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Steampunk Goes to Dragon Con

A look at steampunk-related happenings at the huge geek culture convention in Atlanta

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Dragon Con logo

Steampunk will have a major presence at Dragon Con, the huge multi-genre geek convention that returns to Atlanta over Labor Day weekend. Past events have drawn up to 80,000 fans of science fiction, fantasy, comic books and other categories of pop culture. Attendees can participate in numerous tracks of programming and interact with a host of celebrity guests, including cast members from Star Trek, Doctor Who, Gotham, Farscape, and Warehouse 13. Musical guests include Steam Powered Giraffe, Aurelio Voltaire, Frenchy and the Punk, and Valentine Wolfe.

Dragon Con is held at five hotels in Atlanta’s Peachtree Center area: Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Hilton Atlanta, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Marriott Marquis Atlanta, and Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel.

Program Highlights

Most of the steampunk action will be part of the Alternate and Historical Fiction Track, a convention-within-a-convention featuring panels, sing-alongs, parties, and more. It happens largely at the Sheraton, though some events, including teapot racing and tea dueling, will take place at the Hilton. The track has its own Facebook page with updates about the activities.

Guests here will include Lady Mechanika creator Joe Benitez, who will present “Design and Draw the Steampunk Way” on Saturday. On Friday, members of Steam Powered Giraffe will answer “Quintessential Questions” about their work during a panel at the Hilton.

Mechanical Masquerade
Scene from the Mechanical Masquerade, a party held as part of Dragon Con's Alternate and Historical Fiction Track. Photo: JC Barger.

Steampunk makers Doc Stone and Aleta Pardalis will speak Sunday on the provocative topic, “Is Steampunk Still a Thing?” Other panels will cover Victorian costuming, steampunk gaming, 3D printing, and historical topics such as espionage, colonialism, the Old West, and Victorian death customs. Speakers include authors Cat Rambo, Leanna Renee Hieber, Gail Z. Martin, and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

The history track is not limited to steampunk. It also encompasses topics such as Vikings, pirates, and costuming from a range of historical periods. For example, this year’s track will include panels on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. On Friday, actors Sebastian Roche, DJ Qualls, and Ty Olsson will discuss their experiences as cast members in Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle.

On Saturday, Stone will discuss steampunk metalworking, but that session will be part of the Robotics and Maker track.

Lady Mechanika writer M.M. Chen will be a panelist for a discussion of “Women Making Great Comics,” which is part of the Comics and Pop Art track.

Other Happenings

Other Dragon Con tracks will focus on anime/manga, costuming, diversity, fantasy, horror, science, science fiction literature, Star Wars, Star Trek, video gaming, writing, the paranormal, and more. The BritTrack will cover Doctor Who, Black Mirror, Sherlock, His Dark Materials, and other media from the UK.

The program also includes multiple costume contests and presentation of the Dragon Awards, in which fans vote for their favorite works in 15 categories encompassing fiction, comics, gaming, TV, and movies. Another highlight is the Dragon Con Parade through downtown Atlanta, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

You can view the entire program in a mobile app for Android and Apple devices. The app can also be viewed in a PC browser.

Labor Day weekend will be a busy time for steampunk fans in the U.S., as the Big River Steampunk Festival will be happening in Hannibal, Missouri (see our recent coverage).

See the convention website for more info.

We have compiled photos of steampunk highlights from past Dragon Cons going back to 2009. You can view them in the gallery below.

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