Upon the Sixth Birthday of Soulless

October 1, 2009 a silly little book hit the market.

A very nervous debut author hummed and hawed over her offering. Would anyone actually like it? It was such an odd mash up of paranormal, steampunk, and comedy – who would enjoy such a ridiculous story? Were there readers out there irreverent enough to want whimsy?


Well, Soulless turns six years old today. The silly little book that I thought would find a home in only a very few people’s hearts seems to have miraculously wormed its way out into the world and touched many.

FrenchSoullessPaperback copy JapeneseSoullessCover

Soulless has now sold into 15 different territories for translation. There has been a graphic novel manga version (which itself is now translated into French, Taiwanese, and German) and an omnibus. It’s been optioned for TV. It’s spawned a dress up doll, various videos, fan art, several tea parties, audio books, cosplay, and an iPhone app.

SoullessAUDIO SoullessFinalCover copy

Little did I know how much that one book would so utterly change my life.

In these last six years:

  • After getting my second masters degree I put my PhD on indefinite hiatus.
  • I gave up teaching archaeology, discontinued my experimental work, and stopped my field visits.
  • Basically, I switched careers.
  • I visited a dozen foreign countries promoting the books, half of which I’ve never traveled to before.
  • I made countless new friends and been blessed with a chance to visit old ones.
  • I’ve watched the steampunk movement grow and expand.
  • I went to conventions and signings all over the world and learned valuable lessons from fellow authors.
  • I ate hundreds of foods, dishes, and sweets I’d never tried before.
  • I wrote 11 additional books: 4 followups to Soulless, 1 YA sci-fi, and 4 YA Finishing School books, 2 Custard Protocol books.
  • And, best of all, I got to meet my readers: some here on the blog, some on Twitter, some on Facebook, some in person ~ all of you so warm and fun and strong and smart.


There have been good reviews and glorious ones, nasty gripes and soundly presented critiques. I’ve tackled rough times in social media, and made my fair share of online mistakes. But in the end, it always came back to Soulless and the writing. Did the book make you smile? Then I did my job.

So, thank you so very much, Gentle Reader, and if you have the time or inclination please raise up a teacup in honor of Soulless, who’s original secret code name, at the dawn of this blog, was “The Little Paranormal That Could.” I guess Soulless could and did.

And if you put a spot of amaretto in your tea, well, I won’t tell.

Thank you all for six glorious years!

Soulless’s original cover art photograph and the cover that never was.

Many of you have been with me all along, and several of you have already posted comments on my similar October 1 posts of the past, for which I thank you. But if you would like to share your “How I discovered Soulless” story, I would love to read it.

{Gail’s monthly read along for October is Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1870 Dr Liv Gibbs @DrLivGibbs 
L’Hôtel des Roches Noires à Trouville
by Claude Monet 1870 (@MuseeOrsay).

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Sneaky Octopus Dismantles Camera

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Elizabeth Gaskell: Manchester University launches world’s largest online collection of Victorian author’s work

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
This Video Explains How to Properly Use the Hyphen, En Dash, and Em Dash


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft.

Gail Carriger’s Books! 

 The Finishing School Series (1850s ~ completed)
1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies,
3 Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny

The Parasol Protectorate Series (1870s ~ completed)
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless

 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence (forthcoming)

Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels (1870s)
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:

People are still finding Soulless!

  • Kallen of the Geeky Library says: “A bold protagonist, well-imagined steampunk london, amusing scenarios and well-developed characters all wrapped up with a satisfying ending— this may not be a thought-provoking novel, but it is a perfectly entertaining adventure.”
  • Coven Book Club says: “A steampunk romp is the best way to describe this book. It’s action-packed with a most wonderful smattering of romance.” 
  • Sheila of Booker Tease says: “Carriger has done a brilliant job of combining a bunch of different genres and producing a witty and fun coherent novel. There are elements of urban and paranormal fantasy, steampunk, romance, and thriller; just enough of each of not too much of any.”
  • Bookmark Maiden says,  “The “Unexpected Awesome” of the year. … So, it’s vampires and werewolves and that’s old hat, you say. Well, you haven’t seen them in this alternate history. … They don’t hide in the dark anymore… Alexia Tarabotti, as practical and brilliant as my favorite character, Jane Eyre. … She can give as good as she gets.”
  • The Brass Army says: “If you like humor, it’s funny. If you like action, it’s actiony. If you like romance, it’s sexy. If you like steampunk, it’s all bustles, mad science and parasols.”
    Felicia Sue Lynn Reviews: “I also loved all the characters and boy does Carriger know how to create characters. I mean, I felt myself falling in love with even Floote the trusty butler who barely has more than a few paragraphs devoted to him.” 
  • Evaine’s Books, Books, & More Books says: “What a FUN romp!  I love the premise, I love the characters and I adore the dialogue between those characters.  The romance is quite lovely – amusing and hot and fun all at once.  It totally worked for me.“ 
  • Kaja of Of Dragons and Hearts says: “I had a lot of fun with Soulless. It’s a great mixture of dry humor, sexy, scruffy werewolves and witty retorts, all with a steampunkish vibe (I always have trouble sorting these kinds of books into appropriate genre slots…). I never had much luck with this genre but I think this series might just change my opinon[sic] of it!” 
  • Fleur of Hodderscape says: “Friends don’t let friends miss out on sexy werewolves. That’s a policy we strictly enforce at Hodderscape. So, Anne did her duty and instructed me to read Gail Carriger’s Soulless. I dutifully obeyed, and loved it.”
  • Adaline_LBK of Les Bookinistes says: “Comment vous dire : C’est frais, c’est drôle, c’est rythmé, c’est intelligent, c’est rocambolesque, c’est raffiné, c’est subtil… C’est comme lire du Jane Austen sous hallucinogènes !”
  • Ace from A Tree Grows in Bookland says: “The atmosphere of this book is jolly, whimsical, curious, and it will leave you squealing and running for the next one.”

And old friends:

  • Mike Perschon says: “I like having Soulless as an addition to my steampunk reading list, since it is the first ostensibly steampunk novel I’ve read that pays homage to the comedy of manners made famous by Jane Austen…”(more of an analytic than review, but I liked this quote) 
  • On teaching Soulless in the classroom, Mike Perschon says: “Anyone looking to do feminist studies in steampunk would do well to consider the intersections between Soulless and the New Woman as places to begin.”

Quote of the Day:
“The spirit cannot endure the body when overfed, but, if underfed, the body cannot endure the spirit.”
~ St Frances de Sales

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.
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Posted by Gail Carriger


No Responses

  1. Rooibos said:

    I found Alexia because my sister found her first and recommended Soulless to me. I've read all the Parasol Protectorate books several times and they're my comfort books (the same way as something is comfort food). Thank you for bringing Alexia to my life :)!

  2. Mrs E said:

    Happy birthday Soulless! I discovered the Soulless books this year after having seen the play Frankenstein (with Cumberbatch and Lee Miller as Frankenstein/The monster) and it was sort of steampunkish. I asked on my book blog for books that are steampunk and your books were mentioned as funny and involving tea so naturally I chose it. I even had my book club read it (we all loved it) and we had our meeting in a steampunk bar here in Gotenburg (Sweden). I love the books (have read the first 3 so far) and think that they are funny, adventurous and they show girl power! (Or maybe I should say woman power?)

    Am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and then maybe reading some of your others…

  3. Sarah Miller said:

    I found Prudence at my local library and was hooked. From there I read the Finishing Schools and then migrated to Soulless. I absolutely love it! I'd never read a steampunk book before Ms. Carriger's and now it's a genre I adore. So thank you very much for bringing Alexia into my life!

  4. Myandria said:

    Can't believe it's been 6 years! My American Editor friend recommended not long after it first came out and I fell in love with Alexia's character and her world. Thankyou so much for writing her adventures, and all the other books since!

    As for Octobers read-along. I got excited about having some free time and read it yesterday. Sad to say I was a bit disappointed, the premise SHOULD have been good. But it read like a bad fan-fic.
    I suspect this is what happens when you don't get a good editor to tell you where to hold back.

  5. Sara said:

    A friend of mine recommended Soulless to me, and I'm so very glad he did, the Parasol Protectorate has become one of my favourite series of books. They've made me laugh and cry and at one point I even threw Timeless across the room I was so upset (I'm sure you can guess at what point). Since then I've fallen in love with the Finish School series and now I'm getting to know Prudence and her friends. I will continue to revisit them time and time again, like you would old friends, because that's what they've become.

    Thank you Miss Carriger.

  6. Regan Duffy said:

    I bought Soulless as a Christmas present for my sister picked off a list of steampunk books because I thought it looked the most interesting. I knew nothing about steampunk but she had discovered it while doing research for a museum. I ended up reading the book myself and having to buy another copy for her present (because I couldn't give her MY copy) and a love of Gail Carriger's books and steampunk began. Thank you so much for the world you opened up for me!

  7. Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said:

    I'd heard of Soulless when it first came out, but it was only one of many, many books my fellow authors recommended.

    Then I met you and your fabulous fashions sense at WorldCon 2010 (in Australia). That propelled your book to the top of my To Buy list. (I confess you had to share the #1 spot with Howard Tayler, but I'm sure you understand why.)

    Bought it, read it, so glad I did, bought the rest.

    We all dream of writing That One Book that will touch so many souls. So glad that dream's come true for you.

  8. Unknown said:

    I discovered Soulless when a friend of mine recommended it to me. It was fall 2011, & when I finished reading it I immediately ordered the next three and sat down to for a reread while I waited. I was in school for my MLIS at the time, and when I started my Young Adult Lit class in spring 2013 I was delighted to find that the novel and manga versions of Soulless were both on the syllabus! ^_^ Your Parasol Protectorate, Finishing School, and Custard Protocol series give me so much pleasure – brava and happy birthday for Soulless!
    – Kate Y

  9. Nae said:

    I found Soulless about 4 years ago in the 2nd hand bookstore. I devoured it and the next day I went immediately to Galaxy bookshop to buy the next 2 books. Then devoured them. 🙂

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