spirit who can shape-shift into a bird, and the trouble it gets into when it promises to help a lonely ghost. ~ Bookgasm ✥ Approaches the topic of human grief from a not-human perspective, and pulls off a compelling, complex story along the way, bouncing the relatively innocent sister/twin “trickster” perspective against the complicated sorrow a mother carries over the death of her two children. At the end of the story, we’re reminded to celebrate “the clutter of life” rather than reach for the “happily ever after” ending. ~ Green Man Review ✥ 

The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories” by Neil Gaiman

✥ Modern yet forgotten gods. ✥ Mixes the gilt of Hollywood with the everyday magic of reverence in a way that creates a quiet pool of the extraordinary. ~ All Things Urban Fantasy ✥ 

On the Road to New Egypt” by Jeffrey Ford

Black humor about the Devil and Jesus hitch hiking in the same car. ✥ Jesus and the Devil on a really weird Hunter S Thompson-esque road trip. ✥

Julie’s Unicorn” by Peter S. Beagle

✥ (Beagle built a career on touching and charming stories about unicorns) ✥ The story embroiders on a theme concerning a tapestry and the mythical entity. When an empathetic viewer sees pain in the animal’s eyes, she wills it to be free from its surroundings. Hence, a pork chop-sized unicorn becomes her (and her significant other’s) responsibility. The ensuing drama has comedic components, and is utterly engrossing. As the couple unravels the threads of horned horse’s history, they grow closer; each gaining greater admiration for the unique skill sets that the other possesses. ~ Hellnotes ✥ Explores the real world consequences of magic, but without letting camp overcome a sense of infinite possibilities. ~ All Things Urban Fantasy ✥ 

Paranormal RomanceEdit

Introduction: “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Urban Fantasy” by Paula Guran ✥ 

Companions to the Moon” by Charles de Lint

Fairy court royal who just wants a normal life and how it doesn’t work out. ✥

A Haunted House of Her Own” by Kelley Armstrong

✥ The story of a woman obsessed with haunted houses. ✥

She’s My Witch” by Norman Partridge (an older story, recycled from 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, 1995)

✥ A teen out for revenge with his witch girlfriend. ✥ (Male zombie and his mortal girlfriend) ✥ crazy Bonnie and Clyde vibe. ✥ Story of two young lovers—one brought back from the dead—in a weird re-creation of the 1950s.

Kitty’s Zombie New Year” by Carrie Vaughn — Kitty Norville series #1.5 (Originally printed in Weird Tales (2007) and included in Kitty's Greatest Hits, (2011))

✥ A distinctly urban sort of zombie. ✥ New Year’s Eve is an insufferable time of year for many, and writer Vaughn plays upon the dread of feeling isolated during the celebration. When a holiday party is shaken up by a zombie (not the cannibalistic kind, but the voodoo slave variety) all hell breaks loose. The female undead is focused; she lumbers toward the man who caused her state. Still in love, and enthralled, it’s a case of lover-please-come-back carried to the extreme. It is at this event that narrator Kitty realizes that there are worse things than being single on New Year’s Eve. ~ Hellnote ✥

Seeing Eye” by Patricia Briggs — Alpha and Omega series #1.5, Mercy-verse #3.5 (Originally in Strange Brew anthology (2009))

✥ Story of a werewolf and his witch. ✥ Female witch and male werewolf in Seattle's Mercy Thompson world (Charles & Anna). ✥

Hit” by Bruce McAllister

✥ A hitman hired by an angel ✥ mob killer hired by an angel to take out a vampire who is interested in becoming a mortal. ✥

Boobs” by Suzy McKee Charnas

✥ A girl who turns wolf and deals with puberty that way. ✥ When the bodily changes of adolescence strike the protagonist, they trigger an additional physical alteration. Emboldened and strengthened by cycles, both mundane and fantastical, the young woman/werewolf describes the sensations: “I felt myself shrink down to a hard core of sort of cold fire inside my bones, and all the flesh part, the muscles and the squishy insides and the skin, went sort of glowing and free-floating, all shining with moonlight, and I felt a sort of shifting and balance-changing going on.” This winner of the 1990 Hugo Award for best short story has tang and bite. ~ Hellnotes ✥ New take on an empowered adolescent heroine and the werewolf mythology. ~ All Things Urban Fantasy ✥ Surprisingly touching story of a young girl dealing with the changes of her body brought about not only by puberty, but because she is also a werewolf. ~ Bookgasm

  • This winner of the 1990 Hugo Award for best short story.

Farewell, My Zombie” by Francesca Lia Block

✥ a distinctly feminine take on the paranormal PI. ✥

Noir FantasyEdit

Introduction: “We Are Not a Club, but We Sometimes Share a Room” by Joe R. Lansdale.  ✥

The White Man” by Thomas M. Disch

✥ Dark and thought provoking tale set in a crumbling (and perhaps vampire haunted) Minneapolis. ✥ More about cultural misappropriation and deep misunderstanding than it is about vampires, ✥

Gestella” by Susan Palwick

✥ A werewolf story from the wolf’s point of view. ✥ An allegorical story—a lycanthropic trophy wife is given treats until her beauty fades. She ages in dog years, eventually becoming older than her spouse. No longer loved and valued, she is deprived of place and purpose in society. The heartbreaking narrative about convenient cruelty will appeal to wide range of readers; certainly feminists and animal lovers, but also anyone who has experienced the pain of waning affection. ~ Hellnotes

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black (Originally in The Eternal Kisss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire (2009))

✥ About what it’s like living in a vampire-infested world when you’re infected but not turned. ✥ (vampires in the city) ✥

Talking Back to the Moon” by Steven R. Boyett (previously unpublished)

✥ Bizarre post-apocalyptic survival slice-of-life. ✥ (Female protagonist, zombies, post-apocalyptic California) ✥

On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert With Dead Folks” by Joe R. Lansdale (an old story, recycled from Book of the Dead (1989))

✥ It's as much a 70s exploitation film as it is post-apocalyptic western. ✥ (male protagonist, post-apocalyptic, zombies in the Southwest) ✥

The Bible Repairman” by Tim Powers (Also in The Bible Repairman and Other Stories)

✥ A broken man tries to redeem himself to the ghost of his daughter. ✥ (Male protagonist, voodoo-ish story concerning the restless spirits of the dead) ✥ Eerie story of a man who used to rescue ransomed ghosts, but now mostly earns his keep by altering Bibles on order, until he is hired to rescue a living girl. ~ ~ Bookgasm

Father Dear” by Al Sarrantonio

✥ Poe-esque story in which everything is not as it seems in the most horrible and satisfying way. ✥ A son views his father as the source of all his problems. Festering fury dating back to childhood leads to a desire for revenge. The overprotective parent manipulates his kid by fear; basic actions can have severe consequences–cutting off the crusts of bread is a necessity, for example. The son is abandoned at age 15, and twenty years later regards the man who misshaped his life as a ghost who though alive, still haunts. ~ Hellnotes

~ Source:


Peter S. Beagle is the best-selling author of The Last Unicorn, which has sold a reported five million copies since its initial publication in 1968. His other novels include A Fine & Private Place, The Innkeeper’s Song, and Tamsin. His short fiction has been collected in four volumes by Tachyon Publications, including The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche, The Line Between, We Never Talk About My Brother, and Sleight of Hand. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Mythopoeic, and Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire awards as well as the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than thirty novels, including the Edgar Award–winning Hap and Leonard mystery series (Mucho Mojo, Two Bear Mambo) and the New York Times Notable Book The Bottoms. More than two hundred of his stories have appeared in such outlets as Tales From the Crypt and Pulphouse, and his work has been adapted for The Twilight Zone and Masters of Horror. Lansdale has written several graphic novels, including Batman and Fantastic Four. He is a tenth-degree black belt and the founder of the Shen Chuan martial art. ~ Tachyon Publications

Cover ArtistEdit

Artist: Elizabeth Story (ISFdb:The Urban Fantasy Anthology)

Publishing InformationEdit

Cover Blurb Edit

Star-studded and comprehensive, this imaginative anthology brings a myriad of modern fantasy voices under one roof. Previously difficult for readers to discover in its new modes, urban fantasy is represented here in all three of its distinct styles—playful new mythologies, sexy paranormal romances, and gritty urban noir. Whether they feature tattooed demon-hunters, angst-ridden vampires, supernatural gumshoes, or pixelated pixies, these authors—including Patricia Briggs, Neil Gaiman, and Charles de Lint—mash-up traditional fare with pop culture, creating iconic characters, conflicted moralities, and complex settings. The result is starkly original fiction that has broad-based appeal and is immensely entertaining. ~ Goodreads | The Urban Fantasy Anthology by Peter S. Beagle

Awards Edit

Quotes Edit

“It was always frightening when something you thought was firmly under control broke free to run where it would.” — “Seeing Eye,” by Patricia Briggs
“I felt myself shrink down to a hard core of sort of cold fire inside my bones, and all the flesh part, the muscles and the squishy insides and the skin, went sort of glowing and free-floating, all shining with moonlight, and I felt a sort of shifting and balance-changing going on.” (Boobs" by Suzy McKee Charnas) ~ The Urban Fantasy Anthology – Book Review

Trivia / Notes Edit

1990 Hugo Award for best short story: Boobs” by Suzy McKee

See Also Edit

See Category links at bottom of page

External Links Edit


TOC: Table of Contents: 


Author Pages for Book: 

Characters, World: 

Goodreads: Series & Story Pages:

Author Websites:

Goodreads Author Pages—for authors with low-info or no websites:



See Also Edit

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