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Steampunk Digest - November 8, 2019

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

Friday, November 8, 2019
H.G. Wells

NBC and SideCar have inked a deal to develop Wellsville, a TV drama based on the stories of H.G. Wells. It will focus on “a young scientist lured to a secluded island under the pretense of curing her terminally sick mother,” Deadline reported. “While there she discovers there is more to this island and its inhabitants than it seems.”

George Northy will be the writer and executive producer. He remarked on Twitter that he discovered Wells at age 11 when his grandmother sent him a boxed set of the author’s novels. “They played a huge role in jumpstarting my love of genre storytelling,” he wrote. “So I’m pretty excited about this.”

We wanted to know if Wellsville will be a period or contemporary drama, so we tweeted the question. Northy’s response: “Contemporary but with homages to the original time period of Wells’ stories (at least that’s the current plan).”

He was previously a writer and producer for the reboot of Charmed on The CW.

SideCar is a new production company owned by Fox Entertainment and run by Gail Berman, who was an executive producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. It will produce programming for Fox as well as other networks.


Author Jon Hartless is out with Rise of the Petrol Queen, a sequel to his 2017 novel Full Throttle. Both are steampunk motor racing adventures set in an autocratic Edwardian-era society. In the first novel, working class heroine Poppy Orpington must overcome social prejudice to enter the elite world of motor racing. Automobiles in this world are steam powered, but her father has developed a new petrol-fueled vehicle.

In the new book, “she continues racing, she starts up her own factory hoping to sell her father’s patented petrol-run cars, she buys her own house and speaks up for the down-trodden,” we’re told. “But all the while she is still seen as just a woman . . . unwilling to squeeze into the female mould created by men of power - and so the mould must be broken.”

Both are available on Amazon. See the author’s Facebook page for more info.

Dana Fraedrich has released Across the Ice, the third and final book in her Broken Gears YA steampunk fantasy series. Heroine Lenore contends with murderous villains known as the Reaper’s Collective. “Meanwhile, the city’s most dangerous crime lords have agreed to a temporary truce in order to dismantle the Collective, but the collaboration could destroy everything Rook [another character] has built.” The author says it will appeal to fans of Gail Carriger, Naomi Novik, and Garth Nix. See her website for more info.

Filles Vertes Publishing is out with The Nightmare Detective, Book 1 of the Magic & Myth series by K. Childs. It’s set in an alternate 1920 London where Detective Inspector Rose Beaumont specializes in crimes involving dream magic. “When His Majesty’s first line of defense against nightmares is assassinated, Britain falls vulnerable to a monstrous attack, and DI Beaumont is called on to solve the murder...or take the heat.”

See the publisher’s website for more info.

Fatbot Games plans a Q1 2020 release for Vaporum: Lockdown, a prequel to its steampunk dungeon crawler game Vaporum. The single-player game is seen from the perspective of Lisa Teller, “a teleport operator and scientist, who struggles to survive the aftermath of a terrible event.” Players will “encounter even nastier enemies with unique strengths and attack patterns,” we’re told. “To beat them, you will have to employ a broad array of weapons, gadgets, upgrades, and smart tactics.” A trailer is shown above.

It will be available on the Steam platform for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, plus versions for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. See the developer’s website and the Steam page for more info.

Grindwheel Games has released Blissful Ignorance, a new installment in The Hunters Journals series of interactive adventure novels. As with Pale Harbour and Vile Philosophy, it’s set in a Lovecraftian steampunk world. In this one, “a report has arrived indicating that a monastery to the goddess of wisdom has fallen silent. You must brave the mountain to find answers, and hopefully return from the unforgiving peaks alive.”

All three are now available in versions for Windows PCs and Android devices. The Windows versions are offered via Steam. See the developer’s website for more info.


We recently featured The Necronomnomnom, a cookbook inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Now Red Duke Games, the company behind those eldritch recipes, is back on Kickstarter with a follow-up volume: Unspeakable Carols - A Tome of Lovecraftian Holiday Hymns. The creators promise dark twists on familiar holiday tunes plus “corrupted holiday cocktail recipes, perhaps some other Lovecraftian-themed songs, and maybe a short story or two.”

A few examples: “The Night of the Black Mass” (to the tune of “The Night Before Xmas”); “Sunken Hells”; “Go Tell it on the Mountains of Madness”; “Do You Fear What I Fear?”; and “Silent Knife.”

As with the first volume, it will be written by Mike Slater and illustrated by Kurt Komoda. They’re aiming for delivery to backers in Sept. 2020.

The campaign launched on Nov. 3 and seeks US $32,700 by Dec. 31. The campaign for the first book raised $80,793. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Ankama BoardGames of Roubaix, France is on Kickstarter with Arkeis, a steampunk-themed board game set in an ancient Egyptian tomb. Designed for one to four players, it features seven modular rooms, nine double-sided boards, and 49 miniatures, including mechanical scarabs, mechanical mummies, giant scorpions, and a steam golem.

The campaign launched on Nov. 5 and met its €70,000 goal (US $77,412) the next day. It runs through Nov. 28. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Colin Maxwell of Edinburgh, UK is seeking Kickstarter funds for Issue #3 of ElectroMagnetic, a steampunk comic book series in which inventor James Maxwell seeks to end a war between Britain and India. “Professor Maxwell is sent to Ceylon to oversee production of his Electrophase Cannon, ‘the weapon that will win the war,’” we’re told. “However, everything is not all it seems. Shadowy figures and organisations conspire on both sides, and the Professor soon wonders who he can trust.”

The campaign launched on Oct. 31 and seeks £500 (US $642) by Dec. 1. His campaigns for the first two issues were both successful. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Talented Games of Kiev, Ukraine is on Kickstarter with Talenticity, described as “a new competitive strategic steampunk board game of artists, gods, technology and visual magic.” Players compete to earn “Moneye,” the currency of the city, by putting on art shows. The “visual magic” refers to hidden objects and codes that can be seen by means of optical tricks built into the game pieces.

The campaign launched on Oct. 29 and seeks US $15,000 by Nov. 20. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Mad Science!


For how long could humanity survive a vampire apocalypse? Dominik Czernia, a PhD student in Krakow, Poland, has created an online calculator that lets you figure it out for yourself.

You begin by selecting a scenario, such as the Rice model based on the works of Anne Rice. Here, the calculator reveals that her vampires would wipe out humanity in 35 years. Humans fare even worse in the Stoker-King model, which is inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. However, we manage to survive in the Harris-Meyer-Kostova model (Twilight, Southern Vampire and True Blood), where vampires have learned to co-exist with humans.

You can also create your own scenarios by changing variables such as the initial populations of vampires and vampire hunters, transformation probability, and frequency of vampire attacks. And you can choose whether they are smart vampires able to curb their appetites.

The calculator is based on a paper published in the journal Applied Mathematical Sciences in 2013. The authors took the Lotka-Volterra equations used to describe predator-prey interactions and applied them to vampire behavior in popular media. Czernia’s calculator also has background information about vampire lore and animal species that feed on blood.

Quick Hits

Steampunk guru Bruce Rosenbaum discusses his new workspace. (ModVic)

The business philosophy behind Cape Town’s steampunk-inspired Truth Coffee shop (Bizcommunity.com)

Folkestone Book Festival (Nov. 15-24) takes inspiration from former resident H.G. Wells (Kent Online)

Airship exhibition (Nov. 6-24) at the Museum of Power in Langford, UK (Maldon Standard)

“Jewelry City Steampunk Festival Puts Attleboro on the Creative Map” (Events Insider Magazine)

“Norwich (Conn.) goes steampunk” (The Day)

Steampunk festival comes to Gananoque, Ontario (Gananoque Reporter)

Plumber’s steampunk project wins community art competition (Epping Forest Guardian)

Interview with The Current War director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Hollywood Outbreak)

Interview with star Michael Shannon (SlashFilm)

“Play to combine steampunk with classic Shakespeare comedy“ (The Shield, University of Southern Indiana)

Science: “Witch Hunts and Devil Possessions May Have Helped Stop the Spread of Harmful Contagions, Study Argues” (IFL Science)

“How Rabies Inspired Folktales of Werewolves and Vampires” (LiveScience)

Archaeology: “Nineteenth-Century Witch Bottle Found in England” (Archaeology Magazine)

“Archaeologists hunt for evidence of a 17th-century English family accused of witchcraft” (Archaeology Magazine)

Event News

Edwardian Ball

Tickets are now on sale for the 20th Anniversary Edwardian Ball, set for Jan. 24-25 at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. Inspired by the works of Edward Gorey, it combines elements of a circus, music festival, art exhibition, and masquerade party. This year’s theme is “The Golden Tale” and will include a performance of Gorey’s “The Lost Lions.” As in previous years, it will open on Friday with the Edwardian World’s Faire. You can get a sense of what to expect from our coverage of this year’s event.

Sadly, the organizers announced that the ball will not return to Los Angeles in 2020.

See the website for more info.

This weekend:

St. Augustine Steampunk Invasion, Nov 8-10. A “festival without a festival” in which steampunks can tour the many historic sites in St. Augustine. It’s hosted by Aunt Matilda’s Steampunk Trunk. See our recent story, which also includes a gallery of tourist attractions in the city.

Steampunk November, Nov 8 - 10. This outdoor steampunk festival features live music, comedy, circus entertainment, steampunk poetry slams, and more. Aurelio Voltaire is the headliner. Location: Amber Inn Academy of Arts, 492 Cordes Dr, Mansfield, TX 76084, in the Dallas Fort Worth area. See our recent coverage.

Book Fiend Readers Fest, Nov 9. A celebration of sci-fi, fantasy and steampunk writers. Guests include Paul Di Filippo, Leigh Grossman, Leanna Renée Hieber, R.A. McCandless, Phoebe Darqueling, Elizabeth Chatsworth, Geoff Genge, Jessica Lucci, Anne Renwick, Joseph Carrabis, and William J. Jackson. Location: Norwich Arts Center in Norwich, Connecticut.

Vallejo Open Studios, Nov. 9-10. Artists throughout the Northern California city will open their studios to the public. Participants include Obtainium Works, the steampunk-infused art car studio. You can also view an exhibition of artists’ works at the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum, 734 Marin Street in the city’s downtown.

Next weekend:

TeslaCon: Murder on the Orient Express, Nov 14-17. One of the major steampunk cons in the U.S., this is an immersive event in which performers act out a long-running steampunk serial. “Murder on the Orient Express” will be the last episode in the serial that began with the first TeslaCon. It will also feature a packed program of panels and workshops, plus a presentation of the winner in Hatton Cross Steampunk’s Great World Suitcase Challenge. Special guests include Doc Phineas, Dave Lee, and James Neathery. Location: Madison Marriott West, 1313 John Q Hammons Drive, Middleton, WI 53562.

Winter in Wonderland Expo and Ball, Nov 16-17. A steampunk event with an Alice in Wonderland theme. Activities include workshops, author readings, a Saturday night Ball, and an immersive theatrical presentation based on the works of Lewis Carroll. Location: Wilbur D. May Museum, 1595 N Sierra St, Reno, NV 89503. See our recent coverage.

Steampunk and Fantasy Showcase, Nov. 16-17. This is the second year for the event, which will have an expanded program of panels and workshops. Speakers include Mark Donnelly, Leanna Renee Hieber, Thom Truelove, Thomas Willeford, Stephen Chapman, Wheeler Stone, Brian Fadrosh, and Tobias McCurry. It will also feature entertainment by Nightwatch Paradox, Karnevil, Keith Engle, Mikey Mason, and Bubblepop Burlesque. Location: Spooky Nook Sports Center, 75 Champ Blvd., Manheim, PA 17545. See our recent coverage.

Sanford Steampunk Soiree, Nov. 16. This steampunk gathering will take place within a historic train depot. The program includes a costume contest, tea dueling, parasol dueling, teapot races, dance instruction by The Lady Anna, and music by DJ Vlad. The contest theme is “Steam Powered Trains,” meaning you can show up as a conductor, engineer or steampunk passenger. Admission is free. Location: Henry’s Depot Culinary Collective, 212 W First St, Sanford, FL 32771. It’s near Orlando.

Top Stories of the Month

Here were the most-viewed stories in October in The Steampunk Explorer:

1. Steampunk in Brontë Country (Haworth Steampunk Weekend)

2. Ancient Egypt, by Way of San Diego (Photos from Gaslight Steampunk Expo)

3. From the Kitchen of H.P. Lovecraft (The Necronomnomnom cookbook)

4. Steampunk Digest - October 18, 2019

5. Steampunk Digest - October 4, 2019

6. Postcards from Luxembourg (Anno 1900 Convention)

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