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Steampunk Digest - November 29, 2019

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

Friday, November 29, 2019
Sanford Steampunk Soiree
Sanford Steampunk Soiree

The first Sanford Steampunk Soiree took place Nov. 16 at Henry’s Depot, a historic train station in Sanford, Florida, near Orlando. The event featured a “Steam Powered Trains” costume contest in which attendees were challenged to show up as conductors, engineers or steampunk passengers. The Lady Anna and DJ Vlad provided the entertainment.

The photos are courtesy of organizer George Gonzo Gonzalez. You can view more on the event’s Facebook page.

The Criterion Collection is accepting pre-orders for Three Fantastic Journeys by Karel Zeman, a collection of films by the legendary Czech director. They include Invention for Destruction (1958), a film based on the works of Jules Verne that’s now regarded as a proto-steampunk classic. It was notable for its combination of live action and animated Victorian-style line drawings. The others are Journey to the Beginning of Time (1955) and The Fabulous Baron Munchausen (1962), both of which also employed innovative special effects.

The films have been restored at 4K resolution. Bonuses include trailers, four early short films, and a series of short documentaries on how the movies were produced.

Slated for release on Feb. 25, they will be available in Blu-Ray (U.S. $99.95) and DVD (U.S. $79.95) formats, each with three discs. Pre-order discounts are available. It appears that these will be regional editions playable only in North America, though Blu-rays for the UK may also be available. See the website for more info.

Steam, the short steampunk martial arts film by Pau Han Kho, is now available for viewing on YouTube. The seven-minute production, which has won several awards at film festivals, tells the story of a locomotive mechanic who battles members of his former gang. Kho says he posted it in honor of Bruce Lee’s 79th birthday. See the Facebook page for more info.

Alice’s Night Circus has released a single and music video of “War of the Worlds,” another track from her debut album Metamorphose. The video (see above) was produced by Moose Lorals Video Production. The single is available on iTunes and Amazon. See Alice’s website and Facebook page for more info.

Steam Marines

Video game developer Worthless Bums has released an early-access version of Steam Marines 2, a turn-based single-player strategy game with a steampunk aesthetic. It takes place amid an interstellar conflict between the Tor alien race and sentient machines. In contrast to the original Steam Marines from 2014, it features 3D graphics and more complex game play. It’s available for Windows and Linux systems via Steam and itch.io. See the website for more info.

Sea Lion Press is out with The Maltese Defence, Book 5 in Simon Brading’s Misfit Squadron steampunk series. The series is set in an alternate World War 2 in which Britain’s Royal Aviation Corps battles the forces of the Prussian Empire. This installment takes the Misfits to the islands of Malta in the Mediterranean. It’s available on Amazon in the U.S. and UK. See the author’s website for more info.

Quick Hits

Langford’s steampunk museum back for Christmas spectacular fayre (Maldon Standard)

Hustle Some Bustle With These Victorian Dresses (The Costume Rag)

Can You Pass Harvard’s 1869 Entrance Exam? (IFL Science)

5 perfect gifts for fans of Nikola Tesla and his inventions (Big Think)

What the Hell Has Hollywood Got Against Nikola Tesla? (The Daily Beast)

What Was The Actual Relationship Between Thomas Edison And Nikola Tesla? (ED Times)

The War of the Worlds: Did HG Wells’ personal life inspire the creation of George and Amy?

A naughty steampunk twist on the Nutcracker tale in State College, PA (StateCollege.com)


Mad scientists and other inventors have until Jan. 31, 2020, to submit entries for the Watch City Steampunk Festival’s Mad Science Exhibition. This will be the second year for the exhibition, open to any steampunk-styled contraption that “demonstrates a principle, performs a task, or produces some manner of captivating display.” Entries should occupy a space no larger than 3 by 3 feet and meet other criteria specified by the organizers. You should be prepared to offer a working prototype in March.

Entries will be displayed in the Inventor’s Tent at the festival. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place, plus a People’s Choice winner.

The website includes photos of winning entries from 2019.

The festival, scheduled for May 9, 2020 in downtown Waltham, Massachusetts, is one of the largest steampunk gatherings in the U.S. See the festival website for more info.

Clockwork Alchemy, the SF Bay Area steampunk convention, announced that Shannon and Kathy O’Hare of Obtainium Works will be Maker Guests of Honor for the 2020 edition, scheduled for March 20-22 in Burlingame, California. Obtainium Works is known for its steampunk-inspired art cars, and attendees will be invited to bring their own art cars to the event. That’s in keeping with the 2020 theme “Marvelous Makers.”

The organizers also announced that Marquis of Vaudeville will be their special musical guests. The group describes its sound as “progressive, carnival-esque, punk-cabaret.”

Preregistration for a full weekend pass costs $85 through Dec. 31. After that, the price goes up to $99. The price covers all activities, including musical performances on Friday and Saturday nights. See the website and Facebook page for more info.

Landau the Dragon
Rhino Redemption

If you can’t wait until March, Obtainium Works will have a big presence at the 10th Annual Mad Hatter Holiday Festival and Parade, Saturday, Dec. 7 in downtown Vallejo, California. They’ll be joined by other artists whose projects have been seen at Burning Man and Maker Faire.

The festival, which begins at 2 p.m., will feature a holiday market, fire dancers, carnival rides, a Grand Victorian Airship, and an Inflatable Unicorn Garden.


• Brett Jacobs’ Landau the Dragon, an illuminated sculptural vehicle made from a scavenged motorcycle.

• G-Nome, a five-foot tall gnome from Flaming Lotus Girls that spews fire 30 feet into the air.

• Soma, a 40-foot tall illuminated sculpture from Flaming Lotus Girls that represents the anatomy of neurons. It has been on display in Vallejo’s Union Plaza since 2016.

Rhino Redemption, an art car resembling a rhinoceros that spews fire from its horn.

MerKaBa Portal, a 14-foot tall kinetic sculpture powered by the sun, wind, and participants.

The parade, featuring art cars from Obtainium Works and other makers, begins 4:30 p.m. at Georgia St. and Sonoma Blvd.

All activities are free. See the festival website and Facebook page for more info. Also see our coverage from last year.

The Christmas season seems to begin earlier each year, but now “Halloween is fighting back by sneaking into December for a day to remember.” That’s the idea behind Christmas Screams & Halloween Dreams holiday celebration in Nottingham, UK, with touches of steampunk and Halloween. Happening on Saturday, Dec. 1, it includes a free steampunk market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. followed by ticketed entertainment with live music and circus acts from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Entertainers include Andy Holdsworth, The Cogkneys, and The Filthy Spectacula. It takes place at Malt Cross, 16 St James’s St, Nottingham, NG1 6FG, UK.

The Leeds Steampunk Market returns Dec. 7-8 to West Yorkshire, featuring traders, artists, authors, coffee jousting, and an owl demonstration. It takes place at Queen’s Mill, Aire Street, Castleford, West Yorkshire WF10 1JL, UK.

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