Victorian-era people were fascinated by technology and engineering. Hence, writers and artists channeled that fascination into what has come to be known as Edisonade style stories. Those tales were generally about inventors and their fantastical devices and had a reputation for strong action-adventure elements and stylish trappings such as brass goggles, airships, and automatons. Decades later, steampunk came to include some of those elements, but it isn’t solely defined by them.
However, given steampunk’s Edisonade roots it’s no wonder steampunk romance stories often contain a fair amount of action-adventure. When authors introduce details like airships, steam guns, prosthetic limbs, and fantastical devices, their characters have to do something with them!
Characters in steampunk romances travel a lot, whether by airship, steam carriage, or steam-powered cycles. They use a variety of gadgets, scientific inventions, and weapons. You can often find them in life-threatening situations requiring ingenuity and even engineering skills in order to escape.
Below are a few ways the action-adventure component manifests itself in steampunk romances:
* hero and heroine go on a quest
* mystery solving and/or investigations
* battles involving airships and/or steampunk weapons
* steampunk cyborgs who are skilled in the art of defense
* chase sequences
* face offs
* rescue missions
* spy missions
In steampunk romance, usually an external plot demands that a hero and heroine overcome a threat. The threat must be dealt with if they want to be together. Love against the odds, as it were.
In my estimation, steampunk romances on average contain a moderate amount of action. Some books, like the work of Nico Rosso’s Ether Chronicle tales, are on the high octane end. Cindy Spencer Pape’s Kilts and Kraken is on the low end with mild action-adventure elements.
If you enjoy adventure romance stories where the romance is integrated into the action sequences, then steampunk romance is one way to satisfy that need. Action-adventure scenes require the characters to use a variety of physical skills and it’s a great way to build sexual tension.
But if action-adventure really isn’t your cup of tea, alternatives exist. For quieter steampunk tales, check out Christine Danse’s Island of Icarus, Leslie Dickens’ The Iron Heart, Dru Pagliassotti’s Clockwork Heart, P.G. Forte’s This Winter Heart, and Anitra Lynn McLeod’s Far Too Human.
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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
(February 2013; Lyrical Press)
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.