Mythpunk refers to "a subgenre of mythic fiction" in which classical folklore and faerie tales get hyperpoetic postmodern makeovers. Coined by author Catherynne M. Valente, the term describes a brand of speculative fiction which starts in folklore and myth and adds elements of postmodern fantastic techniques: urban fantasy, confessional poetry, non-linear storytelling, linguistic calisthenics, worldbuilding, and academic fantasy. Characterized by baroque multicultural fashion, alternative/ queer sexuality, bizarre retellings of familiar faerie tales, pervasive anxiety, fear of inevitable change, elaborate symbolism and radical reinterpretation, mythpunk is a cross-media movement. Although largely defined through literary works like Andrea Jones's Hook & Jill, Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat series and Catherynne Valente's The Orphan's Tales, the mythpunk aesthetic occasionally manifests in music (The Decemberists), film (Pan's Labyrinth), jewelry and other media forms. Although this (sub)genre shares many elements with Urban Fantasy, mythpunk stories tend to avoid linear or obvious story structures, simple prose and easily-discernible character archetypes.
Adaptation Expansion: Common in such stories.
Arabian Nights Days: Middle-Eastern influences (or outright homage) is common.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Common in narrative, not as much among characters.
Dark Is Not Evil: Monsters are often gentle, even heroic, and almost always misunderstood... yet still monsters. Also humans could be the real monsters.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Many mythpunk characters are decidedly, often wonderfully and occasionally frighteningly eccentric.
Cryptic Conversation: Characters often speak in riddles, stories or baroque metaphors, often to the annoyance of other characters.
Deconstruction: Almost a foundation for this genre.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: Faerieland often isn't a nice place to be...
Down the Rabbit Hole: Sometimes used to link the setting with the "real world".
Everyone Is Bi: Sexuality and gender are often rather fluid.
Fairy Tale: The foundation for this genre.
Fractured Fairy Tale: And macabre buildings are raised over it.
Framing Device: Many mythpunk stories involve tales-within-tales.
Grimmification: Especially notable in Block's works, but typical overall.
Lyrical Dissonance: Beauty and misery are close companions in this genre.
Mind Screw: Almost by default, this genre presents almost everything in surreal terms, sometimes to excess.
Metaphorgotten: The genre's "linguistic calisthenics" can occasionally get rather thick.
Nightmare Fuel: Disturbing, even horrific, imagery are used deliberately in-universe as a hallmark of these tales.
Our Fairies Are Different: Mythpunk authors hew closer to The Fair Folk than to Disneyfied pixies.
Our Monsters Are Different: A staple of Valente's work in particular. In a larger sense, expect mythpunk to give its monsters a twist — and maybe even make them the protagonists.
Purple Prose: Often on the borderline and occasionally over the edge.
Steam Punk: Often overlaps with mythpunk, especially in its Victorianna trappings.
Talking Animal: As in traditional folklore, mythpunk animals are quite chatty.
This Is Your Premise on Drugs: In-universe, the "punk" element of mythpunk often comes from the rampant symbolism and surreal atmosphere.
Twice Told Tales: Many mythpunk stories have origins in older tales, with a twist to the moral.
Urban Fantasy: Usually the starting-point of an adventure that gets stranger as it goes along.
World Building: Mythpunk stories often feature polycultural stews of elaborate degree.