Genre mashup: Steampunk and Space Opera??

MetalMark by Ella Drake

A Lyrical Press Steampunk Romance

WARNING: Explicit content, exploding space ships, and creepy biomechanical bugs

I love genre mashups. Like putting Romance in Science Fiction (Plenty of those at Carina). A modern city in elf fantasy–kind of a blend of UF and high fantasy (Tinker by Wen Spencer). Vampires in space. Chocolate in my peanut butter.

So when I started writing a space pirate story, somehow I ended up smooshing all sorts of things together. Gender role reversals (the pirate is the heroine. The virgin is the hero), pirate ships and space ships, and a play with symbols–false and real–using a royal amulet and …biomechanical bugs. When I got to the bugs, I thought, what’s the most innocuous bug out there? A butterfly. But you know, when you look closely at a butterfly, they’re kinda creepy. I ended up with horrorific, creepy MetalMarks that have biomechanical properties used for mind control. What a way to take innocence and beauty and turn it on its head.

Then, to put all this together, I made the main characters and plot unfold in two very different settings. Space and steampunk. All that mashing ended up being the most fun I’ve had writing a novel and kept the conflict fresh.

So, smooshing genres is much fun. And I want more!

What’s your favorite genre mashup? And what else can we put in a steampunk? Oh wait, I know! What about zombies?!?!



Ella Drake is a dark paranormal and science fiction romance author. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads.

Her Science Fiction Romance, Desert Blade is a near-future post-apocalyptic romance from Carina Press. Currently available SFR: Silver Bound, Jaq’s Harp, Braided Silk & Firestorm on E’Terra. And now from Lyrical Press, MetalMark.



  1. I recently enjoyed “Pilgrim of the Sky” by Natania Barron. It’s a sci-fi, steampunk, urban fantasy, supernatural, alternate reality mashup.

    Cherie Priest did steampunk zombies in her Clockwork Century Universe series. But I’m not citing this as a “favorite” mashup, just saying. I only read Dreadnought and didn’t like it enough to read the rest.

    I loved your Desert Blade, and look forward to reading MetalMark!

  2. I love mashups, too! Fun blog post. 🙂

  3. Thank you JL and Pauline!

  4. Ooh, I haven’t read this one from you yet, Ella! I can’t wait to get my hands on it. And the cover is so WOW. As for mash-ups there are some good ones, but there are some terrible ones too – I ran into a horrible movie mashup, speaking of zombies, the other day. Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies. So. Bad.

    1. Thanks 🙂
      And the Lincoln one, I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of that. If the movie would be good enough to kind of overcome the REALLY??? factor. Looks like maybe it didn’t. Will probably skip even a rental on that one.

      1. Well, don’t get confused – there is Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, which looks cool but I didn’t get to see it, and then there is Abraham Lincoln vs the Zombies, which is currently on Netflix and is BAD…everyone seems ready to jump on the mashup bandwagon!

  5. Sounds like a great book! And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen zombies in a steampunk… I just don’t remember which one!

    1. Thanks!
      One of my favorite Steampunks is The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. You guessed it. Zombies!

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