Friday, October 31, 2014

What Happens Next: Harry Harrison's The Hammer and The Cross Trilogy

The next installment of "What Happens Next" returns with a look at the late Harry Harrison's The Hammer and The Cross Trilogy. What happens when an English slave boy converts to an organized version of Norse paganism and bring religious tolerance and advance technology to Medieval Europe? Find out below. As always, this future is based off my own personal opinion on where I thought the author was going with his literary universe. I tried to stay as close to the author's vision and the rules established for his world. Watch out for spoilers.

The One King's reign may have been short, but its legacy has reverberated down the centuries. King Shef's rule touched off a renaissance that started in northern Europe and spread across the world. It was a renaissance not just of technology, but of ideas like toleration, liberty and freedom. Now as the year 2014 (much of the world still uses the Christian calendar) nears its end, scholars look back at how far the human race has come...and how far they still have to go.

The Empire of North, as expected, did not survive its King's mysterious disappearance after the Battle of Rome. Leaving no heirs and with the Viking kings refusing to recognize his pact with Alfred of the West Saxons, the different parts of the Empire went there separate, but peaceful, ways. Alfred became the lord of all of the British Isles while Guthmund of Sweden (sometimes called "the Greedy") eventually united all of Scandinavia under him and his heirs in a loose confederation. The former halves of the empire have remained close allies (even today) although there governments would change and sometimes whole regions would gain (and lose) independence. This cooperation was especially fruitful in the 900s with the discovery and colonization of the New World.

In contrast, Shef's rival Bruno, the short-lived Emperor of Rome, is a more controversial figure in history. Many deplore his religious zealotry and cruelty (even by 800s standards), while German nationalists credit him with creating the German state and Christians credit him with establishing the framework that eventually led to the unification of the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity (which is something the German nationalists don't brag about since their state church left the mainstream Christian church centuries ago).

Nevertheless, present day Europe still reflects the marks of both men. The British Isles are still united under the Republic of the Isles, the heirs of Alfred now living as private citizens. They are still allies with the Nordic Union, although relations remain cold with former members of the Union, Finland and Novgorod Republic. Other close allies include Normandy and the Jewish-majority state of Septimania (which doesn't always get along with the other Jewish states like the Kingdom of Khazaria or the city-state of New Zion).

While the Holy Roman Empire collapsed shortly after Bruno's death, a generation later the western German states unified after being inspired by the Emperor's belief in German supremacy. From this core group the Kingdom of Germany was created and it unified the German people (except for those odd Prussians, but they aren't considered "true" Germans anyway). Germany is one of the great powers on the continent and has worked hard to maintain that role by intervening in neighboring states to keep them small and weak (Moscow has lost count how many times it has been sacked). They have calmed down a bit recently and the King is now more of a figurehead (and tourist attraction), but old animosities die hard.

Other important states in Europe include technocratic Andalusia which still controls much of Iberia and North Africa, the Bulgar-Greco Khanate which straddles the Balkans and Asia Minor (the Armenians and Kurds split the eastern half) and Occitania, the only Cathar Christian majority state in the world (although they have communities throughout the world). Eastern Europe to the Urals are split into many different states.

The events of the renaissance in 9th century Europe can also be seen as indirectly responsible for how the rest of the world looks as well. After their attempts to invade Europe and the Middle East were rebuffed, the Tatars spent more time consolidating their Asian conquests. Today the Tatar Empire reaches across East Asia, Central Asia, Siberia, northern India and the west coast of North Thorgunland. It would probably be the world's greatest power if it had a functioning central government. The Empire is very decentralized with the electors of the Kurultai holding the real power and generally unwilling to surrender any of it to the Khan. Not only does this suit the diverse ethnic groups of the Empire just fine (especially the Nipponese who would love to break away), but also the rest of the world who feel one nation holding too much power over the other would just be a recipe for endless conflict. The Vijayanagara Empire keeps a watchful eye on their northern border, just in case the Tartars get any ideas.

There was some attempts by Europeans to colonize Africa over the centuries. British and Norse traders were some of the earliest groups to enter the market (if you don't count the Islamic Europeans, which even today people still forget). They found some African practices, like slavery, abhorrent and native Africans also distrusted the message of the Christian and Way missionaries sent to convert them. Much of Sub-Saharan Africa's history is full of wars between Europeans and natives leading well into the 16th century, with the Islamic nations to the north sending weapons to the Africans to check the expansion of the Europeans. Today all of Africa either belongs to the larger Caliphates of the north or are independent native states affiliated in some way to Kongo or Great Zimbabwe. The one exception being the small Leonese colony on the Cape.

The New World (North and South Thorgunland) is a patchwork of Norse, British, Norman, German, Leonese, Andalusia, Tartar, Srivijayan and native states, the largest being the former Norse colony of Markland. The Skrælingjar had no immunity to Old World diseases and thus there was a large death toll across the continents. Over time the Skrælingjar recovered and even adopted technology from the colonists just in time when immigration really kicked up in the mid-14th century (new advances in medical sciences had led to a population boom as more diseases were wiped out). The colonial wars dragged on to the 18th century before the Treaty of Stamford established a lasting peace by creating a council were colonial and native nations could air disputes. The spirit of the Peace of Stamford proved contagious and today the former capital of the One King serves as the site of the World Council, which acts as an assembly of nations who work together to keep the peace on Earth.

The world has known one global conflict, although you will never find it in the official record. Throughout much of the 19th century, the developed countries waged a war to eradicate the Hidden Folk (also known as trolls to the Norse). Almost every nation knew about the Hidden Folk, the physically opposing humanoid species that were experts at hiding. World nations generally enforced the ancient treaties made between them and the human communities that lived near their dens. Most scientists believe they are the descendants of an extinct species of humans, which could explain why humans can cross-breed with them, but no one has been able to confirm this theory because none of the Hidden Folk have ever stepped forward to do the extensive DNA testing necessary. Despite the long peace, the early 18th century was marked by massacres and destruction at human factories, laboratories and military bases carried out by the Hidden Folk. The usual methods of communication with the Hidden Folk only conveyed warnings that humanity needed to stop their machines or they would end up destroying the world.

Human governments covered it up (blaming it on industrial accidents and foreign sabotage) since they didn't think anyone would believe them if they blamed Sasquatch for all of their problems, but at the same time sought to eradicate the Hidden Folk menace (besides humanity was never that comfortable with living next door to a race that considered them a part of their diet). How successful humanity was depends on who you ask. Most humans never realized what was happening besides a rash of disappearances and odd military maneuvers in uninhabited wildernesses. While some Hidden Folk did die in the fighting, the ones who suffered the most were the half-breeds who were often rounded up and exterminated out of fear of them collaborating with the enemy. Only after human scientists began discovering the dangers of human caused climate change that the majority of nations realized what the Hidden Folk were getting at. The World Council stepped in and passed a series of environmental regulations that were adopted across the world and the Hidden Folk attacks ceased (now the World Council looks the other way if someone tries to cut corners and finds all their shiny new nano-factories going up in flames).

There are very few people in this world who don't believe in divine being(s), although with few exceptions (the Church of Germany, Sunni Muslims in the Arab peninsula, the Sapa veneration of the Inkas, etc.) most follow the Hundite Theory of the Divinity. Neurologists have confirmed that the human mass consciousness is powerful enough to create actual god(s) who live apart from humanity in a different realm of space/time, but can manifest their power on Earth. Those specially attuned to the god(s), the heroes and saints of history, can act as conduits for these beings and their power. Most nations keep tabs on these humans and often employ them as agents (a soldier who can bring down divine justice is quite effective weapon against a terrorist strong holds). Of course, since the god(s) take the form and personality that their believers give them, world nations fear what might happen if a truly evil god is ever created and unleashes the feared Ragnarök.

Exactly how to prevent this, no one knows, but the Svandists have an idea. Although they have rejected what another timeline would call the atheism of their founder (its hard to argue with scientific proof that gods exist), they still hold that all the god(s) are inherently evil and thus need to be wiped out. To do this they believe they must purge all fantasy from the human mind. Even realistic fiction is frowned upon by a devout Svandist. Nevertheless, most people don't take them seriously, but they certainly fear the Svandist state of Circassia. Every moment of their citizens life is regimented and controlled. Special implants given at birth gives powerful artificial intelligences the ability to access every mind and punish any fantastical thoughts. They have purge all forms of individuality and they desire to spread their philosophy across the globe. Circassia may be small, but their arsenal of weapons of mass destruction keeps some World Council members awake at night. Currently Circassian scientists are very interested in several near-Earth asteroids...

The affair of this world, however, don't concern Shef. He sits waiting on the floating platform in the equatorial Atlantic ready for his turn up the Space Graal. Although many in the world carry his popular name, he secretly knows he is the true heir of the famous Shef, a direct descendant of the One King who faked his own death to live in peace with his wife. Although his olive skin and dark hair are products of his ancestors interbreeding with the people of the Emirate of Sicily, his blue eyes betray his Norse heritage. Like his ancestors, however, Shef is about to go on a great voyage into the stars. Ever since the secrets of faster-than-light travel was discovered, humanity has been expanding across the stars in an ever widening sphere. Shef, leaving his Earth-bound troubles behind, is seeking a new life on a distant globe just recently settle by Man.

Unbeknownst to him, someone (or something) in its little pocket of space/time has taken a shining for this new Shef. He/she/it (it has many names and forms, depending on who is praying to it) has plans for him and it could shake the very foundations of human civilization...

Which work of alternate history would you like to see me do next? Let me know in the comments.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth will be published in June 2015

If you followed me on social media (and shame on you if you don't) you would have seen the cover for SM Stirling's new anthology of Emberverse (or Change Series depending on your personal preference) short fiction coming out in June 2015 and will feature many well-known science fiction and fantasy authors. Titled The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, here is the overview from Penguin:

ALL-NEW STORIES OF THE EMBERVERSE
by S.M. Stirling, Harry Turtledove, Walter Jon Williams, John Birmingham, John Barnes, Jane Lindskold, and more…

“[A] vivid portrait of a world gone insane,” S. M. Stirling’s New York Times bestselling Novels of the Change have depicted a vivid, utterly persuasive, and absorbingly unpredictable postapocalyptic wasteland in which all modern technology has been left in ashes, forcing humankind to rebuild an unknowable new world in the wake of unimaginable—and deliberate—chaos. 

Now, in this startling new anthology, S. M. Stirling invites the most fertile minds in science fiction to join him in expanding his rich Emberverse canvas. Here are inventive new perspectives on the cultures, the survivors, and the battles arising across the years and across the globe following the Change.

In his all-new story “Hot Night at the Hopping Toad,” Stirling returns to his own continuing saga of the High Kingdom of Montival. In the accompanying stories are fortune seekers, voyagers, and dangers—from the ruins of Sydney to the Republic of Fargo and Northern Alberta to Venetian and Greek galleys clashing in the Mediterranean.

These new adventures revisit beloved people and places from Stirling’s fantastic universe, introduce us to new ones, and deliver endlessly fascinating challenges to conquer, all while unfolding in a “postapocalyptic landscape that illuminates both the best and the worst of which our species is capable,” “a world you can see, feel, and touch.”

Contributors to The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth Include
Introduction: The Change as Setting and Secondary World by S. M. Stirling
Hot Night at the Hopping Toad by S. M. Stirling
Rate of Exchange by A. M. Dellamonica
Tight Spot by Kier Salmon
Against the Wind by Lauren C. Teffeau
The Demons of Witmer Hall by M. T. Reiten
Bernie, Lord of the Apes by John Jos. Miller
The Seeker: A Poison in the Blood by Victor Milán
Grandpa’s Gift by Terry D. England
Fortune and Glory by John Birmingham
The Venetian Dialectic by Walter Jon Williams
The Soul Remembers Uncouth Noises by John Barnes
Topanga and the Chatsworth Lancers by Harry Turtledove
The Hermit and the Jackalopes by Jane Lindskold
The New Normal by Jody Lynn Nye
A Missed Connection by Emily Mah Tippetts
Deor by Diana Paxson

I am really curious about what Turtledove's "Topanga and the Chatsworth Lancers" is about. Could it be a homage to Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers? Meanwhile, John Birmingham blogged about his story "Fortune Glory". It is going to be a crossover with his The Disappearance series and will feature characters from those books. You can check out a brief snippet on Birmingham's blog as well.

Now this isn't Stirling's first foray into anthologizing one of his universes. In 2000, he released Drakas!, an anthology of short fiction set in The Domination of the Draka universe. What is unique about the Emberverse books is that there is a more content to pull from and it has a small fan fiction community. The main editor for that group, Kier Salmon, also has a work in The Change and some of her characters have made it into the canon. Could this be the beginning of a larger and organized fan fiction community for the Emberverse, similar to what happened to 1632? I guess we will have to wait until next summer to find out.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Sideways in Time Paper Update 10/30/14

Europe in 1925. From Królestwo Kongresowe.
Since my last Sideways in Time Paper update, I found a lot of new research leads. Let's take a look:
  • Did you get a chance to read my interview with Sidewise judge and Uchronia contributor Evelyn Leeper? I hope you all enjoyed it because it may be a while before my next interview. I had to postpone my interview with Sidewise judge and Point of Divergence founder Jim Rittenhouse, but I am following up leads with other notable alternate historians in the meantime.
  • I have been perusing the The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction for any useful information information. They do have an article on Hitler Wins scenarios, but not much on our slice of fandom. I will keep looking.
  • Does anyone speak Italian? Uchronia links to several articles in the Italian language magazine Delos on alternate history. Google Translate, however, is not the best translation software. If anyone may be interested in reading and describing these articles to me that would be great.
  • I think I need to comb my own blog's archives for this paper. After I rediscovered the Did Steampunk Kill Alternate History? article, which was useful in helping to explain alternate historians' relationship with the steampunk culture, I got to thinking I may be sitting on a gold mine of information. Going to take a lot of time to sift through over three years of content...
  • Can anyone score me a copy of What Almost Was: The Politics of the Contemporary Alternate History Novel by Matthew Schneider-Mayerson. Based on the abstract, this article seems the closest to what I am trying to write that I have ever stumbled upon and I would really like to read it. Sadly, I am not a student anymore and thus I am not part of any institution with access to Project MUSE.
  • During one of my random searches through the AlternateHistory.com Wiki, I came upon this list of Non-AH.com timelines including many from different eras of the larger community's history, such as the SHWI era. I even found this interesting Polish-language collaborative timeline, which is great because you don't many of these outside the English language. 
I am still looking for anyone who can provide me with more information on the Geocities era, the Tarrantry Saga and any other gathering or work of alternate historians you think I should include in the paper. If you can help me or know someone who can, please email me at ahwupdate at gmail dot com. Any new avenues of research will be greatly appreciated.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Martians Are Coming: War of the Worlds: Goliath Novelization Out Tomorrow

SF author Adam J. Whitlatch will debut his new novel War of the Worlds: Goliath tomorrow on October 30. Retro Rocket Press, who also published Whitlatch's debut novel The Weller, will release the book in multiple digital formats. The book, which is a novelization of the animated film of the same name (see my review on Amazing Stories), serves as a sequel to the H.G. Wells classic.

Here is the description from the press release:

On the eve of World War I, the Martians have returned to finish what they started fifteen years ago, but this time humanity is ready. Armed with steam-powered battle machines created from reverse-engineered alien technology, the global defense force A.R.E.S. prepares for the coming conflict as tensions rise in Europe. Captain Eric Wells, an orphan of the first War of the Worlds, commands Earth's newest, most formidable weapon the colossal battle tripod Goliath.  

The novelization features deleted scenes, expanded character backgrounds, and all-new material that goes beyond the film.

The film's director Joe Pearson called Whitlatch's novelization "pulpy and visceral" and went on to say that "[the novel] goes way beyond the perfunctory retelling of the source movie that is often the case in many film novelizations. [It] stands on its own as a ripping good story and epic tale of the alternate history world of the film."

Whitlatch, a fan of War of the Worlds since first hearing the infamous Orson Welles radio broadcast as a boy, jumped at the opportunity to work with Pearson and his colleagues at Tripod Entertainment in Malaysia, immersing himself in the source material. "It was unlike anything I've ever written before," he said. "It felt very much like playing with someone else's toys in their sandbox, but I made it my own while keeping Joe's vision intact."

Well I can honestly say I enjoyed the movie so hopefully the novelization will be just as good. If you get a chance to read it, let us know.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Op-Ed: History Without Hitler?

Hitler is seated at the far right.
William Weber (author of Neither Victor nor Vanquished: America in the War of 1812) was kind enough to point out an op-ed piece in The New York Times by Timothy W. Ryback titled "History Without Hitler?" Here are a few key paragraphs:

We can never know how different history may have looked had Hitler been felled by bullets that early morning a hundred years — whether the Weimar Republic could have survived the postwar political and economic turmoil, whether President Hindenburg would have successfully navigated his country back into monarchy, or whether Europe would have been spared a sequel to the Great War.

Some Germans were already speaking of a “second world war” within a year of the armistice that was to have ended “the war to end all wars.” We can say with certainty that no other political leader of the era would have harnessed national passions or driven an anti-Semitic, pure-race agenda with such ferocity or tragic consequence, resulting in the deaths of millions of European Jews as well as gypsies, homosexuals, the weak and disabled.

So what is the lesson of this particular counterfactual moment for us today? Beyond the fact that the Weimar Republic might well be celebrating the 95th anniversary of its Constitution this autumn, a history without Hitler underscores both the potential and pitfalls of transitioning societies. It shows us that these processes require time, sometimes generations, and how different German history may have been had Hitler fallen with his regiment in Flanders fields 100 years ago this week.

What do you think about Ryback's theory that no other leader could have done what Hitler did? While there are a majority of people who wouldn't hesitate to go back in time and kill Hitler, there are still many who don't believe it would change anything. They presume another "Hitler" would arise if the real Hitler was dead. That being said I have also seen scenarios ranging from a successful Weimar Republic, to a Hohenzollern restoration and even a communist takeover. Which scenario do you think is most likely? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

You can read the full article here and check out Ryback's new book Hitler's First Victims: The Quest for Justice. You can also read another interpretation of Ryback's article at The Counterfactual History Review.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New Releases 10/28/14

You can support The Update by clicking the banner to your right or the links below if you are purchasing through Amazon!

Paperbacks

Dangerous Women 2 edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

Dangerous Women Vol. 2 includes stories by Lev Grossman, Sharon Kay Penman, S. M. Stirling, Sam Sykes, Caroline Spector, and Nancy Kress, and features an entirely new 28,000-word "Outlander" novella by New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon.

Revolution: Secret World Chronicle III by Mercedes Lackey

From New York Times best-seller and science fiction and fantasy mistress of adventure Mercedes Lackey, Book #3 in the pulse-pounding SECRET WORLD saga of modern-day humans with superpowers.  The metaheroes deal with supervillain Verdegris, who seeks to destroy them from within, before turning their attention back to the Thulian conspiracy.

It’s go time once again for the meta-heroes including fire-bender John Murdock, hacker-witch Vikki Nagy, healer Belladona Blue, super-quick Mercurye–and most of all for their ghostly ally, Seraphym, the spirit of the world Verdegris knows he must trap and destroy her if he is to take down the metas.

From New York Times best-seller and science fiction and fantasy mistress of adventure Mercedes Lackey together with a team of topnotch collaborators, the third entry in the blockbuster saga of superpowers–and the very human men and women who must learn to wield them.

Sky Pirates: Book Three in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow by Liesel Schwarz

For romance and urban fantasy fans and readers of Gail Carriger’s Changeless and Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, this thrilling historical fantasy adventure features warlocks, fairies, and the unforgettable heroine—the daring dirigible pilot Elle Chance—who navigates the realms between the Light and Shadow.

With her husband, Hugh Marsh, missing in the netherworld and presumed dead, Elle Chance loses herself in the task at hand: piloting the airship Water Lily on commissions across the globe. But as it turns out, her beloved is very much alive—the once-powerful warlock reduced to a wraith. When Water Lily is threatened by pirates, Elle will have to channel all her power as the Oracle—the keeper of the barrier between the two Realms—to try to save what she loves most. As the dark forces of Shadow converge around her, Elle must find a way to breach the curse that binds Marsh. But once released, will Marsh return to her—or is their love destined to die so that he can live?

E-books

The Last Rite by Jasper Kent

Russia – 1917. Zmyeevich, king of all vampires, is dead.

History records that the great voordalak – known across Europe as Dracula – perished in 1893 beneath the ramparts of his own castle, deep in the mountains of Wallachia. In Russia, the Romanov tsars are free of the curse that has plagued their blood for two centuries.

But two decades later and Tsar Nicholas II faces a new threat – a threat from his own people. War has brought Russia to her knees and the people are hungry for change. Revolution is in the air.

Mihail Konstantinovich Danilov – who himself carries Romanov blood – welcomes the prospect of a new regime. Like his ancestors he once fought to save the Romanovs from the threat that Zmyeevich brought them. Fought and won. But now he sees no future for a Russia ruled by a tyrant. He is joined in the struggle by his uncle, Dmitry Alekseevich - a creature born in a different era, over a century before. For more than half his existence he has been a vampire, and yet he still harbours one very human desire; that his country should be free.

But the curse that infects the blood of the Romanovs cannot be so easily forgotten and Mihail soon discovers that it – that he – may become the means by which a terror once thought eradicated might be resurrected . . .

To fans, authors and publishers...

Is your story going to be published in time for the next New Releases? Contact us at ahwupdate at gmail dot com.  We are looking for works of alternate history, counterfactual history, steampunk, historical fantasy, time travel or anything that warps history beyond our understanding.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Map Monday: For All Eternity by Goldstein

In the original Map Monday post, I featured a future history that presented what a politically conservative reader might consider a dystopia. The map stirred some controversy, so to make amends here is "For All Eternity" by Goldstein featuring a world that never experienced the Cold War:
In this universe, FDR dies in 1941 and Henry Wallace becomes president. There are no increased tensions after World War II. Instead the Soviet Union and the United States cooperate with each other and give the UN some real teeth. Communism as we know it collapses in the 1950s with the death of Stalin, leading to a more democratic and technologically advanced world. Most of the world exists under a internationally cooperative and socialist-esque system, with only the members of the Geneva League and the Ithaca Project practicing free-market capitalism.

Is this incredibly optimistic and naive? Absolutely. Despite being well loved by the New Deal supporters, Henry Wallace was an idealist who failed to realize how much of sociopath Stalin was. A Wallace presidency would most likely lead to a dystopian world where the Soviet Union was in a much stronger position of power. That all being said, "For all Eternity" is a parody of the notorious "For All Time" timeline by Chester A. Arthur. In Chester's world, everything went wrong, but in this world, everything went right. With so many people complaining about science fiction being pessimistic, "For All Eternity" represents another road we as alternate historians can travel. Yes Goldstein's scenario is highly improbable, but that doesn't mean future scenarios can't be optimistic and plausible.

Honorable mentions this week go to rvbomally's "Shame They Can't Both Lose" and Bruce Munro's cover (description here) of Adam Chamberlain and Brian A. Dixon's  Columbia & Britannia. If you want to submit a map for the next Map Monday, email me at ahwupdate at gmail dot com with your map attached and a brief description in the body of the email.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. When not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.