I’m postulating this notion more on circumstantial evidence than anything else right now. It’s something I plan to delve into a bit more, do some more research, and ask some more folks about, but I wanted to put this out there for people to comment on because it’s something that I find unfortunate for many UF writers.
UF exists on a pretty broad spectrum. It’s what one might call a blended genre, pulled together from several other genres. If we were to look at it on a line from one extreme to the other, we’d find something like this:
Each of these genres on their own contain their own tropes and character types, and have a general story structure that readers have come to expect over the years. While UF spans across these three genres, the one common thread they have is the use of a contemporary fantasy element in an urban setting. If one examines review sites across these genres, one finds a wealth of reviews, comments, and information among all but the crime fiction end of things. I find this a bit baffling. A sizeable chunk of the books you find on the shelves labelled UF, involve crime-fighting characters who solve a crime of some kind. We have private detectives, cops, FBI agents, etc. all working to stop some kind of paranormal villain. Is it just me, or is it rather odd that the characteristic “paranormal” somehow precludes these stories from being considered within the crime fiction genre? On occasion you can get someone who breaks beyond these bounds and gets considered by almost everyone, i.e. The Dresden Files, but in general this wealth of paranormal crime fiction is relegated within the ranks of those who typically cover the UF genre.
Some of this could easily be due to how UF is marketed and shelved. You just don’t see them among the ranks of mystery and thriller writers. Somehow, the paranormal precludes them from membership, and I just don’t get this. There are a lot of readers out there who read primarily mysteries and thrillers, who would likely find a great deal of content within UF that would appeal to them, but they’re never made aware of them. I have no answers around how to change this. I merely want to point out the fact and bring it up as an interesting issue that I believe deserves some discussion. What do you think? What are some UF books you’ve read that are really crime fiction disguised in paranormal clothes? Or some mysteries/thrillers you’ve found that have paranormal elements but aren’t actually labelled as UF? I’d like to hear about them.
Happy reading/writing everyone!