Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Update #95

Editor's Note

Around the time my interest in alternate history was turning into an obsession, my Dad was kind enough to give me his hardcover edition of Fatherland. He did so, however, on one condition: I wouldn't read it in public with the book jacket on. When I ask he why he pointed out the swastika on the cover might offend some people.

Regardless of the symbol's origin, their is no denying that in Western society it is seen as a symbol of hate and violence. With Axis victory scenarios being one of the most written about topics for English-speaking alternate historians, the image appears often in the media supplementing our works. Authors and creators have used different methods when presenting the symbol to their audience. Some expressly present it to the world, while others find creative means to obscure it. Still others just censor it entirely.

Who is right and who is wrong? Should people just suck it up and accept that due to the context of how the symbol appears it is not meant to offend or is there just too much history tied up with it that content producers should use other means to promote their works? Yes I understand the concept of free speech (and as an attorney I probably understand it better than most people) but for the sake of discussion, what are your thoughts on the matter? How many swastikas is too many? I would be interested in reading your thoughts.

And now the news...

Update: Gideon's Angel by Clifford Beal

This book got some good press last week. For those who don't know, here is the description from Amazon:
He came back to kill a tyrant. He found the Devil instead. An amazing historical novel with a supernatural twist set after the English Civil War. This is the stunning debut from Clifford Beal. 
He came back to kill a tyrant. He found the Devil instead. 
1653: The long and bloody English Civil War is at an end. King Charles is dead and Oliver Cromwell rules the land as king in all but name. Richard Treadwell, an exiled royalist officer and soldier-for-hire to the King of France and his all-powerful advisor, the wily Cardinal Mazarin, burns with revenge for those who deprived him of his family and fortune. He decides upon a self-appointed mission to return to England in secret and assassinate the new Lord Protector. Once back on English soil however, he learns that his is not the only plot in motion. 
A secret army run by a deluded Puritan is bent on the same quest, guided by the Devil’s hand. When demonic entities are summoned, Treadwell finds himself in a desperate turnaround: he must save Cromwell to save England from a literal descent into Hell. But first he has to contend with a wife he left in Devon who believes she’s a widow, and a furious Paris mistress who has trailed him to England, jeopardising everything. Treadwell needs allies fast. Can he convince the man sent to forcibly drag him back to Cardinal Mazarin? A young king’s musketeer named d’Artagnan. 
Black dogs and demons; religion and magic; Freemasons and Ranters. It’s a dangerous new Republic for an old cavalier coming home again.
Falcata Times said the novel "brings the wonders of historical fiction blending it with some cracking Urban Fantasy as the characters within have to deal with not only the superstitions of their own time but also with the wonderful twists that the modern writer can bring to the fore." Meanwhile, David Langford at The Telegraph listed Gideon's Angel as one of the best recent science fiction and described it as "[s]washbuckling excitement in grimy 1653."

Nice.

Update: Inceptio by Alison Morton

If you guys liked Alison's "INCEPTIO – An Alternate View", I have a couple of other articles you should check out. First there is Look out, world, here comes INCEPTIO! by Alison. Here she shares photos from the Inceptio launch day event:
Congrats Alison, remind me to pick your brain about marketing when I publish my first novel. Alison also received a very nice shout out from the Pembury Village News, a periodical she once edited for nine years. I hope to learn more about that, her novel and other things when I interview Alison. Stay tuned.

Bioshock Infinite news

Got some new trailers and images from the upcoming alternate history shooter: Bioshock Infinite. Enjoy:

Steampunk cyborg.
Of course if writing is more your game check out Behind Bioshock Infinite: Ken Levine on Writing a Groundbreaking Game by Kevin Ohannessian at Co.Create.

Deepworld now available on iPhones and iPad

[Editor's Note: Information taken from press release.]
Bytebin, an independent MMO game studio, has announced the launch of Deepworld on iPhone and iPod Touch. Originally released for Mac OSX and iPad, Deepworld has now expanded to all iOS platforms. The iPhone version connects mobile players to a shared online universe already bustling with iPad and Mac users, bringing the same great MMO experience to a new level of portability and accessibility . Deepworld is available for free on the iTunes App Store.

Deepworld is a massively multiplayer 2D crafting game set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk wasteland. Players can venture through mountains and ruined cities, delve into mazelike caves and underground bunkers, and scour for resources while fending off harrowing creatures of the deep. With a robust crafting and inventory system, Deepworld allows players to create hundreds of tools, building materials, decorations, and mechanical contraptions. Players can collaborate and trade with each other in thriving user-created cities and settlements—or they can settle in their own private worlds, available as in-app purchases. Deepworld’s persistent online universe allows players to jump into the game at any time, from any compatible device with an Internet connection, and continue playing from where they left off.

Deepworld is an adventure, but it’s also a growing community of friends, teammates and rivals,” said Bytebin developer Quinn Stephens. “Now that players can connect on virtually any iOS device or Mac desktop, it makes the game more accessible for veterans and newcomers alike. We’re excited to welcome a new and wider audience into the game, and to continue to introduce fresh content to the fans who’ve already found a home here.”

In Deepworld, players can:

Explore: Delve into the depths of a constantly changing and expanding world and dig for precious resources, using touch controls specially refined for the iPhone.

Create: Return the world to its former glory using hundreds of items and materials, all via a simple one-touch crafting system.

Fight: Use crafted weapons to fend off mutant creatures, or construct defenses to protect valuable creations. Battle other players for supremacy in deadly PvP arenas.

Collaborate: Meet and join fellow adventurers while exploring the wasteland. Form guilds, trade resources and rare items, and band together to take down the most dangerous foes.

Customize: Alter in-game appearance at will. Gather clothing, hats, masks, and other special customizations from the environment. Earn skill points through achievements, and use them to level up abilities—including mining, crafting, agility, and more.


Calender

"Things to do" is just too clunky and sometimes I don't get enough submissions to warrant a specific segment on a Weekly Update. So I have combined the two in a Calender. For now I will list upcoming events, submission deadlines and kickstarters here. I hope you all enjoy the new format.

March 21-30: Steampunk version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Maddermarket Theatre in Norwich, UK.

March 26: “What if the Confederacy won the Civil War” program by Layland Museum at Hill College in Waxahachie, TX.

March 26-28: The First 10 Pages: SF & Fantasy Boot Camp online class.

April 4: Adam Christopher will launch The Age Atomic at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, London, UK.

April 6: Deadline for the The Artifice Club, A Steampunk Arts Coalition and More kickstarter (although to be fair they are fully funded).

August 22-25: NecronomiCon in Providence, Rhode Island. (Cthulhu, I really want to go to this. Anyone want to pay for my plane ticket?)

Links to the Multiverse

Articles

Alt Kafka – Franz Kafka in Alternate History by Séamus Sweeney at Alt Hist.

Coming Soon: “The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF” Edited by Mike Ashley at SF Signal.

Crossroads: The Western Hero in Speculative Fiction by Chris Gerwel at Amazing Stories.

Extract from Ian Tregillis' NECESSARY EVIL at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist.

Folklore in The Charge @SharonBayliss at The Peasants Revolt.

This Glassy Tower Could Have Risen by the High Line by Hana Alberts at Curbed.

James P Blaylock – Steampunk Legend at Fabulous Realms.

The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon's 'treason' by David Taylor at BBC.

Pet Peeves of a Steampunk Editor by Mandy Brown at Steamed!

“Pimp My Airship” – Reclaiming Airships for Epic Fantasy by Anna Gregson at Orbit.

TOC: ‘Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories’ Edited by Claude Lalumière & Camille Alexa at SF Signal.

Book Reviews

The Afrika Reich by Guy Saville at Seattle PI.

Her Majesty’s Wizard by Christopher Stasheff at Amazing Stories.

The Janis Affair by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris at books!

Monster Earth by various authors at Amazing Stories.

The Tears of the Sun by SM Stirling at Wordsmithonia.

Comics

Exclusive First Look at the Cover for Chronos Commandos #2 From Titan Comics at Geek Syndicate.

Films

Feature Trailer for “After Earth” Arrives by John DeNardo at SF Signal.

Mathis Landwehr Brings The Steampunk Martial Arts With LAND OF GIANTS by Todd Brown at Twitch.

Submit Your DIY online videos to the Chronos FIlm Festival by Rhetta Akamatsu at Examiner.

Games

Forget About Humanity. Robots Rule The Land In This Steampunk Game. by Patricia Hernandez at Kotaku.

Webgame Wednesday on Thursday: Steampunk Tower by Devin D. O’Leary at Alibi.

Interviews

Adam Christopher at Every Read Thing.

Ellen Datlow at Black Gate.

E.C. Myers at SF Signal.

Lavie Tidhar at Locus Online.

Podcasts

Podcast Ep.2: Russian Revolution (1917) at the Alternate History Inquirer.

Television

alternate wednesday: the time traveler’s watch by ecmyers.

Elementary: Season 1, Episode 18. Déjà Vu All Over Again at Thinking about books.

Noted Steampunk Thriller “PROGRESS” Announces New Fundraising Campaign at International Business Times.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger on Amazing Stories and a volunteer editor for Alt Hist magazine. His fiction can be found at Echelon PressJake's Monthly and The Were-Traveler. 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.

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