Monday, March 3, 2014

Weekly Update #137

Editor's Note

Wow a lot of things to get through this week. Please bear with me.

First, thank you so much for making February The Update's second most viewed month. We ended the shortest month of the year with 15,912 page views (our highest was last June with 22,031 page views). I can't express how grateful I am for the support you guys have shown this tiny blog. Hopefully I can continue to live up to your expectations and surpass that record in March.

Speaking of surpassing those expectations, I am planning a multi-series of posts covering World War I alternate histories to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the start of that tragic war. It will be somewhat in the style of my popular 6 Common Mistakes Every American Revolution Alternate History Makes article, but instead of just talking about mistakes, I will be breaking down all the different scenarios that alternate historians have created around the war. I hope you enjoy it and if you have any suggestions of your own, or would even like to participate with your own submission, let me know at ahwupdate at gmail dot com.

I am wrapping this editorial up with another thank you to those who bought books from Amazon through this blog. Its a start to my dream of making this blog self-sufficient and for those who haven't tried it yet, it is an easy way to support your favorite alternate history blog without having to cough up the extra cash. If you are already planning to buy a book, comic, game, film, etc., why not click on the banner at the top right before making your purchase? You get what you were already planning to buy and we wet our beak a little, which allows me to make The Update an even better place for alternate historians.

And now the news...

RIP Aaron Allston

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of author Aaron Allston, who died on February 27 of heart failure. Andrew Liptak wrote a very moving article where he described Allston as "friendly, excited to meet fans and happy to talk with us about the characters and stories he constructed."

Allston, who was born on December 8, 1960, was an American game designer and author best known for his many novels set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. As a child I consumed many Star Wars books, but Allston was always my favorite author in the universe. His novel Starfighters of Adumar is still my favorite Star Wars book and one of the few I kept after I purged my collection. Its combination of action and humor made it an enjoyable read and probably the only tie-in novel I ever read more than once.

This is, however, an alternate history blog and I would be remiss not to mention Allston's contribution to the genre. According to Uchronia, Allston wrote two alternate history novels (Doc Sidhe and Sidhe-Devil) set in the same universe where thousand of years ago Earth separated into a "dark" and "fair" world. Our Earth was the dark world, while the fair world is ruled by magic. Sadly, both books are out of print and links to them on the Baen Free Library are not working.

Allston, thank you so much for the adventures you took me on as a kid. I will never forget them.

Wolfenstein Demo is Review by Gamers
Although it is not coming out until May, Bethesda's alternate history shooter Wolfenstein: The New Order is already getting praised by game reviewers who have played the demo. Set in the 1960s where the Nazis won World War II, The New Order is the next installment in the long running Wolfenstein series, which lets you blast Nazis to your heart's content.

Enough introduction, what are the reviewers saying about the demo? Brian Albert at IGN said: "It seems like a solid shooter with lots of action and fun stealth mechanics. The story, while generic in some aspects, seems too concerned with shoving a gun into your hands to let some of its finer moments breathe." That is a tad disappointing for me, since I am story driven person in general, but Phil Hornshaw at Game Front had a better opinion of the story saying it "tells an affecting story, while leaning on the best of the past and what works from the present." Although he sort of passes over the part where Nazi technology unexpectedly spiked and thus allowed them to be victorious. Didn't someone else already try that?

Michael Rougeau from Complex Gaming probably summed up the game the best by saying: "It's hard to say at this point whether The New Order will turn out to be a beloved retro throwback to old school shooters with modern production values (the guitar-heavy music in particular seems promising)—or a linear mess of different play styles and themes that makes little sense and ultimately goes nowhere." Hopefully it does go somewhere as the genre could use a good alternate history game. Those interested in learning more about The New Order can check out these screenshots from Yahoo.

Map Gallery

I love maps! Mappy mappy maps! (Editor's Note: I was on my fourth cup of coffee when I wrote this.) Enjoy our first map from Goldstein featuring all of the world's irredentist claims fulfilled:
Next we have a curious map from Errnge showing early British settlement in Virginia, along with the borders and claims of the local Native American tribes:
We finish the week with a map from Thanksforallthefish showing what happened to Argentina in the Fallout universe:
Send your maps to ahwupdate at gmail dot com for a chance to be featured in the next Weekly Update!

Video Gallery

This week in videos we begin with The 11 Most Badass (American) Presidential Facts from Cracked:
We follow that up with a honest trailer from perhaps the most historically inaccurate film of all time, 300:
And to round off the week, here is the book trailer for The Time Traveler's Almanac:
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Okay, Blogger is being ridiculous and is not letting me embed the video (a video on a platform that owned by the same parent company as Blogger). Sigh, just click on this link to see the video.

Perhaps its time I migrate The Update somewhere else...

Calendar

March 5: Gail Carriger at WORD Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY.

March 7: Last day to fund Thom Pratt's Shadowbinders Kickstarter.

March 7-9: Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention in Tucson, AZ.

March 12: Gail Carriger begins participating in the Twitter Fiction Festival.

March 21-23: Gail Carriger will be Guest of Honor at ConDor, San Diego, CA.

July 31: Last day to submit your story to the Kayelle Press alternate history anthology.

Plus, check out these steampunk events happening in March, cataloged by the good people at Tor.

Links to the Multiverse

Articles


Anachrocon Reorganizes Amid Controversy Surrounding Chairman at Steampunk Chronicle.
Poll: what should the British flag look like if Scotland goes independent? at The Guardian.
Swedish Neo Nazis Invade Ukraine by Stephen Green at PJ Media.
Why I’m all into Regency right now by Carrie Vaughn at Filling the Well.
World's longest aircraft is unveiled in UK by Richard Westcott at BBC.

Books and Short Fiction

Alt Hist Issue 6 Published – just about! by Mark Lord at Alt Hist.
The dystopia of 1984 is no longer relevant by Annalee Newitz at io9.
Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon – the US cover by David Barnett at Postcards from the Hinterland.
On Hild, Female Readers of Genre Fiction, and Not Being Game of Thrones by Zan Romanoff at The Toast.
PRUDENCE: THE CUSTARD PROTOCOL BOOK 1 by Gail Carriger Gets a Cover at SF Signal.
PUNKTOWN by Jeffrey Thomas Gets Reissued With a New Cover at SF Signal.

Comics

Dynamite Announces Historical Fantasy Blood Queen With Fritz Casas and Sparkshooter’s Troy Brownfield at ComicBook.com.
Top Ten Superhero-Free Dystopian Comics by PipedreamerGrey at SF Signal.

Counterfactual/Traditional History

9 Terrifying Urban Legends From Victorian London at BuzzFeed.
Alexander the Great’s success depended on the fact that the Persian Empire was there for the taking at Isegoria.
America's first settlers were trapped in Beringia for 10,000 years by George Dvorsky at io9.
The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle Columbia by Lee Hutchinson at Ars Technica.
Five “unusual” amendments that never made it into the Constitution by Scott Bomboy at Yahoo.
Footsteps to Mars by David SF Portree at Wired.
How Germany and Japan Could've Won (Part I and Part II) by Miguel Faria at Real Clear History.
Maps Show the Long History of Nicaragua’s Canal Dreams by Greg Miller at Wired.

Films

Bryan Singer Discusses Sentinels, Quicksilver, and Time Travel From the Set of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ by Russ Fischer at Slash Film.
The Ending to A Terry Gilliam Version of Watchmen is... Well, It’s Different? by Emily Ahser-Perrin at Tor.
Incredible Concept Art From The Most Amazing Sci-Fi Movie Never Made by Jordan Kushins at Gizmodo.

Games

A Beautiful 1880s Geography Game for the "Rising Generation" by Rebecca Onion at Slate.
Classic 90s RPG Mutant Chronicles Returns, with Demons and Megacorps by Ed Grabianowski at io9.
Ironclad Tactics Now At MGS at Inside Mac Games.
Medieval Warfare Is Better With Giants by Gergo Vas at Kotaku.
Witches, Wise Women, and Widows: A Cultural Look at Viking RPG The Banner Saga by Becky Chambers at The Mary Sue.

Interviews

Lauren Beukes at SLiP.
Martha Wells at Stellar Four.

Reviews

The Anubis Gates at The Skiffy and Fanty Show.
Jazzpunk at Joystiq.
Revolution 2.14 at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.
V-S Day by Allen Steele at Tor.
The Wind Rises at The Denver Post.

Television

Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better Adaptation by Emily Asher-Perrin at Tor.
'Heroes: Reborn': We are never, ever getting back together. Probably. by Jeff Jensen at Entertainment Weekly.
Ripper Street Saved in Deal Between BBC and Amazon at Geek Syndicate.
Sci Fi Time Travel Project COLLIDER Gets Emmy Nomination by Christophe Montoya at Geek Syndicate.
‘Vikings’ blends history, mythology into fantasy drama by Kimberly Henrickson at Student Life.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his list of short fiction. 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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