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Steampunk Digest - June 19, 2020

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

Friday, June 19, 2020

Game publisher Sold Out has released a trailer for Gestalt: Steam & Cinder, a steampunk-themed video game, and they’re making a free demo available for download through Monday, June 22 via the Steam platform.

The 2D combat game is set in a steampunk world known as Canaan. Players are invited to “unravel centuries-old conspiracies, battle hosts of monstrous automata and thwart the twisted schemes of the city’s corrupt overseers, the Comitium, as you fight for mankind’s survival and discover the dark truth of the Steam City’s origin.”

Versions for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation4, and Xbox One are also planned. It’s set for release later this year. See the website for more info.

Dark Horse Comics has released Steam, a steampunk-themed YA graphic novel. The protagonist is a young Earth boy named Arlo who travels to a steam-powered planet through an intergalactic portal. There, he joins in a battle against a powerful Terran corporation that’s depleting the planet’s resources.

The story was written by Drew Ford and illustrated by Duane Leslie and Eva de la Cruz. Ford, a former special projects editor with Marvel Comics, is also the founder of It’s Alive, a publishing company that specializes in out-of-print comics.

Steam is available in print and digital formats. See the Goodreads page for more info.

Madam Misfit

UK performer Madam Misfit presented a streaming concert via Facebook Live in the runup to the June 23 release of her debut album, Elixir of Swing. The entertaining one-hour set featured songs from the album plus extras. Her music is best described as a mix of electro-swing and chap hop. The album is currently available for pre-order from Electro Swing Thing. See her website and Facebook page for more info.

Unwoman, the singer/songwriter/cellist who frequently performs at steampunk gatherings, is set to appear at two upcoming online events. First up: Her music will be featured in an online circus performance this weekend by Bunny Holmes and The Vespertine Circus. It will be presented live from the circus’s digital venue, the Egress & Oriel Theater. Unwoman herself will perform “a couple songs,” she says.

Shows are scheduled for Friday, June 19 and Saturday, June 20, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Pacific time. The 40-minute circus performance begins at 7 p.m., followed by a backstage afterparty. Tickets cost $5 via Eventbrite. You’ll need a PC-based browser to tune in — it won’t work on mobile devices. See the Eventbrite and Facebook pages for more info.

Unwoman is also set to perform on Thursday, June 25, at the Cello Madness Congress. She’ll be joined by cellist/composer/evocateur Daniel Sperry and Cello Joe, who performs “classical hip hop” combining cello, beatboxing, looping, and singing. You can watch the livestream for free, or pay $15 for backstage access to a Zoom performance room. The latter will include a webinar and Q&As with the artists. It takes place 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time. See the Facebook and Eventbrite pages for more info.

Vernon Putnam and Clayton Bailey
Vernon Putman (left) and Clayton Bailey. Photo of Clayton Bailey by Left Coast Arts / CC BY-SA.

Steampunk fans in Northern California got a double dose of sad news with the passing of Clayton Bailey, a noted artist, and Vernon Putman, a stalwart of the Bay Area steampunk scene.

Bailey, who worked primarily in ceramics and metal sculpture, was a key figure in the Nut Art movement of the late 1960s and early 70s, which combined humor and fantasy. He was also known for his robot sculptures and his mad scientist alter ego, Dr. George Gladstone. His work was featured in the Bailey Art Museum in Crockett, California, near his home in Port Costa. He passed away on June 6 after suffering a stroke in 2019.

Clayton Bailey Robots
Photo by Cullen328 / CC BY-SA.

Putman was a founder of Clockwork Alchemy, the Bay Area steampunk convention. He was also known for appearing as a plague doctor at local steampunk events. He passed away on June 11 from natural causes.

Event Changes

The organizers of the Key City Steampunk Festival announced on Facebook that this year’s event has been postponed to Aug. 20-22, 2021. It was set to take place Aug. 14-16 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. “Until there is a clear indication that large gathering such as ours would not endanger the health and wellbeing of our community, we felt this was the responsible, and only alternative,” they wrote. This year’s tickets and vendor agreements will be honored at the 2021 event.

The organizer of the Leeds Steampunk Market in the UK has announced three virtual events that will be held in place of the in-person gathering. They’re scheduled for July 4-5, Aug. 1-2, and Sept. 5-6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. UTC+01 (subtract 5 hours for U.S. Eastern time). The Leeds Steampunk Virtual Market is held on Facebook, and to participate, you need to join the Facebook group. Participants are asked to make a small donation to charity (even £1) at each event. See the Facebook page for more info.

More event changes:

AMA-CON, scheduled for Aug. 1 in Amarillo, Texas, was cancelled. Produced by the Amarillo Public Library, the event features programming for fans of comics, sci-fi, steampunk, anime, and other genres.

The Oddities & Curiosities Expo - Chicago, set for Aug. 1, was cancelled. The producer previously announced cancellation of events in Austin, Detroit, and Dallas.

The Summer Steam Show, scheduled for Aug. 7-9 in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, was cancelled. Hosted by the National Pike Steam, Gas and Horse Association, it features demonstrations of steam-powered vehicles and equipment.

The Southern Maine Steampunk Fair, scheduled for Aug. 8 at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine, will be a digital event this year. The museum welcomes ideas for programming and will provide further details in the future. See the website for more info.

The Danish Brotherhood/Steampunk General Store Steampunk Minicon in Kenosha, Wisconsin has been rescheduled to Sept. 12. It was originally set for May 23. See the Facebook page for more info.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party, scheduled for Nov. 21-Dec. 20 at the San Francisco Cow Palace, was cancelled. Co-producer Kevin Patterson announced plans for an online event dubbed “Dickens Fair at Home.”


Ignite Watch

Nathan Verduyn of Brussels, Belgium is on Kickstarter with Ignite, a hand-assembled mechanical timepiece with a steampunk-inspired design. “Everyone is using the same phones, wearing the same smartwatches, and using the same gadgets,” he writes. His goal is to stand out from the crowd by recalling a Victorian-era aesthetic. Back then, “craftsmanship was of paramount importance. Accessories, clothes, jewels... were adorned with intricate patterns and textures.”

The watch, he writes, requires no charging and no battery. Instead, “the rotor at the back of the watch winds the mainspring while the motion of your wrist serves as the energy source,” he writes, adding that the power reserve lasts for 36 hours.

The campaign launched on June 16 and seeks €11,000 (US $12,390) by July 1. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Simone Di Grazia of Milan, Italy is seeking Kickstarter funds for Sons Of Trinacria, a steampunk-themed tabletop game based on D&D 5e. “The story is set in Sicily, Italy,” the creator explains. “Our heroes will be the champions of the Kingdom of Trinacria, the last land on earth in 4984 AD, representing good or evil. Heroes will explore, investigate, fight, build cities and survive in a steampunk world, full of mystic technology powered by magic and energy, both guarded by an ancient lineage called ‘The Grey,’ the guardians of the world they once destroyed. You will be able to fly via airship between real cities like Palermo, Catania, Siracusa recreated in a fantasy steampunk fashion.”

The campaign launched on June 16 and seeks €5000 (US $5624) by July 16. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Anna Olson of Chicago is on Kickstarter with Steampowered Priode, a set of steampunk-inspired enamel spinner pins based on LGBTQIA+ pride flags. The pins measure 1x1 inch and feature a center gear that spins.

The campaign launched on June 11 and seeks US $1500 by July 7. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Authors frequently turn to crowdfunding sites to raise money for printing and publishing costs. But UK author Steve Turnbull is doing something different on Indiegogo: He needs funds for a 3D rendering machine so he can generate images for The Lazarus Device, a new graphic novel based on a script for an old web series.

He describes the story as a steampunk adventure set in 1911 Manchester, UK, with the world “on the brink of war.” The protagonist is a mysterious woman who “struggles to break the chains of duty, before they smother her.” It’s “a tale of fantastic science, thrilling action, cynical politics, deep secrets, naive love, nightmarish truth, and terrible betrayal,” he writes.

His problem? “The process of rendering 3D images requires a powerful computer but all I have is an old laptop which is great for writing books but can’t manage The Lazarus Device,” he writes. And due to slow Internet speeds in his locale, he can’t use an online render farm. He has his eyes on a souped-up Intel-based PC with an 11GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, which he’ll need to enable high-speed rendering in the Daz3D software package.

He’s planning to release the novel in five episodes totaling 128 pages. He expects to release them periodically over the next two years.

Many of Turnbull’s books are set in the steampunk-themed Voidships story world. They include the Maliha Anderson and Iron Pegasus series.

For the Render Machine campaign, he’s seeking £3500 (US $4394). See the Indiegogo page and Tau Press website for more info.

Quick Hits

This One-of-a-Kind Steampunk-Inspired Home Is for Sale in Northside (Cincinnati CityBeat)

Steampunk-inspired Beard Engine Brewing Co. hopes make Alba, Missouri a destination spot for beer lovers (KOAM-TV)

Steampunk Fantasy Author McKenzie Austin Talks Fantasy, Editing & What Not to Do for Self-Publishing Writers (Sirius Editorial)

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 motorcycle custom-built to sheer brilliance with black & gold steampunk theme (Financial Express)

Silk City Steampunk Stroll takes place on Main Street (Hartford Courant)

Enforcer Enigma Gets Early Release + Cover Reveal & Blurb (Gail Carriger)

If You Like My Books, Try These Black Authors (Gail Carriger)

The Long Battle Over ‘Gone With the Wind’ (The New York Times)

Why we can’t turn away from ‘Gone with the Wind’ (CNN)

Historical figures reassessed around globe after George Floyd’s death (Associated Press)

Michael Wood: “These ‘history wars’ over statues are really about something bigger: about different views of the past, and who controls it” (History Extra)

Screenwriter of Disney’s Atlantis on remake potential: ‘We always treated it as a live-action movie’ (SyFy Wire)

Florida’s History of Diving Museum Welcomes Back Visitors (Keys Weekly)

East Anglian Railway Museum hopeful of reopening after volunteer teams return to work (Halstead Gazette)

Our Galaxy Could House Over 30 Intelligent Civilizations, New Estimates Suggest (IFL Science)

Are there really 36 alien civilizations out there? Well, maybe. (LiveScience)

London’s ‘oldest theater,’ built just 3 years after Shakespeare’s birth, discovered (LiveScience)

Ancient Cambrian shrimp with dozens of dagger legs looked unlike anything alive today (LiveScience)

Hummingbirds Can See Colors We Can’t Even Imagine, New Research Shows (IFL Science)

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