Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Gaslamp Fantasy

What exactly is Gaslamp? Think of it as Regency-era steampunk, flavored more by magic than machine oil. It’s a genre that invites readers to take a stroll with lady detectives, or sip tea in the receiving rooms of alternate universes.

House of Holmes: Gaslamp Detective Stories

The Eterna FilesThe Eterna Files
Rival teams in Victorian-era London and New York are searching for the secret to eternal life when a deadly force overcomes researchers on both sides of the Atlantic. Suspicions fly madly between the Empire and the New World, both whodunit and on whose orders.

The Iron Wyrm AffairThe Iron Wyrm Affair
Emma Bannon runs her household with a cool, quiet hand – as the Queen’s go-to sorceress, she has the money and power to do so. While investigating a string of mentath genius murders, Emma ends up partnered with the last living mentath, Archibald Clare. The two clash – his is a world of logic, hers is magic – and still, they must work together while the game’s a-foot.

A Study in SilksA Study in Silks
In this alternate history of London, magic is illegal and crafting anything powered by steam is forbidden without the permission of the steam barons. Evelina Cooper, Sherlock Holmes’ niece, creates magical steampunk toys to research a string of murders that grows more mysterious with each revelation.

House of Austen: Husband-Hunting by Gaslight

The Magicians and Mrs QuentThe Magicians and Mrs. Quent
Beckett’s first book launches readers into another world by framing the story within an Austen arc, then continuing with a Bronte arc involving haunted moors and a brooding master of the house. It is only once the reader has been fully introduced to the nuances of the island of Altania that the story is allowed to take on its own flavor.

Shades of Milk and HoneyShades of Milk and Honey
Husband-hunting and sibling rivalry are set against elaborate illusions and glamour in the parlors and ballrooms of the gentry. The text is limited to Regency-specific words, evoking 19th-century mannerisms and customs on every page.

Kat IncorrigibleKat, Incorrigible
This trilogy follows the romping adventures of Kat, the young and magically-talented main character who attempts to find husbands for her sisters in rather unusual ways. This series is a great introduction to Gaslamp fantasy for younger readers and a quick, enjoyable read for older readers.

Fringe Trimmings: Outliers in the Gaslamp Genre

Thirteenth ChildThirteenth Child
Wrede builds a world where the American frontier is populated by magical beasties, both ferocious and simply inconvenient. This is the story of Eff, the thirteenth child of a family that moves to the edge of the wilderness to help develop a college.

The Serpent's ShadowThe Serpent’s Shadow
From the mysteries of India to the gaslit streets of Victorian London, this retold fairy tale begins with a young woman doctor as she searches for the secret behind the sorcery in her blood.

Girl GeniusGirl Genius
Kaja Foglio is the originator of the term “Gaslamp fantasy,” in an attempt to distinguish Girl Genius from being classified as “Steampunk.” Protagonist Agatha Clay infuses her mechanical creations with living “Spark” – a magical heritage from her missing parents.

But wait… there’s more!

For further reading in the magical adventures of Gaslamp Fantasy, see this list in the Library’s catalog:

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