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Steampunk Digest - October 30, 2020

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

Friday, October 30, 2020
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Image by socialneuron from Pixabay

If steampunks have an official holiday, it’s undoubtedly Halloween, which happens on Saturday this year. As the pandemic causes folks to avoid social gatherings, some may choose to spend the day watching horror films. With that in mind, a website in the UK used the power of science to determine the scariest movies ever made.

Broadband Choices enlisted 50 volunteers to wear heart rate monitors as they watched more than 120 hours of top-rated horror films based on critics’ lists and Reddit recommendations. The scariest of the bunch turned out to be Sinister, a 2012 Blumhouse Productions film directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Ethan Hawke. It scored an average heart rate of 85 beats per minute (BPM) with a maximum spike of 131 BPM about one hour into the movie. Rounding out the top five were Insidious, The Conjuring, Hereditary, and Paranormal Activity.

U.S. residents who subscribe to Hulu can find a selection of Halloween-themed programming in the “Huluween” section, which features TV series and movies for all kinds of tastes, ranging from zombies and vampires to humor and family fare. They include Helstrom, a new original series based on the Marvel characters Daimon and Satana Hellstrom.

For steampunk-tinged horror, consider Penny Dreadful or The Frankenstein Chronicles on Netflix. You can also watch Penny Dreadful on Showtime, its original home. And though it’s missing from Huluween, we also recommend “Master Lovecraft,” an episode from Season 10 of Murdoch Mysteries in which Detective William Murdoch tangles with a young H.P. Lovecraft. In the U.S., the series is available on Hulu and Acorn TV.

Related articles:

Can Science Determine The Scariest Movie Ever Made? (IFL Science)

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won’t Die (Popmatters)

Every Universal Classic Monster Movie From The ‘30s, Ranked (ScreenRant)

31 days of Halloween movies to binge this October: Week 5 (Daily Dot)

Haunted House “Goldilocks Zone” Is The Key To Thrills Over Trauma, Study Finds (IFL Science)

Howl's Moving Castle
Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation house known for classic films such as Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle, has begun releasing free-to-use images from its collection. It began Sept. 18 with 400 images from eight films, including Spirited Away, Ponyo, Arrietty, Tales from Earthsea, When Marnie Was There, and The Wind Rises. The latest batch includes images from six films: Howl’s Moving Castle (above), The Cat Returns, Princess Mononoke, Whisper of the Heart, and My Neighbors the Yamadas. Nothing yet from Castle in the Sky, which is considered a steampunk classic, but the studio eventually plans to release images from all its films.

Juggler Games and Klabater SA announced The Amazing American Circus, a video game in which players create their own traveling circus at the turn of the 20th century. The developers describe it as part RPG, tycoon, and card game, as each player explores the U.S. and assembles a troupe of circus artists. Along the way, players may encounter the likes of Nikola Tesla, Susan B. Anthony, John D. Rockefeller, or other historical characters.

The game, set for release in 2021, will be available for PCs (via Steam) and consoles. See the website for more info.

The Jewelry City Steampunk Festival has announced the schedule for this year’s event, which is happening virtually Nov. 20-22. Among the highlights: An interview and live Q&A session with steampunk maker Bruce Rosenbaum; presentations by authors Elizabeth Chatsworth and Jessica Lucci; and a Saturday evening performance by Karnevil. The program will also include sessions on steampunk costuming, teapot racing, character creation, and gaming. A costume contest is scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Most content will be presented on the Steampunks of New England YouTube channel.

The festival is usually held in downtown Attleboro, Massachusetts. See the website for the full schedule.

Wardenclyffe Tower
Wardenclyffe Tower

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe (TSCW) will host “Light the Night through Science,” a virtual gala honoring Vint Cerf, regarded as one of the “Fathers of the Internet.” The event, which aims to raise funds for TSCW educational programs, will feature musical entertainment by They Might Be Giants and ArcAttack along with magic by Simon Pierro and Tesla Coil demonstrations by Greg Leyh. It all takes place Friday, Oct. 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets start at $25.

TSCW occupies the site of Nikola Tesla’s former Wardenclyffe Tower on Long Island. The non-profit hopes to establish a museum honoring his life and work. See the website for more info.

The World Fantasy Convention is happening virtually this weekend amid criticism stemming from panel descriptions in the original program. Following the release of the program on Sept. 26, author and game designer Miyuki Jane Pinckard wrote a letter to the organizing committee contending that the descriptions were “written in a way that alienates anyone who is not white and not cisgender and not heteronormative.” Other critics joined in, and several authors listed on the program withdrew from the event. The organizers later revised the descriptions, and convention chair Ginny Smith posted a letter in response.

The current program includes panels, readings, video breakout rooms, and presentation of the 2020 World Fantasy Awards. Guests include authors Stephen Gallagher, Cindy Pon, Brandon Sanderson, Stephen Graham Jones, and C.J. Cherryh. The virtual event replaces the live convention, which was set to take place in Salt Lake City. Registration is now closed. Next year’s convention is scheduled for Nov. 4-7 in Montreal.

Crowdfunding

Furious Tree Games is on Kickstarter with Widget Ridge: Emergence, an expansion for the steampunk-themed Widget Ridge deckbuilding card game. The game, designed for one to four players, is set in an alternate world in which inventors compete to be named Engineer Laureate. The expansion includes new characters and invention cards. It also adds a co-op playing option.

The campaign launched Oct. 22 and surpassed its US $5000 goal within 48 hours. It runs through Nov. 22. See the website and Kickstarter page for more info.

1985 Games is seeking Kickstarter funds for The Deck of Stories, a storytelling system for tabletop roleplaying games. It consists of Story Cards (also known as hooks) that you draw from a deck and re-arrange to create a narrative. The project includes two volumes of Story Cards and five boosters, one of which has a steampunk theme. The latter has 18 story hooks that can be used with steampunk-themed RPGs such as Eberron. Other expansions include the Gothic Booster, Hell Booster, High Water Booster, and Jungle Booster.

The developer is also offering NPC Cards with pre-generated non-player characters that can be inserted into role-playing games.

The campaign launched Oct. 1 and met its US $10,000 funding goal the first day. It runs through Oct. 31. See the website and Kickstarter page for more info.

Quick Hits

Anger as Haworth steampunk weekend goes ahead – but organisers defend the decision (Keighley News)

Steampunk gallery comes to Rainier, ‘taking the old and revitalizing it’ (TDN)

Powered by steampunk: Alberta man shares unique hobby (Chat News Today)

Big bingeing on Tiny House Nation (Boing Boing)

Tiny House Nation steampunk episode (YouTube)

New Zealand road trip: discover the power of Waitaki (NZ Herald)

How 80 Days Homages Jules Verne Sci-Fi Without Ignoring Colonialism (ScreenRant)

Transporting guests to new worlds: the appeal of immersive experiences (Blooloop)

Brand New Casino Game, Steampunk: Wheel of Destiny Slot (Times of Casino)

Betsoft Gaming goes back to the future with latest release Miles Bellhouse and the Gears of Time (Betsoft Gaming)

Unquiet spirits: the lost female ghost-story writers returning to haunt us (The Guardian)

Shifts In Pet Cemetery Practices Reflect Our Changing Relationship With Animals (IFL Science)

Is there a puppy heaven? Owners think so, headstones in pet cemeteries show (Live Science)

Researchers Uncover Unnerving Role Henry VIII Had In Execution Of Anne Boleyn (IFL Science)

Ancient Maya Built Sophisticated Water Filter System Light-Years Ahead Of The Rest Of The World (IFL Science)

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