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Steampunk Digest - October 16, 2020

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

Friday, October 16, 2020
Aero-Cab Station
Image: Adobe Stock

It’s another big weekend for virtual events, beginning with the COGS STREAMPunk Spooktacular from the organizers of the COGS Steampunk Expo. The online convention kicked off Thursday with a full day devoted to gaming. The main event happens Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Highlights include:

• The world premiere of “Giant Robot,” a new music video from A Halo Called Fred produced in collaboration with Thomas Willeford’s Brute Force Studios. It will feature an animated version of Willeford’s Giant Robot.

• Musical performances Frenchy and the Punk, Night Watch Paradox, and Steamcordia.

• A live cosplay modeling and photography session “with special guests.”

• A live performance by Historical Conjurer DR Schreiber.

• Presentations by authors Elizabeth Chatsworth, Leanna Renee Heiber, and Joseph Rollins, plus an author panel hosted by Joseph Kennedy.

• DIY maker sessions with Don Dodson and Kolleen Kilduff, plus a Maker Q&A with Sheila and Brian Fadrosh of Building Steam.

Programming will stream from the COGS Expo website and Twitch channel. See the Facebook event page for a full schedule.

Meanwhile, Maurice Broaddus will be the Author Guest of Honor at MultiVirtual 2020, a free online version of the Multiverse science fiction and fantasy convention held annually in Atlanta. Readers will recall that he’s the author of two notable steampunk works, Buffalo Soldier and Pimp My Airship, in addition to short fiction and the Knights of Breton Court urban fantasy trilogy. He’ll be the guest for a Saturday afternoon interview followed by a virtual kaffeeklatsch.

The program includes sessions for writers, makers, and gamers, as well as “geek tracks” for fans of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. The organizers will also host an online art show, bookstore, and exhibitor area.

Discord will serve as a virtual venue for watch parties, video chats, readings, and other social activities. Content will also stream on YouTube and Facebook. Some programming will be prerecorded. It all takes place Oct. 16-18. See the website for more info.

Capclave, produced by the Washington (D.C.) Science Fiction Association, is also going virtual this year. The event, which runs Oct. 17-18, focuses on short fiction and features the presentation of the WSFA Small Press Award. The program will include webinars, readings, book launches, and kaffeeklatsches. Author guests include Troy L. Wiggins, Nancy Kress, Ken Liu, James Morrow, Carrie Vaughn, Connie Willis, Catherynne Valente, and Alyssa Wong. Content will stream on Zoom.

Memberships cost $10, or you can purchase a full $55 membership that includes the virtual 2020 convention and next year’s real-world Capclave, which takes place Oct. 1-3, 2021. See the website for more info.

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BBC America has released a trailer for The Watch, the forthcoming TV series inspired by Terry Pratchett’s City Watch fantasy novels. The release coincided with a virtual panel last Friday featuring the show’s executive producers and most of the main cast. One revelation from the panel was that Pratchett’s Death character will be voiced by actor Wendell Pierce, best known for his portrayal of a Baltimore homicide detective in The Wire. The panel was held during Metaverse, an online convention from the producers of New York Comic Con and MCM Comic Con.

Neither the trailer nor the panel were reassuring to Pratchett fans, who have criticized the series for departing drastically from the books. Some have objected to the production design, which appears to cast the medieval city of Ankh-Morpork in a steampunk or cyberpunk vein. The main characters have also received makeovers.

One response came from Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna, who tweeted the following: “Look, I think it’s fairly obvious that @TheWatch shares no DNA with my father’s Watch. This is neither criticism nor support. It is what it is.”

Neil Gaiman, who collaborated with Pratchett on Good Omens, observed that “the fan base are fans. And they like the source material because it’s the source material they like. So if you do something else, you risk alienating the fans on a monumental scale. It’s not Batman if he’s now a news reporter in a yellow trenchcoat with a pet bat.”

The City Watch books are part of the late author’s larger Discworld series. Rhianna Pratchett is co-director of Narrativia, his production company, which has announced a partnership with Motive Pictures and Endeavor Content to develop a separate series of Discworld adaptations.

Fans can judge The Watch for themselves when the series premieres Jan. 3, 2021.

New Books

Aero-Cab Station

Manic D Press has released Steampunk Visions Postcard Book, a collection of 24 historic postcards depicting the Year 2000. They were originally created by French artist Jean Marc Côté for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris but were never distributed. The 48-page paperback, released on Sept. 1, is currently out of stock. But it’s just as well because the postcards are in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from Wikimedia Commons. Shown above is the artist’s vision of an “Aero-Cab Station.”

As noted in The Public Domain Review, the postcards remained in obscurity until they were discovered many years later by science-fiction author Isaac Asimov. He published them with commentary in his 1986 book, Futuredays: A Nineteenth Century Vision of the Year 2000.

Shadow Mountain Publishing has released Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts, a steampunk retelling of Cinderella by Nancy Campbell Allen. Protagonist Emmeline O’Shea is set to deliver a speech to the International Shifter Rights Organization in Scotland when she receives a death threat and is placed in protective custody with her nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. They are forced to work together while dealing with her vindictive stepsister, the detective’s vampire brother and political intrigue.

It’s available as an e-book, paperback, and audiobook. See the publisher’s website for links to booksellers.

Author A.W. Exley is out with Rahotep’s Last Breath, Book 6 in her Artifact Hunters historical fantasy series. The books are set in a steampunk version of Victorian England, where protagonist Cara Devon goes in search of ancient artifacts. In this one, she accompanies her 18-year-old daughter on a journey to Egypt. The series is available in e-book and paperback formats from multiple booksellers. See the author’s website for more info.

Author Mark Hayes has released Cheesecake, Avarice & Boots, a collection that includes three early Hannibal Smyth steampunk tales along with the Hannibal Smyth novella “A Scar of Avarice” and other stories that originally appeared in the Harvey Duckman Presents anthologies. “The main reason for the book’s existence is to bring together the Hannibal Smyth short stories into one volume,” Hayes writes, but then he decided to add his other published short fiction as well. It’s available from Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.

Midnight Tide Publishing is out with The Girl in the Clockwork Tower, a steampunk retelling of Rapunzel by Lou Wilham. The protagonist is Persinette, a young woman in the steampunk kingdom of Daiwynn who is tasked with capturing beings known as the Enchanted for her mother’s labor camps. She later rebels in concert with a young airship captain. It’s available in digital and paperback formats from multiple booksellers. See the author’s website for more info.

Author S.W. Raine has released Techno Mage, a steampunk fantasy tale about a noblewoman who is captured by airship pilots and finds herself in the hands of the title character, a “mythical man with the ability to flawlessly combine both technology and alchemy.” It’s available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon and other sellers. See the author’s website for more info.


Merchants of Infinity

Rogue Artist Creations has re-launched its Kickstarter campaign for Merchants of Infinity, a tabletop game set on a space station with steampunk elements. The developer originally launched the campaign on Sept. 22 but canceled it four days later due to timing and pricing issues. The game itself is essentially unchanged, but creator Andrew Prowse has reduced prices and added some additional content. Pledge amounts are now listed in U.S. dollars in addition to British pounds.

Players take the role of merchants on the space station Mandelbrot, “who send their traders (meeples) out into the Technobazaar, where they collect resources to fulfil valuable ship orders, complete side-quests and gain extra advantages to score the most platinum and win the game,” Prowse explains.

The original campaign required a £45 pledge to get the game, but that’s been reduced to £35 (US $46).

Prowse noted that he launched the original campaign at the same time as two other tabletop games, The 7th Citadel and Heroquest. The latter was subsequently cancelled, but The 7th Citadel has raised a whopping €3 million (US $3.5 million) as of Wednesday evening.

The new Merchants of Infinity campaign launched Oct. 13 and seeks £20,000 (US $26,023) by Nov. 5. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Inverse Press is seeking Kickstarter funds for Issue Zero of Last Ride of the 4 Horsemen, a prequel to the publisher’s steampunk western comic book series. Issues 1-4 featured the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as they threatened the Old West town of Promise. The prequel is about the origins of three horsemen, War, Famine & Pestilence.

Rewards include digital and print editions of the comic book along with bundles of all five issues. The publisher is also offering a numbered and autographed Collector’s Box for the series.

The campaign launched Oct. 11 and seeks US $3000 by Oct. 25. See the Kickstarter page and Inverse Press website for more info.

Quick Hits

Hacksmith Built a REAL Lightsaber that Retracts (Inside the Magic)

I Am Uncomfortably Fascinated byThe Bachelorette’s Steampunk Kitesurfer Adrian (Popsugar Australia)

Famous Chinese web novel ‘Lord of the Mysteries’ a smash hit at Bangkok International Book Fair (Hindustan Times)

Steampunk author says coming out — whether with a new book or to your family — is life-changing (Bay Today)

Sherlock Holmes’ Anime History, From Sherlock Hound to Moriarty the Patriot (CBR)

Metroidvania Brawler FIST Lets You Play As An Angry Bunny With A Mechanical Fist (The Gamer)

Mini Review: Torchlight III - Torchlight Returns with a Familiar Dungeon Crawling Adventure (Push Square)

Torchlight 3 review: A light but shallow ARPG unlikely to find a new audience (Windows Central)

1,200-year-old pagan temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway (Live Science)

Tourist Returns Artifacts Stolen From Pompeii To Break 15-Year-Long “Curse” (IFL Science)

Stan the T. rex just became the most expensive fossil ever sold (Live Science)

Pipsqueak animals show off Marvel-like superpowers in ‘Tiny World’ docuseries (Live Science)

Dazzling Winners Of The 2020 Nikon Small World Competition Revealed (IFL Science)

Attack Of The “Walking Toupees” As Venomous Puss Caterpillars Invade Virginia (IFL Science)

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