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Steampunk Digest - May 26, 2023

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

Friday, May 26, 2023
Quincy parade
Photo by Curt Knapp

The Big River Time Travelers Convention took place May 19-21 in Quincy, Illinois, and once again our Midwest correspondent Curt Knapp was there to take photos and file a report.

This was the second year for the event, which was produced by the organizers of the Big River Steampunk Festival in nearby Hannibal, Missouri. Overall turnout was light, Curt said, but there were far more vendors and costume contest participants than last year, and the folks who did attend “were having a great time,” he said.

In addition to the costume contest, highlights included tea dueling, nerf dueling, and a facial hair contest. The entertainment lineup featured singer/songwriter Thawind Mills and pirate comedy troupe Little Beard and the ScallyWags.

See the photos: Big River Time Travelers Fest: Cosplay, tea dueling, dancing, and more


Right on schedule, Cyan Worlds released Firmament, the highly anticipated steampunk puzzle-adventure video game. Players explore what appears to be an abandoned world populated by strange machines, using a gauntlet called “The Adjunct” to solve puzzles.

Reviews from users are mixed, with praise for the visuals but complaints about bugs and the quality of the puzzles.

Playable on 2D displays or in virtual reality, it’s available from Steam and GOG for Macs and PCs.

Related: Firmament review: A beautiful but flawed new adventure from the creators of Myst (PC Gamer)

Author Shelley Adina released The Clockwork City, the first volume in a new series entitled Lady Georgia Brunel Mysteries. The stories, set in Adina’s Magnificent Devices steampunk world, will follow the “globetrotting adventures” of Lady Georgia and her Aunt Millie, “where solving mysteries is always on the itinerary.” The first installment takes them on a painting holiday in a steampunk version of Venice, the “clockwork city” of the title.

The second book in the series, entitled The Automaton Express, is slated for publication next year.

The Clockwork City is available in e-book, paperback, and audiobook formats through the author’s Moonshell Books imprint. See her website for more info, including links to sellers.

Powerhouse Comic Con

Powerhouse Comic Con, held May 20 in Pleasanton, California, didn’t have A-list celebrities or other attractions you might find at a major fan convention. But it was close to The Steampunk Explorer World Headquarters, and the producer quickly replied to our request for a press pass, so we decided to pay a visit.

What we found was a friendly atmosphere, imaginative cosplayers, and lots of talented artists who were happy to discuss their work. Readers can see for themselves in our photo gallery.

See the photos: Powerhouse Comic Con


It’s time to experience another “full weekend of quirky British steampunk eccentricity” as the spring edition of the Surrey Steampunk Convivial takes place May 27-28 at The Station in Stoneleigh, Surrey.

Activities include a steampunk market, live music, tea dueling, teapot racing, and unusual competitions such as Lemon Golf, Pneumatic Billiards, and Corset Limbo. Scheduled performers include Moth and Brass Brothers on Saturday and The Cogkneys on Sunday.

See the website and Facebook page for more info.

The Newark Steampunk Society in the U.K. will present its annual festival, May 26-29, with a fashion show, markets, picnic, steampunk vehicles, gala ball, and pirate ships. It’s held at multiple locations in the Newark town centre. See the schedule for times and locations, and the Facebook event page for more info.

Related: Weekend of historical fun and fantasy fashion in town centre for Newark Steampunk Society festival (Newark Advertiser)

Steampunk band Abney Park is set to perform live and in person on Saturday, June 3 at the Oregon Renaissance Faire in Canby, Oregon, near Portland. But sadly for fans of the band, tickets for the show have already sold out. It’s scheduled for 8 p.m. in the fairgrounds arena.

Tickets for the festival itself are still available. The opening weekend, June 3 and 4, will feature a “Fantasy & Fairy Tales” theme. Tickets won’t be sold at the gate – they must be purchased online in advance. Learn more on the website.


Powerhouse Comic Con
Dean Turner modeled the character Space Captain Gordon Periwinkle. Photo on right by Craig Jenkins.

UK steampunk author Paul Eccentric is on Kickstarter with The Periwinkle Perspective: The Poisoned Chalice, a 32-page comic book that continues the adventures of Space Captain Gordon Periwinkle and associates in an alternate version of the late 19th century.

The author has written three prose novels in the series, and a fourth entitled For All We Know is on the way. The comic book will serve as a bridge to the next installment, but it will also function as a standalone story. He’s recruited artists Paul McCaffrey and Paul B. Rainey to create the visuals.

Eccentric described the series as “a tale of adventurers, assassins, secret agents, and sherpas; of inventors, aliens, and dodgy politicians, featuring an ensemble cast of the weird and the wonderful set against the backdrop of fogbound Victorian London and all the wonders of the true age of innovation.”

The story is “told with tongue set firmly in cheek,” he added.

Pledges for the comic book begin at £20 (US$25). A pledge of £200 or more will get you all four books plus a tea blend inspired by the series and an audiobook version of the first novel, The Giant Step. The audiobook, released in April, is narrated by Terry Molloy, best known for portraying Davros in Doctor Who. It will be autographed by Eccentric and Molloy.

Backers at all levels will be listed in the comic book as executive producers.

The campaign launched on May 19 and seeks £5000 (US$6213) by July 3. Learn more on the Kickstarter page and Periwinkle Perspective Facebook page.

Read the full story: Kickstarters: ‘Periwinkle Perspective’ Author Crowdfunds Comic Book

Danielle Ackley-McPhail is likely best known in steampunk circles as the editor and publisher behind eSpec Books. But she’s also an author, and now she’s on Kickstarter with The Town of Ground-Down Gears, a collection of her own short steampunk fiction.

Some she’s accumulated over the years, she explains, plus she intends to finish one or two that have never been published. The title, she adds, is tentative.

Pledges begin at US$10 for digital edition and $35 for a print copy. Higher pledge tiers include some of her previously published anthologies. Print editions will ship only in the U.S. She estimates delivery in May 2024.

The campaign launched May 22 and has already surpassed its modest US$300 goal. It runs through June 21. Learn more on the Kickstarter page and eSpec Books website.

Nerdcastle, a game developer in Sydney, Australia, is on Kickstarter with The World of Kedor, a D&D 5E roleplaying game with elements of steampunk, high magic, and the Wild West. The creators describe it as “a world of tribal Orc, wild west cities, and wacky gnome inventions like submarines and sky ships.”

They plan to offer three books that will be available as PDFs: the Kedor World Book, Thran Campaign Book, and NPCs of Kedor. You can get any of the three with a pledge of AU$10 (US$7) or more. Estimated delivery is July 2023. Higher tiers include physical items such as a dice tower and printed books that will ship later. They also expect to release additional books and campaigns in the future.

The campaign launched May 22 and seeks AU$2850 (US$1881) by June 21. See the Kickstarter page for more info.

It came down to the wire, but Chris Mole and Professor Elemental met the final stretch goal in their Kickstarter campaign for The Art of Professor Elemental. This means that all backers will get an EP about the “joy of art” in addition to the art book and other rewards. The recording will be a backer-exclusive release for one year, the Professor says. The campaign, which ended May 24, raised £13,029 (US$16,099) from 230 backers.

We’ve also been keeping an eye on the GoFundMe campaign to help U.K. steampunk performer Madam Misfit replace equipment and merchandise that was stolen during a recent gig. As of late Wednesday, the campaign had raised £1275 (US$1575) toward its £1600 goal. Visit the GoFundMe page if you want to pitch in.

Scott Helland of Frenchy and the Punk is planning a new solo release this summer entitled The Waves Files and as with some of his previous albums he’ll be funding it on Kickstarter. He describes it as a collection of “10 cinematic instrumental songs inspired by surf guitar, spy noir, punk rock and movie soundtracks.” He’s already set up a page so you can be notified when the campaign goes live.

Quick Hits

Steampunk: How a Victorian-Inspired Subgenre Invaded Japan (Tokyo Weekender)

Victorian Elegance Meets Retro-Futuristic Fun: Kirkcudbright’s Steampunk Weekend (DGWGO)

Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railway transformed into a Victorian wonderland at Steampunk extravaganza (Devon Live)

Filey Steampunk Weekend 2023: All the best photos of outfits on show in Yorkshire seaside town (Yorkshire Post)

NZ: ‘You don’t have to be a steampunker to enjoy’ returning festival (Otago Daily Times)

Steampunks take over Baumber’s Walled Gardens for the weekend! (Lincolnshire World)

Fear the Invisible Man with trailer for new H.G. Wells adaptation (Flickering Myth)

Phantom Blade Zero is a New Upcoming Action RPG That Blends Steampunk and Martial Arts (Gaming Bolt)

Valorant Magepunk 3.0 Skin Bundle: First Look, Price, Release Date, & More (GameRiv)

Valorant Magepunk 3.0: Release Date, Price (AFK Gaming)

Nacon Announces New Robin Hood-Influenced Game Gangs Of Sherwood (Bleeding Cool)

Isometric steampunk RPG Adventure The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is 10! (Game-News24)

Cosplayers who turned heads at Michigan’s biggest pop culture event (mLive)

What Is A Luddite? The Very Old Insult Being Thrown Around On Social Media (IFL Science)

The Shipwrecked Teenager Who Helped End Japan’s Isolationist Era (Smithsonian Magazine)

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