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Steampunk Digest - Jan. 11, 2019

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

Friday, January 11, 2019
Fate Gear

Fate Gear, an all-female steampunk metal band from Japan, has released Headless Goddess, its latest album. The group also announced a March 2019 European tour that will include stops in Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria. This is the fourth album from the band, which was formed in 2015 by vocalist Nico and guitarist Mina. You can view a music video of the title track on YouTube. It was originally performed by Destrose, Mina’s previous group.

Downloads of the album are available on Amazon and iTunes. It’s also available on CD. See the band’s website and Facebook page for more info.

Photo used by permission of Fate Gear.

UK chap hop artist Professor Elemental will be racking up the frequent flyer miles this year with appearances at the Wild Wild West Con in Tucson, Arizona (March 8-10); the Watch City Steampunk Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts (May 11); and the Brass Screw Confederacy steampunk festival in Port Townsend, Washington (June 7-9). This is in addition to numerous UK appearances. Producers of the Watch City and Brass Screw Confederacy events both posted humorous videos announcing his appearances (follow the links above).

As we’ve reported, the Professor recently released a remastered edition of The Indifference Engine, his first album. The original came out in 2009.

Steampunk Idle Spinner

Game developer Airapport has released the first full version of Steampunk Idle Spinner, which was previously available as a beta. Users can build “incredible mad science contraptions” using components such as cogwheels, balloons, and electric field generators. As the contraptions run, they earn currency that allows you to build more-elaborate machines and visit other worlds. Contraptions can also be shared with other users through the game’s Facebook group.

Lead developer Alexey Izvalov describes himself as a “long-time fan of steampunk.” Sources of inspiration included the Girl Genius web comic; the anime film Castle in the Sky; and Reginald Pikedevant’s music video “Just Glue Some Gears On It (And Call It Steampunk).” The developer is based in Ukraine.

The game is available for free in versions for Apple, Android, and Amazon mobile devices. See the developer’s website for more info.

New Zealand author Barbara Russell plans a February release for The Heart Collector, Book 1 in her Auckland Steampunk series. Set in 1884, it’s described as a steampunk romantic suspense novel about Isabel, a 19-year-old agent for “a crime fighting squad run by Supernaturals. As a serial killer dubbed the Heart Collector starts slaughtering Supernaturals, Isabel tries to recruit Murk, a dangerous Supernatural man who can turn himself invisible.”

By day, Russell works as an entomologist and soil biologist, “which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs,” she writes.

Her book is currently available for pre-order from Amazon and other booksellers. See the Goodreads page for more info.

Kathryn Day-McCutcheon is seeking Kickstarter funding for The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer, described as “the first in a series of novels about flying furniture, magical hot air balloons and steampunk fantasy set in Victorian London.” It tells the story of clockmaker Henry Worthen, who meets “a quirky magical chair and its enormous hot air balloon.”

This will be the first novel from the Dallas-based author, who also works as a visual artist and illustrator. She says she began the novel as a grad student in London.

The project launched Jan. 7 and seeks $3,100 in funding by Feb. 6. See the book’s Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison

Mark Hollman, Dave Caplan, and Allen Jay Zipper have launched a crowdfunding campaign for Age of Power, described as “a new American musical about the war between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison to bring electricity to the world.” All three are entertainment industry veterans. Hollman, who wrote the music and most of the lyrics, won the Tony and Obie awards for his work on Urinetown The Musical. Caplan and Zipper are writer/producers who have worked on numerous TV shows. The creative team also includes Broadway director Kimberly Senior and musical director David O.

It might seem like an odd subject for a musical, but the same could be said about the life of Alexander Hamilton. “While the battle between Tesla and Edison is mostly known by the tech and science community, it is a great American story and we’ve found that this kind of musical theater approach gave us the most thrilling way to bring it to the most people,” Caplan said in a press release.

The team’s initial goal is to raise funds for a staged reading of the script and score. It’s scheduled for March 29 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. “Theater producers from across the country will be invited to discover the show,” they say. “This will be a crucial step on our journey to a production at a major regional theater followed by a Broadway opening.” Auditions for cast members will take place in February.

See the website and crowdfunding page for more info.

Tramp Press, an independent book publisher in Ireland, has released A Brilliant Void, an anthology of Irish science fiction tales originally published between 1837 and 1960. “So yes: it turns out that there is such a thing as Irish science fiction,” writes editor Jack Fennell in his introduction. “In fact, if you look at the history of Irish storytelling, it become clear that Ireland has always been inclined this way.” As examples, he points to the 11th-century Book of Invasions, “early Christian fantastic-voyage epics” from the 12th and 14th centuries, and 19-century Gothic literature.

Stories in the book include William Maginn’s “The New Frankenstein” (1837); Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s “The Professor’s Experiment” (1895); Jane Barlow’s “An Advance Sheet” (1898); and Clotilde Graves’ “The Great Beast of Kafue” (1917).

In a review for Irish Times, Ed Power observes that “the stony grey soil of Irish letters has historically proved fallow ground for science fiction,” but “this was an inversion of an older trend.” For example, he notes that J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft were “indebted to the dreamy world-building of Co Meath’s Lord Dunsany.” And “whither the modern scare story without Bram Stoker and Dracula?”

Hilary A. White also discussed the book in a review for the Sunday Independent.

E-book and paperback editions are available in the UK and Ireland. The e-book is also available in the U.S. and Canada, but readers in North America will have to wait until April for the paperback. See the publisher’s website for more info.

Public Domain Books

On January 1, tens of thousands of books and other works from 1923 entered the public domain in the United States, including literary works by H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, Aldous Huxley, P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, and Kahlil Gibran. The list also includes films by Cecil B. DeMille, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton; artworks by M.C. Escher, Pablo Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp; and music by Bela Bartok, Igor Stravinsky, George Gershwin, Maurice Ravel, and Louis Armstrong.

This is the first time in 20 years that so many works have lost U.S. copyright protection. Prior to 1998, most works entered the public domain 75 years after publication. But a law enacted by Congress that year extended the duration to 95 years for works published between 1923 and 1977. (You can learn more in this report from NPR.)

Good e-Reader has a list of books now in the public domain, and Lifehacker has a list that also includes movies, music, and artwork.

Many works from 1923 are already available for download from Internet Archive. Writing in The Atlantic, Glenn Fleishman reported last April that Google Books will offer full text of the newly released titles. One of the most-anticipated books, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, is now available on Project Gutenberg, and others are sure to follow on that site.

Unless the law changes again, additional works will enter the public domain each January 1, beginning next year with books, movies, music, and art from 1924.

The organizers of C.O.G.S. Expo have announced the “Dead of Winter February Mini-Con,” a gaming event scheduled for Feb. 16-17 at The Portal Comics and Gaming in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It’s a lead-up to the C.O.G.S. Expo, which takes place May 17-19 in Parsippany, New Jersey. In keeping with the “Dead of Winter” theme, “we are hoping to have some ZOMBIE-themed games to offer, as well as Steampunk, and non-zombie, non-Steampunk gaming.”

They’re accepting applications for gamemasters for this event (deadline Jan. 13) as well as the larger expo (deadline March 1). See the Facebook page for more info and links to the application forms.

Colorful, a Chinese developer of computer hardware components, recently offered a preview of a high-end graphics card with a steampunk-inspired design. Shown at the Colorful Games Union 2018 event in Hunan, China, the iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan will be available in a limited edition of 1000 units, the company says.

“The previous Kudan, the GTX 1080 Ti, gave us an impression that Colorful was following a steampunk design but this time, they are fully adopting the theme,” writes Hassan Mujtaba of Wccftech. “Featuring a triple slot design with a massive shroud and triple fan cooling, the RTX 2080 Ti Kudan is a pure beast. It has a very retro design with a large gear in the middle that is connected to the outer frame of the shroud.” The article includes photos.

It’s based on Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, which was designed for computer gaming enthusiasts. Nvidia says the card offers up to six times the performance of previous graphics cards, with real-time ray-tracing and AI-enhanced graphics. (Ray tracing is a graphics-rendering technique that produces high-quality photorealistic images, but requires gobs of processing power.) Other cards based on Nvidia’s RTX 2080 technology sell for $700 to $1200USD.


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