There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Gaslamp Fantasy September 25, 2013

Hi everyone,

This post was inspired by Kate’s post on Dark Fantasy. Much like her, I have a favourite Fantasy sub-genre: mine is Gaslamp Fantasy. The name was coined in 2006 by webcomic artist Kaja Foglio to differentiate her work from steampunk fiction. Gaslamp Fantasy is what I write, and what I love to read.

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?

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (2004)

The Magic Most Foul series and The Strangely Beautiful series by Leanna Renee Hieber (2009-now)

The Sally Lockhart Quartet by Philip Pullman (1988-2004)

Temeraire (aka His Majesty’s Dragon in the US) by Naomi Novik (2006)

The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray (2003-2007)

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (2012)

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (2013)

So tell me, have you heard about Gaslamp Fantasy before? Is it a sub-genre you enjoy reading? Let us know in the comment section below!

EM Castellan

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3 Responses to “Gaslamp Fantasy”

  1. Kate Sparkes Says:

    I’d never heard of it before, but it sounds like something I’d enjoy. Thanks!

  2. If you like gaslamp fantasy, you might also might like Carnacki the Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson. The stories are set a little later, and deal with ghosts, rather than magic, but I recommend them.

  3. I really appreciate your succinct definition of this. I’ve been searching the Internet for a better understanding of the term because I began to suspect that my novel is in that genre — or at least close to it. It has dragons, magical creatures, and appearances from a number of Victorian literary figures who, after their deaths, went on to live in a magical world that they partially rule:

    “A young man is separated from his first love — his childhood sweetheart — after she is kidnapped on their wedding day. He dedicates the rest of his life to finding her, and his quest leads him into a strange land ruled by creatures come to life from Victorian poetry and literature — especially that of Edgar Allan Poe and John Keats. Two other strangers, an eccentric Frenchman and a beautiful woman who teaches at Oxford University, also pursue the kidnapped woman, but for their own reasons. When the three strangers meet and learn of their common quest, they must work together to survive the strange world and find the long lost girl.”

    –the plot for “Dizzy with Togetherness: A Fairy Tale” (Amazon Kindle and at my website below)

    Matthew Barratt


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