Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm wondering how the reading of some novels for this class would change with greater emphasis on historical context. Gaiman's work is a polemic against capitalism, and to a large degree the elements of normative society that are part of capitalism's mythology. Both Kim Harrison and Charlie Huston invoke HIV/AIDS within their works. Harrison creates an HIV/AIDS allegory that decimates those who reproduce within the human population; Huston parallels the existence of HIV/AIDS with a second virus that leads to vampirism. Although this parallel exists, the moment of infection for Joe is aligned more with the narratives of Samuel Delany, et. al. who discuss cruising and anonymous sex in theaters, bathrooms, and other areas of New York. These three works, and to some degree Mike Carey's sensitivity to human trafficking and the plight of Eastern European women, reshape what Urban Fantasy may actually be doing. Much like their close genre cousins (sci-fi and dystopia) these works appear to be both explicating a rather troublesome historical moment while also subverting the history that informs the texts. This will be no more evident than in Bulgakov's Master and Margarita where Stalinism influences every facet of existence. Perhaps the definition of urban fantasy should be amended to include political and social discussion on the level of seriousness as other, more "traditional" works of fiction.

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