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Steampunk Digest - Feb. 22, 2019

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

Friday, February 22, 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.

Makeup Siren

February is Black History Month, but in the geek community it’s also “28 Days of Black Cosplay.” This prompted Ariel Dixon, aka Makeup Siren, to give the concept a steampunk twist by posting her “African steampunk” creations. They’re designed “to present a strong representation of black culture in the #steampunk community,” she wrote in a widely-shared post on her Facebook page. “So that way if anyone that looks like me is interested in steampunk, they will know there is a place for them too.”

Last October, she appeared as a cosplay guest at the SWFL SteamCon in Fort Myers, Florida, where she presented a workshop on “Corsets & Busters 101.” She’s also on Instagram and has a YouTube channel in which she shares costuming and makeup tips. The photos above are used by her permission.

Syfy Bartow

An estimated 30,000 people filled downtown Bartow, Florida for last weekend’s Sixth Annual SyFy Bartow festival, a street fair that takes on the flavor of a science fiction convention or comic con. This year’s event had a steampunk theme, as evidenced by the many gears and goggles adorning the participants. Others showed up in Star Wars or Star Trek costumes, but we did notice a couple of visitors who managed a steampunk take on the latter.

The festival was founded by Sean and Lori Serdynski, and Sean kindly gave us permission to use a few photos. Attendance was free, but vendor proceeds benefited Main Street Bartow, which promotes downtown businesses. The Ledger in nearby Lakeland has a story and photo gallery, and you can find additional photos on the event’s Facebook page. Next year’s festival, scheduled for Feb. 15, will have a “Myths & Magic” theme.

Detectives Newbury & Hobbes are back in The Revenant Express, Volume 5 in George Mann’s popular steampunk series. In this installment, Sir Maurice Newbury is on a train to St. Petersburg, Russia, in search of a clockwork heart for the ailing Veronica Hobbes. But an old adversary is also on board. “Meanwhile, Sir Charles Bainbridge is the only one of their team left in London to struggle with a case involving a series of horrific crimes. Someone is kidnapping prominent men and infecting them with the Revenant plague, leaving them chained in various locations around the city. But why?”

It’s available in hardcover and digital formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. See the website for more info.

Ten Minutes to Tea Time

Steampunk author Elizabeth Chatsworth has released a standalone print edition of Ten Minutes Past Teatime, a novelette that combines time travel, steampunk, comedy, and LGBT romance. In 1896, “Miss Minerva Minett is determined to become the first female member of an exclusive inventor’s club. To win their annual membership competition, she invents a time-traveling submersible, and launches her vessel into the Irish Sea for a quick trip to the dark ages. But when she sinks a Viking longship, accidentally joins a monastery raid, and falls into the arms of a grizzled shield-maiden, she discovers that time may not be on her side.”

The story originally appeared in When to Now, a time travel anthology released last October. Chatsworth is offering a free digital download if you subscribe to her e-newsletter. See her website for more info.

Steam Powered Giraffe is accepting pre-orders for a vinyl LP version of The 2¢ Show, an album originally released in 2012. “Our fans have been asking us to put more of our albums on vinyls after we first tried it with our Music from SteamWorld Heist album,” the band said in a recent announcement. The package will include two LPs in a gatefold jacket. They say it will ship no later than December 2019. Cost is $40 USD, or $60 USD for an autographed version. The deal includes a digital version that you can download immediately along with a digital replica of the CD booklet. See the band’s website for more info.


Blindflug Studios of Zürich, Switzerland has released a Nintendo Switch version of Airheart, a dieselpunk airplane action game set in Granaria, a flying city. Protagonist Amelia Airheart is a young pilot who must contend with sky pirates as she hunts for flying fish.

The game was released in July 2018 in versions for Steam, PS4, and Xbox One. The Steam version, available for Macs and PCs, has received mostly positive user reviews. The Nintendo version adds a multiplayer option. See the developer’s website for more info.


SteamPunk Arena

Game designer Stephen Dickey is preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign for SteamPunk Arena, a turn-based tabletop strategy game set in a future Earth ravaged by climate change. From his description: “Desperate, starving, and lacking the technical achievements of a forgotten era, the surviving population propels steam-powered engines towards the farthest corners of earth in search of the faintest glimmer of hope. Some found this hope on a plot of ocean simply known as the Arena. Through uncharted waters, there lies a thousand islands eroded by time, where untold riches await to be discovered by the remnants of past civilizations. You are among the desperate few in search of those lost treasures.”

A prototype is currently available from The Game Crafter. He plans to be on Kickstarter in April. You can learn more from the game’s website, which includes a downloadable rule book and an introductory video. You can also sign up to receive news updates.

Derrick Belanger of Belanger Books is raising Kickstarter funds for Sherlock Holmes Adventures in the Realms of Steampunk, a two-volume anthology featuring steampunk treatments of the World’s Greatest Detective. The stories include “The Adventure of the Portable Exo-Lung” by GC Rosenquist; “The Adventure of the Purloined Piston Valve” by L.S. Reinholt & Minerva Cerridwen; and “The Adventure of the Tiger’s Topaz” by Belanger himself. Other authors include Cara Fox, Robert Perret, Stephen Herczeg, John Linwood Grant, Thomas Fortenberry, Benjamin Langley, Paul Hiscock, Derek Nason, Paula Hammond, S. Subramanian, and Harry DeMaio.

Volume One, subtitled “Tales of a Retro Future,” focuses on steampunk inventions, whereas Volume Two, “Mechanical Men and Otherworldly Endeavours,” involves robots, intelligent animals, inter-dimensional travel, and body-switching with Dr. Watson.

Rewards include a previous two-volume anthology that places the detective within the realms of H.G. Wells, including The War of the Worlds, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The Invisible Man.

The campaign launched on Feb. 19 and met its initial $1000 USD goal within 12 hours. It concludes on March 21. See the Kickstarter page and Belanger Books website for details.

Aristo is on Kickstarter with a set of hand-drawn steampunk playing cards inspired by 19th century steam-powered machinery and an “American Wild West fantasy world.” Each deck includes 54 poker-size playing cards with artwork on both sides.

A pledge of $14 USD or more entitles you to a single deck, which will eventually sell for $23 retail. The campaign launched on Feb. 12 and reached its $5000 USD goal within a day. It concludes on March 20. The artist is based in Los Angeles. See the Kickstarter page for details.

ChillMaze Game Studio of Cairo, Egypt is seeking funding for HungryBots, a steampunk-themed card game. “Players compete to feed robots with their preferred food in order to score the most points to avoid robot poops,” the developer says. It’s designed for two to four players, ages 7 or older. The project launched on Feb. 15 and seeks €1000 (about $1,135 USD) by March 17. See the Kickstarter page and the developer’s website for more info.

Weekend events

“Steampunk Pups and Futuristic Felines” is the theme for this year’s Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Pet Parade, which takes place Sunday, Feb. 24, at the Reeves Marine Center in Bossier City, Louisiana (near Shreveport). The parade is an annual fundraising event featuring costumed pets, which are judged in categories such as “Best Dressed,” “Best Float,” and “Pet/Owner Lookalike.” Proceeds benefit the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux, which provides services for abused, neglected and homeless animals. It’s held each year after Saturday’s Krewe of Centaur Parade, one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the state. See the website for more info.

The Stupid Cupid Steampunk Ball returns Feb. 23 to Cheney Hall in Manchester, Connecticut. Produced by Oddball Newt, it will feature performances by Victor and the Bully, Montague Jacques Fromage, and Offbeat Souls, plus a fashion show by Kiss Design and presentations by authors Dexter Herron and Jesse Lucci. Tickets cost $25.

The Hartford Courant has a story about the event, as does the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. It’s part of Oddball Newt’s “12 Months of Steampunk,” which we covered in a recent story of our own. See the Facebook page for tickets and more info.

The Sacramento Steampunk Society will present its 7th Annual Bazaar & Emporium on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Great Escape Games, 50 Howe Avenue #3a in Sacramento, California. The swap meet will feature about 50 vendor spaces. “The theme of this bazaar is ‘Steampunk’ but anything handmade, creative, vintage, antique, nostalgic or retro-future genre influenced by science fiction, wild west, fantasy, pirates, and neo-Victorian aesthetics may be available,” the organizers say. It takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. See the Facebook page for more info.

The Fourth Annual Steamers & Dreamers steampunk convention takes place Feb. 23 in Aztec, New Mexico, near the Four Corners region in the northwestern part of the state. The program includes vendors, dancing, entertainment, and a costume contest. New this year is a set of activities for kids. Adult admission is $10. Kids are admitted for free. See the website for more info.

Readers in the UK can experience a “full weekend of British steampunk eccentricity” as The Surrey Steampunk Convivial takes place Feb. 23 and 24 in Stoneleigh, Surrey, southwest of London. The program includes tea dueling and teapot racing along with unique sporting events such as Bumbershoot Baritsu, which apparently involves martial arts and umbrellas. Captain of the Lost Waves will perform on Saturday night.

The Station Pub hosts Saturday’s activities, and then the fun moves to Masons Function Hall on Sunday. The pub will have market stalls over the entire weekend. See the website and Facebook page for more info.

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