Steampunk Digest - June 8, 2018
Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world
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A new trailer is out for “Mortal Engines,” a forthcoming film based on the post-apocalyptic steampunk novel by Philip Reeve. The story takes place on a far-future earth in which cities are mobile and prey on smaller ones. Scheduled for release in December, it’s produced by “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, and written by Jackson along with LOTR veterans Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.
With that pedigree, it’s getting a lot of media attention. “Lord of the Rings goes steampunk,” screams the headline on Critical Hit. But Screen Rant spoke with director Christian Rivers, who indicated that the film will de-emphasize the book’s steampunk elements. IGN has photos from the set with “14 things you need to know” about the film. You can also find coverage from Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, and Variety, and you can view the trailer on YouTube.
Steampunks descended on the town of Oamaru on New Zealand’s South Island as the ninth annual Steampunk NZ Festival took place May 31- June 4. The event drew fans from as far away as the United States and the UK, reports the Otago Daily Times. The festival “got into gear on Friday night with Oamaru Fire and Steam in Harbour St followed by a vaudeville-style steampunk show at the Loan and Merc,” writes Daniel Birchfield. “On Saturday morning, hundreds of steampunk fans in an array of styled costumes took part in a parade along Harbour St, watched by an enthusiastic crowd.” Other highlights included teapot and airship racing, as well as the first-ever Awesome Monsterpot Racing World Championships.
One attendee was Bob Archer, aka Viscount Eastman Wesley Archardt III, who traveled there from Neenah, Wisconsin. Steampunk in the U.S. “is not as big as it is here,” Archer told Birchfield, who was apparently the paper’s steampunk correspondent for the weekend. “In the United States we have a number of dynamics; cosplay, fantasy, renaissance festivals, things like that. Steampunk has its own niche ... but it’s a completely different dynamic to what you have here.”
A festival coordinator told us via email that she expects an even larger American contingent next year. “Our American attendees really get into the spirit of things,” she said.
Another local paper, The Timaru Herald, has its own story about the festival that includes a video.
The photo above shows teapot racing at a past festival. It’s used by permission of the organizers.
Cogs & Corsets: A Steampunk Happening took place June 1-3 in Bloomington, Illinois, and it appears that folks had a grand time. The mostly free event “attracted hundreds of fans of the steampunk style from across the country,” reports The Pantagraph, the local newspaper. One attendee said “the Bloomington festival has a unique style because it isn’t held in an arena. Instead, it meshes with the historic feel of downtown Bloomington with several events hosted inside the McLean County Museum of History.” The event’s Facebook page has lots of photo galleries and several videos.
Reviews are in for Hiroshi Unno’s The Art of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Steampunk, a 360-page book that tells the story of those genres through pictures. “If you fancy yourself a true connoisseur of steampunk, here’s your new bible,” writes Colette Bennett on The Daily Dot. “The Art of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Steampunk is a drop-dead gorgeous tome that will look just right next to your rusted gear collection.”
“Gorgeous” is also the description from Brutal Gamer. Matt Sutherland of Foreword Review describes it as “an amazing accomplishment.” Published by PIE International of Japan, the book sells on Amazon for about $45. The publisher’s page includes a slide show consisting of pages from the book.
The people have spoken and the next COGS Expo will be held May 17-19, 2019 in New Jersey. The dates were selected after the organizers ran a poll on the event’s Facebook page; the vote was 71 percent for the winning dates versus 29 percent for the other option, May 3-5. Negotiations are now underway with Radisson Hotel Piscataway-Somerset, which hosted the first COGS Expo this year as well as the ill-fated Steampunk World’s Fair.
Steampunks in Florence, Colorado are hosting “Escape in Time to Steampunk and Wine,” a free outdoor event taking place June 9 and 10 in the city’s Pioneer Park. Activities include costume contests, parasol dueling and performances by the aerial artists of the Salida Circus. The SteamPunk Ball on Saturday night will feature the Fonda Cash Band. That event costs $10. The city is about 45 miles south of Colorado Springs. See the Facebook page for details.
The Greene County Museum in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania is hosting a Steampunk Garden Party on Saturday, June 9 from 5 to 10 p.m. Activities include an art contest and costume contest. Adult admission is $20. The museum is about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh. See the website for details.
Author Jonathan Fesmire has created a set of poker cards based on his novel, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western. This is not tied to a crowdfunding campaign. Instead, you can purchase a set for $15.18 through MPC (MakePlayingCards.com), an online, on-demand printing service. “Of course, if you like designing cards, too, I recommend using this site,” he writes on his blog. “I’ve ordered cards from them before and am really happy with their quality and reasonable prices.” He’s also offering a signed deck of playing cards if you pledge $25 toward his latest Indiegogo campaign, which is raising funds for his second novel, Bodacious Creed and the Frisco Syndicate.
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