Steampunk Digest - August 3, 2018
Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world
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New from Abney Park. The pioneering steampunk band has announced plans to release a new album, and on July 20 they launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to cover mastering, manufacturing and digital distribution costs. The album, entitled “Scallywag,” is described as “a return to our vintage sounds. . . With tales of Automatons, and Scallywags, and Victorian Vigilantes, and Sea Captains.” They’ve released a music video for “We’re Going Down,” a track from the album described as a homage to filmmaker Georges Méliès. The album is expected to be completed in October or later.
The band also hopes to raise enough funds to manufacture back catalog CDs and refurbish (or replace) the studio computer. As of August 2, they had raised $17,774, exceeding the $15,000 goal with one day remaining. See the Indiegogo page for more info.
Lunar Great Wall Studios has released two “behind the scenes” videos for Another Sight, a forthcoming video game inspired by Neil Gaiman’s novel Neverwhere. It tells the story of Katherine, a teenager in 1899 London who loses her sight after a tunnel collapse. She embarks on a fantasy adventure with Hodge, a mysterious feline companion. “As their bond grows, the pair will uncover a hidden society of the world’s greatest inventors and artistic minds such as Claude Monet, Nikola Tesla and other long-past cultural icons,” the developer says.
One video explores the setting and characters, whereas the other focuses on the soundtrack. The videos are mostly in Italian with English subtitles. The game is set for release later this year with versions for the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. See the developer’s website for more info.
Application Systems plans a September 13 release for Lamplight City, a video game described as “a detective adventure set in an alternate steampunk-ish ‘Victorian’ past.” From the publisher: “The thriving port city of New Bretagne is a beacon of progress and industrial advancement in the New World. Yet beneath the promises of a shining 19th-century future, the city rests upon foundations of poverty, class struggle, and crime. For police detective turned private investigator Miles Fordham, Lamplight City’s shadowy corners are just part of the territory. But with his former partner constantly speaking to him from beyond the grave, his grip on sanity is slowly loosening. Can Miles find justice for his clients and track down his partner’s killer before his entire world comes apart?”
Game developer Airapport has released a public beta of 20,000 Cogs Under the Sea, a new underwater world for its mobile game series Steampunk Idle Spinner. It’s the fifth world in the series, which lets you build virtual machines using cogs and other components. This new world is populated by octopuses, whales, mechanical crabs, submarines, and “various mad science contraptions, which can be connected in multiple fun ways,” the developer says. It was inspired by Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea as well as Disney’s “Atlantis” and Brian Kesinger’s Walking Your Octopus. A YouTube trailer shows the game in action.
The final release is planned for autumn 2018. The game is available on Google Play for Android devices and can be played online via Kongregate. Versions for Amazon and iOS devices are planned. See the Airapport website and the game’s Facebook group for more info. The developer is based in Ukraine.
Blindflug Studios of Zürich, Switzerland has released Airheart, described as a “dieselpunk airplane action game” in which a pilot hunts for flying fish while battling air pirates and drones. As you defeat your enemies, you can salvage the scrap to build weapons and airplane parts. As you play, new species enter the ecosystem, a feature “inspired by how real habitats change due to overfishing in the real world,” the developer says.
Priced at $17.99USD, the game is available for Macs, PCs, Playstation 4 and Xbox. See the website for more info.
Designer Abhisek Basak of New Delhi, India, is one of the nation’s “few ambassadors of steampunk fashion,” writes Shreya Ramnath in The Hindu. His work is featured in a new pop-up store that will be open August 3 and 4 in the Besant Nagar neighborhood of Chennai in South India. The author describes his jewelry pieces as “a perfect marriage of Victorian-era style and a neo-futuristic, sci-fi sensibility,” adding that he is “particularly fond of old watches.” Read the story here, and see more of his work on the Absynthe Design website.
The River Reporter in Narrowsburg, New York has photos and a brief report from Steampunk Honesdale, the free festival held July 20-22 in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Columnist Jonathan Charles Fox relates how he gained a quick education in steampunk prior to bringing a summer intern along for the ride. “I did a quick Internet search, since my only working knowledge of Steampunk was an esoteric reference to H.G. Wells and his Victorian-age time machine,” he writes. “Oh, and (IMHO) some really weird clothing.” The column also includes a visit to Riverfest, an outdoor festival in Narrowsburg.
Whitby Steampunk Weekend took place July 27-29 in North Yorkshire, UK, and Emily Flanagan of The Northern Echo has a report. It kicked off on Friday evening with an Alice in Wonderland masquerade ball, followed on Saturday night by a Steampunk Cabaret featuring Victor and the Bully, Captain of the Lost Waves and Lady Violet Hugh. Daytime activities included tea dueling, a steampunk seamstress workshop, a presentation about vampires, and a demonstration of Bartitsu, described as “a form of self-defence developed in 1898 for Victorian gentlemen involving walking canes mixed with Jujitsu boxing.” Also performing was “Victorian beat poet” Paul Voodini. The event’s Facebook page includes photos and videos.
Circus Juventus in St. Paul, Minnesota is getting a lot of local media coverage for “Steam,” its steampunk-themed circus performance that runs through August 12. KMSP-TV, the Twin Cities Fox affiliate, has a video report about the event, including an interview with Dan Butler, one of the ringmasters. “H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are the godfathers of science fiction, so we thought it really would be fun to incorporate this neo-futuristic Victorian-era type of production,” Butler tells reporter M.A. Rosko. The report also includes shots from a rehearsal of the performance. See the report here or visit the Circus Juventus website for more info.
Revisiting Verne’s lunar voyage. Writing in The Space Review, Logic Design Corporation chief technology officer Eric R. Hedman offers a fresh look at Jules Verne’s Around the Moon, a tale of a lunar voyage written in the 1860’s. “What Jules Verne got right is impressive,” Hedman writes. “His story is about three men who are launched to the Moon from Florida and eventually splash down in the Pacific.” As they loop around the moon, they “determine that there is no life nor an atmosphere on the Moon. They observe snow on the mountains of the lunar poles (off by just a little where frozen water would be found). . . Considering the state of astronomy at the time, the guesses were pretty good.” Of course, Verne got some things wrong, “but, then again, there are issues I had with the movie ‘The Martian’ for technical inaccuracies. That was still a story enjoyed by many.”
Hedman notes that stories like this likely inspired “many [people] that made our future what it is.” And so he suggests that a proposed lunar station be named in Verne’s honor. Read the essay here.
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