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Steampunk Digest - June 26, 2020

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

Friday, June 26, 2020
Asylum Steampunk Festival 2017
Photo by Mark Kent (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr.

The Ministry of Steampunk, the organization behind the Asylum Steampunk Festival in Lincoln, UK, announced plans for a free international virtual festival along with a scaled-down real-world event. “We didn’t want a year to go by without getting together with our friends and celebrating this amazing community,” said festival director John Naylor in a brief video announcement on June 21.

He later elaborated in a Facebook post. The virtual event, dubbed Sanctuary, will open on Friday evening, Aug. 28, and run through Monday, Aug. 31. “We hope that this will have multiple streams to allow for choice during the event,” he wrote. He invited authors and publishers to participate by recording and submitting videos about their work. It’s open to authors outside the UK. The submission deadline is July 17.

“We will be putting calls out for additional contributors, but the first call is for Authors and Publishers,” he wrote.

The real-world event at Kelham Hall near Newark will feature a market, picnic, and promenade. This “will also be used as a location to live stream for the online event,” he wrote. Participants will follow social distancing guidelines. It’s currently set for Aug. 29-30, but may extend to Aug. 31.

Past festivals have drawn more than 100,000 visitors, making it the planet’s largest steampunk gathering. See the Welcome to the Asylum Facebook group for updates.

The Coldwater Steampunk Festival, one of Canada’s largest steampunk events, is also going online. It was scheduled for Aug. 7-8 in Coldwater, Ontario, with an appearance by chap hop artist Professor Elemental. “There will be no crowds or vendors,” the organizers wrote on the event’s Facebook page. “Instead, there will be a combination of online content, community collaborative art installations, and heritage exhibits.” They asked for patience “while we work out the details.” The Professor will be there in 2021, they wrote.

More event changes:

Bressingham Steampunk Weekend, set for July 4-5 at Bressingham Steam & Gardens in Norfolk, UK, was rescheduled to Aug. 29-30. See the website for details.

The Eastbourne Steampunk Festival, scheduled for Sept. 5-6 in Eastbourne, UK, was cancelled.

PA Steam Fest, scheduled for Aug. 21-22 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was cancelled.

The Steampunk Victoriana Fair, scheduled for Oct. 17-18 at the Goulburn Historic Waterworks in Australia, was cancelled.

The World Fantasy Convention, scheduled for Oct. 29-Nov. 1 in Salt Lake City, was cancelled. A virtual event will be held in its place. See the website for more info.

The Order: 1886

Game developer Ready at Dawn Studios, best known in the steampunk world for The Order: 1886, has been acquired by Facebook. The developer will become part of Facebook’s Oculus Studios group, which creates content for Oculus virtual reality hardware. Ready at Dawn released The Order: 1886 in 2015 for the PlayStation 4, but since then has focused on VR games for the Oculus platform.

In a blog post announcing the deal, Facebook VP Mike Verdu wrote that Ready at Dawn will continue to operate as an independent studio from its current offices in Irvine, California, and Portland, Oregon. The studio is working on Lone Echo II, a sequel to its first Oculus title, which is set on a space station orbiting Saturn. “We are not announcing future projects at this time,” Verdu wrote.

Tor Books has released The Angel of the Crows, a fantasy novel by Katherine Addison set in an alternate 1880s London beset by supernatural forces. The story is told by Dr. J.H. Doyle, who bears a resemblance to Dr. John H. Watson, and relates his adventures with a detective named Crow who happens to be an angel.

The novel “is supernatural Sherlock fanfiction (wingfic, to be precise),” writes Em Nordling in a review for the Tor.com blog. “It’s right there in the author’s note, and undeniably written into every other character name, easter egg, and case file. And the sooner you embrace this sincerely dorky premise, the sooner you can get to all the fun.” Professor Moriarty is here as a vampire, and Jack the Ripper also makes an appearance.

Addison is also the author of The Goblin Emperor, a 2014 steampunk fantasy novel.

The Angel of the Crows is available in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook formats. See the publisher’s website for more info.

Zenith Aislin is out with Chasing the Horizon, Book 1 in the author’s new Horizons series. It’s set in a world known as Aeroterra, where two young princes are forced into an arranged marriage. One reader described it as “a magical fantastical steampunkey gender neutral fated mate YA romance.”

It’s available in e-book and hardcover formats. See the Goodreads page for links to booksellers.

20th Century Studios has released a new trailer for The King’s Man, the forthcoming prequel to the Kingsman spy movies. Set in the early 20th century, it tells the origin story of the “very first independent intelligence agency.” The spies, led by the Duke of Oxford (Ralph Fiennes), attempt to foil a plot by “a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds.” The characters include real-life historical figures such as Kaiser Wilhelm II, Tsar Nicholas II, Prince Felix Yusupov, and Grigori Rasputin.

Produced and directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film also stars Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, and Daniel Brühl. It’s set for release on Sept. 18.

Victor Sierra

Victor Sierra, the steampunk/dieselpunk band from France, will be visiting steampunk and goth Facebook groups for what amounts to a virtual concert tour this summer. First up: A June 26 performance on the Steampunk Britain group, followed by Steampunk Society Switzerland (July 4), World of Goth (July 11), and The Gothic Community (July 19). Learn more on their Facebook page.

Last week, we shared sad news about the passing of Vernon Putman, a beloved member of the San Francisco Bay Area steampunk community. One of his friends, Aaron Johnson, has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise at least $4100 to cover Putman’s cremation costs. As of June 24, the campaign had raised $6175, but was still seeking funds. “Unfortunately, a memorial service will need to wait for now due to the current pandemic,” Johnson wrote.

Quick Hits

’Time travel’ to the 1890s in AI-remastered silent movies that look like HD video (LiveScience)

Gail Talks Future Projects, Author Demigods, and Gets Emotional (Video) (Gail Carriger)

New Sakura Wars Stage Play Runs This Winter After COVID-19 Delay (Anime News Network)

Volcanoids Review – Steampunk Survival (Massive Pic Fail)

’The Watchmaker’ Comes to Switch, PS4 and Xbox One In October - Screens (Worth Playing)

Steamdolls is a Bloodborne-inspired platformer featuring the voice of Solid Snake (PC Games)

Jurassic World 3 Director’s Next Film Will Involve Atlantis (ScreenRant)

Charles Dickens webchat: post your questions for Kathryn Hughes now (The Guardian)

DK Zero welcome you to their dystopian future with “Switch Me On” (AltPress)

UK computer scientists use AI to enable realistic sword fights in virtual reality (EurekAlert!)

Rare Giant Squid Washes Onto Shores of South African Beach (Smithsonian)

Authorities Free City From Reign Of Lord Fairfax, A 65-Pound Alligator Snapping Turtle (IFL Science)

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