Have you ever heard of steampunk fantasy? What about gaslamp fantasy? If you haven’t, don’t worry about it–I’m about to introduce you to this rare genre in this month’s Book Unicorn category of the Sapphic Reading Challenge.
Steampunk fantasy and gaslamp fantasy are both subgenres of speculative fiction (or, to be more specific, of science fiction). The books usually take place in a Victorian-style setting, which gives them a historical flair (think bustle skirts, bowler hats, and goggles). Basically, they are alternate history that explores what would happen if technology and science had developed in a different way, never moving beyond steam power. There’s usually modern or fantastical technology such as time machines or robots, but it’s all steam-powered.
While steampunk centers around alternate developments in technology, gaslamp fantasy adds supernatural or magical elements.