Read below for a guest blog post from New York Times-bestselling author Gail Carriger on steampunk fiction: the genre with the coolest name and the coolest women we’ve read in a long time.
For me, what makes all fiction appealing is its escapist appeal, and steampunk has this with extra hats on. In this re–imagining of the past where steam technology never died, and electricity never dominated, a certain aesthetic overshadows all. It’s a genre that pulls the reader into an alternate world, skewed rather than outright fantastical, playing with the majestic dignity, and slight ridiculousness, of antiquated technology. As a genre, it also has ties to its own history. The Victorian Gothic literature movement spawned science fiction (not to mention horrors, romances, fantasies, westerns, adventure novels, and mysteries). The current steampunk movement is a delicious kind of full circle, taking sci–fi back to its roots by setting it in the time period of its birth, and I love that!
Steampunk is also a unique genre in that it isn’t entirely literary but has developed into an aesthetic movement complete with its own customs, mannerisms, entertainment, and dress. The movement has ties to the maker community, historical reenactment societies, alternative art groups, and the fashion world. For authors it’s an exciting genre to write because it has so many of these living, breathing, extra components. There’s a vibrancy to the community that can inform the feel of writing steampunk, not to mention a sense of intimacy and belonging. There’s space to be an author, and also a steampunker.
I’m a geek and have always been one, raised in fandom. Still, on my first pilgrimage to San Diego Comic-Con in 2012 I felt a little lost and overwhelmed. Until I found the steampunkers and suddenly I was safe and contented among friends. Not many authors have a community of whimsy and wonder waiting to welcome them in, top hats tilted and parasols at the ready. This makes steampunk, as a literary genre, unique. But it also makes those of us who are fortunate enough to write it, well, very very lucky.
About the Author:
New York Times-bestselling author Gail Carriger writes comedic steampunk mixed with urbane fantasy. Her latest novel is Curtsies & Conspiracies, book two in the YA Finishing School series. Her debut novel, Soulless, won the ALA’s Alex Award. Her Parasol Protectorate books, their manga adaptations, and the first of her YA series, Etiquette & Espionage, are all bestsellers. She was once a professional archaeologist and is overly fond of tea. www.gailcarriger.com
Find CURTSIES & CONSPIRACES and Gail’s other bestsellers at Reader Store.
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