15 June 2012
Steampunk Appreciation Week Guest Post - Leanna Renee Hieber
Hey everyone! I'm so excited to host a guest post from my dear, dear friend Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the Strangely Beautiful series and Magic Most Foul series. Take it away, Leanna!
Those of us familiar with Genre fiction such as Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, etc, we know our sub-genres, where things may be shelved, how they might be tagged, and how they're "supposed" to look from one genre to the next. Sometimes we might even label things too much. But in my particular sub-sub-genre they're helpful. Because if a reader wants one thing and they get another, I'll have an unhappy reader. So I'm here to talk briefly about what makes what I write, Gaslight Fantasy, different from Steampunk.
First, my overbroad one-sentence explanation:
What's Steampunk? Very, very broadly, it's a blending of 19th century (typically Victorian) steam-powered technology with Science Fiction elements into a narrative. Steampunk is gadget and world-building driven.
Gaslight Fantasy? A blending of the same 19th century aesthetics with Fantasy elements into the narrative.
Example: If my Victorian "ghost-busting" Guard in the Strangely Beautiful saga were in a Steampunk novel, they'd be stopping ghosts with Aether-Packs on their back, gadgets and devices galore. But my Guard of spectral police use ancient powers pulled from Greek Mythology; holy fire and the powers of the Muses, and follow a prophecy. We know those latter tropes from Fantasy novels, not Science Fiction.
The world-building is no less intricate in either case. Gaslight Fantasy novelists must create a viable magical / fantastical system, Steampunk authors must do the same with their scientific devices and choices about the world's technology. A lot of alternate history can be involved.
The term Steampunk derives loosely from the already established "Cyberpunk" (Think artist H. R. Giger and The Matrix) and highlights the steam-powered historical aesthetic rather than a modern/futuristic one, the term Gaslight or Gaslamp Fantasy has origins in the already established Gaslamp Romance. Gaslamp Romance focuses more on atmosphere, characters and relationships rather than fantastical and/or paranormal worlds and their tropes. My work falls quite squarely within both fantasy and romance.
And yes, I write Gothic romance as strongly into my books as anything, so I'm really a Gothic Fantasy Romance hybrid. The only thing you can't really confuse my work with is Sci-Fi. I love Sci-Fi but I just default to the fantastical, the Gothic and the paranormal. So yes, I'm difficult to shelve. But it's being able to have tags, labels, identifiers like these so that I can find my best audience and not alienate anyone along the way who might be looking for an airship or complex gadgetry. I appreciate said things, I just don't write them. I'm drawn to the sweeping and atmospheric, Gothic leanings you can put onto Gaslight Fantasy. The magic and mystery inherent to this genre is what keeps me coming back for more.
There's a great Wikipedia article on Gaslight Fantasy, by the way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslight_fantasy
Hopefully this whets your appetite and interest, please contact me if you've questions, I'm available on all social medias, particularly Twitter: http://twitter.com/leannarenee and please check out all my latest projects on my website http://leannareneehieber.com and on FB http://facebook.com/lrhieber - I hope you'll check out the latest installment in my Magic Most Foul saga, THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART, releasing this November, available for pre-order now!
Thanks for the awesome guest post, Leanna!
Today, I'm giving away a signed copy of Book 2 in the Strangely Beautiful series, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. (You may remember my review of Book 1 of the Strangely Beautiful series and my gushy love post for Alexi.) Just leave a comment on this post by 12 midnight, and I'll let random.org do the rest!