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Steampunk Digest - April 17, 2020

Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world

Friday, April 17, 2020
Final Fantasy VII Remake

Originally released in 1997, Final Fantasy VII is regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time. Now Square Enix is out with Final Fantasy VII Remake, a “reimagining” with improved graphics and a new combat system. It’s set in Midgar, a sprawling walled metropolis with steampunk design elements. The story involves Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist group battling the power company that rules the city. The game is available for PlayStation 4 consoles.

Early reviews compiled by Metacritic are largely positive. See the website for more info.

New Music

Professor Elemental and Mister Frisbee have released Let’s Get Messy, a new 11-track album that they describe as “a glorious food fight for your ears.” The first single and music video feature the title track, a “jungle-infused banger” that the Professor has been performing over the past year. In the video, the Professor entertains kids at a birthday party, and jovial messiness ensues.

The album is available from the Professor’s website and Mister Frisbee’s Bandcamp page. It comes on the heels of Housebound Hedonist, a new EP featuring the Professor and Tom Caruana.

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Steam Powered Giraffe has released another single from its forthcoming album, which now has a name: 1896. The single, entitled “Lyin’ Awake,” premiered April 13 on YouTube, and will be followed by another new single on April 20. Due to production issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these are “audio videos” with cover images and music, not music videos. The band promises to release music videos “as soon as we can finish them.”

“Lyin’ Awake” is the fifth single from the album, which is set for release in Winter 2020. It’s now available for pre-order as a CD or digital download. The singles can be purchased from the Steam Powered Giraffe store or Bandcamp.

A Halo Called Fred premiered “Hold the Turkey,” a single and music video the band produced while under lockdown. “Since we are unable to play live shows or even rehearse in person, we decided to write and record a new song by ‘exquisite corpse,’” says guitarist Geverend Gee, referring to a collaborative art technique invented by surrealists in the early 20th century. The project involved “passing videos back and forth to each other until we had enough footage for the complete song.”

They also employed a mysterious cloning device to expand the four-piece ensemble to nine.

You can view the music video on YouTube, after which you can visit Bandcamp and download the single for a mere $1.

Online Events

Neverwas Haul
Photo: Stephen Jacobson

Burning Man is going virtual this year. The Burning Man Project, which organizes the annual gathering in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, announced on April 10 that “we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020” due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was scheduled for Aug. 30 to Sept. 7, but a wait-and-see approach wasn’t feasible, they wrote, because of the lead time required for preparation and building.

“We are, however, going to build Black Rock City in The Multiverse,” they wrote. That was the theme for this year, “so we’re going to lean into it.”

Past events have been launching grounds for steampunk art projects such as the Neverwas Haul (above) and Nautilus Submarine Art Car.

We’ve posted a story with additional details about the decision plus a gallery of photos from past festivals.

See below for more event changes.

The Greater Evansville Steampunk Society in Indiana will host a worldwide Splendid Teapot “Shelter in Place” Race on Saturday, May 9, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Central Time. To participate, you’ll need the Zoom app on your PC or mobile device, plus a video camera that works with the app.

Each contestant will build a racecourse within a 6x6 foot square, using a diagram and obstacles specified by the organizers. The suggested obstacles consist of common household objects such as toilet paper rolls and candlesticks, but the rules allow you to use substitutes of similar sizes. Contestants can also decorate the course. At race time, they’ll have two minutes to navigate their remote-controlled teapot through the obstacles.

Contestants will be judged in a point system, and prizes will be awarded. You can register by commenting on the Facebook event page, which also includes the rules, diagram, and a video of the course.

The Victorian horror performance artists of Phantasmagoria in Orlando are among the entertainers slated for CyberCon 2020, a virtual geek culture convention happening April 17-19 on Facebook Live. The online event will be held in place of MegaCon Orlando, which was postponed from this weekend to June 4-7. The organizers promise “pop culture artists, authors, comic creators, celebrities, and more.” It will also feature a costume contest and an appearance by Corsets and Cuties, a burlesque cabaret troupe.

The event will be hosted by WebTV, the Hangin With Web Show, NSC Live TV with JBauerArt, and Marc B Lee of MBL Entertainment, along with Space Coast Comic Con and HarlequinArts Cosplay & Crafts.

Viewing is free, but the organizers hope to raise money for the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The Orlando Sentinel has a preview. Learn more on the CyberCon 2020 Facebook page.

See our COVID-19 Steampunk News Hub for the latest news related to the outbreak, including event changes, streaming events, and more. We’ve also compiled resources to help you cope.

New Fiction

The Reclamation Society has released Death of a Bounty Hunter - Quarantine Edition, a steampunk-themed supernatural Western tale, and they’re offering it for free over the next five Fridays, beginning April 17, if you sign up for their e-mail list.

Penned by Jay Sherer and Nathan Scheck, the book tells the story of “a bounty hunter who comes face-to-face with something we all do: guilt and shame, and the desire to run from them,” says the Mockingbird-Preacher-Witch, one of the characters. “Not because we’re cowards, but because sometimes we just can’t stomach ourselves. The Gatling guns, the Occult, the paranormal, and even the demon spawn—all those things are just along for the ride.”

To get your free copy, just sign up on the website and they’ll provide a link. In return, they’d like an Amazon review, but that’s not an obligation. If you order on any day other than Friday, the e-book sells on Amazon for $0.99.

Sherer and Scheck are also the authors of Timeslingers, a time-travel/alternate history tale, and the co-writers and co-producers of the fan film Star Wars: Rivals.

Courtney Brandt has released The Queen of England: Ascension, the final book in her Queen of England YA steampunk trilogy. The books are set in an alternate 19th century in which Queen Victoria and other aristocrats were killed in an airship accident, and a young woman named Juliette ascends to the throne. It’s a world infused with fantasy elements, including a magic sword and unicorns. This one begins in 1843 with a Kraken attack on London.

All three e-books are available on Amazon.

She also writes adult books under the pen name Ann Benjamin. See her website for more info.


Science fiction author William C. Tracy is on Kickstarter with Facets of the Nether and Fall of the Imperium, Books 2 and 3 of the Dissolution Cycle science fantasy trilogy. They follow The Seeds of Dissolution, which was released in 2017.

Funds will pay for book covers for all three. “Because cover trends have changed in the past three years, and because I want to make sure all three books have a cohesive look, I am working with Books Covered, a UK-based book cover design firm, to deliver eye-catching visuals for all three books,” he writes.

The trilogy is set in his Dissolutionverse, which he describes as “a society of ten interstellar homeworlds connected by magic instead of space flight.” Other works include the steampunk-themed Merchants and Maji. Rewards include the entire series in e-book form.

The project launched on April 7 and seeks US $1800 by May 8. See the Kickstarter page for more info. The page includes links to two YouTube videos in which he reads from The Seeds of Dissolution in steampunk garb.

Readers may recall that Tracy was one of 10 authors who suggested travel destinations for our first Steampunk World Tour in 2018.

Event Changes

We’re maintaining an ongoing list of steampunk-related events that have been cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are the latest entries.

San Diego Comic Con, scheduled for July 23-26, was cancelled for 2020. The organizers announced the move on April 17.

Ocean Renaissance: Merfolk Pirate Faerie SteamPunk Convention in Ocean City, Maryland, was postponed until 2021. It was scheduled for June 12-14.

Steampunks Beside The Seaside, slated for May 3 in Scarborough, UK, was cancelled. The event is produced by the organization behind Whitby Steampunk Weekend, which is still on for July 24-26 at the Whitby Pavilion in North Yorkshire.

Boconnoc Steam Fair, scheduled for July 24-26 in Lostwithiel, UK, was cancelled. The event features demonstrations of steam-powered vehicles and equipment.

The Oddities & Curiosities Expo in Little Rock, Arkansas, was postponed from May 16 to Dec. 19. It’s one of many expos held around the U.S. See the website for info.

The Georgia Renaissance Festival near Atlanta was postponed to Oct. 10-Nov. 22. It was originally set to open April 18, then the opening was moved to May 2. See the website for more info.

FanimeCon, a large anime convention in San Jose, was cancelled for 2020. It was scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend. Until 2018, the event was held concurrently with Clockwork Alchemy, the Bay Area steampunk convention.

Quick Hits

15+ Best Decorating of Steampunk Bedroom Ideas for Your Home (Lez Get Real)

Artist Sue Beatrice Creates Small Intricate Steampunk Sculptures Using Old Watch Parts (Awesome Inventions)

Quantum Steampunk: 19th-Century Science Meets Technology of Today (Scientific American - requires subscription)

Beer- and wine-making kits from Steampunk Brew Works (St. Louis Magazine)

A look back at the steampunk-tinged Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (CBR)

Take A Free Ride Into The Weird West Of Deadlands (Forbes)

Game review: “Curious Expedition” explores the world with Tesla, Lovecraft, Rasputin, Amelia Earhart, and Harriet Tubman (The Geekiary)

This Generator Will Show You What The Hubble Telescope Photographed On Your Birthday (IFL Science)

Fossilized Insects’ Photonic Diamonds Reveal The Evolution Of Structural Color (IFL Science)

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