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Steampunk Digest - Feb. 15, 2019

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

Friday, February 15, 2019

Steampunk Digest brings you news and other info from around the web. Sign up to get it by email before it's posted on the website. The email version also includes summaries of recent stories posted on The Steampunk Explorer.

Whitby VW Steamvagon
Whitby Steampunk People

Whitby Steampunk Weekend took place Feb. 9 and 10 at the Whitby Pavilion in North Yorkshire, UK, and some of the attendees have shared splendid photos of the festivities. Craig Jenkins posted two photo albums—one from Saturday and one from Sunday, and he kindly gave us permission to use some of the shots. He reports that the “weather was kind (if a little chilly).”

His photos included Steve Kay’s VW Steamvagon, a familiar sight at UK steampunk events. You can see more photos on the Whitby Steampunk Weekend Facebook page.

A second Whitby Steampunk Weekend is slated for July 26-28, when it will presumably be warmer.

Author Gail Carriger has announced the North American availability of a trade paperback edition of Competence. Book 3 in The Custard Protocol series, it tells the story of Miss Primrose Tunstell, who “must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.” It was released in e-book and hardcover formats last July. Learn more on her website.

Streaming TV service Hulu says it plans to develop a series based on Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, a bestselling non-fiction book about the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. The book revolves around architect Daniel H. Burnham, who oversaw the fair’s design and construction, and serial killer H.H. Holmes, who committed many of his murders in a building he owned near the exposition.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who purchased the film rights in 2010, will be an executive producer along with Martin Scorsese. It’s not yet known if DiCaprio will star in the series or if Scorsese will direct. Variety and The Hollywood Reporter both have stories about the announcement.

Also known as the Columbian Exposition, the Chicago World’s Fair hosted many technological firsts, including the Ferris Wheel, phosphorescent lamps, a moving walkway, and a fully electrical kitchen.

Filmmaker John Borowski will discuss the World’s Fair and H.H. Holmes at the inaugural Chicago Steampunk Exposition in September. His credits include a documentary about the serial killer.

Pamela Tan Eden

Artist and architect Pamela Tan has cited Jules Verne and The Crystal Palace as inspirations for Eden, a permanent art installation recently completed at a shopping center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The project’s “light, skeletal structure is a nod to the architectural and engineering marvel of The Crystal Palace, a massive cast-iron structure built to house the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London,” states her description. And “Jules Verne’s drawings for the Journey to the Centre of the Earth provided the inspiration for Eden’s cavernous-like quality.”

The project has received notice from art and architecture sites, including Archilovers, Archinect, Metalocus, and My Modern Met. Lonely Planet also has a write-up. You can see more photos and the full description on her website.

Photo by David Yeow. Used by permission of Pamela Tan.

Richard Fletcher of Baton Rouge, Louisiana is seeking costumed extras for London Dark, a short film set around the time of the Jack the Ripper murders. It’s about a “lone detective” who “teams up with a brothel owner and her group of fallen women to put a stop to an evil threat dawning on East London.”

Filming is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., at The Londoner, 4215 S Sherwood Forest Blvd in Baton Rouge. This is a period drama, not steampunk, so he’d like folks to show up in straight Victorian garb (no goggles or gears). His goal is to use the short as a promotion for a full-length feature that will begin shooting in September.

“Unfortunately, there will be no pay due to budget, but food and networking will be on set,” he told us. Some extras will have an opportunity to take on larger roles that make them eligible for IMDb credit, he added.

This is his first film as a writer and director, but he says he’s been involved with other productions in Louisiana over the past three years. The film has an IMDb page with a list of cast and crew members.

February 12 was International Darwin Day, recognizing the 210th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. It’s not an official holiday (at least not yet), but it “has been adopted by scientific and humanist groups to promote everything from scientific literacy to secularism,” writes David Masci of the Pew Research Center.

But why celebrate Darwin and not other luminaries like Copernicus, Newton, Marie Curie, or Nikola Tesla? Psychology Today blogger Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. cites two reasons: “First, because no other scientific figure has attracted so much undeserved vitriol. From the very start, Darwin was vilified and viciously attacked in the most personal way possible. . . Second, we celebrate Darwin Day because, somehow, his ideas are still controversial in some corners of society.”

We should note that Feb. 11 was the 172nd anniversary of Thomas Edison’s birth, but we’re not aware of any Edison Day celebrations.


Clockwork Cavalier

Steve Tanner of Birmingham, UK is on Kickstarter with The Clockwork Cavalier Special, a graphic novel set in the same world as his Flintlock anthology series. He describes it as “Clockpunk,” defined as “a retrofuturistic derivative of steampunk with a post Medieval, pre-Victorian setting.” In this case, it’s London in the 1770s. The Clockwork Cavalier of the title is an automaton recruited into a crime-fighting force.

The story is written by Tanner with line art by Francesco Archidiacono and coloring by Ben Lopez. It’s published by Tanner’s own imprint, Time Bomb Comics.

The campaign launched on Jan. 30 and met its initial £500 goal (about $643 USD) within 8 hours. It runs through March 1. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Kirk Slater is on Kickstarter with Volume 2 of The Sisterhood of Blood, a story collection about 12 female vampires in Victorian London. Each chapter focuses on a different character. “Some embrace their unnatural lifestyle, others refuse to let go of their past life, but all of them have a connected story to tell that spans a lifetime,” he writes. The stories take place between 1850 and 1899.

The series began as a deck of playing cards, which begat Volume 1 of the book in 2017. Reward tiers include paperback and hardback editions of Volume 2 plus a paperback incorporating both volumes. All of these projects have been funded on Kickstarter.

The campaign launched on Jan. 28 met its initial goal of £1500 (about $1929 USD) within 24 hours. It concludes on Feb. 27. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Beyond Milford Green

Samuel George London of Hampshire, UK is seeking Kickstarter funding for Beyond Milford Green, a graphic novel about Victorian-era villagers on an interstellar space adventure. It’s a sequel to last year’s Milford Green, which introduced the main characters: Alfie Fairfield, a “socially awkward Victorian inventor,” and his next-door neighbor Mary. This time, they’re recruited by the United Galactic Alliance to participate in peace negotiations with an alien species known as the Cinux.

The story is written by London, illustrated by Mikael Hankonen, and published by London’s Signal Comics. He says it will appeal to fans of science fiction comics such as Valérian & Laureline and Saga, as well as folks who “like the idea of Star Trek with a Victorian twist.”

The campaign launched on Jan. 29 and seeks £4000 (about $5145 USD) in funding by March 3. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

David Cali of Atlanta is on Kickstarter with Weekend at Terminus Manor, an immersive live action role-playing game that takes place at a Victorian Bed & Breakfast. The venue is in Rome, Georgia, but the game is set in an alternate 1899 Atlanta.

From the description: “The War of Enlightenment has expanded knowledge and civility across the world. Terminus Manor is a destination for those with many desires; a weekend of luxurious comfort, a place to ‘get away from it all,’ the excitement of supposed paranormal activity or a chance to leave one’s humdrum life and see how the other half lives, if even for a moment.”

The game completed its first season and is raising funds to rent the venue for season two. A pledge of $70 or more includes Saturday-only admission on April 13. You can double that for full weekend admission from April 12-14, including meals and a single-occupancy bed.

The campaign launched on Jan. 12 with a goal of raising $1600 USD by March 3. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Event News

Steampunk Con, the new steampunk convention in Parsippany, New Jersey, has announced a date change. Originally scheduled for June 7-9, it’s now slated for June 21-23. Event organizer VampireFreaks cited high demand for hotel rooms at the Radisson Hotel in Piscataway due to Shavuot, a Jewish holiday that runs June 8-10. Hotel rooms for the new dates are $15 cheaper ($135 per night), and the organizer is offering a refund to anyone who purchased tickets and cannot attend that weekend.

Scheduled guests include author G.D. Falksen and music acts Rasputina, Victor Sierra, Valentine Wolfe, Night Watch Paradox, The Eternal Frontier, Dust Bowl Faeries, and many more. See the website and Facebook page for more info.

Steampunk is the theme for the sixth annual Syfy Bartow, a large street fair that takes place this Saturday in Bartow, Florida, about 40 miles east of Tampa. The free event will include live entertainment plus panels, an art show, a car show, a costume contest, vendors, and autograph signings by voice actor George Lowe and DC Comics writer Chuck Dixon. Last year’s Syfy Bartow drew about 25,000 visitors and took up eight blocks of downtown, according to a story in The (Lakeland, Fla.) Ledger.

The event will be preceded by a Friday night kickoff party featuring DJ VLAD along with dancing, vendors, a costume contest and a car show. Proceeds from vendor fees benefit Main Street Bartow, a local civic organization. See the Facebook page for more info.

AnachroCon takes places Feb. 15-17 in Atlanta, celebrating “history both real and imagined.” The event encompasses alternate history, historical reenacting, time travel, and related interests, including steampunk. Makers Thomas Dean Willeford and James Neathery are among the guests. We recently posted a preview with details about the programming. Learn more on the website and Facebook page.

This weekend’s Florida Renaissance Festival will have a “Time Travelers” theme that includes steampunk. “If you like donning a top hat, vest, breeches, and monocle, then board your favorite 18th-century submarine or fantasy-like hot air balloon and zoom for this weekend dedicated to adventurers across the centuries,” the website states (though we think they meant “19th-century.”) “Bring your brassie Victorian ‘gears’ and join us for ‘Steampunkin’’ good time!” It’s open Saturday through Monday due to President’s Day. The festival is held in Deerfield Beach, near Boca Raton in Broward County. See the website for more info.

COGS Gaming “Dead of Winter” February Mini Con takes place Feb. 16-17 at The Portal Comics and Gaming in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The event will offer an opportunity to play steampunk- and zombie-themed games. It’s a prelude to the second C.O.G.S. Expo steampunk convention, which happens May 17-19 at the Sheraton Parsippany in New Jersey. See the Facebook event page for more info.

A panel on “The Science and Culture of Steampunk” is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16, 3 p.m., at “Life, the Universe, & Everything,” an academic symposium on science fiction and fantasy in Provo, Utah. The panelists are Dan Willis, Jess Lindsay, Larry Correia, and Scott William Taylor, with Graham Bradley serving as moderator. It’s one of many conference panels covering the creative and business aspects of writing and illustrating science fiction and fantasy. The event also includes pitch sessions, a vendor room, art show, gaming room, and film festival. The Guests of Honor are author Kelly Barnhill and illustrator Brett Helquist. See the website for more info.

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