Steampunk romance (story with a Victorian-era setting featuring steam-powered technology + romance) was barely a blip on the radar in 2008 when Dru Pagliassotti’s Clockwork Heart debuted. Since then, word of mouth has boosted this subgenre’s visibility to the extent that publishers started acquiring it, readers wanted to know about this newfangled steampunk genre, and mainstream print authors like Meljean Brook (The Iron Duke) began making it part of their offerings.
It’s been fun watching steampunk romance evolve. As a reader of niche subgenres I felt amazed and honored when authors started to provide a type of book readers (including me, quite vocally) had asked for. The covers were showcasing the steampunk elements like airships and prosthetics. Authors were experimenting with settings other than Victorian England. And many of the heroines had amazing occupational skills. Since some of the authors worked with digital publishers, the wait for steampunk romance stories was much shorter than it might otherwise have been.
Steampunk romance gained momentum, but not without pitfalls. Readers weren’t sure what to expect. Authors were excited about a new setting to explore, but seemed wary of taking too many risks. Demand started to outpace the available books. Some readers seemed frustrated with stories that were more steampunk “lite” while others needed a gentle learning curve as they tried out a subgenre that was totally new to them.
It’s a prudent time to ask the following question: where is steampunk romance now? Is it meeting readers’ expectations? Is it, in the words of The Fancy Reader, “…as adventurous as it deserves to be”? Is steampunk romance exploring all it could in terms of characters, plots, themes, and diversity?
As The Great Steampunk Romance Airship Tour winds down, I’d love to hear your no-hold-barred thoughts on this issue. What have you enjoyed about steampunk romance so far? Which books do you think captured the essence of steampunk romance, and why? How could the subgenre improve?
Leave a comment for this post and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the following ebook:
Steamrolled – Pauline Baird Jones
And there’s more! Everyone who leaves a comment at any of the stops on The Great Steampunk Romance Airship Tour will be entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize:
$100 e-gift card (winner’s choice Amazon or B&N)
75$ e-gift certificate to Clockwork Couture
Please include your email address. The deadline to enter all of the giveaways will be midnight PST on February 14. On Friday, February 15, check back here to see if you’ve won the ebook prize.
The grand prize winner will be announced on February 15 at The Galaxy Express.
About the author
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com.
Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts
The West just got a whole lot wilder.
A woman on a mission… Scientific achievement isn’t enough for Violet Whitcomb. Life working alongside her renowned scientist father is filled with intellectual challenges, but what she truly craves is love and adventure. She’s resigned to a fate of academic pursuits–until a fateful trip across the American frontier changes everything. A rogue inventor known as the Iron Scorpion kidnaps Violet’s father and she alone is left to plan his rescue.
A man with a secret… Logan McCoy knows firsthand going up against the Iron Scorpion is suicide, but he can’t let Violet waltz into the villain’s lair alone. She may be a stranger, but she’s also the most compelling woman he’s ever known.
A perilous quest… Their attraction is undeniable, but their alliance turns contentious when Violet insists on including a third partner on their mission: her father’s latest invention and the world’s most advanced automaton, Arthur. The reason for Logan’s resistance isn’t clear until Violet comes face-to-face with the Iron Scorpion’s diabolical devices, and by then, it’s far too late.