Victorian Surrealism

I'm about 50K into the sequel to Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque (working title: Underground), and I've been pondering the genre. When I wrote the Spirits of the Earth trilogy, I knew it was post-apocalyptic science fiction (Mad Max meets X-Men). When I wrote the Captain Quasar trilogy, I knew it was comedic space opera (Buck Rogers meets Galaxy Quest). When I wrote the Charlie Madison, Private Investigator series, I knew it was future noir (part Maltese Falcon, part Blade Runner). But my current project has defied genre classification — until now.

Whenever my inspiration doesn't start out as a "What if?" question, it's the result of a vivid dream or nightmare. That was the case with Madame Antic's; all the worldbuilding I needed to do was right there for me to see, and I just had to put it into words. But now with the novel forthcoming from Montag Press and most of the sequel drafted, I've been looking for artwork that really conveys the mood and style of this series. My search for "uncanny Victorian artwork" brought me to this artist's site where I discovered the term "Victorian Surrealism." And it fits like a misshapen glove.

While nothing like Mr. Harp's creatures appear in my novels, they very well could. Looking over his artwork is like peering into a pocket universe inside the world I've built, as every image conveys a similar sense of wonder and dread. Add some menacing robots, weapons firing lightning bolts, aerovehicles careening through the sky, not to mention plenty of blood and gore, and you've got the alternate history / Gothic horror / sci-fi adventure I'm working on. And I couldn't be having more fun.
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