Many readers are puzzled by what mythpunk actually is. Is it a new genre? Is it adaptations of fairy tales in a postmodern style? Is it a fusion of fantasy and cyberpunk? Is it just another marketing gimmick to sell books? Opinions vary, but there are several writers releasing exciting stories under this banner. I’ll give you a brief description of the type of stories you can expect and some of the most popular titles.
Basically, mythpunk retells mythology, folklore and fairy tales, but uses characters that are less rigidly defined in their roles. A large number of writers under the mythpunk umbrella are young women, and a common theme is the redefining of gender roles within the fantasy genre. Catherynne M. Valente, who first used the term mythpunk in 2006, aims to distinguish mythpunk from the majority of other fantasy genres by describing these works as a post-Tolkien style. Check out this interview Valente did with Strange Horizons, which explains how mythpunk is challenging mainstream fantasy. Also worth reading is this article by author Theodora Goss, in which she gives a more in-depth analysis of the nature of mythpunk writing.
When all is said and done, mythpunk is only a name and it is the writing that will speak for itself. It’s hard to say whether authors are writing mythpunk intentionally or if these works are being lumped together for marketing purposes. Regardless, innovative and forward thinking writing has come out of this genre, so take a look at some of these popular titles:
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (first book in the Fairyland series)
- The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valenete (second book in the Fairyland series)
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman (first book in the American Gods Series)
- Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (second book in the American Gods Series)
Head over to the Library Catalogue to find these titles and more!