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Steampunk Digest - October 26, 2018

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

Friday, October 26, 2018

Steampunk Digest brings you news and other info from around the web. Sign up to get it by email before it's posted on the website. The email version also includes summaries of recent stories posted on The Steampunk Explorer.

Steamposium canceled. Organizers of this steampunk convention announced on Oct. 23 that it has been canceled. They cited low ticket sales. It was slated for Oct. 26-28 at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle. The announcement stated: “The venue has already taken most of the funds, and it is extremely unlikely that we will receive anything back.”

In the wake of the announcement, Seattle-area steampunks launched a Steamposium Refugees Facebook group to discuss alternative activities. See our story for more info.

Meanwhile, another Seattle-area fan convention bit the dust. The organizers of Anglicon 2018 announced the event’s cancelation due to “many factors. . . including low ticket sales, insufficient hotel room reservations, and a major guest that had to cancel due to professional obligations.” That event was scheduled for Nov. 30 - Dec. 2 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport. It was billed as “a fan-run British media convention with an extra focus on Doctor Who.”

Tesla vs. Lovecraft

10tons Ltd. plans an Oct. 25 release for an iOS version of Tesla vs Lovecraft, an arena shooter game. From the press release: “In Tesla vs Lovecraft, the player assumes the role of the cult famous inventor Nikola Tesla fighting waves and waves of monsters summoned by horror author H.P. Lovecraft. The player gets to use ingenious gadgets like the Quantum Teleport backpack, which allows teleporting a short distance even through solid matter.”

A PC version was released on the Steam platform in January. It’s received generally positive reviews, earning a score of 73 on MetaCritic. Versions are also available for Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

The developer says that other mobile platforms will follow. See the App Store Preview and the the game’s website for more info.

Steampunk Graveyard

Bad Logic Studios plans an Oct. 26 launch for Steampunk Graveyard, a 2D zombie/steampunk themed game for PCs. The “nefarious Baron Richter von Sprocket has turned the dead into piston powered zombie automatons, making the dead walk with a metallic clunk,” the developer says. “It’s up to the Baron’s mechanically enhanced former protégé, Professor Selene Gasket, to put a stop to the menace and save the terrified villagers.”

A trailer is available on YouTube and the Steam page. Base price will be USD$2.99, with a 20 percent launch discount for the first week. See the press release for more info.

Author Cat Rambo is offering an on-demand version of her live class, “Hex Engines & Spell-Slingers: Writing Steampunk and Weird Western.” Priced at $19, the self-paced course includes multimedia lectures on topics such as dialog, historical texture, and “problematic history” in the steampunk and Wild West genres.

She discussed the problematic aspects in a recent blog post. “One thing you want to remember about the Victorian era is that during this time the British Empire is exactly that – it’s an empire,” she writes. “Many of the explorers being sent out are bent on conquering in some way. Coupled with that is the fact that the lands they are entering are in fact not uninhabited, but are often occupied by civilizations older than England’s.”

This speaks to a larger issue that “representation and diversity have not been steampunk’s strengths in the past,” she writes, and she offers resources for a multicultural approach to the genre. In addition to her writing and teaching, she’s president of the SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America).

Our Write Side is accepting short stories for a forthcoming steampunk anthology. Selected authors will receive a copy of the e-book and a portion of royalties (the amount is to be determined). The stories should range from 3500 to 10,000 words. The entry deadline is Jan. 28, 2019. Phoebe Darqueling of Steampunk Journal is the project manager. See the website for contact info and additional details.

Romeo, Michigan

Halloween is less than a week away, and many steampunks are ready to celebrate. If the travel bug has bitten you, the editors of Country Living have suggested some destinations: “20 Amazing Halloween Celebrations Across America,” “The 11 Best Small Towns to Visit for Halloween,” and “18 of the Spookiest Ghost Towns in America.”

Among the places to visit: Anoka, Minnesota, billed as the “Halloween capital of the world”; Romeo, Michigan, known for elaborate Halloween displays on Tillson Street; and (of course) Salem, Massachusetts. The ghost towns include Calico, California; Goldfield, Arizona; St. Elmo, Colorado; and Virginia City, Montana. Calico hosted a Wild West-themed steampunk festival for several years.

Shown above is Tillson Street in Romeo, Michigan. Photo by Rodney Campbell (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr.

Dynamite Entertainment is out with Legenderry Red Sonja - A Steampunk Adventure Vol. 2, and Newsarama has a preview of the trade paperback.

From the blurb: “The last we saw of Red Sonja of the Legenderry world, she was living the pirate’s life aboard her ship, The Nautilus. But times have changed. As she tries to rebuild her life once again, she must save the Big City from two houses divided and the star-crossed love bringing them to the brink of war!”

The story, written by Marc Andreyko, features artwork by Igor Lima and Rodney Buchemi. It sells for $19.95. See the Dynamite Entertainment website for more info.

Dude Vader and John Harrington

Author Stephanie Kato has a report and photo gallery from the Gaslight Steampunk Expo in San Diego. “There was a really good selection of steampunk merchandise in the form of clothing, books, crafts, and all kinds of inventions,” she writes. Most of the photos are from the vendor area. We posted our own report with cosplay photos from Clara Blackheart. Shown above is Clara’s photo of Dude Vader next to John Harrington in his Victorian Martian Space Suit.

The Oxnard Steampunk Festival took place Oct. 13 and 14 in Southern California, and Chris Frost of the Tri County Sentry has two lengthy reports. One focuses on the Mad Hatters Tea Party whereas the other takes a broader view of the event, including the vendors and music.

The tea party featured people dressed in steampunk and “Alice in Wonderland” costumes. One, Lady Elvira Garcia Blásquez de Avila, was clad in a dress and “short distance jetpack,” Frost writes. “She was a time traveler who landed at the tea party.”

Mars Lander

Steampunk on Mars? NASA’s InSight Mars lander “sounds like something from a 19th-century sci-fi novel: A Mars robot with a metallic five-fingered claw that’s actuated by the melting of wax,” writes Mike Wall on Space.com.

Set to land on Nov. 26, InSight aims to study the planet’s deep interior, including seismic activity and underground heat flow. It will do so with two instruments that must be positioned a short distance from the lander. One, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, must be protected by a shield.

“That’s where InSight’s steampunk claw, which sits at the end of the lander’s 5.9-foot-long (1.8 meters) robotic arm, comes in,” Wall writes. “It will grasp and place all three of these items — work never before done by a robot on another world, mission team members said.”

Mission handlers will heat wax inside the claw to open the fingers. Cooling the wax causes the fingers to close. “If this description evokes images of arcade claw-machine games in your head, well, you’re not the only one,” Wall writes.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Florida Studio Theatre (FST) in Sarasota is staging a steampunk-themed performance of Peter Pan, and Niki Kottmann of The Observer has the story behind the production. “[Scenic designer Bruce] Price and his team realized that clocks and time in general is a big theme of ‘Peter Pan,’ and the insides of (analog) clocks contain the gears that are so vital to any steampunk design,” she writes. “The core element of the design is the face of a large clock with different images projected onto it to help the actors transition from one scene to the next.”

The cast consists of six actors playing multiple roles. They’re members of the theater’s apprentice program. The performance runs Saturdays and some Sundays through Nov. 10. See the FST website for more info.

Upcoming Events

Westfield, New Jersey, was the birthplace of cartoonist Charles Addams, and the town is celebrating by hosting AddamsFest, Oct. 26-28 at multiple locations. Addams is best known as the creator of The Addams Family, which eventually became a TV series, Broadway musical, and movie franchise. The organizers promise “family themed events, movie screenings, art exhibits, a beer garden, masquerade ball and much more.”

Activities include “Morticia & Gomez’s Masquerade Ball” on Friday night, an “Addams Family Fun Zone” on Saturday, and a parade and costume contest on Sunday. Lectures and movie screenings will happen throughout the weekend. A Charles Addams Art Exhibit runs through Oct. 30 at the James Ward Mansion. See the website and Facebook page for more info.

The inaugural Felixstowe Steampunk Halloween Festival is slated for Oct. 27 and 28 in Suffolk, UK, with family-friendly programming during the day and a scarier event on Saturday night. It takes place at Landguard Fort and Felixstowe Museum in the seaside town of Felixstowe.

Daytime activities include live music, a magic show, a marketplace, steampunk crafts, tea dueling, and a “Talonted Feathers” presentation of owls and raptors. Musical guests include the Iron Boot Scrapers (Sunday only) and Ichabod Steam and his Animatronic Band. Also on hand: Captain Leaky’s Steampunk Van. The evening program is themed “Night of the Macabre” and includes a cabaret show plus a haunted tour of the fort. Kids under 14 are not permitted at the evening event.

The East Anglian Daily Times has a report, as does Ipswich 24. See the event website for more info.

SeneGence International and the Muscogee Creek Nation will present Steam Con, Oct. 26 and 27 at the Sapulpa Public Library in Sapulpa, Oklahoma (near Tulsa). It’s billed as a “steampunk pop culture convention,” with elements of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.). Activities will include vendors, gaming, a cosplay contest, and demos of robotics and “mad science.” Guests include steampunk author L.M. Fry, who will present a reading and book signing. Attendees are encouraged to wear steampunk attire.

Free tickets are available on Eventbrite. See the Facebook event page for more info. Tulsa World, the region’s major daily newspaper, has a story about the event.

Dimensional Concepts and Airship Aberrant will present the First Annual Interdimensional Worlds Faire, Saturday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Cooper Riverside Park in Mobile, Alabama. The free public event will have areas for Medieval & Fantasy, Steampunk, Vintage, Modern & Technology, Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic and other interests. Proceeds benefit local non-profits. Airship Aberrant is a local steampunk society. See the group’s website for more info.

The Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, will host the Victorian Gothic Steampunk Ball, a fundraising event slated for Saturday, Nov. 3, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The museum promises “an elegant evening of dinner, modern dancing, entertainment, and a playful Gothic and Steampunk interpretation of the Victorian Era.” The event includes a buffet dinner, drink ticket, cash bar, photo stage, DJ and dance contest. Tickets cost $65. Proceeds benefit the museum, which preserves local history and culture. Jim Thorpe is a town in eastern Pennsylvania, near the Poconos, that was founded as Mauch Chunk.

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