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Steampunk Digest - November 6, 2020

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

Friday, November 6, 2020
Big River Cosplayers
Photo by Curt Knapp (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr

The Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri has a new owner. Co-founders Ken and Lisa Marks handed the reins to local restauranteur Tammy Riley after moving to Delaware. “Madame Riley, a longtime friend of the Hannibal History Museum and the proprietor of our neighbor Riverside Restaurant, is heavily vested in the downtown Hannibal community and is committed to taking the Big River Steampunk Festival to even greater heights for years to come,” Ken announced in a Facebook post. “Meanwhile, we will be consulting behind the scenes to complete a smooth transition.”

Ken and Lisa launched the festival in 2014 as a fundraiser for the history museum, which they also founded. Held over Labor Day weekend, the event has grown to become one of the largest steampunk gatherings in the U.S. Shown above are cosplayers from 2017.

The 2020 festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but next year’s event is on for Labor Day weekend with a time-travel theme. See the website and Facebook page for updates.

Professor Elemental has released “Snake Oil,” a music video that also features the talents of Tom Caruana, the Sweetchunks Band and The Mental Floss Sideshow. The track, from his album Amazing Friends 2, is a homage to carnival sideshows and miracle cures of yore. You can order the CD from his website.

Once again, the first Friday of the month is upon us, meaning it’s time for Bandcamp Friday, a promotion in which musicians get to keep all sales instead of forking over a portion to the service. It runs Nov. 6 from midnight to midnight Pacific time.

Numerous steampunk performers sell their music on Bandcamp, and to make it easier to find them, we’ve set up a directory with links to their Bandcamp pages.

Many virtual science fiction and fantasy conventions are offshoots of real-world gatherings, but this weekend’s SFFCon is a brand-new event hosted exclusively online. It will feature a Creative Track for writers, artists, and podcasters, plus a Genre Fan Track for fans of various sub-genres. The program also includes deep-dive breakout sessions with poetry readings and an interactive chat about cosplay and costuming. Organizers have enlisted a large roster of authors, screenwriters, and podcasters as guests.

Sessions will stream on YouTube Nov. 7-8. They’re already making plans for next year’s edition, which will also happen online June 11-13. See the website and Facebook page for more info.

Last month, we reported the sad news of the passing of Si Burgoyne-Neal, aka Captain Cumberpatch. A beloved member of the UK steampunk community, he was proprietor of Captain Cumberpatch’s Curious Creations and assisted his wife Jo in running the Leeds Steampunk Market. Now Jo has set up Memories of Captain Cumberpatch, a private Facebook group featuring photos and other memories.

She describes it as an offshoot of the Captain Cumberpatch Facebook page, which she continues to maintain. “This is dedicated to everyone that has known or met Si, bought from him either online or at markets, encountered his antics at events or social days or just been a friend on here that has followed his bonkers posts,” she wrote. She will continue operating his online business, which offers steampunk-inspired jewelry, badges, and medals.

Jo is also planning a new edition of the Leeds Steampunk Virtual Market, which happens Nov. 7 and 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. BST. She’s been producing the online sales events via Facebook since COVID-19 restrictions in the UK forced non-essential shops to close. To participate as a trader or shopper, you’ll have to join the event’s Facebook group. In addition to offering a marketplace for steampunk wares, she’s encouraging donations to Sue Ryder, a UK charity that provides care and support for people living with terminal illnesses and neurological conditions.

New Fiction

Tourmaline & Quartz Publishing has released The Alchemyst’s Mirror, a YA steampunk tale by Liz Delton. Protagonists Petra and Maisie Everturn are sisters who run a family tea shop, but their lives are disrupted when their explorer brother goes missing. The story also involves a secret society, a mysterious artifact, and “the most dangerous alchemyst in the city.”

The book is available from Amazon in paperback, hardcover and e-book formats. The author is also planning a Nov. 10 release for The Clockwork Ice Dragon: A Steampunk Christmas Novella, a holiday tale about a brilliant invention gone wrong. See her website for more info.

Author Jessica Lucci is out with Steampunk New Year, a collection of steampunk fantasy stories. She promises tales of “fantastical steam powered carriages, dragons, airship battles, sneaky ghosts, spooky fairies, and the most mixed up holiday story of all time.” It’s available in paperback on Etsy and Amazon or from the latter as an e-book. See her website for more info.

Aethon Books has released Echoes, Book 2 in the Aether Chronicles steampunk fantasy series by Abi Barden. Set in Victorian-era London, the story involves an inventor and inspector investigating a conspiracy against the Queen. It’s available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.


Redi Games is on Kickstarter with Penny Dreadfun: The Great London Adventure, described as a “deckbuilding adventure game set in alternate Victorian England with a little touch of steampunk and Cthulhu mythos.” It’s set in a world where Queen Victoria has disappeared, apparently for an excursion to Hell. Players take the role of unusual heroes who explore a London that is becoming increasingly hot and populated by infernal hounds, chasms, and portals.

It’s designed for one to four players and takes one to two hours to play. This is the second edition of the game, which is slated for delivery in October 2021.

The campaign launched Nov. 3 and seeks €51,500 (US $60,451) by Nov. 20. See the Kickstarter page and website for more info.

Quick Hits

Bruce Rosenbaum’s steampunk-themed Quarantine Bar (ModVic)

Weird and wonderful outfits still on parade in Whitby despite cancellation of goth festivals (Yorkshire Post)

Why Oamaru is suddenly the new rock capital of the universe (Louder Sound)

A Son, His Father, and Steampunk: Reliving Days of Future Past (Sixth Tone)

Portsmouth couple marry at Fort Nelson in steampunk fashion (The News)

Steampunk-style production of The Tempest at Minnesota State University (The Reporter)

Crime, quantum, steampunk, cyberpunk ... so many genres, so little time (Sunday Times)

Is “Punk” a Necessary Trend in Video Game Titles? (COGconnected)

Meet the woman making Victorian era-style shoes in LA for $800 a pair (Business Insider)

Creators of dystopian sci-fi are as shocked by the events of 2020 as you are (NBC News)

Classic Horror Monsters Ranked By Likability (ScreenRant)

Elseworlds: How Batman and the Justice League Became Wild West Heroes (CBR)

My octopus monster? Tall tales have given these creatures a bad rep (Sunday Times)

The explorer who desecrated graves in the name of science (Pledge Times)

Long-hidden ‘selfie’ of a medieval mason found in historic Spanish cathedral (LiveScience)

Mass grave of Tulsa race massacre victims possibly unearthed in Oklahoma cemetery (LiveScience)

Game of Thrones’ Success Down To Clever Use Of Network Theory, Study Reveals (IFL Science)

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