What does a Victorian world look like? Science fiction and fantasy authors have created a rich variety, from Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate to Mark Hodder’s Burton & Swinburne series, just a couple random picks from that great range of steampunk offerings.
Here is a glimpse of my own Victorian world, in A Thousand Perfect Things.
On the surface . . . my Victorian world is a recognizable one, with elegance, manor houses, and women seeking good matches. It is a world of carriages and colonialism, matchmaking and manor houses. My alternate England is a land where science reigns supreme, but where a woman, no matter how brilliant, cannot be admitted to the realm of science.
On the other hand . . . not all is so calm. England’s men of science are so enthralled by logic and engineering that they condemn an alternative way of knowing that is very real: magic. The continent of Bharata (an alternate India) is a kingdom of the most powerful magics. Tired of the colonial yoke, Bharata’s mages send attacks of magical terrorism to England, such as enlivening iron statues and sending them on killing rampages. A 500 foot high cobra made of water rises out of the Thames and wreaks destruction. As the plot unfolds, we find that young Tori Harding, a brilliant aspiring scientist, is lured to Bharata, followed by a shape-shifting avian creature who wants something from her. But what?
Crossing to a magical place . . . Using a fantastical and dangerous road, Tori makes the journey to Bharata, seeking out magic to aid her quest for freedom and scientific discovery. There she will encounter things beautiful, terrifying, and strange. It is a land of ancient ghosts, demon birds, fire dreams, kraken, a god with the head of an elephant, and the legendary golden lotus. Amid these magical splendors she will find the glittering court of a raja, silver tiger allies, mutiny, competing suitors, betrayal, spiritual truths, death, reconciliation, and finally, love and wonder.
I invite you into my Victorian world!