What Genre is Soulless, Urban fantasy? Historical Paranormal? Steampunk? (Behind the Magic of the Parasol Protectorate)

I have been engaged in an interesting interview back-and-forth recently, gentle reader, wherein Soulless was accused of not being urban fantasy. According to this person, and wikipedia, urban fantasy must have a contemporary setting, which means my work doesn’t qualify.

So I was left wondering, if not urban fantasy – then what?

I always thought that since it has an urban setting (London) and a strong fantasy element (vampires, werewolves, ghosts) – it would be OK to call it urban fantasy. I suppose one might refer to Soulless as a alternate history paranormal or, in old style literary terms, simply a Gothic novel. But then I would call most “urban fantasies” more accurately “modern Gothics” because often there is no urban setting (see Sookie in the rural south). Locus recently had a very interesting issue tackling definitions of urban fantasy and paranormal romance from different author and editor perspectives. It does seem to be that everyone has a different conceptualization of the term.

Soulless is difficult to categorize because it has its fingers in so many sub-genre pies (steampunk, paranormal, alternate history, gothic, comedic) and as a result I suspect people talk about it as urban fantasy because that is the easiest trope to identify it with quickly.

I thought I might field this question to the readership, where would you place Soulless?

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Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. Jessica Kennedy said:

    This is something I will be mentioning in my review of Soulless.

    It's clearly a historical. And most definitely a paranormal. Some do find "Urban Fantasy" kinda touche because they do expect it to be in "today's" time frame.

    I think it's safer w/ Historical Paranormal. Although, personally I would put it in the HOT NEW RELEASE section. 😉

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