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Steampunk Digest - July 5, 2019

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

Friday, July 5, 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.

Gentleman Centaur

Antarctica Arts is out with Willoughby’s World of Wonder, which purports to be a reproduction of the 1882 Field Guide to Strange Beasts & Curious Creatures by “noted cryptozoologist and naturalist” Angus Willoughby. It features black-and-white Victorian-style engravings of 136 fantastical creatures, including the Land Kraken, Beelephant (tiny winged elephants), and Sky Rat. Each illustration is accompanied by a brief description.

The creatures are organized into nine categories, including Fay Folk; Wee Folk; Great Folk; Wyre Folk; and Creatures of the Land, Sea, and Air.

Shown above is a Gentleman Centaur, whose habitat is described as “wealthy homes” and “high society.” The book cautions that if you’re invited to a Centaur household, “be prepared to stand all night, as there is a noted lack of furniture, and to be offered only vegetarian dishes.”

The book was written and illustrated by Stephen Barnwell, the founder of Antarctica Arts. His other books include MoneyArt, featuring his tongue-in-cheek depictions of currency, and Capital Offenses, a retrospective of his political satire. His work has also been shown in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions.

Willoughby’s World of Wonder is available in paperback from the Antarctica Arts website for $19.95 USD. Books can be signed on request. It’s also available from Amazon and Book Depository.

Bloomsbury Publishing has released Steampunk: Gender, Subculture and the Neo-Victorian, an academic tome by Claire Nally in which she explores the intersection of steampunk culture and theories of gender and sexuality. It includes discussions of works by Gail Carriger, musician Emilie Autumn, and visual artists Doctor Geof and Nick Simpson. The author is a senior lecturer at Northumbria University in the UK.

Available in hardcover and digital formats, the book is part of a series on gender and popular culture. The cover price is £91.80 in the UK, but the publisher is offering a 20 percent online discount. You can read the introduction for free via Google Preview. See the publisher’s website for more info.

Grindwheel Games has unveiled Pale Harbour, the latest installment in The Hunters Journals, a series of interactive adventure novels set in a “Lovecraftian, Steampunk world of danger and malice.” This one involves a “terrible evil” from the sea. It features an original soundtrack and artwork.

It’s currently available in a PC version on the Steam platform. An Android version for mobile devices is also in the works. See the developer’s website for more info.

Empire Clocks

“The Time Machine” is the theme for the 2019 Pageant of the Masters, which runs July 7-August 31 as part of the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, California. The pageant features a series of “living pictures” in which real people stage re-creations of paintings and sculptures, using costumes, makeup, props, lighting and backdrops to replicate the look of the original works. Each 90-minute performance is accompanied by a narrator and orchestra.

This year’s production, inspired by science fiction and steampunk, will include portrayals of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, and Nikola Tesla, as well as a re-creation of the movie poster from George Pal’s 1960 adaptation of The Time Machine. In the photo above, performers are re-creating a collection of French Empire ormolu clocks (yes, those are real people).

This is a preview of a feature story we’ll be posting this weekend.

Advance tickets range from $15 to $240. See the pageant website for more info.

Photo courtesy Pageant of the Masters.

The Cog is Dead has released “Captain Gustave Foster vs. The Metal Underground Army,” a new single from its next album. This one is notable because it’s the band’s first to be performed a cappella (no instruments, just voices). The album, which is set for release this fall, does not yet have a title. You can listen on YouTube or order the single from iTunes, Amazon or other music outlets.

Life Imagined Exhibit

Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City is hosting Life Imagined - The Art and Science of Automata, an exhibition featuring vintage automata — the inspirations for clockwork robots in steampunk — along with kinetic works by contemporary artists. The vintage pieces are on loan from the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. Featured artists include Chris Fitch, Cecilia Schiller, Bradley N. Litwin, Laura Zelaya, Wanda Sowry, Randall Cleaver and Jim Casey. The exhibition runs through Sept. 29, 2019.

In the photo above, the guests are examining two works by Jim Casey: “Ezra the Chronicler” and “Henry the Contemplative Robot” (photo by Science Museum Oklahoma).

You can view more photos from the exhibition, and a video, in this story from The Oklahoman.

See the museum website for more info.

New Kickstarters


Marlon Teunissen of the Netherlands is on Kickstarter with the English-language edition of Heartlandstories: Robocity, a steampunk-themed graphic novel. It tells the story of Sophia, an engineer who finds herself stranded in a city where humans are not allowed. The 108-page book also includes additional short stories.

The original Dutch-language version was published in 2015 by Dark Dragon Books, but for the English edition, Teunissen has opted to self-publish. It’s a one-off story, not a serial, but Teunissen says she may produce other tales set in the same world.

The campaign launched on July 1 and met its initial €500 goal ($564 USD) within two hours. It runs through July 31. See the Kickstarter page and his website for more info.

“Madam Clara” is seeking funding for “The 5-cent Tarot,” a set of Tarot cards inspired by Victorian-era poster art. The creator has replaced the four suits of the Minor Arcana with buttons (pentacles), matchsticks (wands), needles (swords) and vintage teacups (cups).

Richard Pomer of Hazlet, New Jersey originally created the Madam Clara persona for the Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball in Massachusetts. The 5-cent Tarot is his third Madam Clara deck design.

The campaign launched on July 2 and met its $2500 USD goal the first day. It concludes on August 1. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Upcoming Events

Japan Expo is happening this weekend in Paris, France, and as part of the festivities, Kenny Senchou of Tokyo is presenting a fashion show that melds steampunk with Japanese artistic styles. It was scheduled for Thursday and Sunday on the expo’s Kitsuné Stage.

This is the 20th anniversary of the expo, a wide-ranging celebration of Japanese culture including manga, anime, music, fashion, and martial arts. It runs through July 7 at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center.

Kenny is a co-founder The Tokyo Inventor Society, which produced a series of events dubbed Steam Garden between 2012 and 2017. You can see photos from one of the 2015 events in this story from SoraNews24. He currently stages events through Kennycreation, which he established last year. He’s also scheduled to appear at the igNight Market in Green Bay, Wisconsin on August 17.

Abney Park is set to perform on July 26 as part of the SciFi/Fantasy Fest, which takes place July 26-28 at the Hoover Public Library in Hoover, Alabama, near Birmingham. This is the fifth year for the event, but the first that will feature a concert. It also includes gaming, cosplay, author panels, and discussions of TV and other media.

The band will play in the library’s theater. It’s a free performance, but advanced registration was required. Registrations are closed, but attendees can sign up for a wait list. See the event website for more info.

Readers will recall that Abney Park was scheduled to appear at Aethertopia in Tampa, but that event was canceled on June 26, a few days before it was set to open.

Spikecon, this weekend in Layton, Utah, is the umbrella name for four simultaneous SF/F conventions: Westercon 72, NASFiC 2019, 1632 Minicon, and MantiCon 2019. Westercon is the major science fiction convention for the Western U.S., whereas NASFiC is a convention held in the U.S. in years when Worldcon is outside North America. MantiCon focuses on military science fiction and fantasy, and 1632 Minicon is devoted to Eric Flint’s 1632 series.

Author guests include Laurell K. Hamilton, David Weber, Jim Butcher, and Eric Flint. The schedule has a fair amount of steampunk-related programming, including panels on “How to Train Your Steam Engine”; “Make It Steamy” (how to steampunk a character); “#Me Too in Steampunk” (female characters); and “Corsets: Modern Wear, History, and Myths.” See the website for more info.

Avitor Airship

Up next weekend: The Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, California, will host a Steampunk Extravaganza, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Hermes Jr. Avitor Steam Airship. The museum, located near San Francisco, has a full-sized replica of the Avitor, a steam-powered airship built in 1869. The program includes teacup racing, a fashion show, a “Mummy Unwrapping,” a discussion of airship history, and musical entertainment by Franklin Beau Davis and Brassworks. The event takes place Saturday, July 13, 6-11 p.m. Adult tickets cost $25. See the website for info.

Photo: Aaron (CC BY-ND 2.0) from Flickr.

Two cities in central Maine — Dexter and Waterville — will be hosting steampunk events next weekend. First up is a 21+ Costume and Masquerade Ball, Friday, July 12, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., at the Cancun Mexican Bar and Grill in Waterville. That’s followed by the 2nd Annual Steampunk Fair, July 13-14, at Factory One in Dexter. Get the details on the Facebook page.

UK Events

The Bressingham Steam Museum in Norfolk, UK, will host a Steampunk Weekend, July 6-7, featuring merchants, tea dueling, umbrella fencing, and other steampunk fun. Attendees can also check out the museum’s attractions, which include narrow-gauge steam trains and a carousel. See the website for more info.

The Leeds Steampunk Market takes place July 6-7 at the Middleton Railway. Activities include includes traders, coffee jousting, and a demonstration of flying owls. Get details on the website.

Coming up: Hebden Bridge Steampunk Weekend, July 13 and 14 in West Yorkshire. Activities include merchants, tea dueling, street performers and a “best dressed” contest. See the Facebook page for info.

Top Stories of the Month

Here were the top stories for June in The Steampunk Explorer:

1. Aethertopia to Land Again in Tampa

2. Maker Media Ceases Operations

3. Postcards from Bloomington (Cogs & Corsets festival)

4. Aethertopia is Canceled

5. Steampunk Digest - June 28, 2019

6. Another Splendid Day Out

7. Another Reason to Visit Nantes

8. Steampunk Digest - June 7, 2019

9. The World Capital of Steampunk? (Visual tour of Oamaru)

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