fbpx Steampunk Digest - September 4, 2020: Our weekly roundup of news and other happenings in the steampunk world | The Steampunk Explorer

Steampunk Digest - September 4, 2020

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

Friday, September 4, 2020

Virtual Dragon Con is happening this weekend, and given the broad scope of the pop culture event, we’ve posted a guide that will help you find the steampunk-related programming. The schedule includes panels and workshops in the Alternate & Historical Fiction Track, as well as performances by Abney Park, Aurelio Voltaire, Frenchy and the Punk, and other well-known names in the steampunk music scene. Content will stream for free from three 24-hour channels, and the Alternate & Historical Fiction Track will have additional programming on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch. Read about it here.

Also this weekend: The latest edition of the Leeds Steampunk Virtual Market on Facebook (Sept. 5-6) and Virtual Crunchyroll Expo (Sept. 4-6), an online version of an anime convention that takes place each year in San Jose.

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

Sanctuary Cosplayers
Sanctuary Cosplayers
Photos: Diana Clark

The online Sanctuary steampunk festival happened last weekend in place of the Asylum Steampunk Festival, which is normally held in late August in Lincoln, UK. In case you missed the event, most of the online content can be viewed in the Ministry of Steampunk YouTube channel. It included musical performances along with presentations on literature, costuming, craft techniques, and more.

In addition to the online festivities, Sanctuary offered a rarity: A real-world, socially distanced gathering at Kelham Hall & Country Park near Newark, UK. As you can see, many attendees used the opportunity to demonstrate creative steampunk maskery.

Many thanks to Diana Clark for allowing use of her photos. You can see more in her Sanctuary album and in the Welcome to the Asylum Facebook group.

The Cogkneys, who offer “music hall-inspired merriment and steampunk delights” at many UK events, were slated to perform at a pub near the Sanctuary festival, but due to some mishaps and COVID restrictions, they drew only a small crowd of non-steampunk fans. Now they’re planning to make up for it with an online performance on Saturday night. It’s set for 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. UTC+01 (subtract five hours for U.S. Eastern time). See the Facebook event page for more info.

Alice Strange, the UK artist formerly known as Alice’s Night Circus, is out with Echoes, her second album. This one features cover versions of some of her favorite songs, including “Forever for Now,” “Emperor’s New Clothes,” “Cosmic Love,” “Welcome To The Black Parade,” and “Dance In The Graveyards.” It’s available as a CD or digital download from her new website.

Enlightened Robot has released the first gameplay trailer for Naser: Son of Man, a 2D shooter game set in a 19th century steampunk world. Queen Elizabeth Zero has used an army of indestructible robots to conquer the world, leaving only the Empire of Persia, which is protected by a magic crystal. Then the Queen steals the crystal and completes her conquest. The story involves a Persian prince named Naser who battles the robotic army.

The game will be available for PCs and consoles. There’s no word on when it will be released. See the developer’s website for more info.


JABberwocky Literary Agency has released The Steampunk Adventures of Langdon St. Ives, a collection of short fiction by pioneering steampunk author James P. Blaylock. It features seven tales, including his 1978 story “The Ape-Box Affair,” which “Steampunk Scholar” Mike Perschon considers to be the first steampunk work written in the United States.

“I was reading Robert Louis Stevenson and P.G. Wodehouse at the time, and it’s not difficult to detect their influence on my early work, especially on that story,” Blaylock writes in the introduction. “By the time I wrote the last two stories featured in this book, nearly forty years later, I had become the writer I am today, and influences are harder to make out.”

The new book is not to be confused with The Adventures of Langdon St. Ives, a larger collection from Subterranean Press that’s now out of print.

The collection is available as an e-book from Amazon. See Blaylock’s website for more info.

Zmok Books is out with The Gathering Storm, the latest installment in Scott Washburn’s Great Martian War series. The author describes the series as a “continuation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, taking place 10 years after the original Martian invasion.” The first three books focused on the invasion in America. The new novel is set in 1912 and expands the story to Australia, Africa, and the Near East.

It’s available in e-book and paperback formats from Amazon. See the author’s website for more info.

Windwalker cover

Author Sabrina Flynn has released Windwalker, Book 1 in her new Bedlam series. She describes it as a “genre-bending steampunk fantasy” about an infamous cat burglar who encounters war and mystery in Bedlam, a London-esque metropolis. The action begins when the protagonist steals a pair of carpet slippers and meets a pirate who falls from the sky.

It’s available in e-book and paperback formats from Amazon. See the author’s website for more info.


Arcane Ink Publishing is on Kickstarter with Titanholm, a steampunk-themed tabletop role-playing game. The game’s creator, Rey Clark, is a science fiction author who launched Arcane Ink to publish her own works and those of other independent authors. She also describes herself as an avid gamer.

Titanholm is set in a “lawless land ruled by warring factions of pirates,” she writes. “Their ships can convert to dirigibles and take the skies.” It’s a world that mixes science and magic, and where mounts are replaced by motorcycles and dune buggies.

The campaign launched Sept. 1 and seeks US $2500 by Oct. 1. See the Kickstarter page and the Arcane Ink website for more info.

Magician Gary Sumpter is seeking Kickstarter funds for Time is Magic, a set of steampunk-themed playing cards with built-in animations. He’s also the owner of a magic shop in Essex, UK, “but I always wanted to design a deck that can be used every day as a normal deck, for card players and magicians alike,” he writes. “This has always been a bucket list thing for me.”

Each deck consists of 57 cards, including two jokers and an info card. They’re packaged in gold-foil printed boxes.

The campaign launched Aug. 28 and seeks £8400 (US $11,237) by Sept. 27. See the Kickstarter page and Age Magic Studio website for more info.

Conny Gyll of Norrland, Sweden is on Kickstarter with Jotunheim, a Swedish-language tabletop role-playing game. It’s set in “an Old Norse environment with elements of Victorian steampunk,” the author writes (translation from Swedish by Google). The game is published by Gyll’s company, Dragontail Media.

The campaign launched Sept. 1 and seeks SEK 296500 (US $33,932) by Oct. 31. See the Kickstarter page and Dragontail Media website for more info. Both are in Swedish with no English translation.

Mad Science!

Underwater Sculpture
Photo: Matt Curnock

Here’s an art museum that Captain Nemo would love. The new Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) off the coast of Queensland, Australia features sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor, who has also created submerged art installations in Grenada, Cancún, and Spain’s Canary Islands.

His sculptures, made from non-toxic, marine-grade cement, become artificial reefs that attract coral and other sea life. In addition to their aesthetic value, they’re designed to promote conservation by drawing divers away from natural coral reefs.

The centerpiece of MOUA is the Coral Greenhouse, a 58-ton stainless steel structure populated by “reef guardian” statues. It’s a two-hour boat ride from Townsville, North Queensland. The museum has licensed five tourism operators to transport visitors to the location, which is in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. MOUA is planning additional installations at Palm Island and Magnetic Island, which are also off the Queensland coast.

Quick Hits

The Myth of the Kraken – History of the NHL’s Newest Logo (The Hockey Writers)

Steampunk opera combines motion capture and VR (AV Interactive)

Florence (Colorado) Steampunk and Wine festival gears up for sixth year (Canon City Daily Record)

Full steam ahead as Blists Hill Victorian Town pulls in crowds (Shropshire Star)

Jet-power go-kart a steampunk blast (Oamaru Mail)

The Steampunk Strategy Game Iron Harvest Is Out Now On Steam (Happy Gamer)

Iron Harvest Review: Mechs Clash in Satisfying Storytelling (TechRaptor)

The Rootinest Tootinest Wild West Video Games of All Time (Entertainment Focus)

Touchstone and Beyond: A History of Disney’s “The Prestige” (Laughing Place)

12 Of The Best Time Travel Films Ever Made (Esquire)

Iron Man Actor Robert Downey Jr. Reportedly Wants Johnny Depp for Role In Sherlock Holmes Sequel (Bounding Into Comics)

How Lady Gaga Pulled Off Her 9 Epic MTV VMA Looks (Vogue)

Lady Gaga Had a New Look—And a Mask—For Every Moment of the 2020 MTV VMAs (Vanity Fair)

Punch Drunk Cabaret ready to rock Blues and Roots (La Nouvelle Beaumont News)

Now You Really Can Live (Well, Airbnb) in a Yellow Submarine (Nerdist)

Nikola Tesla Museum to be relocated to former central train station in Belgrade (Serbian Monitor)

New York man need help restoring 1936 Thomas Rocket Car (Spectrum Local News)

Help Complete the Rocket Car (GoFundMe)

New Algorithm Sifts Through 24,000 Dreams To Unravel Their Meaning (IFL Science)

’Spinal Tap’-size Stonehenge reveals how the ancient monument really sounded (LiveScience)

Seussian beast survived the Triassic by taking lots of naps (LiveScience)

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