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COVID 19: Steampunk News Hub

We’ve gathered our news coverage in one place, along with other resources to help you cope

Monday, March 30, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected nearly every facet of society, and steampunk is no exception. Events have been cancelled, artists are losing income, and many fear that they or their loved ones might get sick. At the same time, folks in the steampunk community are showing resilience by staging virtual events, supporting displaced artists and musicians, and even using their skills to fabricate much-needed supplies for hospitals.

When we launched this website two years ago, we never dreamed that we’d one day be covering a public health emergency. But here we are.

We’ve set up this page as a hub for our COVID-19 coverage and other resources related to the outbreak. We’ll also use it to post daily updates.

Latest News

The organizers of Worldcon 78, aka CoNZealand, announced that it will become an interactive virtual convention due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was scheduled for July 29-Aug. 2 in Wellington, New Zealand. You must have an attending membership to fully participate in the virtual activities. They plan to announce new online membership rates by April 15. Read the announcement here.

SteamPaper, a monthly steampunk newsletter from the UK, will host SteamPunk Over Ether, a virtual festival on the weekend of April 25-26. It will livestream for free on Facebook and YouTube, and content will be available afterward. "There will be a full programme of bands, comedy, quizzes, craft sessions, cookery demonstrations, gin tasting and even a shopping channel style show," they announced, adding that they will publish the schedule in advance. They're also open to "performers, crafters, writers, artists etc. who would like to take part or provide content." Get the details on their Facebook page and the Facebook event page.

The Watch City Steampunk Festival joins the long list of steampunk gatherings cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was scheduled for May 9 in Waltham, Massachusetts. “We held out for as long as we could, hoping to be able to provide one of the first large events that people could attend, but it’s become clear that we will be unable to do so,” the organizers wrote on the website and Facebook page. They plan to return May 8, 2021. Past events have drawn as many as 10,000 visitors, making it one of largest steampunk gatherings in the U.S.

SFWA Nebula Conference, scheduled for May 28-31 in Woodland Hills, California, will become a virtual conference running May 29-31. It will feature “panels, solo presentations, conference mentorships, workshops, forums, chats, and virtual room parties (including a dance party hosted by John Scalzi),” according to a statement on the website. The Nebula Awards honoring the year’s best speculative fiction will be presented via live stream on May 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern time. Registration costs $150 and will be open to the public. A portion of the proceeds will benefit SFWA members financially affected by the outbreak. The board will offer grants of up to $1000 beginning in April. See the website for details.

StokerCon, the annual convention of the Horror Writers Association, has been tentatively rescheduled for Aug. 6-9. It was slated for April 16-19 in Scarborough, UK. It’s held in different cities each year, and this was to be the first year in which it was held outside the U.S. The Bram Stoker Awards honoring superior achievement in horror writing will be presented in a virtual ceremony on April 18. See the StokerCon and Horror Writers Association websites for more info.


We have a running list of steampunk-related event cancellations and postponements. This does not include the many other geek culture events affected by the outbreak, but as best we can, we’re keeping the calendar updated with changes.

The National Emergency Library is a new initiative from the Internet Archive that provides access to 1.4 million digitized books that you can borrow for up to 14 days with no waiting. The collection includes numerous steampunk classics. The organization is suspending its normal waitlist on e-book lending at least through June 30.

Faire Relief 2020 is a new Facebook group for attendees, vendors, and entertainers at Renaissance festivals and similar events such as Celtic and pirate festivals. It serves as an online marketplace for vendors and entertainers who have lost business due to cancellation of these events. Rules are spelled out in this post by admin Bella Wilson.

The Virtual Vendor Fair is a marketplace for artisan vendors and others who were slated to appear at events in Northern California. It was organized by the Northern California Black Hat Society and runs through April 30.

Cool Stuff Happening During Quarantine - COVID-19: Stories, ideas, and inspiration about coping with the outbreak.

A list of “free, online, boredom-busting resources” from Chatterpack.

More free stuff to keep you occupied from Open Culture.

COVID-19 info from the World Health Organization.

COVID-19 info from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

COVID-19 coverage from Stat. Stat is an independent news service from Boston Globe Media that focuses on health and medicine.

COVID-19 coverage from Kaiser Health News. Kaiser Health News is an independent non-profit news service from the Kaiser Family Foundation. It is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


Steampunks: Time to Get Sewing! As COVID-19 continues to spread, steampunk makers and cosplayers may find more calls to fabricate homemade face masks, this time for the general public. The CDC currently advises that among the general public, face masks should be worn only by people who are sick or caring for others. But it is now likely that the agency will change its recommendation and advise broad public use of face masks. The story has links to instructional guides and videos, as well as information about the best materials to use.

Steampunk Digest - March 27, 2020. Steampunks continue to cope with COVID-19; Online concerts by Steam Powered Giraffe, Frenchy and the Punk; Clockwork Alchemy in cyberspace; “Authors Give Back” at Smashwords; Free audio books at Audible.com; Double whammy for Jekyll & Hyde Taphouse and Grill in North Carolina; Burning Man statement on COVID-19.

Steampunking Surgical Masks: With COVID-19 on the rise, steampunk makers are responding to requests from hospitals to supply homemade face masks. 3/21/2020

Steampunk Digest - March 20, 2020. Steampunks hunker down; C.O.G.S. Expo announces virtual convention; Gallows humor amid the outbreak; PSA from The Cog is Dead; Deals on digital entertainment. 3/20/2020

Virus Sends Steampunks to Cyberspace. Organizers are setting up virtual marketplaces to help vendors cope with event cancellations. Abney Park and Steam Powered Giraffe plan streaming concerts, and an author stages a virtual comic con. 3/16/2020

Steampunk Cons Postponed. The carnage began with the postponement of the International Steampunk Symposium and Clockwork Alchemy, and other events soon followed. 3/13/2020

Finally. . .

For anyone who doubts the seriousness of the outbreak, Dr. Emily Landon of the University of Chicago offered these sobering comments as Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order for the state’s residents.

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