Gaslamp Fantasy YKTTW Discussion

Gaslamp Fantasy
Historical fiction about an alternate 1800s, with magic!
(permanent link) added: 2011-06-21 22:23:42 sponsor: bluepenguin edited by: Arivne (last reply: 2011-07-01 02:24:24)

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Gaslamp fantasy, also called gaslight fantasy, is Steampunk's less science-loving cousin. It's a subgenre of fantasy with a setting that is clearly recognizable as the real-world 19th or very early 20th century. That's the Regency period and the Victorian and Edwardian eras, if the work's set in England, which it usually, though not necessarily, is (Victorian London is especially popular). It may be identical to the real world with a Masquerade, or it may be a full-on Alternate History where magic exists openly and has affected the course of events. Gaslamp fantasy often draws on Gothic Horror Tropes, and is sometimes seen as a sort of Reconstruction or revival of the genre.

The key difference between gaslamp fantasy and Steampunk is that Steampunk focuses on alternate developments in technology (and need not have any magic at all), while gaslamp fantasy focuses on supernatural elements (and need not have any technology that didn't actually exist). Of course, there is overlap.

The term was coined to describe the comic Girl Genius, but has since come into wider use, and is sometimes retroactively applied to the more fantastical works of Gothic Horror.

For similar genres with more modern settings, see Urban Fantasy and Gothic Punk.



  • The Parasol Protectorate
  • Sorcery And Cecilia and its sequels, by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, are epistolary novels set in a Regency England where magic is part of everyday life.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is about the last two practicing magicians in Georgian England (also, fairies).
  • The Native Star is fantasy set in America in the 1800s.
  • The Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card is America-based 1800s fantasy as well.
  • Shades of Milk and Honey
  • The Gemma Doyle trilogy centers around a group of young Victorian ladies who get caught up in a secret magical conspiracy.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series is about mages in Post-Victorian England. The stories are loosely based on Fairy Tales.
  • The Lord Darcy stories are technically set in the 1960s, but due to magic, society and technology seem to be stuck in the Edwardian era.
  • Infernal Devices is set an alternate Victorian London that contains elements of a Masquerade: things such as magic, demons, werewolves, vampires, etc. wander around in the open - but only people with The Sight can see them.

Tabletop RPG

Video Games

Web Comics
  • Girl Genius is steampunk combined with fantasy. Most of the weird stuff can be explained by technology, but not everything. The magic includes stuff like the Heterodyne fountain (which is an apparently natural fountain the waters of which make the drinker a mad genius, with varying degrees of both aspects), Geisterdamen (ghost-like beings), Jägermonsters (non-human beings with suphuman lifespans who can be either previous humans who drank "the Jägerdraught", or born of them), and a few instances of human souls inhabiting constructs (Castle Heterodyne, Anevka) and possibly even completely artifical souls (the Muses).

Web Original
  • Echo Bazaar is set in a Victorian London ruled by a shadowy cabal of nonhuman entities and full of things like devils, golems, and talking rats.
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