Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekly Update #31

Editor's Note

We broke our monthly page view record last month.  The most page views in a single month is now at 4404.  That is the second time in the row this blog has broken the record and I assure you we are going for three in the row this month.  Got some good stuff coming to you this week in an effort to reach that goal, including a new showcase by Korsgaard.  War Blogger also might have some posts next week once he finishes writing the first chapter to the sequel of Wolf Hunt.

If you have not seen it already, take a look at the new poll in the right side column.  I am planning on putting ads up on this blog, but I wanted to get the readers' opinion on this.  So please, answer the poll and help me make an important decision about the future of this blog.

Meanwhile we got our first reader from Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Blangadesh.  Welcome!

And now the news...

What Can President Gingrich Do For Alternate History?

I and others have mentioned before that alternate history is an obscure genre.  It helps, however, when a well known mainstream author, like Stephen King, writes an alternate history novel.  The spotlight shines on everyone who works in the genre, but only for a little while.

So...what if an alternate history author becomes President of the United States of America?

For those not paying attention to the upcoming United States presidential election of 2012, one of the current front runners for the Republican nomination is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.  Not only is Gingrich a history professor, but he is also an author of alternate history.  He has co-authored several alternate history novels with William R. Forstchen and Albert S. Hanser, usually set in either the American Civil War and World War II.

Now that Gingrich has become the new front runner in the Republican race, the news agencies have been buzzing about his alternate history credentials.  Mark Whittington at Yahoo! Voices discussed several of Gingrich's works and said they symbolized Newt's "fascination about how history can be shaped by individual decisions by people who happen to be in the right place at the right time." William Bradley at The Huffington Post described Gingrich's alternate histories as being "filled with colorful mavericks, technophilia, loathing for bureaucratic norms, and an evident zest for conflict."  Otis L. Sanford at The Commercial Appeal, however, has a different view of Gingrich's fondness for alternate history when he quotes Andrew Ferguson by saying "a counterfactual account of history appeals especially to people who are disappointed in the real thing. Settled fact is unsatisfying; history as it occurs seems somehow a cheat...It is true that history hasn't worked the way Newt Gingrich envisioned it."

This blogger cannot help but speculate what would happen if Gingrich not only won his party's nomination, but also defeated President Obama in 2012.  What would a President Gingrich do for the genre?  Would his novels act as gateways to a larger library of fiction as people read them to see what the new President did before he was elected?  As I have stated before, Alternate History Weekly Update has a "No Cross, No Crown" policy, but such a future does not seem that bad to this blogger.

Coming Soon: Boneshaker the film

Perhaps the film industry is experiencing a love affair for alternate history films.  Just last week I learned that Hammer Films has acquired the rights to make a film based on Cherie Priest's BoneshakerAccording to Uchronia, Boneshaker is a steampunk adventure set in a world in which the American Civil War has dragged on for 20 years...and there are zombies!  While the idea of steampunk zombies hunters in a war-torn America excites me to no end, we should not get our hopes up.  Many successful novels are optioned all the time and are never made into films, it is just part of the business.  Still I congratulate Priest on her success and if Hammer films notices that there is  a strong interest in this film being made we might just see Boneshaker on the big screen.

You can learn more about this story here and here.

Baen Books Christmas Carol Contest

Baen Books is holding a contest to see who can make the best alternate history Christmas Carol.  Submissions should include at least a verse and chorus. You also have to name the OTL traditional carol on which your lyrics are based.  Alternate history author Robert Conroy and the Baen editorial staff will pick the winning submission.  Lyrics will also be published in the January newsletter. The winner will receive an advanced reading copy and hardcover of Robert Conroy’s Himmler’s War, both signed by the author.

If you plan to enter the contest, please inform Alternate History Weekly Update.

Links to the Multiverse

Articles

Alternate History: A Lesser Known Genre Of Literature Which I Love by Dan Levy at Levy News Network.

Some Thoughts on Writing Steampunk Fiction by Frank Chadwick at Space 1889 Blog.

In an alternate reality, this pyramid is the Lincoln Memorial by Cyriaque Lamar at iO9. 

When novels change history by Stuart Kelly at The Guardian.

Online Alternate History

A counterfactual history of Tim Tebow as a Jacksonville Jaguar by Jeremy Stahl at Slate.

What if ... the FIFA World Cup had been played in a different year by Adam Bate at SI.com

Books

Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, late November (two alternate history short stories are present in the review)

Review of 11/22/63 by Stephen King, reviewed by Ron Capshaw at Big Hollywood.

Review of The Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove, reviewed by Rosboch Book Reviews.

Review of The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge, reviewed by San Jose Public Library.

Well Lit: Alternate histories by Umapagan Ampikaipakan at New Straits Times.

Video Games

Preview: BioShock Infinite by Duncan Geere at Wired.co.uk.

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Mitro is founder, editor and contributor of Alternate History Weekly Update. When he is not busy writing about his passion for alternate history, he spends his time working as a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois and dreams of being a published author himself one day.

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