Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Releases 7/22/14

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Paperbacks

Charlemagne and the Paladins by Julia Cresswell

Symbolically, the quintessential English feudal monarch is King Arthur, but stories of Charlemagne and his Knights' quests throughout Christian Europe had a much wider impact. Amidst the chaos and violence of Europe in the eighth century, Charlemagne became king of the Franks and slowly established an empire the likes of which had not been seen since the days of the Romans. As Charlemange's power grew, so did the stories attached to his name.

This book explores the myths and legends of the great king Charlemagne, from the stories about his mother, Bertha Bigfoot, and his youthful adventures with the thief, Basin, to his fantastical journeys to Jerusalem and Constantinople. It also retells the stories of his most famous knights, the Paladins. These brave warriors were all heroes in their own right, and included many famous names such as Roland, Ogier the Dane, Oliver, Archbishop Turpin, and Renault of Montalban who rode the famous steed, Bayard. Together with his Paladins, Charlemagne established a court to rival Camelot and led the Christian kingdoms of Europe in their ongoing struggles with the armies of the East. Although this great ruler eventually passed away, quietly in his bed, the legends say that he now sits on his golden throne beneath the mountain, waiting until the need of his people calls him forth again.

Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka

Ted Kosmatka's sensational new thriller, Prophet of Bones, thrusts readers into an alternate present.

Paul Carlson, a brilliant young scientist, is summoned from his laboratory job to the remote Indonesian island of Flores to collect DNA samples from the ancient bones of a strange, new species of tool user unearthed by an archaeological dig. The questions the find raises seem to cast doubt on the very foundations of modern science, which has proven the world to be only 5,800 years old, but before Paul can fully grapple with the implications of his find, the dig is violently shut down by paramilitaries.

Paul flees with two of his friends, yet within days one has vanished and the other is murdered in an attack that costs Paul an eye, and very nearly his life. Back in America, Paul tries to resume the comfortable life he left behind, but he can't cast the questions raised by the dig from his mind. Paul begins to piece together a puzzle which seems to threaten the very fabric of society, but world's governments and Martial Johnston, the eccentric billionaire who financed Paul's dig, will stop at nothing to silence him.

Theatre of the Gods by Matt Suddain

Steampunk space opera? Damn right.

This is the story of M. Francisco Fabrigas, explorer, philosopher, heretical physicist, who took a shipful of children on a frightening voyage to the next dimension, assisted by a teenaged Captain, a brave deaf boy, a cunning blind girl, and a sultry botanist, all the while pursued by the Pope of the universe and a well-dressed mesmerist.

Dark plots, demonic cults, murderous jungles, quantum mayhem, the birth of creation, the death of time, and a creature called the Sweety: all this and more waits beyond the veil of reality.

First in a sequence of at least three titles.

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, July 21, 2014

We're Moving!

As I warned you all earlier this month, my wife and I are moving to our new home at the end of this week. Due to all the work that still needs to get done before the move, I will be posting sporadically or not at all. This has also caused me to put Voices from Alternia on hiatus until the dust finally settles.

Please have patience as I plan to return next month with a bunch of new articles, interviews, reviews and other alternate history goodies. If you have submitted a guest post it may be some time before it is published, but I will work with you to the best of my ability so that the wait is not unreasonably long.

In the meantime, our calendar has been updated and you may want to check out Map Monday: American Quilt by Jordan Penny, which was the most viewed article last week. I have an interview with the creator scheduled and I hope to finish that soon.

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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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flag Friday: People's Republic of Sweden

Originally posted on Sean Sherman's blog Other Times. Support an alternate historian by subscribing to his blog!
Sweden suffered greatly during the Great War. A British blockade and Russian invasion devastated the country to such a point that the government collapsed towards the end of the conflict in April 1896.

By the end of 1896 Sweden was proclaimed a People's Republic. The German Empire did not like having a communist country so close to it so they supported an Danish conquest of Ostlandet in a war from 30 January 1899 to 31 May 1899. During those few months Germany and Norway helped Denmark annex a portion of Swedish territory.

Germany and Norway again invaded the People's Republic of Sweden on 1 June 1904 to add a stretch of Swedish territory to Norway. Having never recovered fully from the Great War much less the Danish Conquest of Ostlandet, the Swedes were forced to surrender on 3 July 1905 with the loss of additional territory. The territory gained by Norway included Nord-Noreg and Tr√łndelag.

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Sean Sherman has been a fan of alternate timelines ever since seeing Spock with a goatee.  By day he is a CPA, at night he explores the multiverse and shares his findings over at his blog, Other Times.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Not another AH about Sealion!

Guest post by Bernard Neeson.

Yes, but... how often does the seed for an AH story come from the pen of the main actor?

“There were some, indeed... who would like to have seen him try.”

These startling words can be found in Winston Churchill’s The Second World War, hidden away and rarely commented upon. Startling, because the received wisdom about Sea Lion, the Nazi plan for the invasion of England, is that Britain held on by its fingernails. The country was saved only by the bravery of the RAF’s fighter pilots, “The Few”.

Most historians now accept that if the Nazis had attempted an invasion in September 1940, they would have been heavily defeated, not by the RAF or the British Army, but by the Royal Navy.

At that time, the Royal Navy was ten times bigger than the German Kriegsmarine, repeat ten times! It was bloodied but unbowed after the battles in Norway and at Dunkirk. That may be true, but what about the Luftwaffe, you might ask? Would it not have been able to destroy the British fleet? Well, it tried, at Dunkirk, with only limited success. Undoubtedly, the Royal Navy would have suffered losses as it attacked the invasion fleet, especially if the RAF had been seriously weakened.  But have a look at a map of the English Channel; then have a look at the specifications of the Bf109 and the Ju87, especially their limited range.

And think about the night. The Royal Navy’s capital ships could have stayed out of range of the Luftwaffe’s dive-bombers by day, then made the dash from the safety of East Anglia to the Channel and back to safe waters, all in the hours of the darkness.  Except for a handful of extended-range Ju87s, the only aircraft that could have reached the Royal Navy’ ships there would have been the vulnerable, inaccurate level bombers, escorted by the just-as-vulnerable Bf110 twin-engined fighters. The Luftwaffe sent such a formation across the North Sea once, just once. It was a turkey shoot for the RAF’s Hurricanes.

Then imagine what those twenty or thirty cruisers and battleships would have done in a few hours of darkness to the barges and steamers of the German invasion fleet, as they tried to bring over the second echelon and supplies? What would their 15” guns have done to the German forces that had managed to get ashore in England? Think Omaha beach, but with German battleships rather than Allied doing the shore bombardment.

Deterrent forces rarely make as good headlines as forces in action, so it is understandable that there was little publicity for the Royal Navy’s vital role. It has also been suggested that, after a succession of crushing defeats on the continent, Churchill needed a victory. He needed to destroy the aura of German invincibility to bolster the nation for the hard struggle ahead, and the RAF’s pilots provided just that.

His words at the start of this article above reflect the likely outcome of an invasion. But who were the “some” who would like to have seen (Hitler) try. For me, the words are written in such an uncritical way, that the most likely candidate is Winston Spencer Churchill himself. If he had disapproved of the view, I believe that the sentiment would show. How far might he have been tempted to go? With his history of military gambles, from the Dardanelles to Norway, he was well capable of turning such a feeling into bold, even reckless plan of action.

In An Invitation to Hitler, I explore this possibility, in a fictionalized, dramatized and hopefully thought-provoking way.

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Bernard Neeson is a keen student of political and military history. Now retired after a long career in the technology industry, he lives in Dublin, Ireland where he indulges his pastimes of sailing and writing. His first novel, "An Invitation to Hitler" reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and the shortlist for the UK SpaSpa awards.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Releases 7/15/14

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Hardcover

Last Orders by Harry Turtledove

History is changed by one small act.

In an extraordinary saga of nations locked in war, master storyteller Harry Turtledove tells the story of World War II, which begins over Czechoslovakia rather than Poland, eleven months earlier than it really came. Now we have the final installment in Turtledove’s landmark World War II series.

Hitler’s Plan A was to win in a hurry, striking hard and deep into France. There was no Plan B. Now the war grinds on. Countries have been forced into strange alliances. The Nazis fortify thin lines with Hungarian and Romanian troops. England, finding its footing after the suspicious death of Winston Churchill and a coup d’√©tat, fights back in Europe and on the seas of the North Atlantic. Jews fight on both sides of the war—in secret in German uniform, openly in Spain, France, and Russia. Into the standoff come new killing tools, from tanks to bazookas. In the Pacific, Japan prepares bombs filled with macabre biological concoctions to be dropped on Hawaii.

For the U.S., the only enemy is Japan, as there has been no casus belli for America in Europe. Then Hitler becomes desperate and declares war on the United States. But is it too late? His own people are rising up in revolt. The German military may have to put down the violence, even perhaps bomb its own cities.

In this epic drama, real men and women are shaped by the carnage, and their individual acts in turn shape history. Drawing on the gritty, personal reality of war and on a cast of unforgettable characters, Harry Turtledove has written an alternate history that intrigues, fascinates, and astounds.

Paperback

The Boleyn Reckoning by Laura Andersen

Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, The Boleyn Reckoning heralds the triumphant conclusion of Laura Andersen’s enthralling trilogy about the Tudor king who never was: the son of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn—Henry IX—who, along with his sisters and those he holds most dear, approaches a dangerous crossroads.

The Tudor royal family has barely survived a disastrous winter. Now English ships and soldiers prepare for the threat of invasion. But William Tudor—known as Henry IX—has his own personal battles to attend to. He still burns for Minuette, his longtime friend, but she has married William’s trusted advisor, Dominic, in secret—an act of betrayal that puts both their lives in danger. Princess Elizabeth, concerned over her brother’s erratic, vengeful behavior, imperils her own life by assembling a shadow court in an effort to protect England. With war on the horizon, Elizabeth must decide where her duty lies: with her brother or her country. Her choice could forever change the course of history.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

LAURA ANDERSEN’S NOVELS ABOUT THE IMAGINED SON OF HENRY VIII and ANNE BOLEYN ARE: “excellent . . . quick-paced” —Booklist (starred review) • “delectable and full of intrigue” —New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander • “impossible to put down” —award-winning author Stefanie Pintoff

Audio

The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen

Named one of the best books of the year by RT Book Reviews

Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Showtime's The Tudors, The Boleyn King is the first book in an enthralling trilogy that dares to imagine: What if Anne Boleyn had actually given Henry VIII a son who grew up to be king?

Just 17 years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: His older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William's mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king's desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England's fortunes forever.

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.

* * *

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, July 14, 2014

Map Monday: American Quilt by Jordan Penny

Although this is an old map, it got a lot of press last week on io9 and thus I decided to talk about it on Map Monday. Check out "American Quilt" by Jordan Penny:
As you can probably guess, this is a balkanized North America timeline, but what makes this project unique is that it is not just a map, but an entire series of graphics set in this alternate universe. Check out this bank note from Louisiana:
Telling an alternate history entirely through images excites me and I will be following this project with interest. You can see more images from Jordan here. I am a little iffy on the POD. If you read the io9 article, Jordan described the American rebels as "insurgents", which doesn't really fit with the Revolutionary War. When 21st century Americans hear "insurgent" they think terrorist or guerrilla fighter. The Revolutionary War, however, was often fought through set piece battles between organized armies and while both sides used partisan warfare, in truth most partisans were Loyalists trying to combat the rebels where they were most numerous. It is a misconception of history that Americans fought like the Viet Cong, waging a war of attrition against the British Empire, while ignoring completely the contributions of France and other foreign powers.

Of course I could just be nitpicking by focusing on one word instead of looking at the project as a whole. All in all I like the world Jordan is building and I hope to see more in the future. Honorable mentions this week go to "Osman 2014" by Bruce Munro (based on this scenario) and "The Plum Blossom Blooms" by rvbomally. If you want to submit a map for consideration 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.

Weekly Update #155

Editor's Note

Moving can be stressful, but it also can be rewarding. There are two positives about packing for a move that people don't think about. First, you discover just how much junk you really have and how cathartic it feels to finally throw it away. Second, you rediscover things you thought you lost and thus can treasure them all over again.

History is a lot like that. By studying it you realize just how much junk our shared record contains and why some of it needs to be thrown away. Sort of like books that are infected by bias or nationalism. That being said, by studying history we also discover tidbits that we have forgotten about, which opens up a whole new path of study.

More importantly, you don't need to pay movers to do any of the above. Every individual has the power to immerse themselves fully into history without anyone's help.

And now the news...

Paradox Interactive Reveals Fantastical Lineup for Gamescom 2014

Paradox Interactive announced the catalog of games that would be on display – and playable by attendees – at the Gamescom trade show in Cologne, Germany on August 13-17, 2014. Among many of the games announced, Paradox will be publicly showcasing Hearts of Iron IV, the highly anticipated World War II strategy war-game, for the first time ever in a live demonstration during Fan Gathering 2014, an annual event where Paradox Development Studio fans and devs alike can commingle and plot world domination together. Fan Gathering 2014 will take place in Cologne on August 14, 2014.

Fan Gathering 2014 will also play host to a guest panel of Paradox personnel, including CEO Fred Wester and Paradox Development Studio veteran Johan Andersson, which will be moderated by popular YouTuber Quill18. Hear banter on developing strategy games, ask Fred embarrassing questions about his love of karaoke, or just stare intently into Johan’s deep blue eyes.

Let us know at The Update how Hearts of Iron IV was if you happen to be attending Gamescom.

Links to the Multiverse

Books


5 Things You Didn't Know About Steampunk by Paul Di Filippo at Huff Post.
10 Science Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Actually Read Them) by Charlie Jane Anders at io9.
D.B. Jackson on The History Behind The Historical Fiction Behind the THIEFTAKER CHRONICLES at SF Signal.
Review: Alfred and Emily by Doris Lessing at mirabile dictu.
Reviews: The Chronicles of Light and Shadow 2 and 3: A Clockwork Heart, Sky Pirates by Liesel Schwarz at Falcata Times.
Reviews: The Enceladus Crisis and The Gravity of the Affair by Michael J. Martinez at The Qwillery.
Review: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick at mirabile dictu.
Review: The Return of the Discontinued Man by Mark Hodder at Thinking about books.
Review: The Windsor Faction by DJ Taylor at mirabile dictu.
The Story Behind Alessandro Tarabotti's Cover Art by Gail Carriger.
Writing a Truly Dastardly Villain by Cindy Spencer Pape at Steamed.

Counterfactual and Traditional History (Plus News)

46 days to Cougar football: Alternate history, what if Toni Pole scored in the Apple Cup? by Mark Sandritter at SB Nation.
Birth control saves money. Lots of it. by Ezra Klein at Vox.
The Remarkable Predictions And Inventions Of Sir Winston Churchill by George Dvorsky at io9.
Sears, Walmart Pull Poster of Nazis' Dachau Camp by Susanna Kim at ABC News.
Steven Spielberg Triceratops ‘Trophy Shot’ Causes Backlash Against Director On Facebook by Treye Green at International Business Times.

Film and Television

'In the Event of a Moon Disaster' Offers Alternate History of Apollo 11 by Jennifer Lafferty at Stack Gamer.
Read Them Now, Watch Them Later: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Adaptation Watch—The Stephen King Edition by John DeNardo at Kirkus.

Games

Insomnia RPG Playable Tech Demo Now Available by Julian Horsey at Geeky Gadgets.

Interviews

Ian Doescher at Geekadelphia.
Lavie Tidhar at SF Signal.
Jo Walton at Lightspeed.

Podcasts

Dissecting Worlds Series 8, Episode 7: Religion Feedback at Geek Syndicate.
Dissecting Worlds: Series 9 Running Order at Geek Syndicate.

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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.