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Steampunk Digest - May 21, 2021

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

Thursday, May 20, 2021
Sunless Skies Clockwork Sun

Failbetter Games has released Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition, an enhanced version of the popular Sunless Skies video game, and the first to be available for consoles. It includes all updates since the original launch, along with other new features and improvements. “We’ve rebalanced character progression, completely overhauled controller support, and revised the starvation system to really capture the authentic misery of dying in space,” says narrative director Chris Gardiner.

The developer describes Sunless Skies as a “Gothic Horror” roleplay game set in an alternate universe where Queen Victoria’s empire extends into outer space. Players captain a spacefaring steam locomotive, collecting crew members, adding armaments, and going into battle against a variety of Sky-Beasts. It’s scored positive reviews from critics and users.

The Sovereign Edition is available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and XBox One, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. PC users who already own the game will get the new edition for free. Learn more on the Failbetter website.

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Jungle Cruise
Photo: Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Disney is sticking to its July 30 theatrical release date for Jungle Cruise, but in keeping with some of the company’s other recent releases, the film will also be available that same day on Disney+ Premier Access. Disney+ subscribers will be able to stream the movie beginning July 30, but they’ll have to fork over $29.99 (in the U.S.) for the privilege. If the company follows past practice, subscribers will be able to stream the film at no extra cost after a few months.

Set in the early 20th century, Jungle Cruise stars Dwayne Johnson as a riverboat captain who takes scientist Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) on a voyage through the Amazon in search of an ancient tree with healing powers. Along the way, they encounter supernatural forces and villains in a submarine. The cast also includes Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.

As with Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s based on a Disney theme park ride, and the studio hopes it will be the basis for a new blockbuster movie franchise. Disney originally planned to release the film last summer, but it was re-scheduled as the COVID-19 pandemic forced theater closures.

If HBO Max’s $14.99-per-month subscription cost is keeping you from viewing shows such as The Nevers and His Dark Materials, the streaming service is planning to launch a new ad-supported version in early June. You’ll be able to view virtually all HBO Max programming for $9.99 per month, the major exceptions being Warner Bros. movies released the same day in theaters. HBO says the new ad-supported tier will have “the lightest ad load in the streaming industry.” Ads will not appear in HBO original programs such as The Nevers.

In addition to HBO programming, the streaming service offers content from other WarnerMedia brands, including Warner Bros., DC, Turner Classic Movies, Adult Swim, and Cartoon Network. In the U.S., it’s also the streaming home for animated movies from Studio Ghibli.

Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly in The Nevers
Photo: Keith Bernstein/HBO

The move comes as WarnerMedia parent company AT&T announced a blockbuster merger deal that will combine WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. in a new company led by Discovery CEO David Zaslav. Discovery properties include Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, TLC, Animal Planet, Oprah Winfrey Network, Science Channel, and the recently launched discovery+ streaming service. The companies spend a combined $20 billion per year on content, surpassing Netflix and Disney. If approved by regulators, the deal is expected to close in the middle of 2022.

Victor and the Bully have released Quarantinis: This Time It’s Worse N’All, a six-track EP that re-imagines previous tunes from the band in different styles. “We weren’t able to write new music as we couldn’t be in the same room so we wanted to work on tracks individually,” the band writes.

On some tracks they’re joined by guest artists, including Alice Strange (Julia Scott) on “Spooky 365,” Jasper R on “F.R.E.A.K.S.,” Nova Halo on “Am I?” and The Wattingers on “Devil’s Daughter.”

The EP is available on Apple Music and Spotify. See their website for links.

The Ministry of Steampunk has posted the schedule for this weekend’s Sanctuary II, the organization’s first gathering of the year. Held at Kelham Hall and Park in Nottinghamshire, UK, it will feature teapot racing, tea dueling, a Grand Promenade, and lots more. Separate ticketed events include Afternoon Tea hosted by Lady Elsie and the Saturday Soiree with Major Tinker, Victor Ghastly, Lady Violet Hugh, and Doctor Corvos Marconi.

Posting of the schedule was delayed so authorities could approve the indoor activities. Attendees must agree to masking and other public safety requirements, though masks may be removed for photo ops.

Meanwhile, Ministry director John Naylor stated that due to COVID-related regulatory uncertainties, the organization still cannot confirm any details about the Asylum Steampunk Festival. “For the moment we must ask for your patience and all will be revealed here when we can,” he wrote on the Welcome to the Asylum Facebook page. The event is usually held in late August.

See the Facebook page and website for more info about Sanctuary II.

Steampunk Weekend returns this Saturday and Sunday to the Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas. Activities will include contests for best costume, mask, beard, and mustache, along with live music and more. The Scallywags will make a special appearance on Sunday only.

The venue is an open-air history museum reflecting life in Wichita between 1865 and 1880. The steampunk event is free with museum admission, which ranges from $6 for kids 5-11 to $9 for adults. See the website and Facebook page for more info.

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe is inviting makers and schoolteachers to submit photos or videos of DIY projects to an online Maker Showcase. Along with the project, you should be prepared to share the story of how it was created. “Why did you build it? What problem does it solve? What science, technology, and materials did you use? Describe the innovative concepts and ingenuity you employed,” the invitation states.

The initiative is part of the National Week of Making, May 17-23. You can see the projects and instructions for submitting your own on the website.


Comic book publisher Silverline is doubling up in a new Kickstarter campaign seeking funds for two unrelated graphic tales, Issue No. 2 of Divinity and Issue No. 1 of Steam Patriots.

The latter, the first in a four-part mini-series, is a steampunk retelling of the American Revolution. In this timeline, Ben Franklin has spurred a technological revolution with his refinement of the steam engine, and a young Mechanician’s Apprentice makes a discovery that could change the course of the war.

Divinity, also a four-issue mini-series, is a science fiction/superhero drama about an 11-year-old girl with mysterious healing powers.

The comic books will be offered as a double feature in PDF and printed flipbook formats.

The campaign launched May 12 and has passed its US$4,500 fundraising goal. It runs through May 30. See the Kickstarter page and publisher’s website for more info.

Quick Hits

Past, Present, and Future on Display with New Permanent Exhibit at Hagley Museum in Wilmington, DE (ModVic)

Niagara Parks Power Station: Canada’s “Mona Lisa” of heritage properties (The Globe and Mail)

Cast of ‘The Nevers’ spotted on the South Bank in Victorian Steampunk car (ATV Today)

Steampunk creativity in full swing for NZ artists (Otago Daily Times)

Top 71 Steampunk Tattoo Ideas (Next Luxury)

There’s a Prohibition-Era Speakeasy Under This Newly Listed Victorian Mansion in California (Mansion Global)

Alameda’s most photographed Victorian home hits the market at $2.4 million (7x7)

Nikola Tesla invention from 100 years ago suddenly makes more sense today (CNET)

“A Master of Djinn” Features an Egypt Not Seen Too Often (The Geekiary)

Mezco’s Gotham by Gaslight Batman Figure Takes Flight (Superherohype)

Comic Book Preview – Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla #2 (Flickering Myth)

Alexander HS grad launches ‘STEAM PATRIOTS’ comic book series, crowdfunding campaign runs through May 30 (The Batavian)

Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill Return for ‘Enola Holmes’ Sequel on Netflix (Variety)

‘The Underground Railroad’ Is Not a History Lesson. It’s a Mirror. (The New York Times)

Review: ‘The Underground Railroad’ Weaves an Epic Vision (The New York Times)

Pilot a Steampunk Mech with ‘A Rogue Escape’, Coming This June (The Nerd Stash)

Stripping the Gears of a Steampunk Mech in A Rogue Escape Launch Trailer (Hardcore Gamer)

Kids can drive a submarine in new exhibit at San Antonio museum (KSAT-TV)

’UNION SPY’: The forgotten tale behind the Presidio’s most intriguing grave (SFGate)

Norton I Declared Himself Emperor of the United States, and His Subjects Loved It (The Daily Beast)

Rarely seen supersized moth with 10-inch wingspan found at Australian school (Live Science)

Australian Aboriginal Memory Technique Works Better Than Sherlock Holmes’ Mind Palace (IFL Science)

Lungs From “Spanish Flu” Pandemic Show Variants Were Also A Problem In 1918 (IFL Science)

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