If you want to alternately impress or tick off people who like to think they are on the cutting edge of what’s hip or absolutely, mortifyingly, you know, just so ten years ago in books, toss around the terms steampunk, blended-genre and gaslight romance.

Because depending upon whom you talk to, those three are dead, over, done-with bore-a-thons. My response to the naysayers?

Tell it to Guy Ritchie, baybee.

Or rather, let me tell him, please, and I’ll be happy to do it in the company of both Jude Law and Robert “Hawt-for-any-age” Downey, Jr. and, yeah, don’t think for a second I wouldn’t love to see the three of them kiss, because I would.  But that, my friends is a blog for another day.

This post is about just how wicked-cool the influence of steampunk and its paranormal little sister, gaslight romance, are on many art forms: movies like the awesome new “Sherlock Holmes”; art and design; music and clothing and even edgy/pulse-pounding/sexy para/fantasy/romances like Liz Maverick’s new must-read, “Crimson & Steam.”

I’m certainly no expert like BN.com’s para/sci-fi guy Paul Goat Allen who prepped us for the Steampunk (re)Invasion he predicted back in October. But remedially put, steampunk as it infuses today’s genre fiction gives a nod to 19th Century adventure/fantasy works and generally is all or partially set in Victorian or Edwardian England when machines still mostly are powered by steam. Get it?  The machines move forward or alter the plot in some way literal, metaphorical or simply fantasticool.  Gaslight romance, sometimes called steampunk lite, plays a bit more on preternatural elements and often riff on established classics like “Sherlock Holmes” or Stoker’s “Dracula,” for example.*

So maybe Maverick’s wicked engaging “Crimson & Steam” is both steampunk and a gaslight romance, because Maverick’s third book in the Crimson City para/fantasy series is walloped w/ a steampunk’d blast from the Victorian past that sets into motion the fateful machinations which created para/fantastical Crimson City.

A society of “others,” i.e. vamps, weres and mechs – engineered part-human beings -- Crimson City also is stratified sector of danger and political drama. At the top of the ever-struggling-for-Alpha-dominance heap is Marius Dumont, a too-honorable-for-his-own-and-everyone-else’s-good vampire who’s convinced a marriage of convenience aligning his West Coast clan of vamps with a powerful East Coast were family will force peace among warring factions.

Problem is, Marius is leaving behind the woman he’s trying hard not to love. Yet hard-core journalist Jill Cooper’s not going down without a fight. Lucky for her, she’s good in a scrum, which she has to be since the evildoers in Crimson City – especially one ridiculously appealing bad-boy vamp – are more than happy to go after her to get to Marius and the tenuous power he holds over the seething and dangerous-to-ones-life-and-love metropolis that is Crimson City.

What do you love about the too-honorable-for-his-own-and-everyone-else’s-good hero?  How do you like your genres blended?  *Would you like to add/subtract/expand upon my description of steampunk? Feel free…

Eloisa James features Liz’s “Crimson & Steam” – and our friend, Kaki Warner -- in Eloisa's BN Review column this month, “Way, Way Out West!”

0 Kudos
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-04-2010 03:49 PM

I just finished Helen Scott Taylor's new book, THE PHOENIX CHARM, and there was an excerpt of Liz's book at the back. Cool! I definitely want to read it now.

by on ‎01-04-2010 05:55 PM

(chuckle) Steampunk never dies.It hid a bit under the level, but it never went away. There was always something (book, comic, manga, game, anime, clothes, ect..) every few month to feed you. Love the genre.


But I've never found a gaslight that wasn't too (cough, sorry guys but... ) histerical.

What makes this one not?

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-04-2010 06:20 PM

I think you'll dig it, Becke. I know you like to mix it up a lot, even though you're our romantic suspense expert.


Hey, TiggerBear! You'll have to clue me in a little more on the "histerical" entendre, cause I'm no expert on the stuff. 


But I'd say that the steampunk'd portion of this book is used as a cool and entertaining device, yet also one that has far-reaching consequences. The overall feel of the novel's not steampunk or gaslight romance, as I would even be able to denote it. Rather, it's a paranormal/fantasy romance with this really neat element to it that appeals to many rom readers, I believe, because it melds/blends a few sub-genres, including historical. 


Many of the neo-mythologies and para/fantasies blended into romance already have an "historical" feel -- JR Ward's Regency-esque society, for example, or Cole's Immortals whose being, well immortal have them bringing their 'old fashioned' ways into the present.  So rom fans already buy into this blended feel. I think many will dig Maverick's use of the steampunk storyline throughout. 

by on ‎01-04-2010 06:35 PM

Sorry that term around the parts is an insult that gets things thrown at you by Romance lovers around here. Why I apologized before writing it.


Take the word historical - your typical history romance , now add hysterics for over the top behavior. You get the term histerical for an over the top cheesy emotional historical romances.


Blending not the problem, never is for me. It's the cheese factor.


by PrincessBumblebee on ‎01-04-2010 06:44 PM

LOL! Steampunkd? Gaslight? Who comes up with these names, hehe? I dont' know if I catagorize things that way. If I like it, I like it. I'm not sure about the turn-of the century or historical paras, myself. I'm more prone to read those that are about today or in the new future, like Kresley Cole or Nalini Singh. Love those guys! But, that's another great thing about romances. They're always changing and we love them no matter whether they're Jane Austin Regency or a gaslight, hehe

by on ‎01-04-2010 06:50 PM

Steampunk started as a spin off from cyberpunk using steam power technology instead of cyber tech.


What did they use for lighting right before electricity, gaslight.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-05-2010 04:27 PM

Hey, TiggerBear, I love what you add here. I totally don't want you to feel as though you were being attacked. i simply hoped you'd define the term 'histerical' for me because, as I often say, there is much I do not know in general and, in this case, specifically about gaslight romance.  I appreciate your taking the time to let me know about the combination and what the flavor of it is.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-05-2010 04:49 PM

birthday006.gif image by glittergn

by on ‎01-05-2010 05:35 PM

Hey is your Birthday?


Happy Special Day to you then!

by on ‎01-05-2010 05:38 PM

Oh I don't feel attacked. I'm always happy to explain. It's a BIG world out there and common and cliche in one's stomping ground can be totally new somewhere else.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-06-2010 10:08 PM

Becke, always so subtle.  : )  Thanks for the wishes! I love my birthday and try to find ways to make it last many days. It mostly doesn't work.


Thanks, TiggerBear! ugh, I have so much to learn...please don't tell my kids.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-06-2010 11:38 PM

Subtle? Who wants subtle when there is all that glitter and bling out there!

by on ‎01-07-2010 01:26 AM


by Joan_P on ‎01-22-2010 10:05 PM

Hi Michelle!

I bought it tonight and it is officially in my tbr pile... it may be awhile... I'm in the middle of the Moning series. now! Bloodfever!!

Have a good one :smileyhappy:



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