The Character of Environment in Gothic Fiction

A few years back, just prior to a World Fantasy Con, a question was posited as to whether urban fantasy had become the new gothic horror due to the cityscapes taking the place of haunted houses and castles. It was an interesting idea, but one that I ultimately rejected. Urban fantasy has a texture that isn’t quite as dark as gothic horror; although, I will concede there are many elements that overlap (sorry, no Venn diagram is forthcoming from me).

However, the idea of a physical place, such as a house, a rural landscape, or a city, attaining the same characteristics as a person seems to be common to both urban fantasy and gothic horror. I recently read an NPR review for Lauren Beukes new novel, Broken Monsters, where Michael Schaub noted that Beukes renders Detroit as “… a major, tragic character in the novel.” Sarah Waters gives us a house in The Little Stranger that becomes haunted with a man’s desires.

Read the full post at Fantasy Book Critic