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Steampunk Digest - Sept. 14, 2018

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

Friday, September 14, 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.

Author Gail Carriger plans a Sept. 18 release for an illustrated edition of Soulless, her first novel and the first in her Parasol Protectorate series. It’s described as “a comedy of manners set in Victorian London, full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.” The 10 black-and-white interior illustrations were drawn in “Edward Gorey style” by Jensine Eckwall.

“I specifically asked that they be drawn in such a way that they could also be good for coloring,” Carriger wrote in her announcement of the new edition. She invites readers to color the illustrations and post photos. She personally signed the entire first print run of 10,000, or more precisely the tip-in pages inserted during printing.

The new edition is published in the U.S. market, but Borderlands Books will ship overseas (she explains all this in the above-referenced announcement). See this page for ordering info.

In related news, Orbit USA (her publisher) is offering a giveaway of the Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series, including the new illustrated edition. Provide your name and email address, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the books. Only one grand prize will be awarded, and it’s limited to U.S. residents only. Entry deadline is Sept. 30.

Science fiction author Rudy Rucker, best known for his cyberpunk stories, penned a steampunk novel entitled The Hollow Earth in 1990. Now he’s out with a sequel, Return to the Hollow Earth, and both are available in a single edition. He’s also published his notes for the books.

The stories are based on the premise that the Earth is hollow and “holds jungles, seas, native tribes, flying pigs, killer nautiluses, giant ants, and live flying saucers,” he writes.

“In The Hollow Earth, our young narrator Mason Reynolds leaves his farm, befriends the dissolute Edgar Allan Poe, and falls through a thousand-mile hole in the ice of Antarctica. Astounding adventures in the Hollow Earth ensue. Mason finds Seela, the love of his life. Mason, Seela and Poe make their way back to surface. And then they encounter Poe’s double...

Return to the Hollow Earth is also in the steampunk mode. Starting in Gold Rush San Francisco, Mason and his pregnant wife Seela embark on a return voyage to the Hollow Earth with Edgar Allan Poe, traversing a great maelstrom at the North Pole. The god-like sea cucumbers at the Earth’s core have a startling plan. When Mason and Seela return to the Earth’s surface, they’re in Santa Cruz, California—in the year 2018...”

See his website for more info.

H/T to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.

Enchanted City

The Enchanted City Steampunk Fair takes place this Saturday in Troy, New York, near Albany. We ran a story about it this week, and given the spectacle — and the huge crowds drawn to past events — it’s also getting a lot of attention from local media outlets.

“If Alice in Wonderland magically appeared in the city of Troy on Saturday, she would be astonished,” writes Karen Bjornland in The Daily Gazette of Schenectady. “’Curiouser and curiouser,’ Alice would exclaim as she looked upon the odd steam-powered machines, knights in shiny armor and thousands of people clad in outlandish combinations of clothing, like welder’s goggles, lacey corsets and Victorian top hats.”

Event organizer Sue Dunckel tells the reporter that Troy is the perfect location for the fair. “We were one of the original birthplaces of the American Industrial Revolution. We have a huge industrial heritage in this area. And we have the Victorian architecture.”

Local CBS affiliate WRGB-TV has a video report featuring interviews with Dunckel and Bonnie Johnsen, who owns a local costume shop. The Troy Record also has a story.

Photo credit: Wendell Theif. It’s used by permission of the Enchanted City Steampunk Fair.

Steampunk is the theme for the 2018 edition of Fantasticon, a science fiction convention happening Sept. 21-23 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Activities include a steampunk film show and panel discussions about various aspects of steampunk. Authors Lavie Tidhar and Jeannette Ng are the guests of honor. Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun was named by The Guardian and Syfy as one of the best science fiction or fantasy books of 2017. Tidhar is author of Osama, winner of the 2012 World Fantasy Award.

Grove Street

Urban fantasy author Loren Rhoads is also an explorer of historic cemeteries, and this Sunday, Sept. 16, she’ll be discussing her book 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die at the Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California. She describes the cemetery as one of her favorites. “To this day, it is full of lovely statuary, an exotic arboretum, carpet flowerbeds, and monuments to the founding fathers of San Francisco,” she writes on her Cemetery Travel blog. “It also has acres of stained glass in its public catacombs.”

She’ll be selling and signing copies of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die as well as an earlier title, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemeteries Travel. Her talk begins at 2 p.m. and admission is free. It’s part of the Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation lecture series. The cemetery is located at 1370 El Camino Real in Colma. See her website for more info.

Shown above is the Egyptian Revival Gate at the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut. It was her “Cemetery of the Week” for August 8, 2018. The photo is from Wikimedia Commons.

Steampunk marching band? Yup, that’s now a thing as the Spartanburg High School Marching Band in South Carolina plans a steampunk-themed performance for the 2018 season. “The show is meant to tell a story about inventors and inventions,” writes Adam Orr in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. “The first movement will feature voiceovers and explain the aim of the performance, highlighting all the aspects of design while unveiling visual elements. The second movement will feature visuals and machines that don’t work quite right.” In the third movement, the students tinker with the machines and pull it all together. The band’s director describes the performance as “by far the most ambitious thing we’ve done.”

Esmerelda’s Steampunk Circus is happening this month at the Los Angeles County Fair, with performances by the Vernardo Circus and Cirque Mechanics. The Press Enterprise in Riverside has a brief report and slide show. The fair runs Wednesdays through Sundays until September 23 at the Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, CA 91768.

 Conquer the Skies

David Stark, aka Zarkonnen, has released Airships: Conquer the Skies, a real-time strategy video game in which players build airships that do battle with one another. From the description: “Ships ram and push against each other and boarding parties use grappling hooks to invade enemy ships. Below, giant landships move on legs and tracks. Nature has its own terrors: sky krakens with tentacles that grab and devour crew, house-sized spiders and horse-sized spiderlings, dragons to fear and tame.”

Manoel Garcia and Antonio Marcelo posted a detailed and highly positive review on IndieWatch. “Buy this game,” they write. “It is all we expected for this style, as it explores the steampunk theme very well with a touch of H.G. Wells, Julio (sic) Verne, and other Victorian writers.”

It’s available on the Steam platform for Windows, Macs and Linux. Price is $14.99, or $19.98 for a version that includes a soundtrack. See the developer’s website for more info.

Author Michelle Lowe plans a Sept. 20 release for Legacy-The Underground, the third in her six-part Legacy steampunk fantasy series. From her description: “After years on the run, Pierce Landcross is ready to leave Europe altogether and start a new life with his family and his soulmate, Taisia. The plan to flee, however, is postponed the instant his estranged older brother, Joaquin shows up! Joaquin has fallen seriously ill, and the only way to save him is for Pierce and Taisia to travel with him to Scotland and locate a certain demon with the power to take back what belongs to it.” The quest also involves an illegal whisky brewer and the infamous Hellfire Club. Pre-orders are available now. She’s hoping to release the fourth book by year’s end. See her website for more info.

Cthulhu is Hard to Spell

Comic book author Russell Nohelty is seeking Kickstarter funding for Cthulhu is Hard to Spell, a “comic anthology with thirty-five awesome stories about Lovecraftian gods and monsters, from fans to fans.” One of the stories is “The Marriage Counselor” by Madeleine Holly-Rosing, known to steampunk fans as the author of Boston Metaphysical Society. Her story is illustrated by MJ Massey. The campaign launched on Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 27. As of Sept. 12, it had raised $21,326 of its $21,666 goal. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Also on Kickstarter: Valentine Wolfe is seeking Kickstarter funding for “The Haunting of Mary Shelley,” a forthcoming album inspired by the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein. Based in Greenville, South Carolina, Valentine Wolfe is a duo that describes its music as “Victorian Chamber metal.” The campaign launched on Sept. 6 and concludes Sept. 27. As of Sept. 12, they had raised about $2800 of their $3000 goal. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

We reported previously that wildfires forced postponement of a Steampunk Day at the Railway & Forestry Museum in Prince George, British Columbia. The event was to include an art show, so local retailer Ridge Side Art has stepped in to host a Steampunk Virtual Art Display & Competition. Photos of 25 pieces are posted on a Facebook event page and the store’s Instagram page. You can vote for your favorite by liking or loving the photo. You’re limited to one vote on either Facebook or Instagram (if you vote on both, it’s counted once).

Reporter Frank Peebles of the Prince George Citizen has a story about the virtual art show.

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