fbpx Steampunk Digest - October 23, 2020: Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world | The Steampunk Explorer

Steampunk Digest - October 23, 2020

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

Friday, October 23, 2020

Yoshimoto Kogyo has released a trailer for Poupelle of Chimney Town, an anime film from Japan’s Studio 4°C based on a popular illustrated book by Akihiro Nishino. The story involves a young boy in a polluted, isolated town who befriends the title character, a creature made from scraps. As you can see from the trailer, the design has steampunk elements. The film, directed by Yusuke Hirota, is set to premiere in Japan on Dec. 25 followed by international distribution next year.

As promised, A Halo Called Fred used last weekend’s COGS STREAMPunk Spooktacular to premiere “Giant Robot,” a music video featuring an animated version of the Giant Robot from Thomas Willeford’s Brute Force Studios. A single from the video is available through Banding Together 2020, a multiple-artist compilation benefiting the Spondylitis Association of America. And in case you missed it, other sessions from the virtual Spooktacular can still be viewed on Twitch.

Gametopia Studios has released a trailer for Verne: The Shape of Fantasy, a “pixel art narrative experience” slated for release next year. The story has Jules Verne “trapped in a parallel world, built from the writer’s own imagination and filled with adventures, dangers and lots of fantasy.” He boards the Nautilus and joins forces with Captain Nemo against “a merciless enemy who wants to wipe out imagination and creativity.”

The developer is planning versions for PCs and Macs. See the website for more info.

Die Fledermaus
©Terrence McCarthy/San Francisco Opera

If you’re hoping to bolster your costume collection, the San Francisco Opera may have a deal for you. The opera company will hold its first-ever online costume shop sale, featuring more than 500 adult outfits from productions including Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus, and Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser. The sale also features about 40 costumes for children from Tannhäuser. Designers include Thierry Bosquet, John Macfarlane, and Paul Brown.

Prices range from $75 to $1,000, plus shipping and taxes. Costume pieces will not be sold separately, and all sales are final. The sale runs Nov. 13-15, though opera subscribers and donors ($75 or more) will have access to a preview sale. Purchasers in the San Francisco area can choose to pick up the costumes by appointment through Nov. 24.

Shown above is the opera’s 2006 production of Die Fledermaus with costumes by Thierry Bosquet. See the website for more info.

Author Jon Hartless has released Fall of the Petrol Queen, the third volume in the Poppy Orpington Chronicles, his steampunk motor-racing series. The books are set in an autocratic, class-conscious Edwardian-era society, where working class heroine Poppy Orpington overcomes social prejudice to enter the elite world of motor racing.

This one tells the story of Orpington’s Thunderbolt Motors “against a background of rising intolerance and the increasing certainty of war with Kaiser Wilhelm VI’s Unified Germany.” Hartless says the stories were inspired by the Bentley Boys, a group of wealthy 1920s-era British racing drivers.

The novel is available in e-book and paperback formats from Amazon. See the author’s Facebook page for more info.



Twice a year, the Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles hosts the Brewery Artwalk, an event that draws thousands of visitors to artists’ studios on the 16-acre property. This year’s spring Artwalk was cancelled, but the fall event is happening virtually this weekend, Oct. 24-25, and it includes several artists whose work has steampunk appeal.

One of them is Mitzella (above), proprietor of The House of Sloth, which she describes as a “full service visual design studio specializing in the macabre, unusual and outrageous,” including steampunk and gothic horror. She also happens to be president of the Brewery Artwalk Association.

Kevin Flint art

Other participants include Richard Wilks, who was featured in a 2018 steampunk exhibition at the San Diego Automotive Museum, and Kevin Flint, whose work includes functional art with an industrial/steampunk aesthetic. Some of Flint’s beverage dispensers are shown here. He’s also the founder of LA Art Tours, which is helping to produce the event. (Update: Flint chose not to open his studio, citing his responsibilities running the event.)

The complex occupies a former Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery in the Lincoln Heights area near downtown L.A. It originally opened in 1903 as the Edison Electric Steam Power Plant.

A livestream will be available on the Virtual Artwalk website, but visitors are encouraged to register for Zoom sessions if they want to participate in Q&As.

Fans of Joss Whedon will gather virtually on Saturday, Oct. 24 for HalloWhedonCon 2020, an online fundraising event that replaces WhedonCon. The organizers are promising a day of panels, Q&As, cosplay contests, and more, all related to Whedon creations such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, and Firefly. The schedule includes a panel with the hosts of The Nevers Podcast, which focuses on Whedon’s forthcoming project for HBO. Readers will recall that The Steampunk Explorer editor Stephen Beale was a recent guest.

Celebrity guests include Juliet Landau, Jack Plotnick, Mark Metcalf, Tim Minear, Andrew Ferchland, and Dagney Kerr, all of whom had prominent roles in Buffy.

Tickets cost $20. Proceeds benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Al Wooten Jr. Youth Center. Learn more on the website.

MileHiCon, the Denver-area science fiction and fantasy convention, is also going virtual this year. The program will include panels, presentations, readings, a cosplay contest, art show, vendors room, and Authors Row. The guests of honor are Cory Doctorow, Mur Lafferty, Alan Pollack, and Rebecca Roanhorse. Program participants also include steampunk authors David Lee Summers, Alex Acks, Carrie Vaughn, and S.M. Stirling.

We spotted three steampunk-related panels in the program: “God Save the Other Queen,” about alternate Britains; “America as She Isn’t,” about alternate Americas; and “Cyberpunk, Steampunk, and Alt History,” with readings from Summers, Ian Tregillis, and Ted Weber.

An attending membership costs $15. It happens online Oct. 23-25. See the website for more info.

Also happening this weekend is AfroComicCon, a free online version of a pop culture convention held annually near Oakland, California. It aims to showcase “the talents of underrepresented groups such as professionals of color, and women.” The program will include “Creating a Superhero Show,” a panel featuring producers and writers of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix, plus panels on crowdfunding, TV writing, and Black women in comics. The organizers will also present a cosplay competition and virtual film festival. It will stream Saturday, Oct. 24, on multiple platforms including YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. See the website for more info.


Beehive Books is on Kickstarter with a hardcover edition of Dracula: The Evidence, a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale. Last October, the publisher raised US $224,574 for the original project, a briefcase containing maps, letters, diaries, phonograph records, and other materials derived from the novel.

The publisher’s goal was to transform the story into an interactive, immersive literary experience, and they enlisted Dracula expert Dacre Stoker, the author’s great-grand nephew, to assist. The project won praise from the likes of Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman, and Adam Savage, but it carried a hefty price tag of $400 for the basic Archive edition with a leatherette briefcase. Some 39 backers pledged $800 for the Immortal Edition in an oaken box.

The new edition repackages the materials in a single 352-page cloth-bound artbook. Pledges begin at $100, or backers can opt for a digital compilation with a pledge of $25 or more.

All editions, including the original boxed versions, are slated for delivery in October 2021.

The new campaign launched Oct. 14 and has already blown past its US $100,000 goal. It runs through Dec. 8. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Kate Ashwin of West Yorkshire, UK has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Widdershins: Witch Hunt, a new printed edition of her popular webcomic series. The fantasy adventure tales are set in a fictional Victorian-era town that serves as “England’s magical epicentre, home to bounty hunters, failed wizards, stage magicians, and more, besides.”

This will be the ninth volume in the series, consisting of about 100 pages in a full-color A5-size softcover book. Volume 7 won the 2019 British Fantasy Award for Best Comic/Graphic Novel.

The campaign launched Oct. 16 and met its £4700 (US $6168) goal within four hours. It runs through Nov. 15. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Lapel pins

Jan CJ Jones is on Kickstarter with a set of enamel lapel pins “for the discerning modern Victorian.” Each measures 1.5 to 2 inches and some may have moving parts. She’s starting with three designs but plans a total of 25 or more. If she hits a stretch goal of US $3000, backers will have an opportunity to vote for the next design.

Jones is also the author and publisher of A Journey With Strange Bedfellows, a Victorian Gothic horror tale told in the form of a graphic novel and audio drama. She conceived the lapel pins to occupy down time resulting from cancelled conventions.

The campaign launched Oct. 20 and seeks US $900 by Nov. 5. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Quick Hits

Someone is driving around Toronto in a giant metal rat (BlogTO)

Annie Says: Carriger’s steampunk world the perfect escape (The Claremore [Okla.] Daily Progress)

Lovingly Restored 12-Bedroom Victorian Has Wild Ties to San Francisco History (SF Gate)

First Dates viewers joke a Victorian enthusiast was matched with his ‘twin sister’ due to their VERY similar looks and mutual interest in steampunk fashion (Daily Mail)

A Look to the Past: A Spooky Deep Dive into the Plague Doctor Costume (Seren)

Further Development For Steambirds Alliance Halted, Servers Likely Shutting Down Soon (Niche Gamer)

Code: Realize ~Wintertide Miracles~ for Switch coming west in early 2021 (Gematsu)

Gestalt: Steam & Cinder Gets New Trailer Showing Plenty of Gameplay (Twinfinite)

Is Gestalt: Steam and Cinder The Next Must Play Metroidvania? (Cog Connected)

SONG PREMIERE: This Way to the EGRESS Serve Up a Drinking Ballad for the End Times with “Last Call” (Glide Magazine)

inXile Entertainment’s next project seems to be a steampunk RPG (AltChar)

inXile’s Big AAA RPG May Be Steampunk Themed, Led by Arcanum Devs (Wccftech)

Tales from the Loop artist Simon Stålenhag teases next 2 sci-fi books (Report Door)

How Lovecraft Country Sets Up Season 2 (contains spoilers) (CBR)

Which fictional dystopia would be the worst to live in? (The Guardian)

Auction of Romain Jerome Titanic watch should be attractive to historians of sunken ships (WatchPro)

Reserve your seat for “A Victorian Séance Experience” at Mabry-Hazen House (Knox Focus)

Do we live in a simulation? Chances are about 50–50. (LiveScience)

You can’t squish this ‘iron’ beetle. Now, scientists know why. (LiveScience)

Corgi-size pterosaurs walked in the rain 145 million years ago (LiveScience)

Spread Of London Plague Outbreaks Grew Faster Over Time (IFL Science)

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