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Steampunk Digest - March 26, 2021

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

Friday, March 26, 2021

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HBO has released the first full trailer for The Nevers, its highly anticipated science fiction series set in late 19th century London. The trailer reveals more of the story, which begins three years after “a supernatural event that gives certain people — mostly women — abnormal abilities, from the wondrous to the disturbing.” Known as the Touched, they face persecution from the society at large.

Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) is a “mysterious, quick-fisted widow” who runs an orphanage protecting the Touched, with help from a young inventor named Penance Adair (Ann Skelly). Pip Torrens portrays Lord Gilbert Massen, “a high-ranking government official leading the crusade against our heroines.” The story also involves a dangerous serial killer (Amy Manson) who may be Touched and a deranged doctor (Denis O’Hare) who seeks to discover the source of the powers.

Other cast members include Olivia Williams, James Norton, Tom Riley, Ben Chaplin, Rochelle Neil, Zackary Momoh, Eleanor Tomlinson, Elizabeth Berrington, Anna Devlin, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Viola Prettejohn, Ella Smith, Vinnie Heaven, and Nick Frost.

Ann Skelly as Penance Adair
Ann Skelly as inventor Penance Adair. Photo by HBO / Keith Bernstein.

In the U.S. and Canada, episodes will air on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, beginning with the April 11 premiere. The finale is set for May 16. In Canada, HBO programming is available from Crave, a subsidiary of Bell Media. In the UK, the series will debut May 17 on Sky Atlantic and the streaming service NOW.

The premiere episode was written and directed by series creator Joss Whedon, who left the production in November. Whedon also directed two other episodes, but the premiere is his sole writing credit. Other writers on the series include longtime Whedon associate Jane Espenson along with Kevin Lau, Madhuri Shekar, and Melissa Iqbal.

The six episodes comprise the first half of season one. As we previously reported, British writer/producer Philippa Goslett is the new showrunner and will oversee production of the second half.


HBO Reveals ‘The Nevers’ Episode Titles (HBO The Nevers fan site)

The Nevers stars preview their supernatural HBO series, discuss working with Joss Whedon (EW.com)

The Nevers Trailer: Touch, Don’t Look (Vulture)

Cogs and Corsets family
Photo by Curt Knapp

Cogs and Corsets, the free steampunk festival held annually in Bloomington, Illinois, will return this year, but in a scaled-back form. The last gathering took place June 7-9, 2019, over the course of a weekend. This time, it will be held one night only on Friday, June 4. The organizers are planning a steampunk market, teapot races, a downtown promenade, costume accessories contest, maker exhibition, photo booth, Nerf Gun dueling, dirigible races, and more. They expect to post a schedule as it gets closer.

The 2020 festival was canceled due to you-know-what. See the website and Facebook page for more info. Also see our 2019 photo feature, “Postcards from Bloomington.”

The Steampunk Old Timers Day Festival in Van Buren, Arkansas is also back after a one-year hiatus. Sponsored by the Old Town Merchants Association, it’s scheduled for May 8 and 9 in the city’s historic downtown. Activities will include a kids’ zone, vendors, steampunk exhibitors, and live entertainment.

Van Buren is near Fort Smith in the western part of the state. The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad operates excursion trains between Springdale (near Fayetteville) and Van Buren, and passengers in steampunk attire will get a 10 percent discount on tickets. Sunday’s excursion will include the “Runway on the Railway Mother’s Day Spring Fashion Show” onboard the train with a high tea. Moms can ride for half-price. The day-long 134-mile round trip includes three hours for festivities in Van Buren.

Scheduling of the festival is pending approval by the Arkansas Department of Health. The website includes a vendor application.

The organizers of the Fort Town Steampunk Festival in Prescott, Ontario, were not so fortunate. After last year’s cancellation, they had hoped to host the event on May 1, but now it’s been postponed to summer 2022 on a date to be determined. It’s set to take place at the Fort Wellington National Historical Site. If they can pull it off, it will be the first annual edition of the event.

Also cancelled: The Stupid Cupid Steampunk Ball (aka Stupid Covid Steampunk Ball), which was scheduled for April 25 at Pie Hops, a gastropub in Norwich, Connecticut. Organizer David Carlson announced the move on Facebook. “We may do a photo shoot entitled Stupid Cupid, but an event with live music and vendors, no,” he wrote. “We will try next year.”

Ofeibea Loveless and Yasuke Wolverhampton of Airship Ashanti hosted a panel on “Steampunk in Anime” as part of AfrOkon, a virtual Blerd convention held March 20 and 21 on Zoom. The speakers discussed anime productions that are clearly steampunk or have steampunk elements, including Steamboy, Drifting Dragons, Samurai 7, Castle in the Sky, and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. They also provided a brief introduction to steampunk.

You can view their presentation in a Facebook video of Saturday’s program. It begins at 6:21:31.

“Blerd” is short for “Black nerd.” The convention sought to “bring together Blerds from various fandoms to share their brilliance with the world,” according to a description by the organizers.

Based in Cincinnati, Airship Ashanti describes itself as a “cosplay group that focuses on philanthropy, multiculturalism, and diversity in the steampunk community.”

Book News

Colossus of the Thames cover

Author Mark R. Brandon has released The Colossus of the Thames & Other Tales, a collection of 12 short stories he describes as “steampunk with an otherworldly twist.” They’re set in “an alternate London, in a world where the British never left America, where the Forever Queen rules the Empire of the Third Age with an iron fist, and where Time itself is a purchasable commodity,” he writes.

It’s available in an e-book edition with a paperback soon to follow. He also has a limited number of signed hardcover editions available. The e-book is now available on Amazon but soon he expects to offer it through other online sellers. Learn more on his website and the Amazon page.

Angry Robot has released a new paperback edition of Megan O’Keefe’s 2016 debut novel, Steal the Sky. Set in a steampunk fantasy world, it tells the story of conman who seeks to steal an airship and finds himself caught up in a revolution. It was Book One of her Scorched Continent series and garnered widespread critical praise. The new edition features new cover art. The original e-book edition is also available. The publisher has posted a page with links to booksellers. See the author’s website for more info.

Quick Hits

Around the World in 80 Days starring David Tennant finishes filming (Radio Times)

Steampunked Miniature Golf Course Urban Putt Plans Reopening Next Week (SFist)

Artists Challenged to Submit a Vision of the Future in Holographic Calendar Competition - Steampunk Welcome (What They Think)

This steampunk radio, speaker and clock comes with a display made from real nixie tubes! (Yanko Design)

An Introduction to The Solarpunk Genre (Book Riot)

How Early Sci-Fi Authors Imagined Climate Change (JSTOR Daily)

Even In the 19th Century, Science Fiction Addressed Climate Change (Inside Hook)

The Steampunk Adventures of Lady Mechanika Move to Image Comics (Geek Tyrant)

Jerrold Ridenour (aka Poplock Holmes) explores the Mojave Desert with a cigar box guitar (The Daily Press - Victorville, Calif.)

Dragon Age Teases Character Class With New BioWare Concept Art (ScreenRant)

Thief Deserves A Proper Reboot, and PS5, Xbox Series X Can Finally Deliver (ScreenRant)

Empires & Puzzles Update Channels Iconic Jules Verne Tales (CBR)

Women’s Suffrage Honored at Tuckerton Seaport (The Sand Paper)

Twin Cities Theatrical Dance Company Presents a Steampunked Alice in Wonderland (Broadway World)

Victorian 3D: virtual adventures in the stereoscope (Oxford University Press Blog)

Did a scholar really find an early copy of the Ten Commandments? (Live Science)

Witch Pricking And The Devil’s Mark (Ancient Origins)

The House of Borgia: Family Of Great Renown, Wealth And Corruption (Ancient Origins)

Sathnam Sanghera on the legacy of imperialism in Britain (History Extra)

Sperm whales in 19th century shared ship attack information (The Guardian)

Is that a UFO? No, It’s a 600 Ton-Capacity Russian Cargo Airship (Interesting Engineering)

7 Eccentric Inventions by Nikola Tesla That Were Never Built (Interesting Engineering)

Scientists create new digital model for 2,000-year-old Antikythera Mechanism (Syfy Wire)

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