Hi everyone, how was your weekend? Mine was full of fun and less than ideal sleep (also on a completely separate note, as I'm writing this I'm watching Karate Kid and you know what rocks? The 80s).
I have a question: How many of you know the difference between Steampunk and Gaslamp Fantasy? *counts raised hands* OK that's about what I thought.
Let's have a brief discussion about these cousins.
Steampunk: steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them
Gaslamp Fantasy: is a sub-genre, also called gaslight romance, of fantasy literature, having the Victorian/Edwardian era as background. It differs from contemporary steampunk, which has a much more super-science and tone.
A good way to separate the two is by asking yourself, "can I remove the steampunk technology/gadgetry and still have a story?" If the answer is no, you're probably writing Steampunk. If the answer is yes, then you're probably writing Gaslamp Fantasy.
A fun history of the term Gaslamp Fantasy is that it was first coined by artist Kaja Foglio (from Girl Genius, one of my fav webcomics) She coined it because, at the time Girl Genius was coming out, there was also a comic out called Steampunk and she didn't want any confusion. So she referred to Girl Genius as Gaslamp Fantasy, a term she misquoted from a book referring to Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
Gaslamp Fantasy stories are typically not so focused on the machinery, and oftentimes the technology is just in the background.
Now, since we had a fun little discussion, time for some steampunk/gaslamp fantasy pics!