Wed
Feb 9 2011 1:21pm

Urban Fantasy and the Elusive Male Protagonist

Harry DresdenWhen it comes to urban fantasy, forget the famous James Brown song, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”: it’s women who rule paranormal fiction. Male protagonists are about as common as tan lines on a vampire. For every one Harry Dresden there are a dozen Anita Blakes, Mercy Thompsons, and Rachel Morgans. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of male characters in urban fantasy, but usually they are seen through the eyes of a female protagonist.

There are, of course, a few brave men who have managed to squeeze into the genre and carve out a starring role for themselves. Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series is still running strong, with a thirteenth novel featuring P.I. wizard Harry Dresden (Ghost Story) coming out in July. It even enjoyed a much-too-short lived TV show in 2007.

Given their rarity, I though we should shed some light on these often unsung Urban Fantasy male protagonists, which prompted a list on the Tor.com Urban Fantasy Facebook page and Twitter. Here are the names we came up with (...and suddenly they don’t seem quite so rare, after all):

Let us know if we missed anybody in the comments below!


Abigail Johnson manages the Tor.com Urban Fantasy Facebook and Twitter accounts and spends way too much time thinking about vampires, werewolves, zombies and all things paranormal in books, movies, TV and video games.

80 comments
allybobally
1. allybobally
Kevin Hearne's got one coming out soon, "Hammered," with a male protagonist named Atticus.
allybobally
2. Mike G.
Wasn't there a male protagonist in at least one of Mercedes Lackey's "Urban Elves" stories? It's been too long...
allybobally
3. N. Mamatas
John Shirley's Bleak History as well.
jon meltzer
4. jmeltzer
Way back when: Archie in Heinlein's Magic Inc.
allybobally
5. DRickard
How about:
Edwin Drood (The Man with the Golden Torc) by Simon R. Green
Matt Richter (Nekropolis) by Tim Waggoner
King (King Maker) by Maurice Broaddus
nat ward
6. smonkey
What about Carnacki?

The Original "supernatural detective" by William Hope Hodgeson.

Back in the olden days he was the king of the rite of sunnannanannan and that man could draw a pentacle!
Chris Hawks
7. SaltManZ
Cook's Garrett books seem like an odd inclusion, since they're more hard-boiled detective stories than anything else. And assuming I'm correct in thinking that the "urban" in "urban fantasy" refers to a contemporary urban setting...well, Garrett doesn't have that, either.
Jotham Parsons
8. jotham.parsons
Depending on your definition of "urban fantasy," there's Orient in Emma Bull's Finder.
allybobally
9. Ramenth
The irony of this is that, if you read articles talking about Urban Fantasy, a significant percentage complain about how male dominated it is, and see a forthcoming strong reaction against male leads.
allybobally
10. Aebriol
You forgot one of the best - Rob Thurman's Cal & Nico novels starting in Nightlife.
allybobally
11. dwndrgn
@ SaltMan Z: Cook's Garrett PI books are basically high fantasy detective novels, not really urban or paranormal fantasy.

@ Mike G: Bedlam's Bard by Mercedes Lackey did have a male protag.

And now I've got tons more book titles to add to my 'to read' list ;-)
Abigail Johnson
12. AbigailJohnson
@allybobally - I should have remembered the new Druid Chronicles series from Hearne. Sounds like a promising debut.

@Mike G - @dwndrgn came up with BEDLAM'S BARD. Is that the one you were thinking of?

@N.Mamatas @jmeltzer @dRickard @smonkey @jotham.parsons - thanks for the title adds

@Saltman Z - I'm sure I'll get stoned for this later, but I've adopted a very loose definition of UF that includes just about every form of contemporary fantasy that exists. I haven't read Cook's books, but several people mentioned them so they made the list.

@Rameth - Really? I thought the genre was pretty well acknowledged as female dominated. Just look at the releases for any month and the female protagonists are everywhere.

@Aebriol - Nope, Rob's series is up there, you must have missed it.

@dwndrgn - Hopefully everyone found more books to add to their TBP. Thanks for the Lackey find too.
Christopher Key
13. Artanian
You forgot Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series, with male lead protagonist Owen Zastava Pitt.
Joe Monti
14. JoeMonti
Two new releases:
Jon F Merz's THE KENSEI, about vampire fixer Lawson.

And one by debut novelist Stina Leicht, OF BLOOD AND HONEY, although this one is more traditional urban fantasy with new UF influences of the fey and fallen angels
allybobally
15. ZCam
Do these qualify?
The Art of Arrow Cutting and Shadows Bite by Stephen Dedman
Jumper by Steven Gould
Beth Mitcham
16. bethmitcham
This is very timely, since I was just wondering when Farnsworth's second book would come out, but I forgot his name and the name of his book.
allybobally
18. Dreamwolf
Thanks for the tips.
It would have been nice if you posted a link to a review for each book to but now I have some work for tonight also ;-)

Also I agree with the premises but I guess the real reason is that a lot of pure romance novels seek cover under the UF parasol.

However if there isn't a good mystery story in it or if the worldbuilding is just a pretext for the romance then it shuld be branded with a hart and banned from the shelves of UF.

ps:
you forgot P. N. Elrod and the Vampire detective

Jack Fleming that started in "Bloodlist"
john mullen
19. johntheirishmongol
I have to say I read some urban fantasy and enjoy it but to me it is the modern version of the pulp novel. For every good one theres probably 20 bad. Or maybe a better comparison is the bodice snatchers...or updated gothic romances. The only guy centered one I know is Dresden. It will be interesting to see how this genre grows and changes over the next few years.
Binyamin Weinreich
20. Imitorar
I honestly had no idea that John Taylor and Harry Dresden weren't the only ones. Is there any paranormal romance with a male protagonist? Paranormal romance basically being urban fantasy with more focus on romance than on mystery, though the line can be a bit hazy. I don't even know if there are any male protagonists in mainstream romance novels. Women seem to go for romance novels, while men go for pornography.
allybobally
21. Justin Gustainis
I would respectfully suggest my own character, Quincey Morris (Black Magic Woman, et al.), who has a famous ancestor. He is soon to be joined in the male UF hero pantheon by Detective Sergeant Stanley Markowski of the Scranton (PA) Occult Crimes Investigation Unit (Hard Spell will be released in July, with more books to follow).
allybobally
22. David Belliveau
How about the Vampire Earth series by E.E. Knight starring David Valentine?
Abigail Johnson
23. AbigailJohnson
@Artanian - Thanks for the add

@Joe - We included THE KENSEI on the list, I reviewed it just last week, sort of a what if 007 was a vampire character. Plus who doesn't love vampire ninjas? OF BLOOD AND HONEY is a good add to this list.

@ZCam - The Dedman books for sure qualify. JUMPER...? Is it more scifi? I'd include it, but I'm sure others would disagree.

@bethmitcham - Glad we could help.

@Irene - I'm adding it to my TBR pile.

@Dreamwolf - Reviews would have been a good idea. About the romance, that could be a whole different post. More and more often UF & PNR get shelved together. And more and more UF titles are featuring strong romances in their stories. Some people like that, others hate it...And we did include P.N. Elrod, 7th from the top.

@jontheirishmongol - UF as a genre is HUGE right now, and not just in publishing. I'm excited to see where the poularity goes too. Already we see it spreading into other genres, like steampunk and creating new subs. Bring it on.

@Imitorar - BLOOD VICE, listed above, has a strong romantic plot if you're interested.

@Justin Gustainis - thanks for mentioning Quincey Morris. Looking forward to meeting Stanley. We posted the cover on the Facebook page. Sounds good.
Abigail Johnson
24. AbigailJohnson
@David Belliveau- Another good add. Slightly futuristic, but with vampires. I'll have to check it out.
Christian Decomain
25. Khryss
Do the Detective Inspector Chen novels by Liz Williams count as Urban Fantasy?

If so, the title character is male, although there are some female protagonists as well.
allybobally
26. kvon
I'll propose Bob Howard from Charlie Stross' Laundry Series (my sf book club insists it isn't fantasy, but elder gods and things from the deep do it for me); in the same vein Peter Crossman by James MacDonald in The Apocalypse Door.
Bruce E. Durocher II
27. bedii
You've got Harry Connolly's "Child of Fire," but the sequel "Game of Cages" shouldn't be forgotten--and he put a picture of the proposed cover of the third "Twenty Palaces" book up at his main site and his LJ a week or two ago. Based on one of the posts to Connolly's LJ, Charlie Stross likes them well enough to grumble about how unfair it was to stumble across "Child of Fire" when he was on a deadline of his own...
Joe Monti
28. JoeMonti
@abagail - Whoops! Looked twice, to make sure, missed it! SHAME! Thx And yeah, it's kinda like chocolate & peanut butter.

And yes, Irene, Big Idea, and now, Omnivoracious too:
http://www.omnivoracious.com/
allybobally
29. Chaz Brenchley
Coming soon, from Solaris: "Desdaemona" by Ben Macallan. Who is, ahem, me by any other name. Male narrator, mystery and romance. And harpies, the Green Man, Nine Men's Morris, a prince of hell, werewolves and vampires and much much more...
allybobally
30. DarrenJL
Modern urban fantasy only? Not technically urban fantasy, then. Otherwise why are the Lankhmar stories not in there? Conan as well, really. The wild (Conan) meeting civilization (soft, decadent cities) is really one of the core aspects of the Conan stories. They're very urban.
Josh Jasper
31. joshjasper
What? Amazon.com tells me I can choose from
579 Paranormal Romance novels with male protagonists!
Oh, you meant *straight* men.
allybobally
32. Ryk E. Spoor
My own Jason Wood, from Digital Knight, would certainly fit. I'm updating and expanding DK so perhaps it will see print again one day.
allybobally
33. Mike G.
@dwndrgn: I was thinking of the SERRAted Edge books rather than Bedlam's Bard, but that one fits, too, thanks!
allybobally
34. Mike G.
Oh, I have another one - the 2nd or 3rd book in Rick's Cook _Wizard's Bane_ series takes place in Vegas (at CES, I think, or some other big electronics conference), so that would make Wiz Zumwalt fit the bill.
Irene Gallo
35. Irene
@31: Josh, Any recommendations from that list? I'm sure people would like to hear them.
allybobally
36. Harry Connolly
While I'm happy to see anything gets my work in front of new readers (Why don't you guys review it? I'd be happy to send a copy) and grateful for the kind words of commenters, I am a little put off by the topic of this post.

Why the list? It's trivially easy to find UF books with men in the lead; this gives the impression that Ms. Johnson wants to show the genre doesn't have girl cooties.

Not that the genre doesn't give certain readers the girl-cootie shivers, but you know what? Fuck those readers. Does anyone care that there are men (and some women, I guess, but the ones I come across are always dudes) who think reading a book with a woman in the lead is either contemptible or Just Not For Them? I don't. Those people are missing out, and too bad for them.

I hope Ms. Johnson will be creating a list of UF with female protagonists next, and after that will focus on the quality of those books rather than whether they have men "brave" enough to take part in this subgenre.

I'm already regretting this comment even before I hit post, but here I go clicking anyway.
Scott Harris
37. vitruvian
Sam Vimes and Moist Von Lipwig of Ankh-Morporkh. Fantasy doesn't get more urban...
allybobally
38. Danielle S.
Someone mentioned Simon Green's The Man With the Golden Torc, but the Nightside series's John Taylor belongs on this list, too.

I'd also argue that Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt should be on the list. What about Saul Garamond from Mievill's King Rat?
allybobally
39. Danielle S.
Drat. John Taylor & Joe Pitt are on the list. My critial reading skills are impaired this afternoon. Sorry.
allybobally
40. MoSo
There are some favs (and a few "meh"s) on this list, but I always appreciate lists of UF books that are NOT paranormal romance books. The PNR field is swamping out the non-romance-based UF books. I'm tempted to find a sexual version of the "wheat and chaff" example, but best not to inflict that on anyone.

Other examples: Christopher Moore and A. Lee Martinez, particularly Gil's All Fright Diner


(and, Harry Connolly: don't complain, the list reminded me to go to Amazon and look for the latest - preordered Circle of Enemies....)
allybobally
41. JustinS
@33 I was also thinking of Tanim from Lackey's SERRA series (well, books 1 and 4 of it).

I found both those books, and her Diane Treguard series (set in the same setting) fun to read, and also really well set in time. Not just 'modern' but really rooted in the 70s, 80s and 90s as appropriate.
Lou Anders
42. LouAnders
Mike Resnick's PI John Justin Mallory appeared in Stalking the Unicorn in 1987, over a decade before the urban fantasy craze. Mallory returned in several short stories and two recently published books.
Robert Klee
43. RJKlee
Its interesting to find this topic, as just the other day I was thinking about how few Urban Fantasy novels seem to be written for the male reader. I've always been interested in the genre but have always been intimidated by how seemingly female oriented it was. I'll have to look into these recommendations
Abigail Johnson
44. AbigailJohnson
@Harry Connelly - No offence intended. This list idea sprang from of few people bemoaning that they couldn't very many male protagonists in UF. I though we could pool our resources and get a list going to help direct readers to these titles and make it 'trivally easy' to find them. 'Brave' was perhaps not the right word.

And I would definitely be up to doing a female list. Thanks for the suggestion.
allybobally
45. Harry Connolly
@Abigail Johnson, no offense received. This is just something that comes up once in a while. As a male author writing UF, I too often hear sentiments like RJKlee's at #43, who seems to think he needs to have books written for his gender. I would suggest that, instead of treating the genre like a woman's restroom, he and other readers like him should be directed toward really good books, even ones with a woman on the cover.
Chris Winter
46. cswinter
I would add David Devereux's Jack (Hunter's Moon, Eagle Rising) to the list of fine, male, urban fantasy characters.
Luis Milan
47. LuisMilan
I think the prevalence of female protagonists in Urban Fantasy is an interesting counterpoint to the prevalence of male protagonists in "regular" Fantasy.

@Ryk: I really liked Digital Knight, btw! I hope to read more of your work eventually.
allybobally
48. Val^2
I'd be happy if someone would direct me to the better books in the genre, period. After being burned by a couple of series that began as UF and morphed into paranormal romance (ugh), I'd love to be steered toward the one rather than the other. At this point, I avoid anything with a barely-clad, tattoo-sporting, weapon-wielding woman on the cover and just stick with my man Dresden.
Drew Holton
49. Dholton
Would the Amber series count as UF? It definitely starts out that way, and Corwin is one of the prototypical male protagonists.
Erick G
50. Erick G
I think its great that women are getting as much attention as they are in fantasy. For too long have the men been the knights in shining armor saving the damsels in distress. I love Rachel Morgan and the rest of the Hollows series. I lover her kick-butt attitude and her unfailing loyalty to the under-dog, even if it does become predictable and her antics make you want to slam your face into the desk from sheer frustration. But I'm also a big fan of Simon R. Green's Nightside series, and John Taylor's cynicism and sacrcastic remarks. So I see both genders as becoming great protagonists, as long as they are in great stories. So yea, maybe it is a little lopsided into the female heroic roles, but I think it will balance itself out eventually, and fantasy will be truly gender nuetral in its heroes, and heroins.
allybobally
51. K-Lee
You forgot "Chimera" by Rob Thurman (Stephan)
Richard Kadrey also has "Butcher Bird"
S.M. Stirling "A Taint in the Blood"
James Knapp "State of Decay" (Nico)
David Mack "The Calling" (Tom)
Mark Teppo "Lightbreaker" (Landis)

There are a couple of teen reads that should be listed since they're just phenomenal urban fantasy.
Holly Black "White Cat" (Cassel)
Lish McBride "Hold Me Closer, Necromancer" (Sam)
allybobally
52. Sihaya
#45 Harry Connelly, I must admit that as a woman, I sometimes feel like someone's trying to steer my reading choices towards certain ghettos. "Why don't you read books that matter, books that are about *our* story?" was the challenge when I was young. Certainly as a sci fi reader, I've felt that way since I was a young girl, when someone would try to hand me something more "appropriate" to read, a nongenre book which would tell me what "our story" should be rather than introducing me to another facet in the panoply of possible human experience.

I mean, I like fantasy books with female protagonists, but I find that they are often the ones that don't feature her on the cover. When the book tables are covered with mist-veiled yet well-armed heroines festooned in tramp stamps, long coats or whatever fashion is popular among the not-quite-dead set this week, I have to admit that I turn away; I feel like somebody's trying to use visual code to manipulate me towards a certain set of books, and that maybe urban fantasy doesn't actually offer all that much variety.

So yeah, sometimes I would like to see a book that's written "for a guy" just because the assumption about what's written "for a girl" so often is either beating me over the head with romance or slapping me around with an "Independent girls kick butt!" moral message written in twenty foot letters of fire. Rightly or not, the perception one picks up from the urban fantasy table at the bookstore is that half of the protagonists are based on Kinsey Milhone and the other half are based on Buffy.

So if you hate it that somebody is pointing out that the very genre that you write in is not, in fact, supernatural horror's answer to O magazine, then I'm sorry, but tough toenails; you might actually have a few new readers. So please say, "Yes, ma'am," and take the money, okay?
allybobally
53. vcpuppy
The Thraxas novels by Martin Scott
allybobally
55. Shoe Coleridge
Vampire Files gets too little love! Makes my (a complete stranger's) day that you put it near the top of the list!
Alana Abbott
56. alanajoli
@Imitorar (and others): one could argue that the paranormal romance genre features half-male, half-female POV, since in most of the formula ones, you get half the perspective from the male lead and half the perspective from the female lead. PR novels usually only have one book per couple, though -- the series feature is the world in which all the couples end up together. Series like Nilani Singh's Psy-Changeling books, or Meljean Brook's Guardians titles are examples of this.

Whether or not you like the paranormal romance genre is a completely different topic, of course. (I did read an article recently about the upswing of male romance readers, however -- if I could remember where I read it, I'd link to it here.)

I also agree with @Harry Connolly -- UF shouldn't feel like a gender ghetto. With that in mind, most of the readers I swap UF books with in my friend circle are male. Guys introduced me to Mercy Thompson and Zoe Martinique. We've traded Cat & Bones books and Georgina Kincaid books. And we've gabbed about Simon Canderous, Harry Dresden, Kate Daniels, and even the Edge series (which is definitely into paranormal romance, by my definition). So I don't think it's a girls game, here.
allybobally
57. Harry Connolly
@bedii and @MoSo, thank you. I hope you enjoy the next one.

@Sihaya, "beating you over the head with romance?" Okay. but I should point out that my problem with the list has nothing to do with whether UF is getting a little stagnant or if some of the books read like lesser writers jumping onto a successful bandwagon. Personally, I think the genre could be shaken up a bit.

The point of my post is that too many male readers won't read about female protagonists and that is just not legit. Instead of catering to them, we should be brushing them off until they do the hard work of opening their own minds.

I'll still take the money when it's offered, though.

@alanajoli, it sounds like you have great friends to swap books with. I reached a point a long time ago where I wouldn't take books from my friends any more because they kept giving me things I couldn't stand. :)
David Mack
58. davidmack
@ #51 K-Lee - Thanks for recommending my book!

@ Abigail - here's more complete info with a link to the publisher's page (please forgive the shameless self-promo):

The Calling (Tom Nash) by David Mack
allybobally
59. Ian Thomas Healy
I actually wrote one in 2009, a humorous urban fantasy about vampires infesting a minor-league ice hockey team. My agent didn't think she could sell it so it's been epublished here: http://is.gd/ROUfuu.
allybobally
60. Sihaya
#57, Harry, I am so sorry for misspelling your name. It was an unforgiveable oversight.

I think we both agree that the genre appears to need a touch of help - "to be shaken up a bit" as you put it. But I think we both read the article's purpose differently. I figured that a list of urban fantasy books with a list of male protagonists was a rebuttal to certain ideas put forth by the cookie cutter marketing of the product. You, on the other hand, thought that the article might be an attempt to pander to "duuuuuudes." I now suspect that the real point was nothing other than middle-of-the-week amusement.

I do look forward to trying your book. "Child of Fire" seems interesting.
Abigail Johnson
61. AbigailJohnson
@davidmack - Thanks for the link. I'm a PA native myself so I'll have to check it out.

@sihaya - There was no real purpose besides gathering info for everyone. I've been reading quite a few male POVs lately and honestly, I wish there were more. If nothing else, this list has added to my already considerable TBR pile.
allybobally
62. chamois-shimi
I can't believe there hasn't yet been any mention of Richard Mayhew in Gaiman's 'Neverwhere!' Well, okay, it was a miniseries first, but the book is great, too.
allybobally
63. Kay Scarlet
Can we have a list of urban fantasies with a GLBT protagonist or GLBT characters, and preferably not the brave but tragically doomed sidekick or deceitful villain. The brave woman/ cynical or battleworn man & their inevitable romance gets a bit predicable. Why not the heroine with the female cop? Or the cop with the male wizard? : )
Elizabeth Bear
64. matociquala
Well, since Chaz self-nominated, I will too.

My Whiskey and Water has male protagonists. (Female, too, but more men.) Blood and Iron, the first book in the series, is more focused on the women.

I was going to mention Holly Black's excellent White Cat and Red Glove, but I see others got there first. Did anybody mention Brust and Lindholm's The Gypsy, or Lindholm's Wizard of the Pigeons, which is brilliant?

Leah Bobet's forthcoming first novel also has a male protag, and is quite good.
allybobally
65. Rhelle
@Harry Connolly - thank you for saying that! I've said the same thing so often I feel as though I should just make a recording! When the subject comes up I always tell them to read Ilona Andrews, who is a husband/wife writing team. Its clear UF, not paranormal romance and anyone who is avoiding UF is simply cutting their nose off to spite their face.

As for romance...its tricky waters. Its difficult, damn difficult, to find a book that has no romance in it. Even hard sci-fi has some! I do not, at all, enjoy reading sex scenes but reading about romance is not at all the same thing. How I make the cut between UF and PR is to evaluate the plot - is the plot centered around getting the two protagonists into bed together, or is it to have them safe the world/whatever. Eileen Wilks' World of the Lupi series is one of those few that are right on my dividing line - the relationship is part of the plot, and there is little sex and they do frequently save the world, but there is a lot of romance. I love the series and think the plotting is well done.

@Kay Scarlet : I can't vouch for the quality of the books, as I've not yet had a chance to read them, but
http://www.samhainpublishing.com/ has many, many m/m, f,f, and other combinations. I can vouch for Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series, as well as the Kushiel series. Oddly, Clive Barker has an excellent book, Imajica, that explores relationships and gender combined with a great plot. Anther GLBT writer is Sarah Monette, whom I did not enjoy but many others did.

Thanks for all the recs folks!
allybobally
66. dimumurray
Back in the late '80s thru the early '90s a lot of authors dabbled in Urban Fantasy with quite a lot of them having male leads, but for the most part these were one-shot titles that never became series often quickly falling into obscurity.

One of my favourites of the time was one called "The Wolf's Hour" by Robert R. McCammon. The male lead was a werewolf who was also a WWII spy for the Allied Forces. What was cool about the book is that it was one of the first I read that didn't follow a linear format in terms of timeline. Every couple of chapters it would jump between two timeframes one where he was the member of a pack learning what it means to be a werewolf and the other when he was older using his skills as a werewolf to thwart Nazi enemies. It was pretty cool.

Somewhere along the line urban fantasy bore a bastard daughter called "paranormal romance". We've been stuck with her ever since :)
allybobally
67. gwydion78
There are a LOT of male protagonists in UF, but a definite rarity are gay male protagonists in UF. I recently discovered Vaughn R. Demont's "House of Stone", which features a gay fae noble (Richard Stone) as its protagonist. From what I understand, Demont writes exclusively gay UF. Then again, that's probably why no one's heard of him. :)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
68. tnh
Josh (31), I'm sure there are some very nice M/M genre romances with paranormal themes available through Amazon, but they're really not the same kind of book.
allybobally
69. Rob Thurman
Glad to be included among the other male protags...but the link to Nightlife doesn't take you to Nightlife. It takes you to Sweet Silver Blues. Be great if that could be fixed. If not and readers are interested in it, please go to www.robthurman.net.
allybobally
70. gerald.h
its come to the point where i wont touch a book with a female on the cover unless its been recommended by some friends or an author i respect.

it seems as if its all about alpha werewolves and master vampires in a three way relationship with an independant ass kicking woman, the majority of it could also be classified as soft-core porn.

@Harry Connolly,
i had never heard of you before this post, ill be buying child of fire next time im at a bookstore or on amazon, it looks like a good read.

i agree that alot male readers wont want to read about a female protagonist but you said it yourself:
"some of the books read like lesser writers jumping onto a successful bandwagon."

i refuse to buy a book about soft-core beastiality porn hiding as urban fantasy.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
71. tnh
Gerald.h @70, all that your proposed plan is going to accomplish is that you'll miss out on some books you might have enjoyed.

How long have you been reading Our Beloved Genre? I thought everyone knew that one of its default conditions is that terrific books sometimes have unpromising covers. Fandom (latterly including online forums) has always swapped notes on what's really inside those packages.

If you go on judging books solely by their covers, and continue to indulge your phobia about Girl Cooties, you'll also lose your chance to influence what gets published and how it gets packaged. It's a different world when publishers understand that men read Georgette Heyer and women read Patrick O'Brian. Smarter and more interesting books can get published.

It's your call; but I know which option I'd choose.
allybobally
72. Harry Connolly
gerald.h: You say "soft-core beastiality porn" like it's a bad thing.
allybobally
73. AJC0
I would include Nylund's Mortal Coils and All That Lives Must Die on the list. I thought they were great. Lucifer and One of the Greek sisters of fate (Atropos) meet at a costume part and end up with twins.
allybobally
74. gerald.h
@tnh
ive been reading fantasy since 95/96.
i understand what you're saying but its not a phobia about girl cooties its about finding a great book or at least a decent one.
in my experience 80% of books with scantily clad men or women on the cover are about sex/romance and filled with scratches on backs and "throbbing members" etc.

@Harry Connolly
i dont know what to say to that other than i hope you dont have pets
Amanda Klepper
75. dichotomy08
Bone Song by John Meaney is an urban fantasy with a male protagonist (Donal Riordan). It didn't blow me away (it's no Dresden Files) but it's pretty good, set in a world only a little different than our own. Different in that there are ghosts all over the place and everyone knows about them.
allybobally
76. Brian Berthiaume
Thanks for the list. I've been combing the shelves looking for something new. @Harry C. I enjoy male leads, I enjoy female leads. The purpose of the list was to help those who couldn't find the former. And if someone doesn't want to read female protagonist UF it's their choice, even if they miss out.
allybobally
79. d. harman
Harry C. I think it just as a male reader i relate more to a male lead than a female. I get more into the story and the trials of the charater. I've read lots of books with female leads and really enjoyed them but if i have a chose i'll pick a male lead every time. Plus read both your book out great stuff.
Chance in Hell - Patrick Kampman
Webmage - Kelly McCullough
Stalking the Vampire - Mike Resnick
The Atrocity Archive - Charles Stross
American Gods- Neil Gaiman
Heart of Scars- Brian P. Easton
God Touched - John Conroe
Are some more books that might entertain ya
allybobally
80. Pam Turner
This is interesting. I was recently on an urban fantasy panel and we were talking about men writing UF and/or male protagonists. While I have nothing against strong female leads, I personally prefer the male leads. I bookmarked this post so I can go back and read some of the authors listed.
allybobally
81. Sammykat
There's a few missed that I kmow of:
Johannes Cabal from Jonothan L. Howard
Atticus O'Sullivan from Keven Hearne's Iron Druid series
Alex Verus from Benedict Jacka's series

There's a lot more that I've seen but can't remember the names of just now.
allybobally
83. Kentdoc
Looking for Gay male protagonists? Here are two that I enjoy and are well-written ( but they are self published):

The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse by Keith Hartman

The Jade Owl by Edward C. Patterson (not sure if this is quite UF)

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