Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finding a Paranormal Home in Victorian London

Today I have a very special treat in store for you lucky readers! No, not tea and biscuits. The author Gail Carriger is here for a guest blog. Her debut novel, Soulless, was released upon the book buying masses yesterday, and lets hope those masses were buying this book, I know I was trying to influence you.... As it says on her website "Soulless, book the first in the Parasol Protectorate Series, is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of vampires, dirigibles, and tea. It is either Jane Austen does paranormal, or PG Wodehouse does steampunk." Either way I'm in, loving anything English, especially Jane Austen and PG Wodehouse. It's like a Buffy and Anglophiles dream! Well, enough of me, you get enough of me every day, it's not that often I hand the reins of my blog over to someone without further ado, I present Gail Corriger:

There is something incredibly appealing about Victorian London. While I'm certain it was stinky, uncomfortable, unsanitary, and largely unpleasant for many of its residents - the romantic appeal is unassailable. I don't know what makes it so alluring to others, but for me it is equal parts the clothing, the manners, and the intellectual revolution of the time. London in 1873 seemed to me a natural habitat for vampires, with all their vaunted urbanity (not to mention the whole "can't enter without an invitation" thing - the only people more obsessed with proper etiquette than vampires were the Victorians), just as the army of the British Empire seemed like the perfect place for werewolves.

There is an odd kind of logic to the Victorian mentality, and that, coupled with a sense of scientific superiority, makes acceptance of the supernatural easy to imagine. One can envision the Victorians sipping tea with werewolves, discussing ancient philosophy with ghosts, or playing cards with a vampire. One simply can't imagine the 19th century French or Italians doing anything nearly so civilized when confronted with fangs or fur.

I just love the idea of a whole genre centered around a stately yet pompous mixture of paranormal and high society, gravitas ab umbraculum. (Dignity in Parasols, or something like.) Gothic literature, after all, had its heyday during Victorian times, and what is the urban fantasy genre but gothic writing modernized? In a way, returning to Victorian London is full circle for paranormal authors. Toss a little steampunk in there and what could be more fun? I, for one, was excited by the idea of urban fantasy quitting its contemporary setting. And since I had nothing better to do – I wrote about it myself.

(Me, Miss Eliza again...I hope you enjoyed that wonderful post, and make sure to go out and get that book and check out Gail Corriger's site, it's lots of fun, it even has an interactive paperdoll! And we all know how much I love those...)


I love the cover of this book

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