fbpx Steampunk Digest - May 15, 2020: Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world | The Steampunk Explorer

Steampunk Digest - May 15, 2020

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

Friday, May 15, 2020
Steampunk monitor
Photo in monitor by CCR Pictures

C.O.G.S. Expo was set to happen this weekend, but was postponed to October due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In its place, the organizers are hosting the C.O.G.S. STREAMPunk Expo, a free three-day “virtual convention and vendor bazaar” with musical performances, panels, workshops, and video interviews. Content will be streamed via Twitch and the C.O.G.S. Expo website.

The program will include a “Steampunk 101” presentation by Thomas Willeford on Saturday, May 16 at 11 a.m. Eastern time. The organizers have also been operating a virtual vendor market on Facebook since April 22.

It all takes place May 15-17. See the Facebook page and website for updates. The in-person event is scheduled for Oct. 16-18 in Iselin, New Jersey.

Virtual SteamCon, the online steampunk convention that never ends, will host a performance by Frenchy and the Punk as part of its weekly Friday Night Live program on Facebook. They’ll take the virtual stage at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, May 15. Past events included a presentation by steampunk author Madeleine Holly-Rosing and a concert by Victor Sierra. All videos are archived. See the Facebook page for more info.

Also this weekend, VampireFreaks is hosting a follow-up to Dark Side of the Con Online, a virtual music festival for goth enthusiasts. This one will feature performances by Angelspit, Ego Likeness, Panic Lift, The Long Losts, Disorder, May May Graves, Peter Turns Pirate, and Obsidian, plus a circus sideshow performance by Karnevil. Performances will be stream on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook. It’s set for Saturday, May 16, 2 p.m. to midnight Eastern time. See the Facebook page for details.

See our “Online/Virtual Events” page for more steampunk-related happenings in cyberspace.


The developer of the steampunk survival game Volcanoids announced that it is planning to add a Co-op mode that will allow multiple players to operate as teams. The update, along with other new features, is set for release on May 20 on the Steam platform. Volcanoid, the developer, says Co-op mode is the most-requested feature among early beta users.

The game is set on an island ravaged by mechanical creatures. Players aim to capture and upgrade “drillships,” armored vehicles that also function as automated factories. The game has been in Early Access on Steam since January 2019. See the Steam page and developer’s website for more info.

Grindwheel cover art

Grindwheel Games has partnered with Shark Robot to offer high-quality prints of page and cover art from The Hunter’s Journals, a series of interactive adventures set in a world that combines steampunk and Lovecraftian horror elements.

Three covers are currently available. Shown above are “Deadly Dancing Doll” from the second game, Vile Philosophy, and “The White Crow” from the third game, Blissful Ignorance. The covers are printed with archival quality inks on Premium Luster Photo Paper. Prices range from US $9.95 for an 8x10 inch print to $14.95 for 16x20 inch. The frame is not included.

The publisher also announced that it plans a Halloween release for Book 4, entitled Red Ripper. The games are available for PCs and Android mobile devices.

See the Grindwheel Games and Shark Robot websites for more info.

Image by Noah Jurik from Pixabay

Project MUSE, a repository for academic publishers, is offering free access to journals and books in the humanities and social sciences through the end of June. About 50 publishers have opted into the program, making selected titles available for free. They include three journals from Johns Hopkins University Press: Victorian Review, published on behalf of the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada; Dickens Quarterly, published for the Dickens Society; and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, published for the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois. The latter includes reviews of steampunk books for kids.

Victorian Review, published twice a year, is an interdisciplinary journal that covers all aspects of Victorian culture and history. Many issues are organized around themes, such as Victorian communities (Spring 2015). That issue includes a paper on “The Arts and Crafts Movement, Steampunk, and Community” by Martin Danahay of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The Project MUSE search function allows you to search for steampunk-related content across all titles. You can then filter the search results for free content, or look for the green “Free” label in the listings.

Titles from Johns Hopkins University Press will be available through the end of May. Many titles from other publishers will be available through the end of June. Project MUSE also includes numerous open-access titles that are always free. See the website for more info.

The editors of the Neo-Victorian Series from academic publisher Brill have issued a call for proposals for a forthcoming text, Neo-Victorian Decadence. They’re seeking essays on topics including “Neo-Victorian Aestheticism,” “Decadent steampunk,” “Parody and pastiche,” and “Neo-Decadent fantasies.”

“Working in the intersections between neo-Victorian studies and Decadence studies, this book calls for a re-evaluation of the relationship between writers, artists and film-makers working in a neo-Victorian style and fin-de-siècle [turn-of-the-century] Decadence,” the editors write.

The book, slated to appear in 2022, will also include content from Neo-Victorian Decadences, an academic conference held in 2017 at Durham University in the UK.

Other titles in the series include Neo-Victorian Tropes of Trauma, Neo-Victorian Families, Neo-Victorian Gothic, Neo-Victorian Cities, Neo-Victorian Villains, Neo-Victorian Humour, and Neo-Victorian Biofiction. They’re published under the Brill | Rodopi imprint.

A PDF of the Call for Proposals is available on the series website (click on the Downloads tab on the bottom of the page).

Steampunk author Madeleine Holly-Rosing now has a new online store where you can purchase books and other items related to her Boston Metaphysical Society graphic novel series. Products include three graphic novels plus a coloring book, lapel pins, her novel Boston Steampunk Society: A Storm of Secrets, and her story collection Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude.

As noted above, the author also discussed the craft and business of writing graphic novels during a Friday Night Live presentation on May 8 for Virtual SteamCon. The presentation, in two parts, is archived in the Videos section of the Facebook group.

Event Changes

MegaCon Orlando has been cancelled for 2020. The organizers are planning a smaller event, Megacon Orlando Limited Edition, on Halloween weekend, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. It will be limited to 25,000 tickets. The pop culture convention was originally scheduled for April 16-19, but on March 23, the organizers announced that it would be postponed to June 4-7. Steampunk enthusiasts in central Florida typically have a big presence at the event. See the website for more info.

Michigan Steam Expo, scheduled for June 26 - 28 in Pontiac, Michigan, was cancelled.

Monocles and Mischief, a new immersive steampunk event scheduled for July 24-26 in Indianapolis, is now planned as a one-day event on July 25. See the website for more info.

ConCarolinas, scheduled for May 29-30 in Charlotte, North Carolina, was cancelled. Scheduled guests included steampunk author Maurice Broaddus. The organizers are planning a virtual event in its place. See the website for more info.

The International Discworld Convention, scheduled for Aug. 7-10 in Birmingham, UK, was postponed until 2022. The convention focuses on the works of fantasy author Terry Pratchett.

Westercons 73 and 74 were each postponed one year. Westercon 73, scheduled for July 2-5 in SeaTac, Washington, will be held July 1-4, 2021 at the same location. Westercon 74, set for July 1-4, 2021 in Tonopah, Nevada, will be held July 1-4, 2022 in Tonopah. The event, formally known as the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference, rotates among different cities in the Western U.S. each year.

Quick Hits

Beanie Feldstein Nails The Quirky Steampunk Girl Persona in ‘How to Build a Girl’ (Decider)

Snow White steampunked (The Cosmos of Comics)

8 Modern Pocket Watches You Can Wear in 2020 (Spy)

9 Reasons To Visit Beautiful Nantes, France (TravelAwaits)

Howl’s Moving Castle examines war by focusing on its victims (Counteract)

Boilerhouse Discovery Project in Australia aims for a steampunk redesign (The Armidale Express)

Review: Dishonored Roleplaying Game is a New Favorite and a Perfect Setting for Tabletop Roleplaying (Third Coast Review)

A con artist and a different plague in early 20th century San Francisco (SFGate)

Which Historical Figure Was The Mark Zuckerberg Of Their Time? (Gizmodo Australia)

Walter Raleigh’s bloody quest for El Dorado (LiveScience)

200 million-year-old fossil shows oldest ‘squid attack’ on record (LiveScience)

20 of the worst epidemics and pandemics in history (LiveScience)

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