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Steampunk Digest - September 25, 2020

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

Friday, September 25, 2020
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PhantasiaLand, a theme park in Brühl, Germany (near Cologne), has opened Rookburgh, a new steampunk-themed area featuring F.L.Y., a flying roller coaster ride. A flying roller coaster is designed to simulate the sensation of flight, and PhantasiaLand bills this one as the world’s longest. Rookburgh is also home to the new Hotel Charles Lindbergh.

Rookburgh is currently in a “soft launch” mode, and the theme park is operating under COVID-19 restrictions with attendance limits.

The website has eye-popping 3D renderings of Rookburgh, and you can find numerous first-look videos on YouTube, including the one above from Theme Park Worldwide.

Katmandu theme park
Photos by Click-mallorca.com (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Animation producer Eric S. Calderon is teaming with Falcon’s Creative Group to make an animated series based on the intellectual property of Katmandu Group, co-developer of a theme park resort in Mallorca, Spain. The Sol Katmandu Park & Resort, which combines fantasy, Himalayan, and steampunk influences, opened in 2013 as a joint venture between Katmandu Group and Meliá Hotels International. Its attractions include “Machinarum,” which has a storyline involving a mad scientist attempting to shut down a giant steampunk robot. Katmandu Group and Meliá are also planning to open destinations in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Tenerife, Spain.

Calderon’s production credits include Afro Samurai, an animated TV mini-series starring Samuel L. Jackson, and its follow-up TV movie, Afro Samurai: Resurrection. He was also a producer for three animated mini-series in the Transformers franchise.

Falcon’s Creative Group and Katmandu Group are both based in Orlando. Falcon’s, which develops immersive experiences and other content for theme parks and museums, teamed with Katmandu Group to create attractions at the Mallorca resort.

Around the World in 80 Days
Photographer: Joe Alblas / Design by TEA Entertain | © Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-Films (RTBF)

As we’ve reported, actor David Tennant will portray Phileas Fogg in an eight-episode BBC adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days. Now we have a sense of the visual style as the producers released a promotional image at the Festival de la Fiction de la Rochelle in Paris. The series also stars Ibrahim Koma as Passepartout and Leonie Benesch as Abigail Fix, a journalist who accompanies the duo in their travels. It’s set for release in 2021. Tennant, of course, is best known to steampunk fans as the 10th Doctor Who.

Kevin Frost has released a steampunk-themed issue of Curiosities, his retropunk magazine. It features cover art by Tracy Whiteside, 13 stories illustrated by Martini Discovolante, and an interview with author Gwen Katz, who also contributed one of the tales. Frost and Andrew McCurdy handled editing duties. It’s available as an e-book or trade paperback edition on Amazon. Frost also produces a series of audio fiction podcasts.


The LUMA Projection Arts Festival in Binghamton, New York, is going digital this year with a steampunk-themed, operatic virtual reality experience dubbed Miranda. The interactive story is set in a dystopian future where the audience will serve as judge and jury for three people suspected in the death of a wealthy socialite.

Miranda can be experienced in three ways: In virtual reality if you have an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset; as an interactive game on desktop or laptop PCs; or as a “Director’s Cut” live stream on YouTube.

Performances are scheduled for Sept. 24-26 at 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and 9 p.m. Eastern time. They run for about 20 minutes. Reservations are required for the VR or interactive experiences and encouraged if you want to watch on YouTube. The producers are asking for a $10 donation, but you can also participate for free.

The project is a joint venture between LUMA, Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Omaha, and Enhance VR. The music was composed by Kamala Sankaram with a libretto by Sankaram and Rob Reese. You can make reservations on Ticketleap.

Steampunk fans in California’s Santa Cruz and Monterey areas typically have an annual fall picnic, but this year they’re going virtual and inviting others to join in. Hosted on Zoom, the event will include a steampunk mask contest, a martial arts video, and tea dueling. It’s set for Saturday, Sept. 26, 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time. See the Facebook page for details.

Escape in Time to Steampunk and Wine, the annual steampunk fest in Florence, Colorado, is still on for Saturday and Sunday despite the pandemic. It will be held largely outdoors at the Emergent Campus co-working space with live music on a festival stage and socially distanced vendor booths. Activities will include a costume contest and parasol dueling. On Saturday night, the organizers will present the outdoor Steampunk Blues Ball with tickets priced at $10. The town is about 30 miles west of Pueblo. See the Facebook page for more info.

The Compass Rose Steampunk Festival, originally planned for Saturday in Woodstock, Connecticut, was cancelled.

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



Devil’s Due Comics is on Kickstarter with Volume 2 of ArkWorld, a new comic book series in a genre the publisher has dubbed “Archeopunk.” The story is set partly in the present day and partly in the year BCE 11,000 in a lost civilization with advanced technology. The publisher describes it as “Saga meets Ancient Aliens.”

The story was created by Devil’s Due owner Josh Blaylock with art by Travis Hymel, coloring by Jasen Smith, and lettering by Micah Myers. Each volume consists of 48 pages.

Devil’s Due raised $5,344 in a successful Kickstarter campaign for Volume 1 in 2019. This one, which launched Sept. 15, is seeking US $5000 with a deadline of Oct. 15. See the Kickstarter page and Archeopunk website for more info.

Adreama Games is on Kickstarter with To Eternity, an expansion for the Machina Arcana tabletop game. The core game has a steampunk horror theme, casting 1 to 4 players as “explorers that are thrown into dreadful halls, scratching for survival and progressing through the chapters.” The expansion adds new custom play areas.

The campaign launched Sept. 22 and has already blown way past its US $30,000 fundraising goal (more than $190,000 as of early Thursday). It runs through Oct. 15. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Merchants of Infinity

Rogue Artist Creations is seeking Kickstarter funds for Merchants of Infinity, a tabletop game set in outer space, but with steampunk elements. “Players are influential merchants on the fractal space station Mandelbrot, who send their traders (meeples) out into the Technobazaar, where they collect resources to fulfil valuable ship orders, complete side-quests and gain extra advantages to score the most platinum and win the game,” writes creator Andrew Prowse.

The campaign launched Sept. 22 and seeks £22,000 (US $27,970) by Oct. 15. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Archangel Design is on Kickstarter with Skyharbor City, a set of 3D-printable terrain pieces in a Victorian steampunk style. The pieces, available in the STL format, are designed for use with Gothic horror or steampunk fantasy tabletop games. The pledges include The Lightkeeper, for seaside horror settings, and The Clock Maker, with Victorian brownstones, a clock tower, and airship station.

The campaign launched Sept. 18 and met its US $3500 fundraising goal the same day. It runs through Oct. 18. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Alison Weaverdyck, better known to steampunk fans as author and editor Phoebe Darqueling, is seeking Kickstarter funds for Fairy Tales Punk’d, an anthology of fairy tales and new stories. Each is told in a punk sub-genre such as steampunk, dieselpunk, or cyberpunk, and each is accompanied by an illustration. The book is set for publication in December.

The campaign launched Sept. 16 and seeks €2105 (US $2453) by Oct. 19. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

Scott Helland of Frenchy and the Punk is raising Kickstarter funds for The Spy Detective Collective, a new Guitarmy of One release. He describes it as a “spy rock album” inspired by spy and detective TV shows from the 1960s and 70s, including The Prisoner, The Avengers, Columbo, Rockford Files, and Barnaby Jones. Each song will be named after a character from one of the shows. He’s planning a winter 2020 release.

Frenchy and the Punk, of course, are frequent performers at steampunk events. Guitarmy of One is Helland’s instrumental solo project in which he uses a loop pedal for live overdubs.

The campaign launched Sept. 22 and seeks $7007 by Oct. 22. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

A friend of costumer Jeffrey Schoenberg has launched a GoFundMe campaign to save Schoenberg’s businesses, which provide historical apparel for cosplayers and entertainment productions.

Schoenberg’s primary source of revenue is AJS Costumes, which serves the Southern California entertainment industry. However, that income has dried up with the shutdown of theatrical shows and other events. He also operates Mr Alan Jeffries, which sells Victorian-era apparel at Dickens Fair and the Clockwork Alchemy steampunk convention in the San Francisco area. Those events were both cancelled for this year.

The AJS Costumes shop shut down in 2018, and Schoenberg’s inventory and equipment are now in seven storage units. He’s been unable to pay rent, and needs $16,000 by Oct. 14 or else the contents will be auctioned off. If he’s unable to pay, “Jeff’s way of life, his livelihood, as well as AJS Costumes and Mr. Alan Jeffries, will no longer exist,” writes Marc Perry.

As of Wednesday evening, the campaign had raised $13,380. If you’d like to help or learn more, head over to the GoFundMe page.

Quick Hits

Review: Steampunk film Magical Adventures in the Forbidden City (The Guardian)

Radon Monitor Recreates Steam Gauge With E-Ink (Hackaday)

Meet Latte the Steampunk robot pup at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium (Attractions Magazine)

Will Smith: Wild Wild West was a big regret (Cheatsheet)

Langford’s Museum of Power hosts Essextraordinary Steampunk Market (Maldon Standard)

Black Skylands is Steampunk Hotline Miami With Farming (Cog Connected)

Final Fantasy XVI: What We Know So Far (CBR)

Borneo’s Infamous “Vampire” Squirrels Revealed To Actually Eat… Seeds (IFL Science)

The 60-Foot Gundam Robot Has Now Entered Testing Mode (IFL Science)

Enormous Ancient “Jaws Of Death” Marine Reptile Described For The First Time (IFL Science)

Mysterious Mexican wreck was an illegal slave ship (LiveScience)

Wizard battles and demon circles revealed in newly translated Christian texts (LiveScience)

Helium-huffing alligators and reluctant hitmen win big at the Ig Nobel awards (LiveScience)

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