I’m starting a mini-series where I discuss one of my favourite fantasy sub-genres… gaslamp fantasy. If you haven’t come across this particular genre before, it’s time for you to discover something great! With a hint of the gothic combined with steampunk and historical fiction, it’s a magical genre (with just enough darkness that it seems autumn-appropriate). I’d actually categorise my book Witchfog, and its upcoming sequels, as gaslamp fantasy, so you can tell that this really is a favourite of mine!
But before I get into why I love gaslamp fantasy, or what my favourite gaslamp fantasy books are (they might be separate posts, now I think about it), I’d better answer the question: what is gaslamp fantasy?
Gaslamp fantasy is a spinoff of Alternative History, or perhaps Steampunk, or perhaps Historical Fantasy. Actually, it’s a little bit of all the above! The most famous comparable genre is probably Gothic; Gaslamp fantasy borrows lots of the tropes and characters of traditional Gothic fiction, but puts a more modern fantasy spin on them. Like Steampunk, it’s set in the Regency, Victorian, or Edwardian periods, but it focuses far less on machines than Steampunk does. Instead, it deals with the supernatural and the paranormal, particularly the darker sides of these.
The name ‘gaslamp’ comes from the gas-fuelled lamps which lit the streets and homes of the period. ‘Gaslamp’ fantasy also evokes the dark, often creepy atmosphere of this genre. If you enjoy classic Gothic books like Dracula and Frankenstein, then gaslamp fantasy may be perfect for you. On the other hand, gaslamp covers so many styles that there is probably a perfect gaslamp fantasy book out there for most readers, whether you prefer romance, adventure, horror, or literary fiction.
- Gaslamp Fantasy Novels
- Gaslamp Fantasy Films
- Writing Gaslamp Fantasy