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Steampunk Digest - April 2, 2021

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

Friday, April 2, 2021
Watch City Steampunk Festival logo

The organizers of the Watch City Steampunk Festival have settled on a theme for this year’s virtual event, and it will involve a trip to the Moon. “As we make the dangerous voyage through the cold, deadly ether that lies between Earth and the Moon, we hope that you will enjoy the hours of in-flight entertainment we are preparing for you,” they wrote on the website. “These performances will be transmitted directly to your viewing monitors.”

They previously announced that the festival will include a virtual Mad Science Expo consisting of video clips submitted by makers of props, gadgets, and other contraptions. You still have until April 15 to submit a video.

The event is set for May 8, and the organizers plan to release a schedule as it gets closer. Most programming will be available on YouTube after the festival. It’s all free, but they’re urging steampunk fans to show support by purchasing items on Redbubble.

Nikola Tesla

The Steampunk Explorer is proud to announce its latest spinoff publication: T: The Tesla Magazine. The tagline: “Your Guide to Better Living, The Tesla Way.” Nikola Tesla occupies a hallowed place in steampunk, and if Oprah Winfrey deserves a magazine of her own, then so does “T.”

By some odd coincidence, we’ve introduced all our spinoffs on April 1. The others were the Steampunk Enquirer in 2019 and COGSmopolitan in 2020.

You can find it on the website and our Facebook page.

If you’re a Patreon supporter, you can get a high-res version that you can download and print as a small poster. Minimum pledge is $1 per month, and you can cancel anytime.

The organizers of San Diego Comic-Con have announced dates for this fall’s Comic-Con Special Edition, but they’re already catching heat for scheduling it over Thanksgiving weekend. The scaled-down event is set to take place November 26-28 at the San Diego Convention Center.

San Diego Comic-Con usually happens in the summer, but the 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled due to COVID-19. The organizers are hoping that improved conditions this fall will permit an in-person gathering. They stated that they’re not yet able to offer details about capacity restrictions or safety protocols.

As they did last year, they’re also planning a virtual convention dubbed [email protected], which is set for July 23-25.

“While we have been able to pivot from in-person gatherings to limited online events, the loss of revenue has had an acute impact on the organization as it has with many small businesses, necessitating reduced work schedules and reduction in pay for employees, among other issues,” said Comic-Con spokesperson David Glanzer in a statement on the website. “Hopefully this event will shore up our financial reserves and mark a slow return to larger in-person gatherings in 2022.”

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the scheduling drew quick criticism on social media. “Sure. Make it during the one non-denominational fall holiday weekend in U.S., w/ always peak airfare prices,” entertainment journalist Tara Bennett wrote on Twitter. “And I’m sure A-list celebs will LOVE doing this. Black Friday, indeed.”

Due to the transportation challenges, the organizers acknowledged that it “may be an event attended mostly by fans more easily able to travel to San Diego.”

As steampunk fans await the premiere of HBO’s The Nevers, Netflix has released all eight episodes of The Irregulars, a series focusing on the street kids who assisted Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four. The series offers several twists on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective tales, as the kids are manipulated by a sinister Dr. Watson into solving supernatural crimes.

The series has scored reasonably well with critics. You won’t find many rave reviews, but it has a 79 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audience reaction on the review site is mixed.

Frankenbots

Writer and illustrator Michael Ferrone has released Frankenbots: Sunken City of Scraps, the latest in a series of illustrated children’s books about a steampunk robot named Stu. The story involves an alien invasion, feuding robot villagers, and a hidden city that was once a robot paradise.

The book is a follow-up to Frankenbots: Stu Saves The World, which the author released last year in English- and Spanish-language editions. Written for kids ages 3 to 9, it aims to inspire teamwork and foster interest in STEM activities. It’s available in a 34-page paperback edition from Amazon. See the author’s website for more info.

Scott Helland, aka Guitarmy of One, is out with The Spy Detective Collective, a 13-track album that serves as a homage to spy and detective TV shows of the 1960s and 70s. As we’ve reported, he’s also released three videos from the album.

Obviously, 1960s television is far from being a steampunk theme, but Helland is also half of Frenchy and the Punk, who are popular performers at steampunk events.

The album is available for streaming or purchase on Bandcamp, Spotify, IHeartRadio, and AppleMusic, or direct from the artist on Batfrogs.com or Guitarmyofone.com.

Speaking of Bandcamp, it seems that March has passed by in a flash, which means it’s time again for Bandcamp Friday. On Friday, April 2, the music platform is waiving its revenue share, so artists get to keep virtually all sales. It happens the first Friday of each month, and Bandcamp has pledged to continue the promotion through May 7.

The company launched Bandcamp Fridays last year as a way to help performing artists who lost revenue due to event cancellations related to COVID-19. It starts at midnight Pacific time.

Numerous steampunk performers sell their music on Bandcamp. To make it easier to find them, we’ve set up a directory with links to their Bandcamp pages.

Crowdfunding

Boston Metaphysical Society: The Book of Demons

Madeleine Holly-Rosing has launched her ninth Kickstarter campaign, this time for Boston Metaphysical Society: The Book of Demons. It’s the latest in a series of graphic novels that she’s described as a Victorian-era take on The X-Files. It’s set in an alternate-history version of the U.S. where the protagonists battle supernatural forces. In this one, medium and spirit photographer Caitlin is kidnapped by a wealthy, powerful family and forced to enslave demons.

The author says it’s a continuation of her previous story, Ghosts and Demons, but can be read as a standalone adventure.

“I wanted to delve deeper into the history of demons in my alternate history of the United States,” she says. “It was also a great opportunity to solidify Alma, an African-American scientist, as a regular part of the team.”

Holly-Rosing is the creator and writer of the series. As with the previous installment, Gwynn Tavares is the artist and colorist and Troy Peteri handles lettering.

The author has also established herself as an expert on crowdfunding for independent creators. She’s written a book on the topic and has offered workshops and consulting services.

Her latest campaign launched March 30 and met its US $4200 fundraising goal in six hours. It runs through April 29. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Pramzius Watches of Colchester, Connecticut is on Kickstarter with “The Gauge Master,” a series of watches with steampunk styling. The outer dials are made from metal from 19th and 20th century locomotives, and the inner dials are inspired by gauges from the Vapeur Val-de-Travers railroad museum in Switzerland. The manufacturer says they’re the museum’s official timepiece.

The minimum pledge to obtain a watch is US $399.

The campaign launched March 24 and met its US $6,877 fundraising goal the first day. It runs through April 23. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Authocracy Studios of Reading, UK launched a Kickstarter campaign for Volume One of Ruin, an illustrated steampunk fantasy novel written by Brandon L. Berryhill with artwork by Brandon Ellis. It tells the story of an airship crew on a dangerous adventure in a desert world. The book has gamified elements, and rewards include a tabletop RPG based on the story.

The campaign launched March 24 and has met its £5000 (US $6888) fundraising goal. It runs through April 16. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Ernoldas Pocius is on Kickstarter with “NESTRE,” a line of handmade steampunk jewelry made from recycled watch movements. They include cufflinks, earrings, rings, pendants, tie clips, and bracelets. Most items come in a variety of color schemes.

The campaign launched March 29 and has met its £500 (US $689) fundraising goal. It runs through April 28. See the Kickstarter page for more info. Pocius, who is based in Lithuania, also sells his work on Etsy.

Recently in The Steampunk Explorer

Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly
Laura Donnelly as Amalia True and Ann Skelly as Penance Adair. Photo by HBO / Keith Bernstein.

An Early Look at The Nevers. Steampunk fans have been eagerly anticipating The Nevers, the new HBO series about the “Touched,” a group of (mostly) women in Victorian London with unusual powers. The show has a large cast of characters, and thanks to HBO’s publicity department (and photographer Keith Bernstein), you can meet them here.

Quick Hits

New US Trailer for “April and The Extraordinary World” Animated Steampunk Film (FirstShowing.net)

10 Best Action Games Set In Steampunk Worlds, Ranked (Game Rant)

10 Best RPGs Set In Steampunk Worlds, Ranked (Game Rant)

Snapshot NY: Out-Of-Work Broadway Technician Finds Second Career As Artist Building Steampunk Lamps (CBS New York)

Sunday Times best in Britain: Strange world of Stroud Wassail (Stroud News & Journal)

This Unique Triumph Thruxton 900 Is A Shiny Steampunk-Inspired Masterpiece (Auto Evolution)

Jay Leno sets sail in the original land yacht: The 1916 Crane-Simplex Model 5 Holbrook Skiff (Motor Authority)

‘Skycircus’ book review: the third instalment of the Cogheart series is perfect for thrill-seekers (South China Morning Post)

The most famous books of Jules Verne (Explica)

Press Release: Author Discovers The Lost Novels of Nellie Bly (EIN Presswire)

Hellboy – Interview with Mike Mignola, Jim Demonakos, Kevin Hanna and Dark Horse Editor Katii O’Brien on the Mignolaverse (PowerUp - Gaming)

Steampunk hip hop RPG: Welcome to Professor Elemental’s Garden of Escapades (Geek Native)

The Case Study of Vanitas Sinks Its Fangs Into a TV Anime (Crunchyroll)

‘The Spine of Night’ Review: Ultraviolent Throwback Animation Mixes Muscular Spectacle With Muddy Storytelling (Variety)

”Record of Ragnarok” Anime Adaptation Confirmed For Netflix Release (EpicStream)

Dishonored 2: All Of Emily”s Abilities, Ranked (Game Rant)

Valorant Magepunk skins revealed: price, release date (Dexerto)

Everything about the new Magepunk collection in Valorant (Sportskeeda)

’Valorant’ Skin Download: Megapunk Bundle Description, Price and More! (ITech Post)

Myastere: Ruins of Deazniff launches April 15 for Switch, PC (Gematsu)

Slay bosses and bandits to earn bounties in VR shooter Speedy Gun Savage (Fullsync)

VAPORUM: LOCKDOWN Review: A Maze Of Puzzles And Limited Actions (GameTyrant)

Slay bosses and bandits to earn bounties in VR shooter Speedy Gun Savage (Games Press)

NZ steampunk playground fire a suspected arson (Otago Daily Times)

The Floating Wonder of Reynard Beck: Hoax or Miracle of Nature? (Ancient Origins)

This Is How Ancient People Knew The Earth Was Round (IFL Science)

500 million-year-old fossil is the granddaddy of all cephalopods (Live Science)

Do Octopuses Have Dreams? They Might, and Undergo Frenzied Shifts in Color (Interesting Engineering)

Identity of mysterious ‘Hobbits’ possibly found (Live Science)

Could humans ever be venomous? (Live Science)

Can You Solve This Question From The 1869 MIT Entrance Exam? (IFL Science)

The CIA Tried To Use Cyborg Cats To Spy On The Soviets (IFL Science)

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