Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekly Update #76

Editor's Note

"Stay on target!"

Good point, Davish Krail. With the 2012 US presidential election coming up, its time to remind alternate historians that contemporary American politics is not alternate history. That being said, stay tuned for election themed AH. You get a taste this week with a new showcase by Korsgaard and then next week you get even more showcases and reviews of political AH.

Hey, follow my writing blog. Why? I will be making an important announcement soon that will effect my writing career and Weekly Update. Stay tuned.

Got our first reader from Afghanistan. Welcome! I hope you and all our readers enjoy today's Weekly Update. It is chocked full of news from television, film and video games. Along with our political teaser on Wednesday, we got two reviews coming up as well.

And now the news...

Alternate History of the Cuban Missile Crisis
To remind us all how we did not perish in nuclear fireballs, the good folks at the JFK Library released a documentary last week portraying a grim alternate history of the Cuban missile crisis called Clouds Over Cuba. Melissa M. Werthmann at The Boston Globe says the film uses real actors to show what could have happened if the "Cuban War" was a reality. She calls it a "grim alternate history" that (spoiler alert) forces the US to carry out an "all-out retaliation that leaves its adversary in ruins."

If you want more info about nuclear war, check out this podcast which discusses the plausibility of a nuclear winter. Thanks to Brian W. Daugherty for informing me about this documentary and podcast. Check out his review of The Mirage by Matt Ruff and his showcase on Protect and Survive, an online timeline about nuclear war in the 1980s. If you like his style, let him know and maybe he will submit news articles for Weekly Update.

Coming Soon: Pressure

Those looking for a fun new steampunk game to play should check out the trailer for the new arcade racer, Pressure:

TopWare Interactive announced it will publish developer Chasing Carrots' Pressure. The game offers a mix of shooting and top-down racing in a steampunk setting. Players take control of a buggy that runs on steam power to speed through the levels of Pressure's cartoonish world. The top-down view gives players full vantage of the race track, enemies, giant bosses, and vile tire-busting traps. A shop and upgrade system allows players to upgrade their buggy in between races.

Here is the story: The sinister Earl of Wellness is attempting to expand his exploitative empire of wellness spas, and must be stopped. The hero awakes to find the usually cool waters lake where he takes his morning bath completely dry and filled with cruel machines. The sinister Earl has drained the lake to be the site of his new Wellness Spa Temple. Thwarting his sinister plans and returning the valuable water to the citizens of the world is the main objective of the game... as well as destroying his countless, caltrop-laying minions.

The download’s due out next month for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

More on Dishonored

Got some more reviews of Dishonored for you to read. Falcata Times said the game was "[d]efinitely a magical experience and for me it’s going to be one of my games of the year" while Marcus Anderson at the Battle Creek Enquirer said it "is an exciting and innovative stealth game." Jason Trikamji at Sabotage Times finishes our trio of reviews with the line "[q]uite simply Dishonored is an amazing game, atmospheric, enjoyable and varied."

Of course not everyone might be pleased with what they discover about themselves while playing Dihonored. Check out 5 Awful Things You Learn About Yourself Playing 'Dishonored' by Robert Brockway at Cracked.

Will I play it? Personally I enjoy games where I got to cause as much destruction as possible. Having to be stealthy all the time is not why I play video games. But who knows? I might give it a shot.

Tai Chi Zero reviews

Early reviews of Tai Chi Zero skewered the kung fu, steampunk film. Genre reviewers, however, have found things to like about this action comedy. Annalee Newitz at io9 said "whether you're a kung fu fiend or a complete amateur, you'll find something to love in this tale of kung fu traditions vs. Western technology." Chris Sawin at Examiner.com said Tai Chi Zero "is never boring though as it constantly keeps you engaged with its over the top humor and spectacular action sequence." Finally Jef (with one F) at the Houston Press said "[i]t's one of the strangest films I've ever seen, but Tai Chi Zero is also without a doubt one of the absolute best."

I tried to get tickets for a showing of the film in Chicago, but sadly that did not work out. I guess I will have to pay for it.

Revolution? Of course, it got a full season remember?

Revolution had a moderate rise in ratings after Episode 5, but the critics aren't reflecting it. TJ Johnson at The Cool Ship called some of the bad decisions of the characters as "senseless". He criticizes the main character Charlie as being too trusting and asks why the fat character is still fat after 15 years without modern technology.

Cracked put it best however with The 10 Dumbest Things on TV So Far This Season by Christina H. Spoiler Alert: 9 out of 10 are about Revolution.

Links to the Multiverse

Articles

Roads Not Taken: An alternate history of the 2012 Chicago White Sox by 67WMAQ at South Side Sox.

Books

Alternate viewpoint Friday: Harry Turtledove does WWII and Tarzan's mate speaks by Kel Munger at Newsreview.com

Fire on the Mountain: Alternate history with a political flavor at Fantasy Literature.

First Professional Short Fiction Sale (“The Maltese Crux” to Eric Flint’s Grantville Gazette Issue 44) by Alistair Kimble at The Journey of Life and Writing.

My nightmare of a Nazi Britain by CJ Sansom at Guardian.

Review of Alt Hist Issue 4 at SFcrowsnest.

Comics

COMIC REVIEW: Atomic Robo and The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #3 done by Leo Johnson at Geek Syndicate.

Free Graphic Novel: High Society Brings Steampunk With a Philippine Twist by Natania Barron at Wired.

Preview: Before Watchmen: Minutemen #4 at CBR.

Saturday Webcomic: The Not-Quite Historical Adventures of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage by Lauren Davis at io9.

Games

American history unfolds in 'Assassin's Creed 3' by Larry Frum at CNN Tech.

Deepworld Offers Steampunk Crafting MMO On Mac by  Ryan Winslett at Gaming Blend.

For The Casual Gamer: The Tiny Bang Story by Brad at The Droid Guy.

Run’n'Gun Down Communists On Venus In “Venusian Vengeance” at Wraithkal's Indie Gaming Corner.

Interviews

Doctor Q at Steamed!

Television

Review of Elementary at Alternate History Fiction.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is a long-time fan of alternate history, founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a volunteer editor for Alt Hist magazine. His fiction can be found at Echelon PressJake's Monthly and The Masquerade Crew. 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 (@MattMitrovich).

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