Just a reminder, there really is nothing scientific about my selections. The works we honor could have been published this year or decades ago. I only honor subjects we covered this year. Some are picked using my own subjective opinion, while others are based on the most page views received. So without further ado (I'm on a budget so I was only able to buy a little ado this year) I bring you the BEST OF 2013!
Out of all the books we reviewed this year, I felt the best reviewed book on The Update had to be Dominion by CJ Sansom, reviewed by Alison Morton. This alternate WWII book which features a Britain that made peace with Germany in 1940, won this year's Sidewise Award and was described by Alison as being "an exciting, but moving account of people who become heroic but remain very human."
We didn't review many anthologies this year, but my vote has to go to Alt Hist 5 edited by Mark Lord. Although there were a couple stories you could skip, it was still another good entry for the only alternate history periodical on the Internet. Please continue to support original alternate history by either buying a copy or sending your own submission.
Best Short Story
I was split on this decision, so the honor for this year's short story goes to "43*" by Jeff Greenfield and "Adrift on the Sea of Rains" by Ian Sales. "43*" gets a shout out for the dubious distinction of being reviewed not once, but twice, on this blog. "Adrift", meanwhile, in my humble opinion should have won the Sidewise short form award. Go check this out.
The honor for this distinction has to go to Before Watchmen, which was reviewed in its entirety through a series of posts by longtime contributor Sean Korsgaard. Check out Sean's introduction to his reviews and read all of his opinions on the prequel to Watchmen using this tag.
Although it might be debatable whether this is actually alternate history, Django Unchained gets the nod for best film this year. This revenge fantasy set in the Old South caused quite a bit a controversy, but it was rather entertaining movie. I certainly recommend it.
Best Television Series
I was surprised by how much traffic this review brought in this year so I could think of nothing better than Samurai 7 to pick as the best television series. Reviewed by Sean Korsgaard, who called it the "best anime I've ever seen" is a steampunk-retelling of Seven Samurai. So if you would like to see some steampunk not set in Victorian England, this is a good pick for you.
Daniel Bensen submitted a lot of great maps to The Update, but his American Nation-States has to be the best:
With so many alternate histories about whether the Nazis won World War II or whether the Confederacy won the American Civil War, it is refreshing to see a truly original what if like Ben Ronning's Alternate History and Superheroes. In this article Ben describes the comic industry's experimentation with counterfactuals over the years. Go and check it out now!
This was a difficult category to pick a winner, but if I had to pick the single most interesting person I interviewed this year it was podcaster Jordan Harbour. Host of Twilight Histories and the upcoming Battles of Rome podcast, Jordan has continued to produce great content and is a true fan of our favorite genre. More importantly, he is an interesting guy who has led a full life. Learn more by reading my interview and checking out his podcasts.
This year's best contributor goes to...everyone who submitted a guest post to The Update in 2013. Yeah, maybe this is a cop out, but this year has been full of excellent guest posts. From contest entries, to author promotions and fan posts, I couldn't have provided such great contest all by myself. Thank you to everyone who submitted this year. I look forward to seeing more work from you, and hopefully new faces as well, in 2014.
Well that's it for year 2013. See you all next year when on January 6th, The Update returns to a full schedule.
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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.