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Steampunk Digest - December 20, 2019

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

Friday, December 20, 2019

Holiday schedule: Due to the holidays, Steampunk Digest will not appear next week. We will resume publication after New Year’s Day. Happy New Year to all, and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

The Masked Singer on Fox is a reality singing competition with a twist: Each contestant is a celebrity disguised in a head-to-toe costume and mask. Losers are unmasked at the end of each episode, and the last three contestants face off in the finale.

One of this season’s notable entries was a steampunk-inspired fox who made his debut Oct. 9 with a performance of “This Love” by Maroon 5. At the time, the judges guessed that he might be actor Wesley Snipes, Anthony Mackie, Tyrese Gibson, or (fittingly enough) Jamie Foxx. But the answer wasn’t revealed until the season-ending episode on Dec. 18, when Fox turned out to be actor and comedian Wayne Brady.

Brady’s Fox was declared the winner, besting Rottweiler (Chris Daughtry) and Flamingo (Adrienne Bailon). Credit for the steampunk outfit goes to Emmy-winning designer Marina Toybina, who creates all the costumes seen in the series.

As promised earlier this year, Gail Carriger plans to release an e-book version of “Meat Cute: The Hedgehog Incident,” a short story that serves as a prequel to her debut novel Soulless. It tells of the first meeting of “the Parasolverse’s most popular power couple, preternatural Alexia and supernatural Lord Conall Maccon.” The story is also included in Fan Service, an omnibus collection of three Parasol Protectorate stories released in October in two limited hardcover editions (both are sold out).

The e-book version of “Meat Cute” is set for release Feb. 16, 2020. It can be pre-ordered on Amazon or directly from the author in ePub or Mobi formats.

Grim Reaper
Photo: Orion Pictures

Orion Pictures has released early stills from Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third film in the series that began with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in 1989. Once again, it will star Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as the titular time-traveling slackers, but now (of course) they’re middle-aged. The heroes “set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it,” states an announcement from the studio. “Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends — to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe.”

It will be directed by Dean Parisot, best known for Galaxy Quest, and written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, who also penned the first two Bill & Ted movies. William Sadler returns as the Grim Reaper, and Anthony Carrigan will play an antagonist. The cast also includes Beck Bennett of Saturday Night Live along with Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving, who play the daughters. The film is set to open August 21, 2020.

Games

Final Form Games has released Windows and Nintendo Switch versions of Jamestown +, its cooperative arcade-style shooter game set on a 17th century British Colonial Mars. Also available for the PS4, it’s been updated with new ships, new levels, a remastered soundtrack, and a new chapter of the underlying story. It’s designed for one to four players. Also known as Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony, it’s garnered generally positive reviews for the original PS4 version.

You can order it on Steam or from the Nintendo or Playstation stores (Nintendo and PS4 links are for the U.S. versions). See the developer’s website for more info.

DiP Online, an independent developer from Russia, has released Aima Wars: Steampunk & Orcs, a massively multiplayer strategy game featuring airship battles between the Empire of Men and the Orc Union. It’s set in a world with three major islands, and players contend to capture each island’s Bastion to get access to resources. It’s available in English and Russian versions.

So far, it’s drawn mixed reviews (in Russian and English). One complaint is that it requires in-app purchases to earn currency, even though the game isn’t free. Aima Wars is available on the Steam platform for Windows PCs.

Crowdfunding

Brad Curtois of Gold Coast, Australia is on Kickstarter with Domino, described as a “chafing near-future thriller in a crossed steampunk-cyberpunk Tech-Noir world.” Protagonists Solomon Coles and Virginia Chang are UN investigators in search of a hacker from Oregon. “In a race against time, they must pursue their only lead – a local girl, Pixie Welsh, who has seemingly been swallowed by the underworld of nearby Portland.”

The campaign launched Dec. 11 and seeks AU$750 (US $515) by Jan. 30. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Quick Hits

The Aeronauts Is a Movie About Big Balloons and the People Who Love Them (Vice)

The Aeronauts Goes Up, Up and Away From the Facts (Rolling Stone)

A Steampunk Christmas Village on Cape Cod (Patch)

The fantastic art of Tomàs Barceló in La Mathomeria (Mojo’s Collections)

A Steampunk Victorian Hamlet in Detroit (Broadway World)

The Winners Of 2019’s Best Illusion of The Year Contest Will Melt Your Mind (IFL Science)

The Fascinating History of Crisco, the Famous Tub of ‘Lard’ (LiveScience)

Events

Seasonal Steampunk Shindig, Dec. 21, is a steampunk-themed holiday celebration hosted by the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre business improvement district in Staffordshire, England. Activities include a Steampunk Santa, pyrotechnics, re-imagined Christmas carols, and an immersive steampunk show set in the Arctic. It runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The North East Steam Society (N.E.S.S) will present a Steampunk Christmas Party on Dec. 21 with Professor Elemental and other guests providing the entertainment. It takes place at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

You can celebrate New Year’s Eve in steampunk style — while contributing to a worthy cause — at Inferno Steampunk, a New Year’s Ball that raises funds to end child trafficking. The program includes cosplay, art galleries, live music, a DJ, and a steampunk fashion show. Food, wine and other drinks will be served. It takes place at the Holy Apostles Gallery, 296 Ninth Ave. (near 28th St.), in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

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