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Steampunk Digest - July 13, 2018

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

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.

Fairy Dust Never Rusts

Peter Pan gets steampunked. Author and artist John R. White is seeking Kickstarter funding for “Fairy Dust Never Rusts,” an audiobook based on his Tales of the Airship Neverland Series. This steampunk re-imagining of Peter Pan features “a cigar-chewing, rum swizzling Tinker Belle, airships, alternate universes, gnomes, and freaky witches,” he writes. The audiobook version is read by voice actors Christine Peruski, Michael Shea and and Tony Semanik. The project launched on July 4 and he’s seeking to raise $3000 by August 31 to pay the actors. Learn more on the Kickstarter page and White’s website. Image used by permission of John R. White.

Steampunk Mozart. BrottOpera in Hamilton, Ontario, will present a steampunk-themed performance of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” on Thursday, July 19, at the FirstOntario Concert Hall. It’s a revival of a production last seen in Montreal in 2013. Leonard Turnevicius of The Hamilton Spectator discussed the upcoming performance with artistic director Boris Brott. Photos from the original production show “a time traveller’s fantasy in which dark goggles mingle with top hats and Victorian or Edwardian-era dress, a mash-up where the past and the retro-future collide in the present,” Turnevicius writes.

Nikola Tesla

Remembering Nikola Tesla. July 10 was the inventor’s birthday (he’d be 162), and the milestone was recognized in various ways. They included a birthday party in Niagara Falls, New York, where Tesla helped to build the first hydro-electric power plant. A group there is trying to open a Tesla museum, writes Michele DeLuca of the Niagara Gazette.

Blogger Heather King offers a short biography of Tesla in a post for Angelus News. “Tesla claimed to have been born during a lightning storm, and as a child had vivid nightmares,” she writes. “His father, an Eastern Orthodox priest, wanted Nikola to follow in his footsteps, but eventually relented and allowed the boy to pursue engineering studies.” She also recounts her visit to the Tesla coil at L.A.’s Griffith Park Observatory.

The Indian edition of GQ notes the rivalry between Tesla and Thomas Edison. “A somewhat lesser-known fact is that Nikola Tesla had an eidetic memory,” the blogger writes, so the inventor could visualize 3D objects and make prototypes with few drawings.

Finally, the website Mensxp offers “11 Quotes By Nikola Tesla That Will Fire Up The Genius In Your Mind.” Among them: “A new idea must not be judged by its immediate results” and “I don’t care that they stole my idea. I care that they don’t have any of their own.” Read the others here.

Circus Juventas, a circus arts school in St. Paul, Minnesota, is set to present “Steam,” a steampunk-inspired “blending of circus, dance, and theater” that runs from July 27 through August 12. From the description: “When a young, idealistic H.G. Wells has a chance encounter with the enigmatic Jules Verne, they embark on a mind-blowing, time-travelling, steam-punking, fan-fiction fantasy that will take you from the earth to the moon and back.” Performances take place under the group’s Big Top.

The Sun Sailor, a local community newspaper, has a report about the performance and four of its young stars, all of whom are high school students in the Twin Cities area.

The first-ever Aethertopia took place last weekend in Tampa, Florida, and the Tampa Bay Times has a gallery from the immersive steampunk event with some great photos. Meanwhile, the Aethertopia website has comments from attendees, and the Facebook page has lots of additional pics.

Portland Tribune has a report and photos from Gear Con 8, a steampunk convention held last weekend in Portland, Oregon. “Gears, gizmos and gadgets provided the oomph — but it’s people who make it steampunk,” writes Zane Sparling. “This year, attendees could participate in swing dance, boxing or self-defense lessons, listen to talks about WWI tank warfare, shell shock and burlesque and even participate in an improv comedy performance dubbed ‘Whose Gear Is It Anyway?’” But “the real draw may have been the eye-popping getups.”

Bleeding Cool has a review of Lady Mechanika: La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the latest in a series of comic book adventures about a turn-of-the-century private detective with mechanical limbs. This one begins with a search for a stolen mechanical arm. “I’m not much into steampunk in general, but this book did win me over with its charms and clever dialogue,” writes Joshua Davison. “The character is presented well, her personality is appealing, and the art is gorgeous.” The series was conceived by American comic book artist Joe Benitez. Learn more on his website.

Dark Mystery

Last hurrah for Playland-Not-At-The-Beach. Back in April, we told you about this little-known museum in El Cerrito, California, which pays tribute to old-time amusement parks and carnival sideshows. At the time, the museum was seeking a new home as its current building will be demolished for a condo development. At a minimum, they were hoping that another museum would take part of the collection, which includes old pinball machines, sideshow attractions and a miniature circus.

We’re sad to report that those efforts came to naught. The museum is set to close on Labor Day, and they’ll be auctioning off the collection on September 15. Until then, they’ll be open seven days a week. The museum is located at 10979 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530, between the cities of Richmond and Berkeley. See the website for more info.

Technology news site Factor Daily has a wide-ranging Q&A with science fiction author and critic Adam Roberts, who is currently writing a literary biography of H.G. Wells. In doing so, he spent a year reading all of Wells’ published work, and blogged as he did so. “I adore Wells,” he tells interviewer Gautham Shenoy. “He’s one of my Household Gods of writing.”

Roberts also discusses the evolution of science fiction and fantasy since the 1970s and addresses the literary establishment’s lack of respect for the genre. “It’s not that SFF is a ghetto inside the glorious city of ‘Literary Fiction,’ but the reverse,” he says. “’Literary’ novels sell abominably badly, by and large; popular culture in the main belongs to SF and Fantasy, eighteen of the top twenty highest grossing movies of all time are SFF, everybody recognises SFF icons and memes, and not only popular bestsellers like Andy Weir’s The Martian but the best in contemporary experimental fiction is now SF. . . We’re winning the war.”

Maidstone Museum in Maidstone, Kent, UK will host Steampunk Muggleton Village plus an HP Lovecraft Film Festival on Saturday, July 14. Activities include music, gaming, vendors, H P Lovecraft’s Travelling Museum, and a performance by magician Chris Benkin. There’s also a bellydancing workshop and a series of Make your own Mythical Creature sessions, with “body parts provided.” Learn more on the museum’s website.

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