Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Update #102

Editor's Note

I could rant or rave about something here, but since I missed last Monday's Weekly Update, we are just going to cut straight to the good stuff.

And now the news...

Update: The Trader's War by Charles Stross

The second omnibus edition of Charles StrossThe Merchant Princes series, The Trader's War, came out last week. Here is the description from Amazon:
For one ex-journalist, the nightmare has just begun. Miriam Beckstein has said goodbye to her comfort zone, and the transition from journalist to captive in an alternative timeline was challenging to say the least. As was discovering her long-lost family, the Clan, were world-skipping assassins. Now civil war rages in her adopted home, she's pregnant with the heir to their throne and a splinter-group want her on their side of a desperate power struggle. But as a leader or figurehead?
Meanwhile, unknown to the Clan, the US government is on to them and preparing to exploit this knowledge. But it hadn't foreseen a dissident Clan faction carrying nuclear devices between worlds - with the US President in their sights. The War on Terror is about to go transdimensional. But Mike Fleming, CIA agent, knows the most terrifying secret of all. His government's true intentions.
Falcata Times said the omnibus has "top notch prose and a wonderful story arc [that] really does give the reader something special." For those looking for more information on the series, check out Storss' article on Tor.com where he discusses the worldbuilding in his series.

Update: Unburning Alexandria by Paul Levinson

Also coming out last week was Paul Levinson's Unburning Alexandria. Here is the description from Amazon:
Mid-twenty-first century time traveler Sierra Waters, fresh from her mission to save Socrates from the hemlock, is determined to alter history yet again, by saving the ancient Library of Alexandria - where as many as 750,000 one-of-a-kind texts were lost, an event described by many as “one of the greatest intellectual catastrophes in history.” 
Along the way she will encounter old friends such as William Henry Appleton the great 19th century American publisher and enemies like the enigmatic time travelling inventor Heron of Alexandria. And her quest will involve such other real historic personages as Hypatia, Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe, Ptolemy the astronomer, and St. Augustine - again placing her friends, her loved-ones, and herself in deadly jeopardy. 
In this sequel to the THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES, award winning author Paul Levinson offers another time-traveling adventure spanning millennia, full of surprising twists and turns, all the while attempting the seemingly impossible: UNBURNING ALEXANDRIA.
You can learn about some background info about writing the novel and listen to a reading over at Paul's blog. You can also read an excerpt from Unburning Alexandria at SF Signal.

Update: James Blaylock

Award-winning author James P. Blaylok has been called a "steampunk legend" or "one of the pioneers of the steampunk genre". No offense to Blaylok, but I have never read any of his works...yet. I am intrigued by the fact that he was mentored by the great Philip K. Dick so I probably need to add a few of his titles to my want to read list. I especially want to check out his Lord Kelvin's Machine recently reprinted by the good folks at Titan Books. You can check out a review of the novel at Steampunk Scholar, but be careful because there are spoilers. Blaylok also did some promotion for another of his books, The Aylesford Skull, over at Steamed. If you want to learn more about the author I highly recommend you go and check it out the interview.

Revolution's Ratings Improve

The show that alternate historians love to hate, Revolution, could be improving. The show experienced a ratings gain among adults, stopping its slide since the show began last year. Although renewed for a second season, Paul S. White at Johnny Jay's Sci Fi Cancellation Watch holds that the show will need to make some changes to be successful. Of course, whether it needs to make any changes could be a matter of opinion. The previously mentioned Paul Levinson has given good reviews to recent episodes. He said episode 15 "continues firing on all cylinders - and continues drawing on the fine female acting talent on 24" and said episode 16 was "[a] tight, taught, altogether excellent episode".

Have you been watching Revolution? What do you think?

LoneStarCon 3 Announces Opening of 2015 Worldcon and 2014 NASFiC Ballot

LoneStarCon 3, the 71st World Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon"), is pleased to announce the opening of the voting process to select the host sites for the 2015 Worldcon and the 2014 North American Science Fiction Convention ("NASFiC").

Three bids have formally filed for the 2015 Worldcon. In alphabetical order, these are as follows:
  • Helsinki in 2015. The convention would be held from August 6 to 10, 2015, with the main facilities being the Helsinki Exhibition and Conference Centre and the Holiday Inn Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre.
  • Orlando in 2015. The convention would be held from September 2 to 6, 2015, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center.
  • Spokane in 2015. The convention would be held from August 19 to 23, 2015, with the main facilities being the Spokane Convention Center, the Doubletree Spokane, the Red Lion at the Park, and Red Lion River Inn.
Two bids have filed for the 2014 NASFiC. This convention is held in North America in any year when the Worldcon travels outside the continent. A NASFiC will be held in 2014 as the 2014 Worldcon will take place in London, UK. In alphabetical order, the NASFiC bids are as follows:
  • Detroit in 2014. The convention would be held from July 17 to 20, 2014, at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.
  • Phoenix in 2014. The convention would be held from July 30 to August 3, 2014, at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center.
All Adult, Military, and Young Adult Attending and Supporting members of LoneStarCon 3 are eligible to take part in the site selection process.

Ballots may be submitted by postal mail or in-person at the convention. Postal ballots must be received by Sunday, August 18, 2013. Voting at the convention will continue until 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, 2013. All ballots must be accompanied by an Advance Membership (Voting) fee, set at $40 for the Worldcon election, and at $35 for the NASFiC election. In each case, the fee will automatically be converted to a Supporting Membership in the winning convention.

Members submitting postal ballots may pay their voting fee by US check, US money order, or credit card. Checks and money orders should be mailed to the Site Selection Administrator along with the ballot. Credit card payments must be made via the LoneStarCon 3 web site. Upon payment of the voting fee, members will be issued with a unique voting token reference, which must be written onto the ballot as evidence of payment.

Further information on the site selection process may be found on the LoneStarCon 3 website. Ballot forms may be downloaded from the website in PDF format for printing, and will also be included in Progress Report 4 which will mail in mid-May to members receiving printed publications.

For more information about the site selection process, please write to siteselection at LoneStarCon3 dot org.

Links to the Multiverse

Articles

Alternate Realities by Chudney at Smart Girls Love SciFi and Paranormal Romance.
Ask A Librarian: Bring Me Your Finest Histories, Real or Alternate by Jessica Werner at Persephone Magazine.
Coming Soon! “The Long War” by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter at SF Signal.
Counterfactual Friday: Could Harden have been a Sixer? by Tom Sunnergren at Hoop 76.
Duck and Covers: Is the Baen art director taking side jobs? by Justin Landon at Staffer's Book Review.
Holy @#$%, Lego is making a steampunk line by Rob Bricken at io9.
INCEPTIO - An alternate history thriller by Alison Morton at Good Kindles.
Joseph H. Levie Creates Alternate History of 18th century Europe at PRWeb.
Kanye West Initially Offered “N***as In Paris” Beat To Pusha T, And Pusha Turned It Down by Carl Williott at Idolator.
Lavie Tidhar goes to the Red Planet in Martian Sands at SFScope.
Philip K. Dick and Our Predicament by J.R. Dunn at American Thinker.
'The Single Most Valuable Document In The History Of The World Wide Web' by Jacob Goldstein.
TOC: ‘A Very British History’ by Paul McAuley at SF Signal.
The Space City That Could Have Been, If Not For Wernher Von Braun by Ron Miller at io9.
What if Steven Spielberg Made ‘Space Lincoln’ as a ‘Star Trek’ Film by Rusty Blazenhoff at Laughing Squid.
Why is everything so much better with a little steam(punk)? by Joyce Lamb at USA Today.
Wild West Steampunk by David Lee Summers at Steamed!

Book Reviews

The Alteration by Kingsley Amis at Tap Milwaukee.
Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle at World Without End.
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis at Amazing Stories.
Gideon’s Angel by Clifford Beal at Mass Movement Magazine.
The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle at Geek Syndicate.
Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka at Falcata Times.
Snodgrass and Other Illusions by Ian R MacLeod at Thinking about books.
Unfallen by Juliet Y. Mark at BooksWorld.com.

Comics

A Peter Pan Comic for Grown-ups by Dion at Geek Syndicate.
Clockwork Watch: Breakaway Preview at Geek Syndicate.
COMIC REVIEW: Half Past Danger #1 at Geek Syndicate.

Films

Concept Art shows off Darren Aronofsky's Batman movie that never was by Meredith Woerner at io9.
The Great Gatsby is an Alternate Timeline Where Jack Survived Titanic by Chris Lough at Tor.
Iron Man 3: What if...an Alternate History of Marvel Movies at Television Without Pity.
Is Shane Black Set to Direct and Co-Write Doc Savage Film? at Geek Syndicate.
'Tai Chi Hero' Blu-ray Dated and Detailed at High-Def Digest.
Review of Django Unchained at Thinking about books.
What is brilliant? (Wars of Other men: A review) at Fire and Water.

Games

'City of Steam' Goes Open Beta by Rainier at Worthplaying.
GAME REVIEW: Space Terror by Casey Douglass at Geek Syndicate.
Infinite Crisis Gameplay Video Unleashes Steampunk Catwoman by Pete Haas at Gaming Blend.
Meet Lady Katarina in The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing by Charlotte Woolley at Gamercast.
Pondering the Potential of Wolfenstein's Alternate History by Chris Watters at Gamespot.

Interviews

Adam Christopher at Sword & Laser.
Karina Cooper at USA Today.
Steven Harper interviewed by Gail Carriger.
Mary Robinette Kowal at Waylines Magazine.
Sean O’Reilly at ComicBook.com.
Mattew Quinn at Conversations With An Author.
Gypsey Elaine Teague at Examiner.com.

Podcasts

Ratchet RetroCast Episode 8: RetroCast, Transform and Roll Out at Earth Station One.

Television

10 Things You Didn't Know About NBC's The Office by Michael Schneider at Yahoo!
Elementary: Season 1, Episode 20 and 21 at Thinking about books.
How Neil Gaiman did away with the "clanky clanky steampunk" Cybermen by Charlie Jane Anders at io9.

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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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