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One might say that I was a fussy editor. Meaning, I only chose to edit books or articles that I found interesting. The publishing company that I worked for was cool with it since they could always rely on me to give my 120% in every book I edited. Hence, I paid attention to romance novels, business guides, and mental health ebooks for many years.

Why did I like those three topics, you might ask? Well, for one, I got a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology a decade ago (aside from a Communications degree); that’s why I understood mental health a little more than others. I was also deeply fascinated with businesses and even got an MBA so that I could fact-check the guides well. As for romance novels, I chose it because we all needed to believe that love existed every once in a while.

I could continue being picky with the books that I edited forever, but I was wrong. One morning, I received an email that the publishing company I worked for was in the process of filing for bankruptcy. They offered to write recommendations for us and provide our separation pay at once, and I figured that was considerate of them. However, it did not erase the fact that I was already jobless because of that.

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Finding Steampunk 

I became slightly depressed for a little while since reading that email. I tried to live off of my separation pay and did not try to look for another job. Unfortunately, it merely lasted for two months since I had house bills to pay. Thus, I started searching for publishing companies that would hire me again.

After three weeks of hanging out at virtual job sites, I got an invitation from a company focused on steampunk novels. I honestly hesitated to accept it and send my application because: a) I was not interested in the steampunk subgenre at the time, and b) it was much different from the usual books that I edited in the past. Out of desperation, though, I clicked the Accept button and tried to make my application stand out from the others.

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The next day, I found out that I was shortlisted for the editing job. I sent some samples of my previous projects, but I had no choice but to let the HR manager know that I never edited a steampunk novel before. Instead of kicking me out of the shortlist, though, they gave me a chance to edit a 2,000-word excerpt from an existing book.

Before I opened the document that the manager sent to me, I did a quick research about steampunk. I realized that it was still under science fiction, though its two governing subjects were Victorian style and steam technology. When I got the gist, I read a steampunk excerpt for the first time.

Reading Steampunk For The First Time

I must admit that I was blown away by the vast imagination of steampunk writers. It was a fantasy novel, all right, but it went beyond the magical powers and paranormal creatures commonly found in most books. Steampunk was filled with exciting characters who wore out-of-this-world costumes and lived in an extraordinary city, albeit make-believe.

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I realized that reading steampunk novels would be suitable for anyone’s mental health because:

It Could Pull You Into Another Realm

Getting sucked into another dimension would be effortless once you got a steampunk novel on hand. From the first page of the book, you would notice how the setting was different from others, even though they technically occurred in familiar cities like London or Paris. The writers could describe the places in a way that you would recall it, but then they tend to add small details that would fit the subgenre.

It Would Push You To Use Your Imagination

Since you could hardly see people living in a steampunk city (unless you go to their convention), reading the novels would naturally push you to use your imagination. This would be ideal for people who complain about having a mental block because you need to imagine the scenes to understand the flow of the story.  

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It Won’t Bore You To Death

Steampunk novels were far from boring – that’s another thing that I understood after reading the excerpt. I managed to prove that my observation was correct after editing three stand-alone books and seeing that each one was interesting on its own. If I’m honest, I would say that this subgenre is more interesting than romance because you wouldn’t know if the characters could get a happy ending (because they sometimes could not).

Final Thoughts

I never envisioned myself becoming a full-time fiction editor – a steampunk editor, no less. It was way out of my wheelhouse; the scenes could not be explained by logic most of the time. But I loved every second that I got to read such novels. It did incredible things to my mental health, so I would not be surprised if it could do the same to yours.

Cheers!

Is Reading Steampunk Novels Good For My Mental Health?