Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekly Update #114

Editor's Note

I am in the market for a new junior editor now that Jake has gone MIA. Any takers? Work is not too difficult. Just need to occasionally proof guest posts and you get first dibs on review copies. Email me at ahwupdate at gmail dot com.

In fact if you would like to volunteer for anything (even for a position that is not created) or just want to give some feedback/criticism/complaints please feel free to email me that as well. Remember, The Update is a group blog. We are a community of alternate historians working to spread the news about our favorite genre. Any ideas you have to make The Update better, I would love to hear them. Many changes I have made to The Update over the years have not come from me, but from readers and contributors like you.

And now the news...

LoneStarCo​n 3 to Feature Author Jay Lake with Film Premiere and Special Exhibit

LoneStarCon 3 will be featuring the world premiere of the documentary Lakeside about two-time Sidewise nominated author Jay Lake's battle with cancer, as well as a special exhibit based on Jay Lake's genome.

Lakeside began in 2012 as a film project about how Jay Lake had beaten cancer. He had been in remission for several months and everyone was pleased at how healthy he was looking. The film-makers decided to follow Jay for one year, from birthday to birthday (or "JayCon," as he now calls his public birthday parties). They began filming at Paradise Lost II, a writers' workshop in San Antonio, Texas, before they followed Jay back to Portland to cover JayCon 2012. He was among friends and family and was excited about the documentary. They started interviewing Jay and his family about his life ... then, as they were filming, life happened.

It started with a call that Jay's mother was being rushed to the emergency room. She was suffering symptoms that mirrored Jay's initial presentation of colon cancer. The entire production changed tone as the team was reminded that these are real people and that life does not always follow the script... then in August 2012, a scan showed that Jay's own cancer had returned and three aggressive tumors were devouring his liver. Thus, Lakeside became a film about whether Jay could win the game of "kill the cancer, save the patient."

The project was made all the more interesting when it became a Kickstarter project. Friends, family, and strangers responded overwhelmingly, helping to raise over $24,000 to fund the film. More of the background to Lakeside can be found on Kickstarter, and on the Waterloo Productions website.

The film's director, Donnie Reynolds, and Jay Lake will both be at LoneStarCon 3 to introduce the film on Friday, August 30, at 9 a.m., with a repeat showing on Monday, September 2, at 1 p.m. In addition to the premiere of Lakeside, the convention will be presenting a special exhibit on Jay Lake's genome, sequenced by Illumina as part of Jay's search for possible therapies and to provide information that may help future cancer patients. The exhibit will be presented in the main Exhibit Hall, in Exhibit A in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Coming Soon: The Great Game by Christopher Nuttall

Friend of The Update, Christopher Nuttall, has a new book coming out next week in his Royal Sorceress series. Titled The Great Game, it follows the protagonist Gwen’s unfolding story as she assumes the role vacated by Master Thomas.  The book has been descrined as "[a] satisfying blend of whodunit and magical fantasy, it is set against a backdrop of international political unrest in a believable yet simultaneously fantastic alternate history." Here is the description from Elsewhen Press:
It’s 1831, and Lady Gwendolyn Crichton has been appointed Royal Sorceress following the tragic events known as the Swing.  Although unleashed by the rebel master magician Jack in battle with Gwen’s mentor Master Thomas, the popular press firmly laid the blame at the feet of the French.  Now alone at the head of the Royal College of Sorcerers, Gwen must overcome prejudice against her gender and age if she is to exercise her authority and fulfil her responsibilities.  Soon an unexpected responsibility is made manifest when Sir Travis Mortimer, a senior magician recently returned from India, is found murdered in a locked room.  Gwen is required to investigate, but before long her inquiries lead her into a web of intrigue that combines international politics, widespread aristocratic blackmail, gambling dens, and personal vendettas.  Should she believe apparent evidence that Mortimer betrayed his country, or is she being manipulated to keep her away from the truth?  Who can she really trust?  Is a title or popular acclaim a valid basis for trust?  Soon, some of the more unsavoury aspects of the case get dangerously close to home, which means Gwen must make hard decisions and ask difficult questions of her own nearest and dearest.
We congratulate Chris on his recent accomplishment and hope to see even more stories from this already prolific author.

Paradox Announces War of the Vikings and Releases EUIV Demo
Paradox Interactive last week announced War of the Vikings, an all-new multiplayer game built upon the technology that drives Paradox’s medieval squad combat title War of the Roses. Developed by Fatshark, War of the Vikings is a new standalone entry into the War franchise that will pull players into the brutal and bloody Viking Age, challenging them to design a personalized warrior and sack England as a mighty Norseman – or defend it as a brave Saxon. Featuring intense close-quarters combat, authentically inspired settings and weaponry, rich customization options, and large-scale 64-player battles, War of the Vikings will add a new unforgettable experience to Paradox’s close combat arsenal. View the teaser trailer for War of the Vikings below:
“War of the Roses was a fantastic experience for us to launch, and as it’s evolved over time, eventually growing into its current Kingmaker edition, we've been inspired many times over by the possibilities of the close-combat genre,” said Gordon Van Dyke, Executive Producer for the War of the Roses franchise. “It’s clear to us that that there are many more experiences we can share with our players, and War of the Vikings is our next step in establishing Paradox and Fatshark as leaders in the art of online war.”

People seem excited by this announcement and this editor can attest that at one point "War of the Vikings" was trending on Twitter. The game requires players to band together on the battlefields of 9th and 10th Century England and fight to conquer or defend Britannia. Environments, weapons, and visuals drawn from Viking Age history will immerse players in a bloody new conflict between the Vikings and the Saxons, with each warrior hand-designed by its player from a wide variety of customization options. Built on skill-driven gameplay and a deep combat system, War of the Vikings will bring close combat closer than ever.

Players can apply to join the Alpha for War of the Vikings or see footage from the game at Gamescom from August 20-22. War of the Vikings is scheduled to release in Q1 2014.
On top of this announcement, Paradox also released a demo on Steam for their upcoming empire-building game, Europa Universalis IV, to allow players to take their first steps on the journey towards global domination. It can now be sampled for free, tasting just a bit of power before the full game is released next week on August 13.

Paradox also announced that the battle for conquest will take shape exactly as players desire, thanks to support for Steam Workshop for game modifications, and cross-platform multiplayer which will allow rulers to clash with the rivals of their choice across Windows, Mac, and Linux. Both Workshop support and cross-platform play will be included at launch.

In the demo version of Europa Universalis IV, players can take up the flag of one of four available nations, sampling the trade system as Venice, going to war as the Ottoman Empire, founding new colonies as Portugal, or engaging in shrewd diplomacy as Austria. Demo games will last for 28 in-game years and include an extensive tutorial and hint system. The demo will not include multiplayer capabilities,  and please note that the abilities to save & load have been disabled.

Keeping a long-held tradition of community interaction and support, Europa Universalis IV intends to foster a strong ‘modding’ community through the support of Steam Workshop. For the first time in the series, players will be able to easily share their customizations to Europa Universalis IV with friends and fans through a central, easily searched repository, where fellow gamers can download and implement mods with a single click.

In addition, for the first time ever in a Paradox Development Studio strategy game, multiplayer matches in Europa Universalis IV will be fully cross-platform. Games will function just as if each player were using the same platform, whether they are playing on a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, for both competitive and cooperative play.

Strategy fans can prepare for conquest by pre-ordering the empire-building game. Anybody who pre-orders Europa Universalis IV will receive all pre-order bonuses, including the recently announced Crusader Kings II save converter and a free copy of Crusader Kings II.

More Trailers: The Star Wars and a Steampunk Cowboy

Check out these two new trailers alternate historians can enjoy. First up we have Dark Horse Comics The Star Wars, a new 8 issue series based on Lucas' rough draft screenplay.
Next up, Swedish developer Image & Form have released a trailer for their Nintendo 3DS platformer SteamWorld Dig:

Calendar

August 19 to September 22: “The Shadow Over College Street: H.P. Lovecraft in Providence,” will be on exhibit in Brown University.

August 20-24: Sonoma County Library will host a week of Steampunk-themed events at the Central Library in Santa Rosa, CA.

August 23: Last day to fund the AMICULUS: A SECRET HISTORY (VOL. I) Kickstarter.

September 1 to December 1: Submission period for SNAFU, an anthology of original military sci-fi horror novellas and short stories.

Links to the Multiverse

Articles

26 Tips for Researching Victorian Set Steampunk by Gail Carriger.
The 50 Most Steampunk Cities in America by David Cross at Movoto Blog.
Another Afrikanerverse Story Is Coming by Matt Quinn at The World According to Quinn.
Asimov’s Foundation and the Science of History by EH Kern at The Boomerang.
Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (Excerpt) by David Barnett at Tor.com.
No. 20 – Philip K Dick – “Where’s My Head?” by J. Jay Jones at Amazing Stories.
Richard Derus Talks About His Jay Lake Reading Project at SF Signal.
Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. on Being A Steampunk Guerrilla at Comic-Con at SF Signal.

Book Reviews

Alt Hist Issue 5 edited by Mark Lord at Edi's Book Lighthouse.
Thieves’ Quarry by D.B. Jackson at Bookworm Blues.
Two Fronts by Harry Turtledove at Blogging with Badger.
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher at Amazing Stories.

Comics

Hear The Good Word In ‘East of West’ #5 [Preview] at McGeeks.

(Counterfactual) History

5 Dumb Myths About Prehistoric Times That Everyone Believes by Steve Kolenberg at Cracked.
7 Outlandish Alternate Histories by Mark Juddery at Mental Floss.
The 10-man rotation, starring the Phoenix Lariats and other possible alternate histories by Dan Devine at Yahoo.
Alternate histories: What if the sell-off of Wayne Gretzky had never happened? This answer might surprise you by Bruce McCurdy at Edmonton Journal.
Broadway Almost Had Elevated Moving Sidewalks In the 1870s by Jessica Dailey at Curbed.
Disneyland’s Steampunk Land That Almost Was by Cindy White at Geek Mom.
Free speech counterfactual by Howard Wasserman at PrawfsBlawg.
Speeches That Were Never Delivered by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.
Stunning concept art reveals NASA's 1970s vision for humanity in space by Robert T. Gonzalez at io9.
What if Hitler Had Been Dealt With Like Morsi? by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.

Films

The 5 Most Ridiculous Repercussions of Time Travel in Movies by Felix Clay at Cracked.
Review: Destination: Planet Negro at Amazing Stories.
Pixar's Good Dinosaur is an alt-history where the asteroid never hit by Meredith Woerner.
This short time travel movie packs insane visuals, and a clever twist by Charlie Jane Anders at io9.

Games

Black Ops 2: Apocalypse Hits Xbox 360 This Month (featuring a Dieselpunk zombie nightmare set in the First World War) by Andy Chalk at The Escapist.
A Player Obeys: The much-derided final act of BioShock actually drives home one of its most important themes by Sam Barsanti at The Gameological Society.

Interviews

Larry Correia at Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing.
Ian Doescher at Geek Girl.
Jaimie Engle at Florida Today.

Television

This alternate Walking Dead season 3 finale was too traumatic to use by Rob Bricken at io9.
Doctor Who — Another Alternate History by Isaac Sheer at Threat or Menace.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new story "The Enchanted Bean" can be found in Once Upon a Clockwork Tale from Echelon Press. 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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