Gaslamp Fantasy, a sub-genre that involves an alternative Victorian realm, falls under the umbrella of Steampunk Fantasy. However, unlike the steampunk fantasy genre which involves mad scientists and gadgets in the 19th century, Gaslamp fantasy includes elements of magic and supernatural. Set at any time between the early 1800s and 1900s, the Gaslamp sub-genre fosters stories that are filled with romance, witches, fairies, dark magic, supernatural creatures, ghosts, and very little science.
The term was first coined by a webcomic artist, Kaja Foglio, who wanted to differentiate her creation, Girl Genius, from other steampunk fiction. Lying on the same shelf would have entailed a shade of confusion and to avoid such a scenario, Foglio differentiated it by titling it Gaslamp fantasy. If this is a genre that intrigued you with the setting it holds, then here are a few works of literature and cinema that are based on this sub-genre of historical and fantasy fiction.
Courtship and Curses by Marissa Doyle (2012)
Lady Sophie and her friend Parthenope set out on a path to track down the culprits pestering the lives of people in society, including important members of parliament like her father, with magical attacks. The premise is set in 1815 and is associated with a well-balanced share of vividness, tight mystery, and fun characterisation.
The Spectral City by Leanna Renee Hieber (2018)
Set in vintage New York, the book revolves around an off-the-books department of the police that deals with spiritual culprits and criminals. Eve Whitby, the protagonist and a policewoman at The Ghost Precinct, along with her partner-in-profession, Lieutenant Horowitz, go on an adventure, which involves destroying the precinct she is working in.
The Irregulars: Netflix (2021)
A Gaslamp fiction veiled under the marvels of motion pictures, The Irregulars is an eight-episode long cinematic delight involving a group of misfits in Victorian London who work for Dr John Watson, and his eerie associate living on Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes. The show is based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Crimson Peak (2015)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Crimson Peak is a 2015 film that stars Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, and Jim Weaver, among other polished actors. The film is set in Edwardian-era England and involves a gothic mansion that is teeming with ghosts and other mysteries. The gothic characteristic is tinted with tones of romance bringing the film on the shelf that also features the likes of works such as The Shining, The Haunting, among others.
Girl Genius (2006-Present)
The work that started it all, Girl Genius is an ongoing webcomic series that features the protagonist, Agatha Clay, a student and apprentice at the Transylvania Polygnostic University. The tagline of the comic read, “Adventure, Romance, Mad Science!” and involved a premise set in the alternate Victorian era.
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