The Island of Misfit Toys, or Is Funny the Rodney Dangerfield of Speculative Fiction?

"League of Reluctant Adults... assemble!"

(insert clap of thunder here)

It is my honor and privilege to welcome you to blog post numero uno for the website where urban fantasists come to die... err, hang out. If you're here, chances are you showed up on our doorstep for one of several reasons:

1. You're a relative (Hi, Auntie!)

2. One of us forced you to, probably at gunpoint

3. You're interested in writing and wonder just what the hell we funny urban writers do when not screwing around (hint: more screwing around).

4. You're a sincerely twisted fanboy or fangirl interested in wearing one of our faces as a mask while you dance in front of a full length mirror gently whispering "I loved you, I always loved you, but I can't live without you and I won't let you live without me."

In any of those cases, welcome... especially if you qualify for number four. You're exactly the type of committed person I'm looking for to pimp my book series to the world at large. You simply can't buy that kind of loyalty or publicity... so give me a call! If I know you as well as a profiler knows a predator, you already have my number. And probably a lock of my hair.

So my subject today is The Island of Misfit Toys because for me, that's what being a part of the League is. We all wanted a home where writers like us could come to rant, whine, pontificate, what have you. I joined the League simply because as an urban fantasist, I felt like I didn't really fit anywhere...at first. How does my Whedon-esue urban fantasy stack up to epic fantasy or, more pointedly, a boy wizard in England? Where does the humorous urban fantasist fit in the grand scheme of all fantasy writer evah? There's a lot out there. You have your serious fantasy writers- all legitimate sounding. Your epic fantasy writers- I felt intimidated by their sheer volume of work. The science fiction writers- they sounded legitimate because they've got SCIENCE as their backbone for goodness sake! Even romance is co-opting part of our genre, depending on how much boinking goes on. Being part of humorous urban fantasy felt like being the new kid on the block, one without any respect.

Then I had a thought that dispelled my growing neurosis over all this- every genre has this issue. Every last one has a type of strata and as the volume of what is published increases even more subgenres form! Eventually another new genre will pop up and then they'll be low man on the paranoia totem pole! Then we can point our fingers at them and laugh. I found this thought infinitely comforting...

Once, long ago, there was only one primordial pool known as written word. At some point, that divided into the first of subgenres, separating the liars into "fiction" and the non-liars into "non-fiction". See how that works?

But it didn't stop there...

Eventually the fiction writers scoffed at the first guy to tell a story that was just a little too wacky or over the top. To them they gave their own name- fantasy writers. Then they themselves stratified. Only time will tell who the urban fantasist will be able to scoff at... but I think it will be people writing dragon pr0n or Pikachu-Mulder-Optimus Prime threesomes.

For the writers out there, take comfort that we all suffer from the same insecurities, be it no respect or who might be better. I think urban fantasy has just as much paranoia as any other genre. We all wonder how we stack up to others in our related field. Do we hold our own? I say yes, because as writers we're all in the same boat. The grass is never greener as far as I'm concerned. The bond we all share as creators is a healthy dose of worry- that people won't like our work, that people won't take us seriously, that people would rather be reading REAL science fiction and fantasy. We're just as real, only funnier... and more interesting at parties.

The movie industry suffers from this as well. There's that old stigma that a comedy film doesn't hold as much water as a drama, that somehow creating comedy has less merit or is easier. It isn't.

The trick is to ignore your paranoia and keep on writing. If you're successful at eliminating this paranoia altogether, please send me an email. I need to know how to do it. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to put on my big floppy clown shoes and get back to work on my next book.

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