Go, Gadgets, Go!
While steampunk romance promises a courtship, love story, and HEA for the main couple, I can’t help myself: the technology aspects of this genre are a huge draw. Not more than the romance, but in equal measures. Steam and clockwork powered technology is so quaint it makes me giddy to imagine people surrounded by it and even merged with it. It engages the mind as well as the heart.
When I read blurbs for potential reads, the romance clues are pretty much a guarantee. The steampunk and setting descriptions vary book to book, though, so any clues provided are like catnip to me. Words like “clockwork,” “aether,” “airship,” “invention,” “iron,” and “brass” are some common ones I look for. Going by blurbs isn’t always the best predictor, of course, so there are times when readers interested in gadgets and whatnot simply have to take the plunge.
Different types of steampunk technology can often inform us about what kind of characters and settings to expect. Airships and steam-powered carriages imply adventure and mystery, while automatons and prosthetics can imply stories of a more introspective nature. Inventor characters work with clever gadgets. Pirates, spies, and gunslingers often possess unique steam or aether powered weapons.
It’s not always clear how steampunk technology actually works, but part of the fun is imagining what it could be doing, like how aether powers engines. Characters can be using technology that’s spooky in nature (either to them, the reader, or both) or the kind that has everyday familiarity. Sometimes the inventions are cute, like clockwork birds.
If you enjoy reading steampunk romance according to the featured technology, I compiled a list of a few categories. If you know of similar books, give ’em a mention in the comments!
This Winter Heart – P. G. Forte
Far Too Human – Anitra Lynn McLeod
A Heart For Copper – Sharon Lynn Fisher
Dangerous Science – Sidney Swann
Skies of Fire, Skies of Steel, Skies of Gold – Zoe Archer
Wes and Kit – Hollis Shiloh
Far From Broken – J.K. Coi
Wild Cards and Iron Horses – Sheryl Nantus
His Clockwork Canary – Beth Ciotta
Island of Icarus – Christine Danse
Nights of Steel – Nico Rosso (hero has prosthetic arm)
Riveted – Meljean Brook
Skies of Gold – Zoe Archer
Breath of Iron – Kate Cross
His Sky Cowboy – Beth Ciotta
Heart of Steel – Meljean Brook
Full Steam Ahead – Nathalie Gray
Love in the Time of Airships – Meredith Holmes
Steamed – Katie McAlister
Tangled in Time – Pauline Baird Jones
The Inventor – Theresa Meyers
The Iron Heart – Leslie Dicken
Nights of Steel – Nico Rosso
Mechanical Rose – Nathalie Gray
Gilded Hearts – Christine d’Abo
Heart of Brass – Kate Cross
Wild Cars and Iron Horses – Sheryl Nantus
Night of Fire – Nico Rosso
The Hunter – Theresa Meyers
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 genre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com.