GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Viola Carr's Top 5 Weird and Wacky Steampunk Subgenres | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Viola Carr's Top 5 Weird and Wacky Steampunk Subgenres

What’s not to love about steampunk? Witty heroines, clever gadgets and mad scientists, airships and goggle and crazy fashion. But also magic, religion gone wild, vampires and werewolves, improbable science – you can do anything.

Steampunk started as a brand of retro science fiction – "What if the steam engine had been invented fifty years earlier?" – and has evolved to include anything historical with anachronistic elements. Clockwork, diesel engines, computer technology – if we've invented it, you can ‘punk’ it.

For instance, my novel The Diabolical Miss Hyde blends alchemy, electricity and Victorian London, in a retelling of a classic horror tale – "What if Dr. Jekyll's daughter was a CSI who hunted serial killers?" But there are so many kinds of steampunk worlds and heroines. Here are a few of my favourites:

Top 5 Weird and Wacky Steampunk Subgenres

Dark Victoriana
Seances, serial murderers and the dark fantastic. The demonic, carnal side of Victoriana. Monsters lurk behind the thinnest of respectable facades, aching to burst out and devour us… or worse. From Varney the Vampire via Jack the Ripper and Bram Stoker to TV's Penny Dreadful, we never tire of these horrifying heroes.

Byronic science – the Romantic genius gone mad
"It's alive! It's alive! Bwahahahahaaaarrr…" From Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster via Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde to HG Wells with a twist. Bring on the electrified laboratories, bubbling elixirs and shambling half-human creations. Forgive them, for they know not what they do… but if some things humans aren't meant to mess with? These tragic, driven superheroes don't care. They need to know what's behind that curtain, even if it's their doom… or, if you're Leonardo in Da Vinci's Demons, it means lots of looking hot and getting laid. Not that we’re complaining, Leo.

A Fistful of Monsters – the weird West
Fans of The Dark Tower, come on down and riddle me a spaghetti western from Hell. Ghost towns, haunted canyons, snake oil salesmen with true power, brothels of demon girls. From Dusk Til Dawn, A Fistful of Dollars meets The Evil Dead… or even The Walking Dead (which is The Magnificent Seven with zombies, right? Right? Go away and think about it, I'll wait…) Check out R.S. Belcher's The Six Gun Tarot or Shona Husk's Arcane series for excellent recent additions to this eerie subgenre.

Etiquette and airships
Gail Carriger, anyone? Leisel Schwartz's Light and Shadow series? We want adventurous, spunky heroines who attack science, swashbuckling adventure and the marriage market with verve and je ne sais quoi, their parasols, corsets and ladylike wit in tow. The polar opposites of the tragic 'mad scientist', these clever rebels don't openly fight the system; they use the system to get what they want, and woe betide any bewildered suitor who gets in their way. We're not laughing at you, Victorian morals – we’re laughing with you… okay, maybe we're laughing at you a little.

Paranormal romance with cogs (and bells) on
Admit it: who doesn't love a good vampire romance? Or a hunky werewolf hero? Paranormal is dead, so they say, but that can't stop us dressing it up in corsets and frock coats, tossing in goggles and airships and adoring it all over again. Bring us the London season with sexy bloodsuckers, brooding lycanthropes stalking the foggy streets of Whitechapel or fae court spies infesting the Victorian sewers – especially if any of this features the word shirtless – and we're hooked. For awesome, sexy, surprising steampunk/paranormal romances, check out Bec McMaster's London Steampunk books or the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan.

The Diabolical Miss Hyde: An Electric Empire Novel
by Viola Carr
February 10, 2015
HarperCollins Publishers
Length: 464 pages

In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London in blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching The Slicer will make Eliza’s career – or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father’s forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.

When the Royal Society send their Enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she’s a sorcerer, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Slicer case draws her into London’s luminous magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own. Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free …
About the author:
Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She loves history, and pops down to London’s many historical sites whenever she gets the chance. She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Sharon :)

  2. Thank you so much for hosting her tour!

  3. Okay, gotta get this book! Great post…looking forward to more Steam related stories…especially young adult!