Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekly Update #64

Editor's Note

I hope you guys enjoyed the winning entry to the Four Pictures Writing Contest.  Expect to see new writing contests in the future, except these will have specific word counts, most likely 500-1000.  I got some feedback recently that suggested that my word ceiling on the last contest was so high that people actually thought I was looking for novella length entries.  Not true, but I will try to be more specific for now on.

Okay what do we have this week?  New Releases, the Art of Steampunk (the superhero edition), SecondWorld preview and review.  I also have an essay in the works inspired by The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln and whether it foreshadows the genre's acceptance into the mainstream.

Meanwhile, I should be recording my guest spot on Dissecting Worlds podcast next Sunday.  I will keep you posted on when that goes live.  Subject will be the American Civil War, so if you have anything you would like me to talk about send me a line.

We got our first reader from Brunei. Welcome!

And now the news...

New film, After Earth, to be an alternate history

Usually when I hear the phrase "upcoming M. Night Shyamalan movie" I groan in exasperation.  This time, however, his new film After Earth (starring Will Smith and Jaden Smith) might be worthwhile enough for me to check out.  Here is the description from Wikipedia:

One thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity's escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind's new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai. When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai's craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.

Sounds like your run-of-the-mill futuristic, sci-fi summer blockbuster, until you see the teaser trailer:

Using the Facebook Timeline feature (which they must be happy about), the video presents the alternate history backstory of the film.  In this world the 1908 Tunguska Event was caused by a crashed alien spaceship.  The Raige family goes on to patent the technology gained from the craft and advances human knowledge faster than OTL.  The bad news is hyper-advanced humanity accelerates global warming making the Earth unlivable and forcing a select few to flee to a new planet.

While AH content might be limited, I still will check out the film to see how much of the backstory applies to the plot.  Look for more info and a review in the year to come.

Update: Geoffrey Wilson

Friend of the blog Geoffrey Wilson has been busy over at Edi's Book Lighthouse.  His debut novel, A Land of Hope and Glory, was reviewed by Edi, who said the novel went "beyond my [expectations] I got so much more which I did not expect in a debut novel. Geoff also did an interview with Edi that you can check out as well, but more important he gave you the chance to win a copy of his debut novel.  Click this link for more details.

Those interested can also check our my earlier review of Land of Hope and Glory and my interview with Geoff.

Things to do

Looking for places to purchase gear for your steampunk costumes?  Check out this list where you can find things in Australia (for those readers who live there) and online (for the rest of us).  Now onto all of those AH-related events that you can attend:

July 25-29: The Third Penzance LitFest will feature some steampunk programming for those living in Cornwall.

July 26: Last chance to see "Flight of Fancy", a steampunk ballet, in Washington, DC.

July 26-28: See steampunk "Hamlet" in Nampa, ID.

August 8: Screening of Iron Sky in Atlanta, GA.

Readers near San Diego, CA can also check out the new Steampunk exhibit at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

Links to the Multiverse


Counterfactuals and Alternate Histories by Keith Harris at Cosmic America.

Regional Differences in Steampunk by Maeve Alpin at Steamed!


Andrew O'Neill done by The Sun.

James ‘Lycerius’ Moore (the guy behind Civilization II: Eternal War) done by PC Gamer


'After America' a suspenseful alternate history novel by Brian Triplett at

‘Grantville’ fans, newcomers will love this one by Mark Lardas at The Daily News.

Ian Tregillis Talks History, Warlocks And The Coldest War at RT Book Reviews.


ARGO Online's biggest content update goes live by MJ Guthrie at Massively.

City of Steam schedules debut of a new playable race each alpha weekend by MJ Guthrie at Massively.

Dystopian Wars at Spartan Games.


B5's Boxleitner wants back on sci-fi TV in intriguing steampunk series by Trent Moore at blastr.

Political Animals: Alternate Hillary History by Paul Levinson at Open Levinson.


Marvellous Boxes 5: “Remembering the Martians” by Tim Parsil.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a volunteer editor for Alt Hist and a contributor to Just Below the Law. His fiction can be found at Echelon PressJake's Monthly and his own writing blog. When not writing he works as an attorney and enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana.

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