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Steampunk Digest - January 8, 2021

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

Friday, January 8, 2021
Masked cosplayers
Photo by Diana Clark

Editor’s note: This week’s Steampunk Digest is abbreviated for two reasons. First, it’s been a slow news week in the steampunk world. But in addition, your humble editor continues to deal with medical issues. As I informed you last week, I broke my wrist on Dec. 23 after dodging a car that almost hit me. I was scheduled for wrist surgery this week and had to undergo a pre-op exam. It appears that I am the picture of health, with one small exception: I tested positive for COVID-19.

Fortunately, it seems to be a mild case with no serious symptoms. But the delay in surgery could have consequences for recovering from my wrist injury.

Which brings me to this: Please wear a mask, and wear it properly, covering your nose and mouth. Follow social distancing guidelines, including restrictions on gatherings.

I felt no symptoms, yet I had the virus and was contagious. The same could happen to you. A public health nurse informed me that the virus is so prevalent now that it’s easy to get infected even if you take precautions to protect yourself. Please don’t make it worse by flouting public health guidelines.

In the meantime, the next newsletter will go out on January 21.

HBO Max has previewed snippets of The Nevers in a sizzle reel promoting its programming for 2021. The much-anticipated series will tell the story of “The Touched,” a group of Victorian women “who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that could change the world.” It was created by Joss Whedon, though he recently left the series.

The sizzle reel provides just a few glimpses of the program, but it was enough for our friends at The Nevers fan site to offer insights about some of the characters. For example, they surmise that an umbrella may be a weapon of choice for protagonist Amalia True (Laura Donnelly), and that one of her powers may be precognition (foreseeing the future). We also get a glimpse of some gadgetry.

Of course, we’ll get a better sense of the characters when the series premieres this summer.

Zen Man steampunk lamp

Southern California artist David Bodell is raising Kickstarter funds for Zen Man, a steampunk lamp that doubles as an electrical outlet and charger for mobile devices. Each model is handmade in his shop.

“I’ve been creating steampunk lamps for the last few years as a way to combine my love of metals, electrical engineering, craftsmanship, and design of uniquely purposeful lamps,” he writes.

He estimates a March 2021 delivery if you make an Early Bird pledge of US $135 or more. Or you can pledge $149 for May delivery. He’s also offering the lamps in pairs and six-packs. Shipping is limited to the U.S.

This is his third Kickstarter campaign for steampunk-style lamps, following successful efforts in January and November 2020. But he describes this design as his favorite.

The campaign launched Jan. 4 and seeks US $1250 by Feb. 4. See the Kickstarter page and Bodell’s website for more info.

Tin Man Games has released a Nintendo Switch version of Choices That Matter: And Their Souls Were Eaten, a steampunk text adventure game. It is set in 1830s Europe where metal confers magical powers on people who wear it. Part of the company’s Gamebook Adventures series, the game consists of narrative sections that conclude with a set of choices for the player. Each choice sets the story on a new path. Some situations are resolved by rolling virtual dice.

The game was previously available for iOS and Android mobile devices.

The publisher also offers a game based on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the popular book and TV series set in 1920s Australia.

See the Gamebook Adventures website and Nintendo store for more info.

New Books

Here’s a rundown of new steampunk books released over the past month:

The Mechanical Turk: An Ottoman Steampunk Adventure by Cem Bilici. Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Lights For Christmas: A Steampunk Conspiracy Christmas Story by C.O. Bonham. Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Wolfhearted: A Novella by Kathy L. Brown. Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

The Gaslight Bandits by Gail Daley (St. Antoni - The Forbidden Colony Book 3). Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Secrets Revealed by B.A. Duga (The Quest For Peace Book One). Links: Amazon

Bastard of Blessing: A Western Steampunk Adventure by J.R. Frontera (The Legacy of Lucky Logan Book 2). Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Alchemists of Archangel by Tina Holland (Archangel Revolution Book 2). Links: Goodreads | Amazon

The Rising Rooks by Celine Jeanjean (The Viper and the Urchin Book 9). Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Cannonball Express: Train Robbers of Mars by Kit Kane (Cannonball Express Book 3). Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Sky Keeper by E.J. Kitchens (The Star Clock Chronicles Book 3). Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Moon Song by E.J. Kitchens (The Star Clock Chronicles Book 4). Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

A Queen Gone Rogue by M.S. Linsenmayer (Empire’s End Book 5). Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Retribution by Joshua W. Nelson (The Rise of Resurgence Book IV). Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Verne in Flames by Michael Parodi and Jeanne Wilkins (The Khitai Conspiracy Book 2). Links: Amazon

The Admiral’s Gambit by Michael Parodi and Jeanne Wilkins (The Khitai Conspiracy Book 1). Links: Goodreads | Amazon

The Clockwork Heart by Karen Pellett. Links: Author | Amazon

The Unwitting Journeys of the Witty Miss Livingstone: Book III by Kennedy J. Quinn. Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

All Down But Nine by Kat Ross (Lingua Magika Book 2). Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

The Collected Extraordinary Adventures of Frank Reade Junior by Luis Senarens and Harry Denton ( Volume 5). Links: Author | Amazon

The Crestalium by Charles Sterling. Links: Author | Goodreads | Amazon

Bitter Sky by Tim Stretton. Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Curiosities #8 Winter 2020: Uncategorized Collections by various authors. Links: Amazon

Twin Soul Series Omnibus 3: Books 11-15 by Winner Twins and Todd McCaffrey. Links: Author | Amazon

The Case of the Rose Grimoire by Nikki Woolfolk (Riveted Book 3). Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Steampunk Coloring Book by Zin.Kh Coloring Books. Links: Amazon

Quick Hits

HBO Max Teases The Nevers in New Sizzle Reel (HBO The Nevers fan site)

Watch the Sizzle Reel (YouTube)

The Extraordinary Voyages of the Yiddish Jules Verne (Jewish Museum of Maryland)

Karen Haber Reviews The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde by Oscar Wilde & Yuko Shimizu (Locus)

The Phrase ‘Science-Fiction’ Is First Found In Print In 1851 (South Florida Reporter)

HG Wells fans spot numerous errors on Royal Mint’s new £2 coin (The Guardian)

William Gibson: ‘I read Naked Lunch when it was still quasi-illicit’ (The Guardian)

Post-Internet Dystopia: Don DeLillo’s and Jonathan Lethem’s new novels imagine the end of electronic communication (The New Republic)

Thor, Hercules, & 8 Other Comic Characters In The Public Domain (CBR)

The character posters promoting Disenchantment season 3 portray the lead characters as carnival freaks (ScreenRant)

Why There Should Be More Video Games With Solarpunk Settings (ScreenRant)

New Zealand’s top indoor activities for a bummer summer (Stuff)

Steampunk-themed Mardi Gras event postponed (ArkaLaTex Homepage)

Admirers hope statue, park remind people that ‘Tesla’ means more than just a car (The Buffalo News)

In 1918, Children Of California Went On A State-Ordered Squirrel Killing Frenzy (IFL Science)

How to tell your new year fortune the Edwardian way (MyLondon)

Here’s what San Francisco looked like 100 years ago (SFGate)

Dance floor where John the Baptist was condemned to death discovered, archaeologist says (Live Science)

Boston Dynamics Held An Insane Robot Dance Party (IFL Science)

A Steampunk Engine to Solve Your Satellite Woes! (Universe Today)

Company Eyes “Steampunk” Propulsion for CubeSats (Optics & Photonics News)

12 Otherworldly New Species Discovered In The Depths Of The Atlantic Ocean (IFL Science)

What archaeology will look like in 2021 (Live Science)

10 science records broken in 2020 (Live Science)

10 strange animals that washed ashore in 2020 (Live Science)

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