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One of my favorite manga series, Tegami Bachi by Hiroyuki Asada. I really thought it was just  fantasy, or maybe steampunk. Guess, I was teeny bit wrong on that!

I try my best to categorize the books I read by its genre (I’m quite the OCD). And I like that people on goodreads do that, too. It’s easy to search a book that I would like to read if I know what genre in it. I’m moody type of reader, sometimes I want a fantasy book, sometimes contemporary and a lot of times, romance, haha. But in all seriousness I really want things neatly labeled so if I want to look, it’s easy to find. But sometimes I wonder if I’m labeling them right.

I’m re-watching an old favorite of mine. It’s an anime series called Tegami Bachi (Letter Bee in English). I really loved this one because of it’s very unique premise. The story is about a boy named Lag Seeing, who is a letter bee (to put it simple, a postman, er boy). The setting is in this fictional world called Amberground and it is continuously night there. Only a place where the rich folks live called Akatsuki has daylight and it is provided by an artificial sun. Letter bees are not just delivering letters/packages, they have far graver duties than that. And this was originally caught me.

And because it’s been a while since I last read/watched the series (like years!), I decided to check wiki to refresh my mind and lo and behold that genre it belongs to caught my interest: gaslamp fantasy. Have you heard of this term? Honestly, I haven’t until I checked this one out. When I read about it, I was quite fascinated. Wiki says that gaslamp fantasyis a subgenre of both fantasy and historical fiction.” Also, this particular realm of fantasy employs either a Victorian or Edwardian setting. The gaslamp fantasy genre is not to be confused with steampunk, which usually has more of a super-science edge and uchronic tone.” The person that coined this term, Kaja Foglio, didn’t want her work to be labeled as steampunk because she thought that her works “have no punk but have more than just steam.

I guess fantasy has more sub-genres than I thought. And for me it was really cool to find out about it. Although wiki says that examples given on the page is not exactly accurate but one series that I know many of you bookish folks knew that was cited is Cassandra Claire’s The Infernal Devices series. Neat, isn’t it? It’s not steampunk! It’s Gaslamp fantasy!

Your turn! Have you heard of this genre? What can you say about it? Have you read a book that you think belongs to this genre? Care to share it with me?

2014 / 11 / 29

8 Responses to The genre that is called Gaslamp fantasy.

  1. I’ve never heard of that one before, but fantasy is always such a hard genre with all it’s sub genres! I can imagine there are even more subgenres I’ve never heard of.

  2. Ariella says:

    Oh wow.. When I read the title of this post, I was like, “what in the world is gaslamp fantasy?!” Sounds very Victorian London to me anyways. I don’t even really know what steampunk is but it’s cool to know that there are so many sub-genres for fantasy. Great post :)

  3. Kezia says:

    Wow Mitchii! Thanks for writing this post cause now I know what gaslamp fantasy means! We were on the same boat — but I admit that I’m not that particularly OCD about labeling books. I tend to generalize books with magic, witches, etc under the label fantasy, mainly because I don’t know many sub-genres of fantasy other than steampunk haha…

    But I’m optimistic there will be new genres or sub-genres popping in the future — when people’s amazing minds produce such original and creative works that don’t fit in with any labels :D I’m waiting for that to happen haha.

    On a side note, I used to watch Tegami Bachi when it aired on Animax long ago and I really really liked it! Though I barely remember anything now except for a few characters like Gauche, Aria, Niche…

    • Mitchii G. says:

      I loved how the reason of person who came up with this name. I also would like to know more about fantasy sub-genres!

      I’m re-watching first season the other week. TB is really nice, no? Very different for its mellow and magical vibe! :D

  4. Alise says:

    How have I never heard of Tegami Bachi :O This is what happens when I get too caught up in shoujo, definitely need to check this one out. I’ve heard the term Gaslamp fantasy but never really knew what it meant, that’s pretty cool. And shame on me, I’ve always called The Infernal Devices steampunk. Interesting post :D

    • Mitchii G. says:

      It’s very tame shounen manga, not a lot of actions but has mystical atmosphere to it.Gaslamp fantasy is similar to steam punk maybe that’s why. :D

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