Gaslamp fantasy

Gaslamp fantasy (also known as gaslight fantasy or gaslight romance) is a subgenre of both fantasy and historical fiction. Generally speaking, this particular realm of fantasy employs either a Victorian or Edwardian setting. The gaslamp fantasy genre is not to be confused with steampunk, which usually has more of a super-science edge and uchronic tone. Gaslamp fantasy also differs from classical Victorian/Edwardian faerie or pure fantasy in the J.R.R. Tolkien or Lewis Carroll style or from historical crime-novels in the Anne Perry or June Thomson style by the supernatural elements, themes, and subjects it features. Many of its tropes, themes, and stock characters derive from Gothic literature — a long-established genre composed of both romantic and horrific traits and motivated by the desire to rouse fear, apprehension, and other intense emotions within the reader — and could be described as an attempt to modernize literary Gothicism.

Writer and artist Kaja Foglio originally coined the term in an effort to distinguish her and husband Phil Foglio's comic series, Girl Genius, from "steampunk". Kaja hoped to suggest the work's distinctive style, a medley of alternate history and Victorian-esque "mad science".[1]

First edition cover of Bram Stoker's ever-popular vampire novel, Dracula, a common reference for gaslamp fantasy literature.

Later on, however, fantasy-fans redirected the term to denote a spin-off genre of Holmesian fantasy or Victorian-based Gothic tales. According to fantasy-fans as a whole, the subgenre consists, namely, of contemporary or modern fantasy pieces set in the Victorian "gaslamp" era. However, the subgenre also includes some works with a pre-Victorian setting (Susanna Clarke's Regency novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, for example). More samplings of the genre can be found in publications such as the Gaslight Grimoire anthologies and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics.


The term "gaslamp fantasy" was first coined on April 26, 2006, by webcomic artist Kaja Foglio to differentiate her comic, Girl Genius, from conventional steampunk fiction.

I called it Gaslamp Fantasy because, around the time we were bringing Girl Genius out, there was a comic called Steampunk on the shelves and I didn't want any confusion. Plus, I've never liked the term steampunk much for our work, it's derived from cyberpunk (a term which I think actually fits its genre well) but we have no punk, and we have more than just steam, and using a different name seemed appropriate. I mis-remembered a term that I had come across in the foreword to an H. Rider Haggard book, where the author was talking about Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Rider Haggard and that sort of pre-pulp adventure material, and came up with "Gaslamp Fantasy." I felt a bit foolish when I discovered that I had made up my own term, but it works and I like it.

— Kaja Foglio, author of Girl Genius[2]

Girl Genius, although science fiction set in nineteenth-century Europe, does not have a firm emphasis on fantastic Industrial Revolution technology. Elements of other types of fiction are featured, including magic and mythical creatures, and the scientific element of it is less prominent. It also includes steampunk takes on contemporary sci-fi biology elements, like clockwork cyborgs, mass-produced Frankenstein-type creatures, and other monsters.

Generally, the term refers to fiction based in a Victorian-style setting, similar to steampunk, but with a broader emphasis. The stories are usually not so focused on machinery of the period (or, often, any machinery at all), take more liberties with the actual time period, and may contain elements of other genres.

Since the term's coining, gaslamp fantasy has been retroactively applied to other fiction written in the Victorian Age, such as the works of Bram Stoker, Jules Verne, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.



  • Emma Bull: "Territory" - a fantasy depiction of Tombstone, Arizona during the OK Corral era circa 1881, featuring Wyatt Earp - brother to the Deputy US Marshal, Virgil Earp - as a black magician, a Chinese physician
  • Elizabeth Bear
  • Galen Beckett: (The Lockwell Sisters) The Magicians and Mrs. Quent (2008), The House on Durrow Street (2010), and The Master of Heathcrest Hall (2012)
  • Rick Boyer: "The Giant Rat of Sumatra" (1976)
  • Gordon Dahlquist's "The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters" (2006) and its two sequels. Three strangers, a young upper class woman, a medical officer and a hitman, becomes allies as they try to stay alive after their discovery of a powerful and dangerous cabal which use alchemy as a tool to fulfill their plans and ambitions.
  • Kaja Foglio and Phil Foglio: bibliography (the Agatha Heterodyne series e.g.)
  • Randall Garrett: "Lord Darcy" - set in a mid-20th century France but with magic established as a respected science, they have never discovered steam and electricity
  • F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre: "The Enigma of the Warwickshire Vortex" (1997) and "The Adventure of Exham Priory" in the "H.P. Lovecraft-sounding" Shadows Over Baker Street anthology (2003)
  • Naomi Novik: "His Majesty's Dragon", "Throne of Jade", "Black Powder War", "Empire of Ivory", and "Victory of Eagles", a Napoleonic gaslight fantasy saga
  • Mike Resnick: "Dragon America" - another "pre-Victorian" fantasy having the American Revolution as historical background this time
  • Cameron Rogers: "Music of Razors" - Gothic urban fantasy genre novel set in nineteenth century gas-lit Boston
  • Fred Saberhagen: much more a Bram Stoker's disciple author of two Holmesian "vampirics": "The Holmes-Dracula File" (1978) & "Seance for a Vampire" (1994)
  • Dan Simmons: "Drood" - a novel set in 1865 and lasting through 1870, the huge Gothic novel centers around Charles Dickens, beginning with his train accident at Staplehurst on June 9, 1865. As rushing to assist the dead and dying, Dickens meets a mysterious, and quite frightening, man ("cadaverously thin, almost shockingly pale...") named Drood. Dickens's story is supposedly narrated by Wilkie Collins and both will chase Drood in the dark Victorian London's underworld
  • Brian Stableford: "Werewolves of London" (1990)
  • Bryan Talbot: The Adventures of Luther Arkwright a graphic novel set a world based on Victorian England and followed up with the sequel Heart of Empire.
  • Cassandra Clare: "The Infernal Devices" (2010-2013)
  • Gail Carriger: "The Parasol Protectorate" (2009-2012)
  • Diana Wynne Jones: "Chrestomanci Series" (1977-2006)



Internet works

  • Girl Genius - A webcomic featuring an alternate earth (badly) ruled by Mad Scientist archetypes and also the origin of the term.
  • The Glass Scientists - A webcomic set in alternate Victorian Era London, starring Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde alongside other characters from classic science fiction literature.

Video games

See also


  1. ^ Marissa Meli. "Hilarious Web Comics for Your Interweb Perusal Pleasure: Finally, a way to waste time on the internet" Archived 2011-05-17 at the Wayback Machine. UGO Entertainment, 11 May 2011: 3. Web. 13 June 2011.
  2. ^ Foglio, Kaja (2006-04-26). "Dirt, Collection Vol. 5, Furniture and Gaslamp Fantasy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
2013 in Australian literature

This article presents a list of the historical events and publications of Australian literature during 2013.

Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr Jr. (February 6, 1756 – September 14, 1836) was an American politician and lawyer. He was the third vice president of the United States (1801–1805), serving during President Thomas Jefferson's first term.

Burr served as a Continental Army officer in the American Revolutionary War, after which he became a successful lawyer and politician. He was elected twice to the New York State Assembly (1784–1785, 1798–1799), was appointed New York State Attorney General (1789–1791), was chosen as a U.S. senator (1791–1797) from the State of New York, and reached the apex of his career as vice president. In the waning months of his tenure as president of the Senate, he oversaw the 1805 impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.

Burr shot his political rival Alexander Hamilton in a famous duel in 1804, the last full year of his single term as vice president. He was never tried for the illegal duel and all charges against him were eventually dropped, but Hamilton's death ended Burr's political career.

Burr left Washington, D.C., and traveled west seeking new opportunities, both economic and political. His activities eventually led to his arrest on charges of treason in 1807. The subsequent trial resulted in acquittal, but Burr's western schemes left him with large debts and few influential friends. In a final quest for grand opportunities, he left the United States for Europe. He remained overseas until 1812, when he returned to the United States to practice law in New York City, where he spent the rest of his life in relative obscurity.


An antipope (Latin: antipapa) is a person who, in opposition to the one who is generally seen as the legitimately elected Pope, makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Catholic Church. At times between the 3rd and mid-15th centuries, antipopes were supported by a fairly significant faction of religious cardinals and secular or anti-religious monarchs and kingdoms. Persons who claim to be pope, but have few followers, such as the modern sedevacantist antipopes, are not classified with the historical antipopes.

Caroline Stevermer

Caroline Stevermer (born 1955) is an American writer of young adult fantasy novels and shorter works. She is best known for historical fantasy novels.

Chivalric romance

As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a type of prose and verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval and Early Modern Europe. They were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures, often of a chivalric knight-errant portrayed as having heroic qualities, who goes on a quest. It developed further from the epics as time went on; in particular, "the emphasis on love and courtly manners distinguishes it from the chanson de geste and other kinds of epic, in which masculine military heroism predominates."Popular literature also drew on themes of romance, but with ironic, satiric, or burlesque intent. Romances reworked legends, fairy tales, and history to suit the readers' and hearers' tastes, but by c. 1600 they were out of fashion, and Miguel de Cervantes famously burlesqued them in his novel Don Quixote. Still, the modern image of "medieval" is more influenced by the romance than by any other medieval genre, and the word medieval evokes knights, distressed damsels, dragons, and other romantic tropes.Originally, romance literature was written in Old French, Anglo-Norman, Occitan, and Provençal, and later in Portuguese, Castilian, English, Italian (Sicilian poetry), and German. During the early 13th century, romances were increasingly written as prose. In later romances, particularly those of French origin, there is a marked tendency to emphasize themes of courtly love, such as faithfulness in adversity.

Dishonored 2

Dishonored 2 is an action-adventure video game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The sequel to 2012's Dishonored, the game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 11 November 2016. The game takes place in the fictional city of Karnaca. After Empress Emily Kaldwin is deposed by the witch Delilah Copperspoon, the player may choose between playing as either Emily or her Royal Protector and father Corvo Attano as they attempt to reclaim the throne. Both Emily and Corvo employ their own array of supernatural abilities, though the player can alternatively decide to forfeit these abilities altogether. There is a multitude of ways to complete missions, from stealth to purposeful violent conflict, navigated through a sandbox environment.

Ideas for Dishonored 2 began while developing the downloadable content of its predecessor, which spawned the decision to create a voice for Corvo Attano after being a silent character in the first installment. The advancement of the timeline was brought about once Emily Kaldwin, only a child in Dishonored, was first proposed as a playable character. The game's aesthetic was influenced by paintings and sculptures. Set in the new fictional city of Karnaca, its history was invented over the course of one year. The city itself was based on southern European countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain, drawing on the architecture, fashion, and technologies of 1851. Voice actors include Rosario Dawson, Sam Rockwell, Robin Lord Taylor, Jamie Hector, Pedro Pascal, and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Dishonored 2 was released to a positive reception. Praised were the improvements made since the first game: the more challenging stealth, the adaptability of Emily and Corvo's abilities to both play styles, the art direction, the creative design of individual missions, the realization of the game's world as well as the replay-value and the artificial intelligence. Criticism was directed at the lack of focus of the overarching narrative. Aside from this, technical blunders as well as issues with the PC version were received unfavorably. Dishonored 2 won the award for Best Action/Adventure Game at The Game Awards 2016 and for Costume Design at the 2017 NAVGTR Awards.


Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often without any locations, events, or people referencing the real world. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.

Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes respectively, though these genres overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form. In its broadest sense, however, fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular works.

Gaslamp (disambiguation)

A gaslamp is a device that produces light by burning gas.

Gaslamp may also refer to:

Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, historical heart of San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter (San Diego Trolley station)

Gaslamp fantasy, a subgenre of historical and fantasy fiction

Gaslamp Games, a software development company

Girl Genius

Girl Genius is an ongoing comic book series turned webcomic, written and drawn by Phil and Kaja Foglio and published by their company Studio Foglio LLC under the imprint Airship Entertainment. The comic has won five WCCA awards including 2008 Outstanding Comic, and been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist, an Eagle Award and twice for an Eisner Award; in 2009, 2010, and 2011 it won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.

Girl Genius has the tagline of "Adventure, Romance, MAD SCIENCE!". It features a female lead character in an alternate-history Victorian-style "steampunk" setting, although elements veer from what is usually thought of as steampunk. Kaja Foglio, one of the co-creators, describes it as "gaslamp fantasy" instead to suggest its more fantastic style.

The Foglios have also written three Girl Genius novels, Agatha H. and the Airship City. Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess and Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle, all published by Night Shade Books.

Hiroyuki Asada

Hiroyuki Asada (浅田 弘幸, Asada Hiroyuki, born February 15, 1968 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan) is a Japanese manga artist who is best known for his gaslamp fantasy series Tegami Bachi ("Letter Bee"). The first manga series he created was called I'll, and was a basketball series. All of Asada's manga were serialized in the monthly shōnen anthology Monthly Shōnen Jump (which has since been discontinued; Tegami Bachi now appears in its replacement Jump Square). He made his debut in 1986. He acquired a fanbase with Mint: Sleeping Rabbit, Renka by degrees, and his popularity improved with I'll. In his personal life, he is part of a unit with Shou Tajima (best known for Psych) and Takeshi Obata (best known for Hikaru no Go and Death Note), and his creation activity with "AQUARIOS 3".

Historical fantasy

Historical fantasy is a category of fantasy and genre of historical fiction that incorporates fantastic elements (such as magic) into a more "realistic" narrative. There is much crossover with other subgenres of fantasy; those classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this classification generally take place prior to the 20th century.

Films of this genre may have plots set in biblical times or classical antiquity, often with plots based very loosely on mythology or legends of Greek-Roman history, or the surrounding cultures of the same era.


Ivo is a masculine given name, in use in various European languages. The name used in western European languages originates as a Normannic name recorded since the High Middle Ages, and the French name Yves is a variant of it. The unrelated South Slavic name is a variant of the name Ivan (John).

Kaaron Warren

Kaaron Warren is an Australian author of horror, science fiction, and fantasy short stories and novels.

She is the author of the short story collections Through Splintered Walls, The Grinding House, and Dead Sea Fruit. Her short stories have won Australian Shadows Awards, Ditmar Awards and Aurealis Awards.Her four novels, are Slights, Walking the Tree and Mistification (published by Angry Robot Books) and The Grief Hole (published by IFWG).

Kaaron was Special Guest at the 2013 Australian National Science Fiction Convention.

List of genres

This is a list of genres of literature and entertainment, excluding genres in the visual arts. Genre is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or entertainment, e.g. music, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time as new genres are invented and the use of old ones are discontinued. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions.


Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. However, steampunk and Neo-Victorian are different in that the Neo-Victorian movement does not extrapolate on technology while technology is a key aspect of steampunk.Steampunk most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retrofuturistic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or of the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt, and China Miéville. Other examples of steampunk contain alternative-history-style presentations of such technology as steam cannons, lighter-than-air airships, analogue computers, or such digital mechanical computers as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine.Steampunk may also incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre. The first known appearance of the term steampunk was in 1987, though it now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created as far back as the 1950s or 1960s.Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures that have developed from the aesthetics of steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (French: Les Aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec) is a historical fantasy comic book series first appearing in 1976 written and illustrated by French comics artist Jacques Tardi and published in album format by Belgian publisher Casterman, sometimes preceded by serialisation in various periodicals, intermittently since then. The comic portrays the titular far-fetched adventures and mystery-solving of its eponymous heroine, herself a writer of popular fiction, in a secret history-infused, gaslamp fantasy version of the early 20th century, set primarily in Paris and prominently incorporating real-life locations and events. Initially a light-hearted parody of such fiction of the period, it takes on a darker tone as it moves into the post–World War I years and the 1920s.

One of Tardi's most popular works and his first to span multiple albums, it has been reprinted in English and other translations and is being adapted as a big-budget film trilogy.

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