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Steampunk Digest - October 9, 2020

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

Friday, October 9, 2020

It looks like Netflix has a holiday treat in store for steampunk fans. The streaming service has released a trailer for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, a musical starring Forest Whitaker as toymaker Jeronicus Jangle and Keegan-Michael Key as a former apprentice who has betrayed him. After Key’s character steals Jangle’s most prized invention, it’s up to the toymaker’s granddaughter “to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within.” As you can see from the trailer, Jangle’s toy shop is full of steampunk delights.

Jingle Jangle scene
Photo: Gareth Gatrell/Netflix

The film, written and directed by David E. Talbot, also stars Anika Noni Rose, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Phylicia Rashad, Ricky Martin, and newcomer Madalen Mills as Jangle’s granddaughter. It features original music by John Legend, Philip Lawrence, and Davy Nathan, as well as “This Day,” performed by Usher and Kiana Ledé.

Jingle Jangle is slated for a Nov. 13 release on Netflix and will also be shown in select theaters.

The Steampunk Explorer editor Stephen Beale was the guest for a recent episode of The Nevers Podcast. Entitled “The Nevers & The World of Steampunk,” the episode featured a wide-ranging discussion of steampunk culture, including art, literature, movies, TV shows, music, and events. We also tried to answer the age-old question, “What is steampunk?”

The Nevers is a forthcoming HBO series created by Joss Whedon. It’s been described as “an epic science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.” The series recently resumed production after being on hiatus due to COVID-19. It’s slated to premiere in 2021. You can get updates at HBOTheNevers.com.

Abney Park logo

Abney Park is planning an Oct. 31 release for its next album, entitled Esoterica, and to celebrate, the band will perform a streaming concert at noon Pacific Time the same day. “This is our first Europe friendly time slot,” the band notes, and the concert can be viewed after it airs live.

This will be followed by a VIP After Party with an additional concert. The band will take shots between songs, “so with each song we get progressively more drunk, until the songs devolve into something a bit more...unexpected?” It’s “more of an ‘adult’ experience,” the band says.

Concert tickets and digital downloads cost $15 each, or you can opt for various packages, including one with an autographed CD. The VIP All-Access Pass with a CD costs $100. They’re available from the album’s Indiegogo page.


Doctor Who scene
Photo: James Pardon/BBC Studios

It’s time for another pop culture happening in cyberspace. New York Comic Con and MCM Comic Con in the UK are hosting Metaverse, a four-day online event with panels, cosplay, celebrity guests, a retailer zone, and artist alley. Highlights include a “Doctor Who Spotlight” with stars Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, and Bradley Walsh. It’s one of numerous panels about the BBC franchise.

The program also features a first look at The Watch, the forthcoming BBC series inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld stories. That series generated a fair amount of controversy among Pratchett fans after early stills were released in January. The panel will include stars Richard Dormer, Lara Rossi, Adam Hugill, Jo Eaton-Kent, and Marama Corlett, plus executive producers Simon Allen and Richard Stokes.

Other celebrity guests include Keanu Reeves, John Goodman, Alan Tudyk, Whoopi Goldberg, Woody Harrelson, Wil Wheaton, Bill Nye, and Adam Savage. Goldberg will participate in a Q&A about The Stand, a new CBS All Access series inspired by the Stephen King novel. Guest authors include Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, V.E. Schwab, Jeff VanderMeer, Ann VanderMeer, and P. Djeli Clark.

Panels are free, but the event will include ticketed “meet and greets” via video chat with some of the celebrities. Metaverse runs Oct. 8-11 from a browser near you.

Phantasmagoria, the Orlando-based “Victorian Horror” troupe, is embarking on its first-ever virtual tour with “Phantasmagoria XI: Plague Tales,” a series of pay-per-view performances slated for Oct. 15-Oct. 31. They’re promising “Haunted Storytelling, ‘Phantastical’ dance, explosive stage combat, puppetry, projections, Fire Dancing, Aerial arts” and more. The show will feature five “newly told Tales of Terror,” including stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Louis Stevenson as well as a “mythical Plague Maiden.”

Although these are streaming performances, each will be associated with a theatrical venue, which will share in the ticket proceeds. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to charities. For the final event on Halloween, the Athens Theatre in Deland, Florida will host a live showing projected on screen, along with appearances by Phantasmagoria members. Learn more on the website.

Up next weekend: The C.O.G.S. STREAMpunk SPOOKtacular, an online event presented by the volunteer organizers of the C.O.G.S. Steampunk Expo. The program includes gaming, maker panels, educational content, contests, and musical performances. Content will stream on Twitch and the website.

Our Online/Virtual Events calendar has listings of other upcoming happenings in cyberspace, as well as ongoing and archived events. Find it here.

New Fiction

The Giant Step

Caffeine Nights Books is accepting pre-orders for The Giant Step, Volume One in The Periwinkle Perspective, a new steampunk trilogy by Paul Eccentric. The book is set in June 1897, when the British Empire lays claim to the Moon in the person of Space Captain Gordon Periwinkle, “the much vaunted Gentleman Adventurer (and amateur taxidermist).” The publisher describes it as “Capricorn One in Victorian England, though with tongue set firmly in cheek.”

It’s set for a Nov. 26 release, and the first 100 orders will get a recording of the prologue via email.

Eccentric is also a published songwriter, poet, and playwright in the UK. His pseudonym was bestowed in 1984 when he was a “wannabe enigmatic pop star” and refused to divulge his surname to a journalist. “It stuck,” states his bio. “For the past thirty years he has been writing, directing and performing under this ridiculous moniker, but at least it got him noticed.”

Learn more at Caffeine Nights Books and the author’s website.

Renaissance Press has released The Cypher, a new novel by Matti McLean. The author describes it as “an LGBT novel about two men in an oppressive steampunk world who go off to discover the secrets behind their universe. The book itself is also layered with puzzles, codes and symbology designed to enhance the story and reveal deeper secrets of the adventure.” It’s available as a trade paperback and e-book from major booksellers, including Amazon. McLean is also releasing each chapter as an audio drama entitled The Cypher and Avaria Beyond. Learn more at Renaissance Press and the author’s website.


Glass Cannon Unplugged has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Frostpunk: The Board Game, a tabletop version of the city-survival video game from 11 bit studios. As with the video game, it’s set in an alternate steampunk world beset by extreme cold.

Designed by Adam Kwapinski, the game is designed for one to four players and takes 60-plus minutes to play. The core pledge gets you a 200-mm tall plastic generator cube tower and a free expansion dubbed Frostlander. The game is set for delivery in October 2021.

This is one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns we’ve seen, at least in the steampunk realm. It launched Oct. 6 and met its €200,000 (US $234,579) goal in less than an hour. As of late Thursday, it had raised more than €900,000 from 8552 backers. The campaign runs through Oct. 28. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Alejandro Martínez Hernandez, an entrepreneur in Morelia, Mexico, is seeking Kickstarter funds for Chiyoko and the Sword of Fate, described as a “3D hack and slash videogame with a semi open world and a small RPG style. It combines steampunk weapon mechanisms in a Samurai themed world, inspired in the Shaman’s King anime and franchises like DMC, KH, God of War.” The characters are anthropomorphic cats.

To develop the project, Hernandez is leading a 12-person creative team dubbed Neon Cat. He’s aiming for delivery in October 2021.

The campaign launched Oct. 1 and seeks MX$1,113,000 (US $52,056) by Nov. 30. See the See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Quick Hits

Putting the “Punk” in Steampunk: Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky (Tor.com)

The Call ~ How Soulless Sold to Its Publisher (Behind the Magic) (Gail Carriger)

Fully Custom Wooden Steampunk Bike from George Woodman Garage Is Amazing (Autoevolution)

Salam Award for Imaginative Fiction announces 2020 winner (Images)

An eclectic vintage vibe runs through this $1.5M Bushwick townhouse (6sqft)

25 Times Actors Looked A Little Bit TOO MUCH Like The Historical Figures They Were Portraying On Screen (BuzzFeed)

5 Black Sci-Fi Writers Whose Books Need To Get Adapted Into Movies (Cinema Blend)

Circus of Horrors show that has rave reviews from celebrities is coming to Blackpool (LancsLive)

Torchlight 3: The Best (& Coolest) Build For Sharpshooter (ScreenRant)

Vaporum: Lockdown Is A New Dungeon Crawling Steampunk Title Now Available For PC (HappyGamer)

The black abolitionists who shocked Victorian Britain (History Extra)

New Study Says Time Travel Into The Past Won’t Change The Future (Fossbytes)

59 priest mummies and statue of unusual god unearthed in Egypt (Live Science)

Exclusive: How Were The Dinosaur Noises In Jurassic Park Made, And Were They Accurate? (IFL Science)

Megalodon’s hugeness was ‘off-the-scale’ — even for a shark (Live Science)

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