fbpx Steampunk Digest - May 22, 2020: Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world | The Steampunk Explorer

Steampunk Digest - May 22, 2020

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

Friday, May 22, 2020

Poison Garden, a steampunk band from Italy, teamed with a Who’s Who of international steampunk musicians and other luminaries to produce “Divided We Stand,” a single and music video that aims to raise funds for Covid-19 relief. It features members of Abney Park, The Cog is Dead, Marquis of Vaudeville, Frenchy and the Punk, Dresden Dolls, Coppelius, Feline and Strange, La Frontera Victoriana, and Vernian Process. Other participants included cosplayer Tayliss Forge and makers Thomas Willeford and Tobias McCurry.

You can purchase the single for €5 (US $5.49) or more from Bandcamp. Sales will benefit the Covid-19 Appeal of the International Red Cross.

Concellation 2020, which launched in March as the “SF&F con that’s always cancelled,” now has a new website and YouTube channel to go along with the original Facebook group. In an interview on YouTube, admin Christopher Ambler explained how the project began as a joke about a convention that “was cancelled before it could even be announced. . .”

“I thought we’d post a few memes, we’d post a few pictures of empty halls [and] the panels that have been cancelled,” he said. “We would have a good time for a couple days and laugh at it. Within 72 hours, it was approaching 10,000 people.”

Since then, it has grown to more than 30,000 members while scoring shoutouts from TV stars Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day. It’s also spawned a line of merchandise that raises funds for charities. The first $1000 went to Doctors Without Borders, and the second beneficiary — thanks to a dice roll by Wheaton — will be a food bank in Chicago.

C.O.G.S. STREAMpunk Expo happened last weekend, but in case you missed any of the action, you can view archived videos on Twitch. They include an interview with steampunk mime Mr. Fish; “Steampunk 101” with Thomas Willeford; a leather-crafting workshop with Don Dodson; Wool Hat Blocking with Kolleen Kilduff of Design By Night; ghost stories from author Leanna Renee Hieber; and discussions by Victor and the Bully and A Halo Called Fred. It served as a prelude to the in-person C.O.G.S. Expo, which has been rescheduled to Oct. 16-18 in Woodbridge, New Jersey. See the website for more info.

Never Was, an online alternate history magazine, has launched an online community dubbed the Never Was Lounge. “Being quarantined at home for so many weeks — and probably more to go — has made me miss the interactions and sense of community we used to have at steampunk message boards,” explained editor Nick Ottens. Many steampunk fans are active on Facebook, “but I think Facebook is a bad company and I’ve deleted my profile there. The way Facebook groups are structured also makes it hard to follow and participate in discussions longer term. It pushes whatever’s new to the top.”

Readers may recall that Ottens penned last year’s controversial essay, “Who Killed Steampunk?”

The lounge is divided into six sections, each with multiple discussion threads: “Steam,” “Diesel,” “Atomic,” “Future,” “Creative,” and “Speakeasy.” It officially launched on May 17 after a brief beta period.

New Fiction

Author John Corwin has released Enter Oblivion, Book 2 in his Chronicles of Cain steampunk fantasy series. Cain, the hero of the series, travels to a desolate world in search of a super weapon that will save a friend from the clutches of Cthulhu. It follows To Kill a Unicorn, which was released in April. It’s available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon.

Xenophile Press is out with The Prison Stone, Book 1 in The Red Horn Saga by J.R. Mabry and Mickey Asteriou. The authors describe the series as “an epic fantasy” blending “high fantasy, steampunk, Cthulu, and space opera. The magic is unpredictable, the spaceships run on coal, and no power known to dwarf, elf, or man can stop the carnage. Only a hero small enough can save us now.” It, too, is available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon. Book 2, The Dark Field, is slated for release in June and is available for pre-order.


Bianca Loran of Vancouver, British Columbia is seeking Kickstarter funds for Book 1 of Everwake, a steampunk fantasy adventure comic “with a topsy-turvy ‘Wonderland’ feel.” She’s been producing it as a webcomic on Webtoon, where it has drawn 4.2 million views. The powers-that-be at Kickstarter have rated it as a “Project We Love.”

Book 1 will consist of a prologue and seven chapters spanning 240 pages. She’s planning it as a 6x9” softcover volume, but may add a hardcover edition as a stretch goal.

The campaign launched on May 13 and seeks CA $12,000 (US $8615) by June 4. See the Kickstarter page for more info. She also raises funds for the project on Patreon.

Mad Mage Games of Belgrade, Serbia is on Kickstarter with The Heist of the Mad King’s Jewel, a steampunk-inspired tabletop role-playing game.

“It takes the well-known elements of D&D [Dungeons & Dragons] and Pathfinder and places them in an overcrowded steampunk city brimming with class, ethnic and interpersonal tensions,” the developer says. “Big ideas, strong personalities, and rival interests clash daily in Moscopolis, the Jewel of the Far North, seeking to establish dominance over the city. The players are thrust into this environment and tasked to rob a bank. There is only one catch: It’s one of the most secure places conceived by man or gnome alike.”

The campaign launched May 16 and seeks £2000 (US $2452) by June 15. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Psyche Corp., a self-described “dystopian fairytale cyber/steampunk band” from New York City, is raising Kickstarter funds for Interstitium, a six-song EP. It includes four original compositions and two covers: “Machine,” originally by Regina Spektor, and “Breedless” by Ego Likeness. The tracks are recorded, but the band needs funds for mastering and license fees.

Led by vocalist/producer Psyche Chimère, the band has performed at FanEXPO Toronto, SteamStock, and the Steampunk World’s Fair.

The campaign launched May 17 and has already passed its modest $250 fundraising goal. Additional funds will allow the band to sell more copies of the licensed songs and/or produce a music video.

See the Kickstarter page and website for more info. Psyche Corp. is also on Bandcamp and Patreon.

Online Events

Nathaniel Johnstone will be the musical guest for this week’s Friday Night Live! presented by Virtual SteamCon. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who describes his sound as “a blend of European, Middle Eastern, and South American music with Jazz, Rock, Surf, Folk, Gothic, and Steampunk influences.” He performed with Abney Park from 2006 through 2011. The show is slated for Friday, May 22 at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Facebook.

The Cogkneys, the self-described “Masters of Music Hall Merriment & Steampunk Delights,” will present “Coming Down Your Aether,” a one-hour streaming performance with “ new songs, old songs, ribald poetry and more.” It’s set for Sunday, May 24 beginning 7:30 p.m. UTC +01 (2 p.m. U.S. Eastern time). See the Facebook event page for more info.

Stay at Home Con, set for May 22-24, is an online geek culture convention hosted by Broken Archer, a publisher of books, board games, and card games. The program includes vendor demos, giveaways, panels, and a cosplay contest. See the Facebook page for details. It’s not to be confused with Stay Home Comic Con from the Netherlands, which is scheduled for June 13-14.

Bruce Rosenbaum

Steampunk artist Bruce Rosenbaum will host “Steampunk: A Fusion of History, Art & Technology,” an online experience produced as part of the Atlas Obscura “Wonder from Home” program. During the one-hour event, he will offer a virtual tour of the 1876 Gothic church that he converted into a home, studio, and gallery, as seen in Amazing Interiors on Netflix. He’ll also discuss his views on steampunk art and design.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, on Zoom. Tickets cost $20 via Eventbrite. Attendance is limited to 275. See the Wonder from Home website for details. You can learn more about Rosenbaum and his work in our 2019 story “A Visit with the Steampunk Guru.”

Clockwork Animals, a steampunk band from Brno, Czech Republic, will present their first-ever live streaming performance on Thursday, May 28, beginning at 7 p.m. UTC+02 (1 p.m. U.S. Eastern time). The free one-hour show will consist mostly of “our more upbeat songs,” they say. A link will be provided on the Facebook event page.

Quick Hits

Meticulously Crafted Steampunk Creatures by Igor Verny Feature Articulated Wings and Limbs (Colossal)

Tips for playing tabletop steampunk RPGs (CBR)

Adventures in Steampunk Sewing (Tea Powered Crafting)

Baby Yoda to all-out steampunk, here are the coolest sci-fi face masks you can buy (Syfy Wire)

Six nerdy craft books that help you get your geek on at home (Syfy Wire)

Australian Lego builders take $100K prize with Frankenstein-inspired project (News.com.au)

Plague doctors: Separating medical myths from facts (LiveScience)

The Discworld Show Makes Me Nervous (Cultured Vultures)

This New England Tiny Home Is Pure Cottagecore (Architectural Digest)

Explorers can take Titanic’s Marconi telegraph, cutting into wreck for first time (The Washington Post)

7 Of History’s Most Inspiring Female Adventurers (Travel Awaits)

Antarctic Researchers Get The Giggles As Penguin Poop Produces Laughing Gas (IFL Science)

Did men’s beards evolve to absorb a punch to the jaw? (LiveScience)

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