Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekly Update #126

Editor's Note

Um...I got nothing :-P

And now the news...

Finch, Sprange, and Venables reveal The Secret Zombie History of the World

Coming to life on December 10th in paperback (US & Can) and ebook (worldwide), The Secret Zombie History of the World is an omnibus of historical zombie stories that reveals the outbreaks that have plagued mankind for hundreds of years. Although more secret history than alternate history, I think alternate historians can enjoy the mash-up of these famous horror monsters with their favorite historical periods. This book contains three stories (from authors Toby Venables, Matthew Sprange, and Paul Finch) each from a different historical period:
  • Northern Europe, 976 AD: a Viking crew find themselves in a bleak land of pestilence, where the dead return as draugr to feed on the flesh of their kin and a dark castle in a hidden fjord hides a terrible secret.
  • Britain, 1295 AD: A young English knight joins a force sent to capture a castle from Welsh rebels, but druids summon an army of the undead, bent on revenge. Will the stronghold – once thought impregnable – hold out?
  • The Cape of Good Hope, the 1820s: Captain Havelock discovers his ship and the French frigate he has been ordered to hunt down are not alone as an enemy thought long since vanquished rises from the deeps…
The Secret Zombie History of the World is the third volume of the Tomes of the Dead (from Abaddon Books) which re-imagines the zombie genre by taking the walking dead into a different direction. If you happen to check this book out, let us know!

Update: Thieves Quarry by DB Jackson

DB Jackson's Thieves Quarry came up on my radar this week. For those who don't know here is the description from Amazon:
Ethan Kaille isn’t the likeliest hero. A former sailor with a troubled past, Ethan is a thieftaker, using conjuring skills to hunt down those who steal from the good citizens of Boston. And while chasing down miscreants in 1768 makes his life a perilous one, the simmering political tensions between loyalists like himself and rabble-rousing revolutionaries like Samuel Adams and others of his ilk are perhaps even more dangerous to his health. 
When one hundred sailors of King George III's Royal Navy are mysteriously killed on a ship in Boston Harbor, Ethan is thrust into dire peril. For he—and not Boston’s premier thieftaker, Sephira Pryce—is asked to find the truth behind their deaths. City Sheriff Edmund Greenleaf suspects conjuring was used in the dastardly crime, and even Pryce knows that Ethan is better equipped to contend with matters of what most of Boston considers dark arts. But even Ethan is daunted by magic powerful enough to fell so many in a single stroke. When he starts to investigate, he realizes that the mass murderer will stop at nothing to evade capture. And making his task more difficult is the British fleet's occupation of the city after the colonials' violent protests after the seizure of John Hancock's ship. Kaille will need all his own magic, street smarts, and a bit of luck to keep this Boston massacre from giving the hotheads of Colonial Boston an excuse for inciting a riot—or worse. 
Thieves' Quarry is a stunning second novel in D. B. Jackson's Thieftaker Chronicles.
So what are people saying about the book? Kurt Bali of LitStack said Thieves’ Quarry "is the first book I’ve read in a very long time that never lost my attention and honestly had me riveted from the first page. As a lover of history, it was also very interesting to see the involvement of some pretty famous names of the time make appearances." Pretty powerful review. Meanwhile if you want to learn more about the author, check out Jackson's interview on SF Signal.

Clockwork Empires Combines Steampunk and Cthulhu

From the creators of Dungeons of Dredmor comes Clockwork Empires. It is a narrative-driven colony building sandbox game from Gaslamp Games filled with steampunk technology. Alpha and beta updates and opportunities are currently available at www.clockworkempires.com. Check out the trailer below:
Clockwork Empires is set in a steampunk dystopia, where players take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade) sent forth by the Empire to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ever-hungry maw of industry and commerce. Your colony is full of people from across the social strata of Victorian England and some of them might not have humanity's best interest at heart. Science and progress can sometimes unleash eldritch horrors.

"The player is essentially an architect of a society that's gone a bit off the rails in an industrial revolution," said Daniel Jacobsen, lead producer and CEO of independent developer Gaslamp Games. "The uniqueness of building this world inside the Empire is the ability of the player to do what they want, including the freedom to fail: we've given characters an incredibly intricate set of tools allowing them to construct a world and unleash cosmic horrors in vast, complex ways."

He continued, "The player is left with their own choices for his or her characters - there are rewards and consequences for each action. Eventually it unravels into a remarkably entertaining character-driven cataclysm filled with incredibly horrifying-yet-delightful possibilities – death, disease, prosperity, science and more - without a true victory condition."

Clockwork Empires provides singleplayer and a multiplayer mode with up to four players, or via a turn-based 'round robin' successive multiplayer saved-game file option. Powerful Sharing Technology provides the ability to upload their creations directly to the Heliographic Aether, allowing other Bureaucrats to further diverge histories and continue building and expanding those colonies.

"Ultimately the creation and outcome of this incredibly nuanced world is dictated by the player, but as developers we've steered clear of directing the actual outcome of each society players will create," said Nicholas Vining, lead programmer and CTO of Gaslamp Games. "The outcomes can vary so greatly it was important to design the game to be as shareable as possible. From building to strategizing, exploring and the emergent player-to-player shared content, no two games will be alike. That's the gruesome and wonderful nature of Clockwork Empires."

The game sounds interesting, but the alternate history they promise will likely be on the ASB side. Still I might have to check it out when it is released to the public. I especially like the idea that no matter what you to decide to do, everything will blow up in you face eventually.

Calendar

Nov 7-16: Steampunk version of Taming of the Shrew at Vancouver Island University.

Nov 9: Steampunk & Makers Festival at Lafayette, LA.

Nov 15: Last day to fund the Boston Metaphysical Society Kickstarter.

Nov 16: The Edmonton Steampunk Ball at...well you know where.

Nov 19: Last day to submit to Threadless' alternate history design contest.

Links to the Multiverse

Articles

The 7 Silliest Time Travel Concepts in Science Fiction by Jill Scharr at Live Science.
AMAZING STORIES Now Offering Advertising by Steve Davidson.
Silverberg Heart Attack by Steven H Silver at SF Site.
US military's airship programs lose altitude by Daniel De Luce at Yahoo.

Books

[EXCERPT] Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead by George Mann at SF Signal.
Historical Fiction Short Stories – the Long and the Short of it by Mark Lord at Alt Hist.
NaWiPoMo: The 1918 Grand Council Elections by Johnny Pez.
Roger Zelazny’s Forgotten Novel: The Best Halloween Book You’ve Never Read by Meghan B at SF Signal.
Simon Scarrow endorses PERFIDITAS! by Alison Morton.
A Small Status Update by Sebastian P. Breit.
Want to get Alt Hist without even thinking about it? by Mark Lord at Alt Hist.
What Happens If You Let Two Designers Write Their Own History Book? by Erika Rae at Core 77.
Zeppelin Tales Back Cover by Ron Fortier at Airship 27 Productions.

Comics

Preview: Legendary: A Steampunk Adventure #1 at CBR.

Counterfactual and Traditional History

A New/Old Counterfactual: Jean Jacques Rousseau's "Origins of Inequality" (1754) by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.
Counterfactual Thoughts on Ben Urwand's "The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler." by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.
On "What Ifs? and Flying Squirrels: Another 18th Century Counterfactual by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.

Films

12 sci-fi and horror flicks which filmed terrifyingly grim alternate endings by Evan Hoovler at blastr.
Comment of the Day: Darth Vader, An Alternate History by Ria Misra at io9.

Games

The 10 coolest alternate history stories in video games by David Houghton at gamesradar.
'Star Wars 1313' concept art shows the Coruscant that could have been by Andrew Webster at The Verge.
Steampunk Minecraft Texture Pack For Download by Fariz Izhan at Society & Religion.

Interviews

Anne Lyle at The Qwillery.
Lavie Tidhar by Clarkesworld.

Reviews

Dystopian Wars at Yorkton This Week.
Elementary 2.6 at Thinking about books.
The Executioner’s Heart by George Mann at Thinking about books.
The Osiris Curse by Paul Crilley at M&C.
Revolution 2.6 at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.
Steampunk Tower at God is a Geek.
The Time Traveller's Almanac edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer at Falcata Times.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. 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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