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Steampunk Digest - February 12, 2021

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

Friday, February 12, 2021
Sanctuary Cosplayers
Photo: Diana Clark

The Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln, UK is the largest steampunk gathering on Planet Earth, but with COVID-19 still raging, what are the prospects for this year? In video comments on Facebook Live, festival director John Naylor expressed cautious optimism about staging an event in August, but warned that “it’s not a guarantee. We can’t say it’s definitely going on.”

The festival is produced by the Ministry of Steampunk, which also puts on smaller events, and here, too, he was hopeful. He’d like to return to Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire, which he described as “a venue that’s made for steampunk.” It also has the advantage of being mostly outdoors, he said.

He’d also like to do another event at Kelham Hall & Country Park near Newark, which was the site of last year’s socially distanced Sanctuary festival. It was one of the few in-person steampunk gatherings held during the pandemic, but he said it provided a model for public safety. “We were able to not only run an event for our community, but run an event that was then held up and celebrated by the local authority and the medical people involved,” he said.

Naylor has a day job with The Nexus, a film and TV production studio in Sheffield, and the Ministry of Steampunk has moved its offices into the facility as a cost-saving measure. He sees this as a possible venue for smaller indoor events.

All plans are tentative, and he advised steampunk fans to stay tuned for future announcements. “Let’s come out of this pandemic and ultimately think creativity couldn’t be killed by a virus,” he said.

One event that won’t be happening this year is Clockwork Alchemy, the steampunk convention held annually near San Francisco. In its place, the organizers will host Transmissions from The Aether, a free virtual convention scheduled for June 12-13. They’re currently looking for ideas and content. For details, see the current issue of Clockwork Currents, the convention’s e-newsletter.

The in-person convention was scheduled for March 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, and the organizers plan to be back next year. Tickets and vendor deposits for 2020 will roll over to 2022.

Gail Carriger, Gail Z. Martin, and Nikki Woolfolk, all known for their steampunk works, are among the authors slated to appear at the 2021 Virtual Coastal Magic Convention, Feb. 18-21 via Zoom and Facebook. It replaces a literary convention held each year in Daytona Beach, Florida. Programming will include online panels, virtual meet and greets, and video book signing sessions. Registration is free. See the website for more info.

The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, a top travel destination for steampunk fans, has announced some of its programming for 2021. Exhibitions will include Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection, March 6-April 25, and The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited, June 5-Sept. 6. But the biggest addition will be Driven to Win: Racing in America, a 24,000 square-foot permanent exhibit dedicated to the history of auto racing.

Sadly, the museum has canceled this year’s Maker Faire Detroit, citing “time constraints and the safety of all those who help in creating large-scale events.” See the website for more info.

Rainshine Entertainment and Animasia Studio have announced a deal to adapt Jason Henderson’s Young Captain Nemo series as an animated feature film trilogy. The popular middle-grade books chronicle the submarine adventures of Gabriel Nemo, a 12-year-old descendant of the Jules Verne character. Jeffrey Reddick, creator of the Final Destination horror film franchise, will serve as screenwriter and executive producer. Rainshine subsidiary Kinsane Entertainment acquired adaptation rights for the books last May. Animasia Studio is an animation-production house headquartered in Malaysia.

Frozen Charlotte

Eric Kelly, known for his artwork based on Victorian-era photographs, is among the featured artists in How Are You?, a virtual exhibit and window display at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael, California. His contribution is a printer tray assemblage entitled Frozen Charlotte (The Chamber of Lost Girls). He created it last February “to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage,” he says, “but since then for me it has gained an extra layer of meaning with the pandemic disproportionally impacting working women of all ages.”

Other recent works include Hortense Carter-Laveau and The League of Uncommon Children and Modern Times (Homage to Fred Otnes), “done in the style of one of my favorite but not well-known artist/illustrators,” he says.

Readers will recall that Kelly’s work as also been featured at the Edwardian Ball in San Francisco. Learn more on his website and Instagram page.

Related: San Rafael artist turns Victorian-era photos into surreal, unsettling art (Marin Independent Journal)


Mask of the Rose

Failbetter Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Mask of the Rose, a romantic visual novel set in the same alternate Victorian-era universe as Fallen London, Sunless Sea, and Sunless Skies. “London has been abruptly transported underground,” explains creative director and lead writer Emily Short. “Parliament has sunk into the Thames; the Queen never appears outside the palace; rats have learned to build machinery. Nothing works the way it used to.”

Art director Paul Arendt describes it as “a chamber piece” that’s “smaller and more focused than Fallen London.” It’s slated for delivery in June 2022.

The campaign launched Feb. 8 and has already passed its £90,000 (US $124,633) fundraising goal. It runs through March 10. See the website and Kickstarter page for more info.

Beehive Books is on Kickstarter with three new “Illuminated Editions,” classic literary works packaged with illustrations by contemporary visual artists. The new titles are: Kwaidan & Shadowings by Lafcadio Hearn, illustrated by Kent Williams; A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, illustrated by Jim Woodring; and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, illustrated by the Balbusso Twins.

Kwaidan & Shadowings are collections of “ghost stories, nightmares and strange tales” set in Japan. They were originally published in the early 1900s as separate books. The Beehive edition will feature an introduction by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, a foreword by author Kyoko Yoshida, and an essay by Bon Koizumi, director of the Lafcadio Hearn Memorial Museum.

A Voyage to Arcturus is a renowned science fiction/fantasy novel originally published in 1920. The new edition will feature an introduction by Alan Moore.

Backers can also opt to receive any of the earlier editions, which include The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde with artwork by Yuko Shimizu, and The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, an author of supernatural tales who influenced H.P. Lovecraft.

Each book is available in a digital PDF edition, a standard slipcase hardcover edition, a limited signed and numbered edition, and a limited sketched and lettered edition.

The campaign launched on Jan. 27 and is far beyond its US $150,000 fundraising goal. It runs through Feb. 25. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

The Amazing American Circus

Klabater SA is on Kickstarter with The Amazing American Circus, a single-player deck-building video game in which you assemble a traveling circus during the American Gilded Age. Players travel across the country, hiring performers and meeting historical characters such as P.T. Barnum, Buffalo Bill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Queen Victoria.

It’s slated for release this May in versions for Windows PCs and game consoles.

The campaign launched Feb. 9 and seeks €10,000 (US $12,122) by March 11. See the website and Kickstarter page for more info.

Quick Hits

‘Bridgerton’ Is Just the Beginning: Fans of period clothing are having fun on social media (The New York Times)

What Does The New Showrunner Mean For The Nevers? (HBO The Nevers fan site)

The Nevers is not the next Game of Thrones (LaineyGossip)

Refill your boiler at Tanjong Pagar’s new railway-themed steampunk bar (Coconuts)

Intricate Steampunk Spider Sculptures Crafted From Antique Watches (My Modern Met)

The Ford Model T Snowmobile Is Snow Joke (CarBuzz)

Aesthetics Wiki: An online encyclopedia of “visual schema.” (The Atlantic)

Photos show how Derby woman transforms pre-loved clothing into fresh fashion (DerbyshireLive)

Ulverston artist transforms the morbid into vibrant artwork with colour (The Mail)

Author Imogen Church discusses the inspiration for her new audiobook Death and the Burlesque Maiden (Female First)

Film Review: Ammonite is “a lusty steampunk study in contrast and texture” (the international CRITIQUE)

Kiwi’s Hollywood blockbuster was a monster to make (Stuff)

The World of Darkness and the Appeal of Horror Punk (COGconnected)

10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Under 90 Minutes (ScreenRant)

Hear me out: why The Island of Dr Moreau isn’t a bad movie (The Guardian)

Doctor Who: 10 Historical Figures That Need To Be Explored (WhatCulture)

Theatre: Nikola Tesla and Thomas Alva Edison Battle Creatively in Alicante (Euro Weekly)

D&D Spinoff Iron Kingdoms: Requiem Kickstarter Raises Over $500,000 (ScreenRant)

The D&D spinoff that inspired Warmachine is being rebooted (Polygon)

Steamroll: Rustless Edition rolls to Switch on Feb. 12th, 2021 (GoNintendo)

Steamroll: Rustless Edition confirms its arrival on PS4 (Somag News)

Review: Sakura Wars (Movies Games and Tech)

Late to the Party #5 – Bioshock 2 (Indiecator)

Airborne Kingdom Review (Invision Game Community)

Torchlight 2 Best Builds and Characters Complete Guide (The Post Wired)

Curious Expedition 2 Review – A Jaunt to the Tropics (COGconnected)

Steampunk playground stopover (Otago Daily Times)

Steampunk pioneer’s favourite things about Motueka (NZ Herald)

Burning Man’s complicated relationship with the Black community (SFGate)

Did Nikola Tesla Describe Cell Phones in 1926? (Snopes)

Who invented the light bulb? (The Sun)

Who was buried at Sutton Hoo? (Live Science)

Did the Amazon female warriors from Greek mythology really exist? (Live Science)

Why there are so many split bathrooms in San Francisco homes: Blame the Victorians (SFGate)

Tiny dinos with fancy neck frills were big showoffs (Live Science)

‘Pile of rope’ on a Texas beach is a weird, real-life sea creature (Live Science)

The Internet Appears To Believe Elephants Worship The Moon (IFL Science)

Leather-Clad Giant Bugs Battle Each Other In the Name Of Science (IFL Science)

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