What was the first book that was classified as urban fantasy? Who was the author and when was it published?

  • 2
  • @Richard Good article, thanks. From what I've read, I would also tend to put Laurell K. Hamilton (or perhaps Kim Harrison) first, but I'm no expert. Mar 10, 2016 at 20:49
  • This seems very opinion-based.
    – Valorum
    Mar 10, 2016 at 21:40
  • 4
    It is a VERY ambiguous question, especially with its "can be classified" phrasing. If you take the definition of Urban Fantasy wikipedia, the genre is just a fantastic story that takes place in an urban setting. With that definition, you could go back to at least the penny dreadfuls of the 1800s for the first Urban Fantasy, and probably even further back. But is that something people would really accept as the definition of Urban Fantasy? It is so poorly defined.
    – KAI
    Mar 10, 2016 at 22:12
  • 4
    There is this tale about the siege of a big city, with monsters and gods and mithological creatures. It's called Iliad en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iliad
    – edc65
    Mar 10, 2016 at 23:10

4 Answers 4


Well, I might as well give this a shot, although I'm not an expert and Richard was there before me with his comment from twenty minutes ago. I nominate Laurell K. Hamilton with 1993's Guilty Pleasures. See the link Richard posted in his comment above. Several other sites including Wikipedia agree.

  • While I agree that Jekyll and Hyde is older, Charles de Lint published 'Moonheart' with Ace in l984, it straddles two worlds but one of those is firmly Ottawa, Canada.
    – tgrignon
    May 6, 2020 at 18:46

Lord Dunsany - some of the Jorkens stories set in London, for example. 1920's.

  • I haven't read the Jorkens stories. I looked them up and they appear to have been set in a variety of locales. But there wasn't enough detail on them for me to assess if they fit the question. Which stories would you recommend? Mar 10, 2016 at 22:10

By the straightforward definition: The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde must count as urban fantasy and it was published in 1886. So, sometime before 1886.

  • isn't the Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde more Science Fiction then Fantasy? Mar 11, 2016 at 14:20
  • 1
    I would have described it as fantasy. There's not much sign of science in it and it has common horror and fantasy elements. Mar 11, 2016 at 14:23

Would The Vampire Lestat count as Urban Fantasy? It predates Hamilton's book. Published in 1985.

  • Some consider it as within the definition, others view it as a precursor. Take a look at the article Richard posted above. It's definitely a possibility. Mar 10, 2016 at 21:32

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.