Adult Fiction, Behind the Books, Book reviews and recommendations

Fantasy Series – A Closer Look at the Genre – Part 12

Gunpowder, Gaslamp, Flintlock and Steampunk.

By Elaine Patterson, Newbridge Headquarters.

Gunpowder Fantasy

Gunpowder fantasy is centred on the presence of gunpowder in the story. Consequently, it more or less encompasses flintlock fantasy and more modern guns and gunpowder-related weapons. Magic, fantastical creatures, and other tropes of fantasy are still present in gunpowder fantasy. Magic and characterisation tend to be very well developed and themes relating to industrialisation and revolution are often present. The plot is frequently quite complex and violence is present, usually in a military form.  

Related fantasy subgenres are Historical, Flintlock, Steampunk, Epic and Military fantasy.

 The following are examples:

Gaslamp Fantasy

Like flintlock fantasy, this subgenre is all about alternate versions of the Victorian period, though the signature invention of this era (gas lamps) doesn’t necessarily have to be present. Gaslamp fantasy has strong associations with the supernatural and magic is often intertwined with technology. Characterisations is generally good, though stock characters will often be used. The level of plot and violence vary, depending on the story and the influences from other genres. 

Related fantasy subgenres are Steampunk, Historical, Vampire and Fantasy of Manners.

Examples are below:

Flintlock Fantasy

Flintlock fantasy specifically refers to fantasy that incorporates such guns, often taking place in an alternate history version of the 17th or 18th centuries. Magic is more or less developed in such stories depending on the author and themes related to industrialisation and revolution are often present. Characters and plot are well developed while violence is definitely present and militaristic in nature. 

Related fantasy subgenres are Gunpowder, Epic, Historical and Military Fantasy.

Examples below:


Steampunk Fantasy

Steampunk fantasy combines Victorian science and technology with magic and the supernatural. Magic may or may not be present, depending on the author and the level of violence also varies from story to story.  Both characters and the plot are generally well-developed. 

Related fantasy subgenres are Alternate History, Urban, New Weird and Science Fantasy.

Some examples are below:

Check out BorrowBox or our library catalogue for availability of these titles.


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