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!”