The post I’d been planning on having for this week will be postponed since it’s waiting for something to happen elsewhere on the Internet that has also been postponed. Instead, I will reply to Trekkie’s post, specifically the bit about the Dresden Files.
The Dresden Files are fantasy. They’re not classic fantasy as you pointed out. That belongs to stories that take place on Middle Earth type places or other fantastical realms. One description of the series that I’ve seen is Urban Fantasy; quite fitting thinks I. It takes fantasy elements and sticks them in an urban environment. The first book of the Dresden Files is not enough. The series starts using more fantasy elements as it progresses (and in a quite satisfying way plot-wise). The guy can shoot beams of fire out of his wooden stick! He eventually modifies that spell into a freezing spell (e-cookie if you tell me how he does it). Oh, and he has a faerie godmother (boy is that quite the tale). If that’s not fantasy then what is? I’ve seen fantasy with little to no magic at all as a part of it. A Song of Ice and Fire is a series that treats magic as a myth; magic happens to be real in it but very few people can use it and it is always used as an anticlimactic end, but handled in such a way that it is, in fact, climactic.
While yes, in the end, genre can only be, at best, a rough approximation of what the book will be like; it is still an approximation. Authors do their own thing and the end result is a bajillion permutations within a genre. Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft are indeed Horror, but are they just horror? Book stores made the decision to put them where they are. I’m not making judgment on the wisdom of that move but I see the logic behind it and I judge it to be sound.