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Steampunk Digest - March 19, 2021
Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world
Friday, March 19, 2021
Lady Mechanika, the popular steampunk comic series from Joe Benitez, has a new publisher. Benitez previously self-published the series, but he’s handed off those responsibilities to Image Comics, the third-largest publisher in the industry after Marvel and DC.
Image will begin with a Free Comic Book Day edition containing the first Lady Mechanika tale, “The Demon of Satan’s Alley,” plus a preview of a new story arc, “The Monster of the Ministry of Hell-th.” It’s slated for release Aug. 14. The new story, dealing with “a piece of Lady Mechanika’s haunted past,” will debut in September.
The new publisher also plans to offer the entire Lady Mechanika backlist, including reprints of the first trade paperback and hardcover editions.
The series, which debuted in 2010, presents the adventures of a Victorian-era paranormal investigator with mechanical limbs.
“I’m very excited that Lady Mechanika is moving to Image,” Benitez said in a news release from the publisher. “We hope this move will provide an opportunity to share the series with a new, wider audience, and also give us more time to focus on our creative strengths while letting the experts at Image handle publishing and marketing. We have so many stories to tell, hopefully this will help us get more of them out faster.”
Netflix has released a new trailer for The Irregulars, the forthcoming series that casts a new light – or make that dark – on the street kids who assisted Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four. This retelling “follows a gang of troubled street teens who are manipulated into solving crimes for the sinister Doctor Watson and his mysterious business partner, the elusive Sherlock Holmes,” states the synopsis. “As the crimes take on a horrifying supernatural edge and a dark power emerges, it’ll be up to the Irregulars to come together to save not only London but the entire world.”
The trailer expands on an earlier teaser, revealing more of the story and its stark horror elements. The eight-episode series premieres March 26.
Tor.com is planning a May 11 release for P. Djèlí Clark’s A Master of Djinn, his first full-length novel. The story is set in an alternate 1912 Cairo beset by magical forces unleashed 40 years earlier by a Soudanese mystic named al-Jahiz. A brotherhood dedicated to al-Jahiz is murdered, and the killer claims to be the mystic himself. The task of solving the mystery falls to agent Fatma el-Sha’arawi, the youngest woman in the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities.
It appears that this will be the first in a series about the investigator.
The book is a follow-up to Clark’s acclaimed novella The Haunting of Tram Car 015, which was nominated for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. It will be available in digital, hardcover, and audio formats. See the publisher’s website for an excerpt and links to booksellers.
Another Clark novella, Ring Shout, has been optioned by Skydance Television for development as a series. The dark fantasy is set in the 1920s American South, where members of the KKK are revealed to be something other than human. Kasi Lemmons, director of the biopic Harriet about abolitionist Harriet Tubman, will be the showrunner. Deadline reported the news in December.
The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe will host “Metal for Tesla,” an unusual fundraising event on Saturday, March 20, in which supporters are invited to drop off scrap metal for recycling. It’s open to any item with 75 percent or more of metal content, including car parts, appliances, and electronics, but not TVs or computer monitors. Recyclers will be entertained by a singing Tesla coil, a “performing Tesla Model X,” and heavy metal music. The program also includes giveaways. It takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is limited to 50 people at a time.
The organization, located at the site of Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe laboratory, is seeking to build a museum and science center at the facility. They note that the lab and its 187-foot transmitting tower had a connection to recycling: Tesla surrendered the property in 1915 after falling into debt, and the tower was later demolished and sold for scrap.
The address is 5 Randall Road, Shoreham NY 11786, on Long Island. If you’re outside the area and want to support the effort, you can drop off items at a local recycling facility and donate the proceeds to the Tesla Science Center. See the center’s website for more info.
If you’re hankering to be a real-world Steampunk Explorer, OceanGate Expeditions has an enticing opportunity – but you may have to win the lottery to take advantage. The company is seeking Mission Specialists for a series of expeditions this summer to explore the undersea wreckage of the RMS Titanic. The citizen scientists will join researchers and crewmembers on the voyage, which will include deep-sea dives in a five-person submersible. One goal is to create a photorealistic virtual 3D model of the shipwreck.
Each dive will last eight to 10 hours, descending to 3,800 meters (12,467 feet) below the ocean surface. You won’t just be along for the ride – they’ll train you to assist in the project. And you’ll join an elite group: The company says that fewer than 200 people have visited the Titanic in a submersible, “far fewer than have been to space or summited Mt. Everest.”
OceanGate recently announced that NASA astronaut and physician Dr. Scott Parazynski will be joining the expedition.
The company is planning six 10-day missions from late May through mid-July. The price tag? A mere $150,000, which will help finance the project. You’ll also have to demonstrate that you can handle the rigors of the voyage. The dive support ship, with accommodations for 50 people, will depart from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Learn more on the website.
We have sad news from the music world as V. Nigel Taylor, who formerly led the New York steampunk band Platform One, has passed away. He’s remembered as “an advocate against bullying, a fighter for equality of all kinds, a staunch feminist, and a proponent of consent, often using his renown in various communities to educate others about the importance of acceptance, love, and understanding.”
In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to make a donation in his memory to Prince’s Trust USA.
The Green Fairy Party is a “celebration of Absinthe and other green things” from the organizers of C.O.G.S. Expo. It will be hosted by Tobias McCurry and The Baroness Alexandra. The event takes place Saturday, March 20, 7-9 p.m. Eastern time on the expo’s Twitch channel. Registration is free. Get the details on the Facebook event page.
The Air and Nothingness Press is on Kickstarter with Upon a Twice Time, a collection of fairy tale mashup stories slated for publication in July. It’s a follow-up to last year’s Upon a Once Time, in which 21 authors reimagined The Little Mermaid, Little Red Riding Hood, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and other tales of yore.
So far, the publisher has received more than 350 entries for this one. “While we cannot include all the worthy stories sent in, we want to include as many as we are able to,” writes Todd Sanders, editor and director of Air and Nothingness Press.
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