Content warnings for cis- and hetero- centric worldbuilding.
Back in June 2016, I wrote a whole Urban Fantasy 101 piece on the heteronormativity present in much of the genre (and I am including contemporary paranormal romance in this wide umbrella). While I know way more queer urban fantasy writers – and stories – than I did back then, one thing that still stands out to me is the way that so many of the big ticket urban fantasy writers still don’t bother to include any meaningful forms of queer representation in their massive series.Read More »
Notes: Content warnings for brief (but nondescriptive) mentions of sexual assault, mentions of homophobia in the text and a linked article), and just general heterocentrism/heterosexism.
One of the recurring tropes common to the urban fantasy genre is the idea that certain species have one “opposite sex” soulmate that is absolutely perfect for them and when they meet (or, more commonly, bang) for the first time, all of the pieces slot into place and their biology shifts so that they can have babies.
This focus on soulmates (often just “mates”) in urban fantasy has so much wasted potential behind it.
Instead of opening the concept of “mating” up to queer characters or characters in polyamorous relationships, these universes typically center mating and relationships on heterosexual and monogamous couples (with the occasional “these two werebears are my mates and also brothers as not to squick bigots who want to read polyamory but not that kind of polyamory” thrown in just to be frustrating).
I’m going to use specific examples here with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series (of course) and Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury (which is just regular fantasy, but still more recent than most of the stuff I usually reference). I’ll also be talking about some other book series and author examples (both positive and negative).Read More »