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Steampunk Digest - Feb. 8, 2019

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

Friday, February 8, 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.

Harvester of Dreams

Developer Christian Waadt has released Harvester of Dreams: Episode 1, a first-person adventure game that takes place aboard a steampunk airship. Players search the airship for items that allow them to fix or open locked doors, revealing new rooms to explore. After you’ve left the ship, the world “becomes even more confusing and disturbing,” he writes. Action sequences ensue near the end of the game. Playing time is about two hours. He’s been working on the game for the past 10 years.

It’s available for Windows, Macs, Linux systems and mobile devices. See the website and Steam page for more info.

Folio Society's The Time Machine

The Folio Society has released a new illustrated hardcover edition of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and The Island of Doctor Moreau. Described as a “tribute to the lavish book-design tradition of the 1800s,” this new edition features illustrations by Grahame Baker-Smith and an introduction by science fiction author Michael Moorcock. The book is bound in buckram cloth with gold blocking. It sells for $64.95 in the U.S. and £34.95 in the UK.

Also new are hardcover editions of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes and Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys. See the society website for more info.

Author Phoebe Darqueling is planning a Feb. 14 release for Riftmaker, her debut novel. It’s “about a dog named Buddy, whose favorite thing is curling up at the foot of Ethan’s bed,” she writes. “Then he stumbles through a portal to a clockwork city plagued by chimeras, and everything changes. Well, not everything. Sure, his new human body comes with magic powers, but he’d still rather nap than face the people of Excelsior, who harbor both desire and fear when it comes to ‘the other side.’”

It’s available from Amazon at a special pre-order price of $1.99 USD until Feb. 13. After that, the price goes up to $3.99.

Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887

Author and publisher Matt Wingett is taking orders for a facsimile of Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887, the magazine that featured the first publication of Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet. It thus marked the debut of Sherlock Holmes and sidekick Dr. Watson.

“The first edition is famously rare, with just 34 original copies known to exist, of which only 11 are complete with all the original adverts and stories,” Wingett says. He adds that readers “get the true flavour of Victorian life with the accompanying Drawing-Room plays written for families to act out, a reminder that with no television, households had to create their own entertainment.”

He created the facsimile from limited edition reprints of the magazine. It contains all pages of the original edition, he says.

The book will officially launch this June at Holmes Fest in Portsmouth, UK. But it’s available now through Wingett’s publishing company, Life Is Amazing. The cost is £15 ($19.36 USD). Shipping is free in the UK, £6 to Europe, and £10 ($12.91 USD) to the rest of the world. See the website for more info.

The first Bull City Robotic Rodeo took place last weekend in Durham, North Carolina, and WTVD-TV’s Julie Wilson was there to file a report. She spoke with three guests at the event: Cynthia Abernathy of Wyrd Armouries, Wheeler Stone of Doc Stone Studios, and Sterling of Dark Rain Design. Abernathy and Stone both made valiant efforts at soundbite definitions of steampunk. “Basically, it’s a co-created reality,” Stone said. “So use your imagination and don’t let other people tell you what it should be.”

The reporter seemed especially impressed by Dark Rain’s robotic steampunk T-Rexes, which wielded tiny teacups. See her report here.

The Northern Arizona University Art Museum in Flagstaff, Arizona, has opened “Circuitous,” an exhibition featuring the work of sculptor Todd Volz. In a news story announcing the exhibition, the museum described his work as having a “steampunk aesthetic.” But later it added this clarification: “The artist believes the philosophy behind his work aligns more accurately with the Post-industrial genre.”

The exhibition opened Feb. 5 and runs through March 29. The sculptor will be giving a free public presentation about his work at 4 p.m. on March 29. See the museum website for more info.

Back in September, we wrote about retired film director Jack Churchill, whose steampunk dune buggy was one of the stars of the Midcoast Mini Maker Faire in Camden, Maine. Now he’s returned to the pages of the Penobscot Bay Pilot, which has a story about his steampunk guitars. “Compared to building a steampunk car, guitars are a no brainer,” he tells reporter Chris Wolf. “That means I can do more and more variety.”

He’s covered the guitars with a variety of materials: steel, leather, and an old set of Swedish work pants.

Churchill confesses that he’s not a good fabricator, but “you can get away with all sorts of mistakes in this business. . . To me, when I build something, perfection is the enemy to idea and creativity.”

New Kickstarters

The Guild Chronicles

Author JM Bannon is seeking Kickstarter funding for an audiobook version of The Alchemists, Book 1 in The Guild Chronicles steampunk series. Set in an alternate-world 1860s London, it tells the story of Rose Caldwell, “a constable in a new paranormal division of the Metropolitan Police Department. When her reclusive friend Preston shows up on her doorstep she knows he needs help. . . The two begin following the clues and globetrotting eastern and western Europe, in an old airship as they seek to find Lorelei Traube and reveal the true nature of the philosopher’s stone.”

Reward tiers include e-book versions of the series plus a prequel, The Untold Tales of Dolly Williamson.

The campaign launched on Feb. 3 and seeks $5000 USD by March 10. See the Kickstarter page and the author’s website for more info.

The Fantastic Voyage of the R.S.V. Conch

Comic artist Pink Pitcher is on Kickstarter with The Fantastic Voyage of the R.S.V. Conch, a story about the undersea adventures of Vanessa VonKlank in 1882. “Unlike most sequential work the story is not being told in panels,” the artist writes. “Instead, an illuminated journal tells the tale of scientific explorers deep under the Atlantic Ocean. The journal is designed to give the appearance of a facsimile copy – rough edges and water stains, hand-written notes, drawings mounted to the page.”

She’s also the author/illustrator of Root & Branch, an epic fantasy webcomic. The Fantastic Voyage of the R.S.V. Conch is her first major steampunk piece, “but I have been working in the genre for many many years,” she writes, as an artist and maker.

The campaign launched on Feb. 1 and seeks $500 USD in funding by March 1. See the Kickstarter page and Root & Branch website for more info.

Weekend Events

Whitby Steampunk Weekend takes place Feb. 9 and 10 at the Whitby Pavilion in North Yorkshire, UK, featuring music, magic, tea dueling, educational presentations and many sellers of steampunk wares. Special guests include actor Jason Salkey, who portrayed Rifleman Harris in the Sharpe TV movies. Daytime activities are free. Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer is headlining a ticketed Steampunk Cabaret Evening at the Pavilion Theatre.

Local media has lots of coverage:

Programme rundown for Steampunk Weekend (The Scarborough News)

What’s on at Whitby Steampunk Weekend 2019 (Teesside Live)

Steampunk splendour returning to Whitby (Whitby Gazette)

See the Facebook page and website for more info.

The Edwardian Ball returns to The Fonda Theater in Hollywood on Saturday, Feb. 9. As we wrote in our recent coverage of the San Francisco Edwardian Ball, the event combines elements of a circus, music festival, art exhibition, and masquerade party. Like the San Francisco event, it will feature a stage performance of Edward Gorey’s The Epiplectic Bicycle. The program also includes Atom Smith & His Bass Age Big Band, Dark Garden, Dr. Solar, The Grand Artique, Marquis & The Rhythm Howlers, Danniellow, Vaude Villainz, and DJ Baz.

Local entertainment blog The LA Beat has a preview of the event.

Tickets cost $60 for general admission with limited seating, or $100 for seating in the VIP Balcony. See the website for more info.

13 GEARS: An Eclectic Steampunk Event returns to Minneapolis on Feb. 9 and 10. This is the seventh year for the gathering, but the first in which it will happen over two days instead of one. Frenchy and the Punk will appear on stage at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. We recently posted a preview of the event. Learn more on the 13 Gears Facebook page and website.

Speaking of Frenchy and the Punk, they just released a music video of “Wah,” the second single from their forthcoming album, Hooray Beret.

The Victorian Valentine Affair on Saturday, Feb. 9, is a steampunk-themed Valentine’s Day party at Arabesque World Dance in Lexington, Kentucky. The program includes a costume contest, live entertainment, dancing, a ballroom tutorial, photo booth, tea leaf readings, drum circle, raffle, and vendors. First prize in the costume contest is a weekend pass to the International Steampunk Symposium in Cincinnati. Tickets cost $10. Buyers of pre-purchased tickets get three extra raffle tickets. Half of the event proceeds benefit the Heart to Home Adoption Agency.

See the website and Facebook page for more info.

Top Stories

Here were the top stories from January 2019, according to our internal stats counter:

12 Months of Steampunk in 2019 — Connecticut steampunks will have a busy year thanks to a series of events by Oddball Newt.

Steampunk Year in Review: 2018 — A look back at the top steampunk stories of 2018.

Steampunk Digest - Jan. 11, 2019 — A new album from Japan’s all-female steampunk metal band. Plus: Prof. Elemental in the USA; Steampunk Idle Spinner released; Tesla and Edison on Broadway?; Thousands of books enter the public domain; and more.

Steampunk Digest - Jan. 4, 2019 — Steampunk jigsaw puzzles; New productions of The War of The Worlds; Free audiobooks; Magnificent Devices box set; Steampunk art show in Nevada; The latest from Frenchy and the Punk, Steam Powered Giraffe.

Steampunk Digest - Jan. 18, 2019 — A Sega game console gets a steampunk treatment. Plus: A new video game lets you build steampunk combat vehicles; The Steampunk Lady of Missoula; A steam-powered space vehicle (for real); New Kickstarters; and more.

Robotic Rodeo Set to Debut — A preview of the Bull City Robotic Rodeo in Durham, North Carolina.

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