Tuesday, May 3, 2016

New Releases 5/3/16

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Hardcovers

Providence, Act 1 by Alan Moore

Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It is being universally hailed as one of Moore’s most realized works in which the master scribe has controlled every iota of the story, art, and presentation. The result has been a masterpiece like no other, unparalleled in tone and content, and a true must have addition to his essential works in the field. For a limited one-time run, Avatar Press is presenting a collected Providence Act 1 Hard Cover edition that contains Providence issues #1-4, and all the back matter, which is limited to 6,666 copies. This edition will not be reprinted, there will not be a softcover edition, and this material will not be printed again until the complete collection is available in the far distant future. Don't miss your chance to enjoy the first piece of a true horror masterpiece and enter the creeping world of Providence.

Ring of Fire IV by Eric Flint

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR. CONTAINS A STORY BY DAVID BRIN AND AN ALL-NEW STORY BY ERIC FLINT. Collection #4 of rollicking and idea-packed alternate history tales written by today’s hottest science fiction writers and edited by New York Times best-seller Eric Flint. After a cosmic accident sets the modern-day West Virginia town of Grantville down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe, these everyday, resourceful Americans must adapt – or be trod into the dust of the past.

Let’s do the “Time Warp” again!  Another anthology of rollicking, thought-provoking collection of tales by a star-studded array of top writers such as David Brin and Eric Flint himself – all set in Eric Flint’s phenomenal Ring of Fire series.

A cosmic accident sets the modern West Virginia town of Grantville down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe.  It will take all the gumption of the resourceful, freedom-loving up-timers to find a way to flourish in a mad and bloody time.  Are they up for it?  You bet they are.  The fourth rollicking and idea-packed collection of Grantville tales edited and introduced by Eric Flint, and inspired by his now-legendary 1632.  Plus: contains an all-new story by Eric Flint.

Stories by Eric Flint, David Brin, David Carrico, Virginia DeMarce, Charles E. Gannon and more.

Paperbacks

The Change by SM Stirling

“[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.

In The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, 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—from the ruins of Sydney to the Republic of Fargo and Northern Alberta to Venetian and Greek galleys clashing in the Mediterranean.

These adventures revisit beloved people and places from Stirling’s fantastic universe, introduce us to new ones, and deliver endlessly fascinating challenges to conquer.

*Statesman Journal (Salem, OR)

Straits of Hell (Destroyermen) by Taylor Anderson

New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson’s phenomenal series of alternate history continues as a dangerous scheme throws the hope of honor, trust, and survival into chaos....

Transported to an alternate version of earth where WWII no longer rages, Matt Reddy and the crew of the Asiatic Fleet destroyer USS Walker have been trying to find their place in a strange new world—only to now face a game-changing conspiracy.

Reddy and his crew fight alongside the felinoid Lemurians and Imperial allies to keep the reptilian Grik, a race growing in supremacy, from reconquering the Lemurians’ ancestral home on Madagascar. But exhausted, far from reinforcements, and wildly outnumbered, the odds seem greater than ever before.

As for the fate of the Americas, Don Hernan and the evil Dominion have gathered to annihilate the forces behind the walls of Fort Defiance as a shadowy power with an agenda all its own rises with chilling resolve.

As the war teeters on a knife-edge, a tipping point may have been reached at last—and cold steel and hot-blooded valor will remain the ultimate weapons.

E-Books

Sons of Liberty (Royal Sorceress Book 4) by Chris Nuttall

The long-dreaded war between Britain and France has finally begun. French soldiers have landed on English soil and the British Army – and the Royal Sorcerers Corps, led by Lady Gwen – is moving to meet them. But when an inexperienced major disobeys her orders and sends two hundred hussars to their deaths, Gwen accidentally uses her magic to permanently damage his mind and sparks a political crisis at the worst possible time.

In the aftermath of the battle, Lord Mycroft suggests she leave Britain and head to the North American colonies, where British forces are anxiously awaiting a French offensive. The local sorcerers have been poisoned, the local government is barely keeping the colonies under control, the slaves are mutinous and revolution against the crown is brewing. The few locals with any known magical talent are untrained and certainly not ready for combat, but – if they can be trained in time – they may be all that stands between the colonies and defeat.

Accompanied by Irene Adler and Raechel Slater-Standish, agents of the British Crown, Gwen heads to North America. But it may be too late to save the colonies from a disaster that has been long in the making …

In ‘Sons of Liberty’, Gwen is sent from the relative safety of London to the colonies, where an undercurrent of revolution still abounds and intrigue and espionage are essential to keep the enemy at bay. But who exactly is the enemy? In the latest book in this exciting alternate history series, Christopher Nuttall expands Gwen’s horizons beyond Europe into the New World.

To readers, 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, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterTumblr and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Map Monday: The Land of Eternal Twilight by Lynn "ToixStory" Davis

I haven't featured anything by Lynn "ToixStory" Davis in a while, so I was happy to see that she had a good week last week. She was interviewed on Odyssey Online by Alex Wallace and her newest map was well-received on social media:
This is "The Land of Eternal Twilight" (full size here) which was based on a request from Tardis218 and colonial names were provided by a Anton Larsson. It features a Sweden that came out of the Thirty Years War strong enough to remain an important player in European politics (without the help of West Virginian time travelers). I especially liked Sweden's unorthodox colonial empire, which treated the colonies as equal members of the Swedish government, which probably explains why they held onto so much of it after decolonization set in.

The map itself has that realistic style that I love and the colors are easy on the eyes (I also enjoy the color blue for some reason, so this map met that need). The airship in the background of the text is a nice touch as well and I don't get the feeling Lynn was just being lazy when she included it, unlike others I could mention. Another good map from a great alternate cartographer.

Honorable mentions this week go out to "The End of an Empire" by Zek Sora, "America at the Start of the 1870s Before the Last Great Period of US Expansion" and "Super Scythia World" by Bruce Munro.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterTumblr and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

Weekly Update #232!

Editor's Note

So it looks like we got another Hugo Award controversy on our hands this year. I really don't have much to say about it since most alternate history works are either a) not read by those who vote in the Hugos or b) not considered good enough to be nominated (I talked more about this phenomenom with Dale Cozort here).

That is a shame since there are a lot of good works in the genre and alternate history does attract a lot of literary authors who want to be a little more creative, but don't want to attach themselves to the stigma that goes with "sci-fi". O well I have better things to do then throw my opinion around. Instead I will wonder what would happen if George RR Martin's Doorways had been picked up by its network...

And now the news...

Book of the Week: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle

A book I have been sharing a lot of social media, but haven't featured it on the blog proper yet is The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle. It is a Jazz Age tale of the Cthulhu Mythos that tackles the racism found in Lovecraft's work. Here is the description from Amazon:

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

If you want to learn more about The Ballad of Black Tom, check out its review on Horror Talk which describes the story as "a complex psychological journey for a black man pushed to the brink in an inherently racist society."

Definitely adding to me to-read list.

Video of the Week

Today's featured video is Cinema Sins break down of everything that is wrong with The Good Dinosaur, which is Pixar's first alternate history film and first flop. So don't expect another one from them in the near future.
And because I can't get enough self-promotion, check out Alana and I discuss Hulu's 11.22.63, now with epic Marc Pasquin title card:

You should also check out...
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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterTumblr and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Flag Friday: Tri-Color Flag of Argentina by CelticSky17

Today's flag is one I liked, hence why I shared it on social media earlier this week. It turned out you guys liked it as well if the analytics Facebook and Twitter provided me are correct. Yet when I realized that I would probably have to write a post on this flag, I was stumped about what to write about. So there is going to be less alternate history and more traditional history in today's Flag Friday.
Above is the "Tri-Color Flag of Argentina" by CelticSky17, which features a tri-color design based on the French flag, the blue and sun from our timeline's flag of Argentina and the yellow from the flag of Spain. Simple, but effective way of showing an alternate history. But what exactly could the point of divergence be?

I'm not going to lie, I don't know much about the history of Argentina. To be fair, not many alternate historians do either, hence why you don't see many alternate histories featuring it or another nation in South America. Nevertheless, that is not an excuse to learn and I can say at the very least that I did learn something while writing today's post.

For example, did you know that French Argentines make up 17% of the total population of Argentina? Or that France's invasion of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars indirectly caused the Argentine War of Independence? Of course, relations between Argentina and France have not always been good. Twice France blockaded Buenos Aries to naval commerce (in 1838 and again in 1845).

Perhaps if France intervened more directly in the Argentine Civil Wars, one of the victorious factions may have adopted such a tri-color design as the one CelticSky17 made as a show of gratitude. Then again I am not knowledgeable enough to make such a guess, but if you know something of Argentinian history, please share your scenario for how such a flag could come about in the comments.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterTumblr and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

Thoughts on 11.22.63

Alana and Matt discuss what they thought of Hulu's 11.22.63. Was it as good as the book for Matt? Was it able to stand on its own with Alana? Watch and find out:

Learn more about our adoption journey on our blog and GoFundMe page.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterTumblr and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lets Look At the Alternate History of Homefront: The Revolution

A couple days ago, Deep Silver and Dambuster Studios released the official trailer for Homefront: The Revolution. For those who don't know, the series began with the first-person shooter Homefront, which featured a near future dystopia where North Korea occupied most of the United States. The new game, however, is taking the story in an entirely new directed and has created an alternate history. According to the press release:

"The core premise of Homefront - an occupation on American soil - remains unchanged," said Hasit Zala, Game Director at Dambuster Studios. "But we have created a brand new fiction that offers a very different interpretation of how we got there."

We learn about this new fiction from this mockumentary and this timeline where you need to enter your age to get in. The point of divergence seems to be that North Korea is decisively defeated in the Korean War, which removes the communists and installs a democratic capitalist government. Why this doesn't end with North Korea being reunited with South Korea is anyone's guess. There are other changes as well, for example, the Soviets landing men on the Moon first (and surviving into the 21st century) and John McCain being elected president in 2008.

The true alternate history, however, is that "Steve Jobs" was born in North Korea. He ended up creating revolutionary technology, formed the powerful APEX Corporation and devised a theory about using technology to bring about peace, stability and all that jazz. After he died, his son takes over the company, gets elected Premier of North Korea and essentially merges the state and corporation into one entity. Desptie its size, North Korea is pretty much a global superpower at this point.

Meanwhile the United States becomes increasingly dependent on technology and financial assistance from North Korea, especially with its seemingly endless war in the Middle East (which includes a nuclear attack on Riyadh in 2016). Sadly the United States economy tanks and it is unable to pay its debt to the North Koreans. The Premier acts and shuts down all the technology the United States bought from Apex. The first troops to arrive come with humanitarian aide, but then the real occupation begins.
And if you look at the above picture, you can see an airship, because how else will people tell this is an alternate history without an airship?

So yeah this still is a North Korea wankfest like the first Homefront game, just without the communism. In fact, don't you guys get the feeling that the North Korea in this timeline is just an evil South Korea? South Korea in our timeline is already a major technology hub and dominated by massive conglomerates that influence the government. Isn't that what APEX is? Was the bad guy always supposed to be South Korea or a United Korea, but they changed it at the last minute so as to not to upset a potential market, like they did in the remake to Red Dawn? Or did they just really want North Korea to be the bad guys, regardless of how little sense that made? I'm going with the latter actually.

While I obviously haven't played the game (and probably never will) I will say that I am not impressed at all by the alternate history. It turns North Korea into an evil South Korea and still stacks the deck in their favor to allow them to invade and occupy a nation over 80 times its size  (I checked). Maybe the gameplay will make Homefront: The Revolution worth it, but the world-building is just awful.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterTumblr and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Preview: The House of Daniel by Harry Turtledove

The good folks at Tor & Forge were kind enough to send me a copy of Harry Turtledove's new book, The House of Daniel. In case you don't know about it, here is the description from Amazon:

Since the Big Bubble popped in 1929, life in the United States hasn't been the same. Hotshot wizards will tell you nothing's really changed, but then again, hotshot wizards aren't looking for honest work in Enid, Oklahoma. No paying jobs at the mill, because zombies will work for nothing. The diner on Main Street is seeing hard times as well, because a lot fewer folks can afford to fly carpets in from miles away.

Jack Spivey's just another down-and-out trying to stay alive, doing a little of this and a little of that. Sometimes that means making a few bucks playing ball with the Enid Eagles, against teams from as many as two counties away. And somethimes it means roughing up rival thugs for Big Stu, the guy who calls the shots in Enid.

But one day Jack knocks on the door of the person he's supposed to "deal with"--and realizes that he's not going to do any such thing to the young lady who answers. This means he needs to get out of the reach of Big Stu, who didn't get to where he is by letting defiance go unpunished.

Then the House of Daniel comes to town--a brash band of barnstormers who'll take on any team, and whose antics never fail to entertain. Against the odds Jack secures a berth with them. Now they're off to tour an America that's as shot through with magic as it is dead broke. Jack will never be the same--nor will baseball.

Expect a review over on Amazing Stories or elsewhere in the coming weeks. I got a couple of other books I need to get through first.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterTumblr and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.