Hello gentle reader,
this week again I’m taking part in the Tursday’s Children meme hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez. It is “a weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them.”
In these posts, I share a little bit more about what I’ve been working on, a YA Historical Fantasy entitled LILY IN THE SHADOWS. Today’s theme was inspired by a Twitter chat hosted by Tor Publishing yesterday under the hashtag #torchat
Inspired by a genre: Gaslamp Fantasy
So until now, and in order to make these posts as accessible as possible, I have been saying my Work In Progress is a “Young Adult Historical Fantasy set in Victorian London”. And it isn’t wrong, except there is an actual name for this genre, coined in 2006 by webcomic artist Kaja Foglio to differentiate her work from steampunk fiction. It is the “Gaslamp Fantasy” genre.
What is “Gaslamp Fantasy”?
Gaslamp Fantasy (also known as Gaslight Fantasy or Victorian Fantasy) designates stories set during the 19th Century, from the Regency to the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. It is a sub-genre of both Fantasy and Historical fiction, and it comprises elements from both genres.
How is it different from Steampunk?
The main difference between Gaslamp and Steampunk is that Steampunk is technology-focused and Gaslamp is magic-focused. Also Steampunk will often favour adventure when Gaslamp will focus on a mystery.
What books are examples of Gaslamp Fantasy?
The classic example is Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004). Other examples include The Magic Most Foul series by Leanna Renee Hieber (2011-now), The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (2012) or Temeraire (aka His Majesty’s Dragon in the US) by Naomi Novik (2006).
How is LILY IN THE SHADOWS Gaslamp Fantasy?
LILY takes place in London during Queen Victoria’s reign. It is a Historical novel, because I have been very careful to re-create 1862’s London and to double-check every historical detail. But it is also a Fantasy, because magic infiltrates every part of the novel. I want this story to combine this magic with an industrial age that was changing England, its people and the world along with it. 19th Century England was an era of scientific discoveries, of exploration, changes, where common people sought and found answers and explanations for the first time in centuries. But it was also the time pollution, poverty and crime got out of hand.
Writing Gaslamp Fantasy allows me to explore all these interesting aspects of that moment in time.
So are you ever inspired by a genre? Or do you write your novel first, then find which genre it belongs to? Feel free to leave me a comment below, and to visit the other Thursday’s Children posts here.