fbpx Steampunk Digest - November 20, 2020: Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world | The Steampunk Explorer

Steampunk Digest - November 20, 2020

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

Friday, November 20, 2020
Jewelry City Costumes
Photos by Lindsay Davignon. Used by her permission.

The Jewelry City Steampunk Festival, normally held in downtown Attleboro, Massachusetts, is happening virtually this weekend. The event will feature a mix of live and pre-recorded content, including presentations by steampunk artist Bruce Rosenbaum, the Citizens of Antiford, and authors Elizabeth Chatsworth and Jessica Lucci. Rosenbaum’s presentation will be via Zoom.

On Saturday evening, Watch City Steampunk Festival director Melissa Honig will present a session on how to make a teapot racer followed by a live Q&A. The program also includes a costume contest, live model drawing, Steampunk PowerPoint Karaoke, and a pair of watch party movie screenings: April and the Extraordinary World on Friday night and Hugo on Saturday night. To participate in the watch parties, you’ll have to download the Kast app.

The model drawing session, presented by Inebri-Art, costs $8 per person. All other programming is free.

Aside from Rosenbaum’s presentation and the movie screenings, most of the content will be presented on the Steampunks of New England YouTube channel. Portions will be broadcast or re-broadcast on WARA-AM radio and DoubleACS, a local public-access cable channel.

It all happens Nov. 20-22. You can find the complete schedule on the website. You can download a PDF of the schedule for additional details.

Also this weekend, the National Space Centre in Leicester, UK will host Chap Hop and Cheese, an online extravaganza featuring performances by Professor Elemental, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, and Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq. Cheese will be provided by Homage2Fromage. It replaces the annual Steampunks in Space event held at the science museum.

Tickets for online access cost £14.99 (about US $20). The virtual curtains open Saturday, Nov. 21 at 19:00 BST (2 p.m. U.S. Eastern time). See the Facebook page for more info.

Edgar Allan Poe reading

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but in its place the producers are presenting Dickens Fair at Home, a free lineup of online programming that will roll out each weekend from Nov. 21 through Dec. 20 plus Christmas Eve.

Highlights include:

• A six-part reading of A Christmas Carol presented by Charles Dickens himself (or a reasonable facsimile).

• Readings by Edgar Allan Poe, plus his performance of “The Zucchini Song.” We expect that Poe will bear an uncanny resemblance to Lee Presson of Lee Presson and the Nails (or vice-versa).

• Presentations on Victorian cooking, Victorian toys, antique books, silhouette portrait cutting, Victorian Christmas cards, and more.

The event, similar to a Renaissance festival, is normally held each holiday season at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California, near San Francisco.

Queen guitarist Brian May has a side gig as the developer of the OWL Stereoscopic Viewer, and now he’s out with a new limited edition known as the Steampunk OWL. It can be used to view 3D images from stereo cards—modern and historic—as well as 3D videos on smartphones. “Steampunk has been described as how the world would have looked if the Victorians had managed to get into space, as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells dreamed,” he wrote on his website.

May has science chops to go along with his guitar-playing skills. Before making rock & roll history, he studied physics at Imperial College London in the 1960s, and later returned to school to obtain a PhD in astrophysics in 2007. Asteroid 52665 Brianmay is named in his honor.

The Steampunk OWL and other OWL viewers are available online from The London Stereoscopic Company Ltd.

The Periscope

Finland’s Scope Labs, a new manufacturer of audio recording equipment, has adopted a steampunk aesthetic for an omnidirectional condenser microphone dubbed The Periscope. It might look like a novelty product, but it’s aimed squarely at recording professionals and has scored accolades from the likes of producer Butch Vig and electronic music duo The Chemical Brothers. The body is made from solid aluminum, which is covered by a copper sleeve. The development team included Grammy-winning engineer/producer Tommaso Colliva.

The Periscope sells for €369 (US $437) not including taxes. Learn more on the Scope Labs website.

Our Time Machine

Our Time Machine, the acclaimed documentary about a steampunk-inspired theatrical performance in China, is now available for rent or purchase on iTunes and Amazon Prime. It tells the true story of Maleonn, a conceptual artist whose father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In response, Maleonn stages Papa’s Time Machine, a time-travel adventure featuring human-sized mechanical puppets.

The movie premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, where it was recognized for Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature. It retains a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. We viewed an earlier online screening and highly recommend it. Learn more on the U.S. distributor’s website.

Meanwhile, Tesla, the unconventional biopic directed by Michael Almereyda, is headed for Hulu on Nov. 20. The film, starring Ethan Hawke as the inventor and Kyle MacLachlan as Thomas Edison, features anachronisms such as an ice cream fight and Tesla’s rendition of the Tears for Fears hit “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” Almereyda says one of his inspirations was Drunk History on Comedy Central. Hulu subscribers can also watch David Bowie’s portrayal of Tesla in The Prestige, which debuted Nov. 1 on the streaming service.

New Fiction

Author Catherine Stein is out with Priceless, Book Two in her Sass and Steam steampunk romance series. Set in a world of clockwork gadgets and mechanical dragons, the story involves an arrogant millionaire, a brazen artist, and a hunt across Europe for a master art thief. It’s available in print and e-book editions. See the BookBuzz page for links to sellers.

Fresh on the heels of Echoes, Aethon Books has released Speed, Book 3 in the Aether Chronicles steampunk fantasy series by Abi Barden. In this installment, inventor Amethyst Forester gets involved with Americans developing a new aetheric engine as Inspector Jenson is on the hunt for traitors. As with the other titles, it’s available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.


Antarctic Press is on Kickstarter with a trade paperback edition of Steam Wars, a space opera comic book series by Fred Perry. It bears a passing resemblance to a certain George Lucas franchise, though with a steampunk twist (and different character names). This new edition, which will also be available in hardcover, collects the first five issues. Perry is best known as the writer and artist behind Gold Digger, manga-inspired comic book series.

The campaign launched Nov. 13 and is well past its US $50 fundraising goal. It runs through Dec. 4. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Steampunk author Jessica Lucci has taken her first foray into crowdfunding with a Kickstarter campaign for Salem Switch. She describes it as “a paranormal steampunk novella with light F/F romance.” Brilliant inventor Tess Alset and her clones are transported to Salem, Massachusetts in 1693, where they must strive to avoid accusations of witchcraft. The author is raising funds for cover design and marketing.

The campaign launched Nov. 12 and seeks US $200 by Dec. 10. See the Kickstarter page and the author’s website for more info.

Quick Hits

Attleboro’s Jewelry City Steampunk Festival to be held virtually this weekend (The Sun Chronicle)

Steampunk theme for Mardi Gras celebration in Texas (ArkaLaTex Homepage)

Nantes’ new 1.2 hectare tropical oasis (The Connexion)

Steampunk gallery a first for Pueblo (Pueblo Chieftain)

Xander Electronics crafted a steampunk synth for Italian musician Boosta (Instagram)

MK Themed Attractions produces themed items for Rookburgh at Phantasialand (Blooloop)

The Complete Grandville L’Intégrale From Bryan Talbot In 2021 (Bleeding Cool)

Move over, Baby Yoda! Jingle Jangle robot Buddy 3000 will steal your heart (EW.com)

Dust Developing ‘The Island Of Dr. Moreau’ TV Series (Deadline)

A Look Back At The Less-Than-Extraordinary Movie That Made Sean Connery Retire From Acting (The Things)

WW: How to WorldBuild for a SteamPunk Setting (WorldBuilding 101)

How ‘Far: Lone Sails’ Makes The Apocalypse Oddly Peaceful (Uproxx)

The Falconeer Is the Underrated Xbox Series X Launch Title You Need to Try (CBR)

Reverse Engineering The Milky Way Reveals The Kraken (IFL Science)

Massive Squids Are Leaving Scars On Great White Sharks In Mexico (IFL Science)

Dueling Dinosaurs To Be Studied For The First Time In Museum Acquisition (IFL Science)

Aquatic Ecologists Are Struggling To Identify This Bizarre Moving Goo (IFL Science)

Mummy count continues to grow at ancient Egypt burial site (LiveScience)

Autopsies - A Few Weird, Gross, And Downright Awful Bits You Won’t See On The TV (IFL Science)

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