fbpx Steampunk Digest - October 4, 2019: Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world | The Steampunk Explorer

Steampunk Digest - October 4, 2019

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

Friday, October 4, 2019

The BBC has released the first official trailer of The War of the Worlds, its three-part adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel. Unlike the 2005 Steven Spielberg film, which had a contemporary U.S. setting, this one takes place in Edwardian-era England. In the trailer, an official declares “This is nothing to be concerned about!” Of course, we soon see the hapless humans fleeing the invaders.

The series is directed by Craig Viveiros and stars Rafe Spall, Eleanor Tomlinson, Robert Carlyle, and Rupert Graves.

Its North American premiere is set for Oct. 6 on T+E, a premium cable channel in Canada. It’s slated to air Oct. 13 in New Zealand. No word yet on dates in other countries.

The King’s Man is coming to movie screens in February, and based on a new trailer, it appears to have a steampunk vibe. Set in the early 1900s, it’s a prequel to the Kingsman spy movies. The premise: “As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions, one man and his protégé must race against time to stop them.”

The film stars Ralph Fiennes as the Duke of Oxford and Harris Dickinson as Conrad, the protégé. Rhys Ifans plays Rasputin. It’s written and directed by Matthew Vaughn, who also helmed the first two Kingsman movies.

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Last week, we brought you the first single and music video from Steam Powered Giraffe’s next album. Now they’ve followed up with another: “Latum Alterum (Ya Ya Ya).” You can listen on streaming services, but they’re encouraging fans to purchase the single as a show of support. It’s available on iTunes, Bandcamp, and their own store.

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The Cog is Dead also released a new single, “The Boy Beneath,” about “a boy who, after a life of being made fun of and mistreated, decided keep himself hidden away in a dark underground cave,” writes band leader John Sprocket. “And it’s about the caring friends who support and love him. I have many close friends and family members with clinical depression, anxiety, who feel worthless, those who have social anxiety, or are overwhelmed by the amount of hate and evil in the world, and it’s what inspired this song.”

It will be featured on the band’s forthcoming album, Songs of the People, which is slated for release on Oct. 22. The band is also scheduled to appear Oct. 19 and 20 at Renninger’s Steampunk Industrial Show in Mount Dora, Florida. See the Cog is Dead website for more info.


Rain Games has released a physical edition and value pack of Teslagrad for Nintendo Switch. The 2D puzzle game is set in what the developer describes as “a steampunk-inspired vision of old Europe. You play as a young boy who suddenly finds himself embroiled in a long-forgotten conspiracy, involving the despotic king who has ruled the nation with an iron fist for several years.”

The value pack includes a tin case, exclusive cover art, and a physical art book. Originally released in 2013, the game is also available in versions for Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, PS4, PlayStation Vita, and Steam. See the website for more info.

Phantasmagoria, Orlando’s Victorian horror theatrical troupe, is taking to the rails with its latest production. In celebration of Halloween, they’ve teamed with the Royal Palm Railway for an 80-minute train ride featuring “multiple tales of macabre hauntings and mesmerizing lore.” The stories include Charles Dickens’ “The Signal-Man” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

“There’s a lot to be said about telling ghost stories in a train car, where people are packed together a little closer than normal,” writes Orlando Sentinel theater critic Matthew J. Palm. “There’s a sense of being trapped, almost claustrophobic, that is only enhanced by the tightly drawn shades.”

Trains depart Tavares Union Station on Sundays at 3:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., through Nov. 3. Tickets cost $38. It is not recommended for kids under 8. See the website for more info.


Professor Elemental

Chap hop artist Professor Elemental is also a character in a series of comic books, and now he’s seeking crowdfunding for The Art of Professor Elemental, a 200-page hardcover collection. Artists include Phil Foglio, Brian Kesinger, Charlie Adlard, V.V. Glass, and Tom & Nimue Brown. The stories are written by Christopher Mole.

Rewards include signed copies of the book and a signed art print. For a mere £100 (US$125) you can be featured in an original song by the Professor. For £250 (US$305), you can choose the subject for a song. Prices do not include shipping. All supporters will have their names listed in the book.

He’s raising the funds through Unbound, a crowdfunding site dedicated to book publishing. See the website for more info.

Colin MacIntyre of Devon, Alberta, is on Kickstarter with Empress Playing Cards, a set of steampunk-themed playing cards. MacIntyre has developed a game that can be played with the 55-card deck, but if you remove the so-called Empress Card, you can use the deck with standard card games. Rewards include drawings for steampunk crafts created by guest artist Sandra Cravens.

The campaign launched Oct. 1 and seeks CA $6638 (US$4980) by Nov. 2. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Tkrmz, two sisters in Mexico City, are seeking Kickstarter funds for Las Bocas de Belcebú (The Mouths of Belcebú), a graphic novel that serves as a prequel to El HeartzEater. It’s set in Ellyllum, a steampunk/gothic world populated by “souls that were not admitted to heaven or hell.” The campaign and book are in Spanish.

The campaign launched on Sept. 30 and seeks MX$13,300 (US$672) by Nov. 5. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Mad Science!

The octopus could be “the closest we come to meeting an alien on Earth.” That’s the lead-in to a new episode of Nature on PBS. It focuses on David Scheel, a marine biologist in Alaska, and Heidi, a day octopus (Octopus cyanea) who occupies a tank in his living room.

She’s shown moving in, tidying up the tank, and playing with Scheel’s 16-year-old daughter. Later, she demonstrates her keen intelligence as she navigates a maze.

In the video clip above, Heidi changes colors as she sleeps. Scheel speculates that she’s dreaming, and interprets the dream based on the color patterns. “She’s just subdued a crab, and now she’s going to sit there and eat it, and she doesn’t want anyone to notice her,” he says. However, speaking to Popular Science, he acknowledged that the color changes could be caused by “minor muscle contractions, like twitching.”

Event News

Steampunk celebrity Doc Phineas will be a guest at San Diego Who Con, Oct. 4-6, a convention for fans of Doctor Who. “Nothing like Doc emerging from a Tardis onstage to sing ‘Hello Dalek’ with a chorus line of Daleks in the background screaming ‘Exterminate!,’” he tells us.

Other guests include Jon Davey, who has portrayed monsters in numerous Doctor Who episodes, and Alisa Stern, creator of the Doctor Puppet stop-motion animation series on YouTube. It all happens at the Fourpoint Sheraton Hotel in San Diego.

German writer Cora Buhlert filed a report and photos from Steamfest Papenburg 2019, a steampunk event held Sept. 14-15 in Papenburg, Germany near the Dutch border. It was held on the grounds of Gut Altenkamp, an 18th century manor house that was “absolutely perfect for the purpose, because it feels almost as if you’d somehow stumbled into the mansion of an eccentric inventor,” she writes. It drew about 3000 people, including bikers, folks in steampunk outfits, and “a surprising number of pirates.”

Highlights included “mini fun fair” with vintage rides and a replica of the Time Machine from the 1960 George Pal film. There was also a one-man band from the Netherlands who performed in a replica of the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

The event apparently made a positive impression on at least one visitor. “I went with a friend who’s not a Steampunker and he’s now a fan as well,” she writes.

Dunsmuir, California hosted its first steampunk festival Sept. 21-22, drawing an estimated 800 people on Saturday and 400 to 500 people on Sunday, according to a report in The Siskiyou Daily News. They came from as far away as Oregon, San Francisco, and Oakland. It “turned out so well over the weekend, plans were being made for next year even before the two-day Steampunk Festival ended,” the paper reports.

Happening this weekend:

Atlanta Steampunk Exposition, Oct. 4-6, at the Hilton Atlanta Perimeter Dunwoody. Guests include K.W. Jeter, Thomas Dean Willeford, Stephen Chapman, Dave Lee, Paige Gardner, DJ Spider, and Valentine Wolfe. Queen Victoria, or a reasonable facsimile, will also make an appearance. The theme is “Coming from the Past to Save the Future.” See our recent story.

Steampunk Retro Futurism Party - First Fridays, Oct. 4 in Putnam, Connecticut. Bruce Rosenbaum is a special guest.

A Passion for Poe, Oct. 5, Falls Church Presbyterian Church, 225 E Broad St., Falls Church, VA 22046. An afternoon tea with readings from the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

Machen Bachen: A Steampunk Festival, Oct. 5, YMCA Camp Lincoln, 67 Ball Rd., Kingston, NH 03848, USA. Steampunk festivities hosted by Citizens of Antiford.

Halifax Steampunk Market, Oct. 5-6, Calderdale Industrial Museum, Square Rd, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX1 1QG, UK. A steampunk market with traders, artists, authors, gaming, coffee jousting, and a bird of prey demonstration.

The Hartlepool Steampunk Festival, Oct 5-6, Borough Hall, 15 Middlegate, Hartlepool, TS24 0JD, UK. The entertainment lineup includes The Captain of The Lost Waves, The Pastures, Lux DeLioux, Greg Chapman, Ants Trepaneur, and Ichabod Steam with his Dark Side SteamGoth Adventure.

And next weekend:

Down The Rabbit Hole- A Steampunk Adventure, Oct. 12, 8 p.m.-11 p.m., Nox Cocktail Lounge, Rochester, New York. The fifth annual Steampunk Ball presented by the Nox Cocktail Lounge. This one has an Alice in Wonderland theme. Attendees are encouraged to “channel their favorite Lewis Carroll character — with a Victorian-era steampunk look.” Prizes will be presented.

Escape in Time to Steampunk and Wine, Oct. 11-12, Downtown Florence, Colorado, USA. Featuring live music, costume contests, vendors, and more.

Haworth Steampunk Weekend, Oct. 11-13, Haworth, West Yorkshire, UK. A steampunk weekend near Leeds with steampunk fashion, music, tea duelling, and steam train rides on the Keighley Worth Valley Railway. Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer will perform at a Saturday variety show along with Velma Von Bon Bon and Sylvia Sceptre.

Aberystwyth Steampunk Spectacular, Oct. 12-13, Aberystwyth, Wales. A steampunk festival at a Victorian seaside resort with workshops, tea dueling, teapot racing, steam train rides, a “Peacock Parade” and more. A ticketed evening show will feature performances by The Hornettes and Captain of The Lost Waves.

Top Stories of the Month

Here were the most-viewed stories in September:

1. Postcards from Hannibal (Big River Steampunk Festival).

2. A Steampunk Autumn in New England (Event previews).

3. Steampunk Digest - September 13, 2019.

4. Steampunk Digest - September 20, 2019.

5. Chicago Steampunk Expo Set to Debut.

6. Fall Movie Preview, Steampunk Edition.

New on Patreon

Content exclusively for our Patreon supporters.

We continued our ongoing series on free steampunk images with a look at Project Gutenberg. The site is best known as a source of public domain e-books, but it also has lots of 19th century periodicals — including Scientific American — with images that are free for the taking. The story also includes a nifty trick for extracting images from ePub files.

On the lighter side, we offered some highlights — or maybe lowlights — from story ideas pitched to The Steampunk Explorer by public relations folks. The common thread is that they make feeble attempts to feign familiarity with the site while making it clear that they have no clue about what it covers. Among them: The perfect holiday gift that kids will “love and enjoy year-round”: Giggly Goggles!

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