Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekly Update #159

Editor's Note

As I settle into my new routine I am more confident now about my planned podcast I announced a few months ago and I am hoping to begin a video series in the near future where I rant about certain topics near and dear to my heart. If you would like to either or both projects in the future, don't forget to click through our Amazon banner if you plan to purchase anything and help support The Update.

And now the news...

More on Starz's Outlander

For those who enjoy Starz's new historical fantasy series, Outlander, I got some more goodies for you.

First up, some reviews. Paul Levinson reviewed the first three episodes and said "I'll keep watching Outlander, but more for the historical romance than the time travel, which at this point is more of a hope than a reality". Andrew Whalen at iDigitalTimes also reviewed the first three episodes and called the show "Sci-Fi Royalty" and said " I'm looking forward to the fourth episode, not because I'm eagerly awaiting to see how gender roles will be subverted (although that is also enjoyable), but because it's a fun time travel show."

So what about the fourth episode? Sharlene Mousfar of Geek Syndicate reviewed episode 4, giving it a rating of 4 out of 5 and said the "episode was a bit slow – and more of a setup for the action to come in the next few episodes." So #4 wasn't as great as people hoped above, but still a good rating. If you are interested in watching episode 5, check out this preview first.

And if you want more Outlander info, check out this interactive map of Scotland and check out this interview with author Diana Gabaldon, who wrote the original novels the show is based on.

Preivew: Jani and the Greater Game by Eric Brown

Let's learn something about the Jani and the Greater Game by Eric Brown. First, the book description from Amazon:

Jani and the Greater Game is the first book in a rip-roaring, spice-laden, steampunk action adventure series set in India and featuring a heroine who subverts all the norms...

It’s 1910 and the British rule the subcontinent with an iron fist – and with strange technology fuelled by a power source known as Annapurnite – discovered in the foothills of Mount Annapurna. But they rule but at the constant cost of their enemies, mainly the Russians and the Chinese, attempting to learn the secret of this technology... This political confrontation is known as The Greater Game. 

Into this conflict is pitched eighteen year old Janisha Chaterjee who discovers a strange device which leads her into the foothills of the Himalayas. When Russians spies and the evil priest Durja Das find out about the device, the chase is on to apprehend Janisha before she can reach the Himalayas. There she will learn the secret behind Annapurnite, and what she learns will change the destiny of the world for ever...

Of course when I think Indian steampunk book, I think The Peshawar Lancers by SM Stirling, but I digress. Alastair Savage at Amazing Stories said the book was an "exciting page-turner with a neat conclusion". Meanwhile, Ay-Leen the Peacemaker at Tor said the novel's greatest strength was from "Brown’s ability to balance a sense of galloping fun while also injecting the story with harder-edged questions about British imperialism, racial identity, and class dynamics" but criticized it for being "one long chase scene". Still the review was good in general, so with two recommendations, Jani and the Greater Game may be an alternate history worth checking out.

For those want to learn more, check out what author Eric Brown thinks about steampunk.

Videos for Alternate Historians

Need even more videos for alternate historians? Lets begin with the J.J. Abrams Superman movie that never was:
Hmm...maybe it was a good idea they passed on it. Anywho, our friend Cody Franklin of the Alternate History Hub doesn't just make alternate history videos. Sometimes he like to collaborate with other YouTubers for more informational videos, like this one on the Islamic State:
Finally we end this segment with a panel discussion about Wolfenstein: The New Order from the guys History Respawned:
Interesting breakdown on how Nazis and the Holocaust are portrayed in popular culture. Send you video or channel recommendations to ahwupdate at gmail dot com.

Links to the Multiverse

Books and Short Fiction


10 Acclaimed Historical Fantasy Novels You Need to Read by John O'Neill at Black Gate.
The Big Idea: Cherie Priest at Whatever.
Christopher Edge's top 10 twisted histories at The Guardian.
Crichton Travels in Time by Joel N Shurkin at Smart Pop Books.
Excerpt: The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding at Only the Best.
Excerpt: Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by Daniel Barnett at Tor.
On My Radar: BROKEN MONSTERS by Lauren Beukes, THE STEAMPUNK USER’S MANUAL by Jeff VanderMeer and Desirina Boskovich, TIME TRAVEL: RECENT TRIPS Edited by Paula Guran at SF Signal.
On Tom Cruise and Time Travel Stories by Rajan Khanna at Lit Reactor.
Review: "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal at A Dribble of Ink.
Review: Lord of Mountains by SM Stirling at Wordsmithonia.
Review: The Phantom Coach edited by Michael Sims at Shelf Awareness.
Sean Penney examines alternate histories in world of sports at North Fork View.
Table of Contents: THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GASLIT ROMANCE Edited by Ekaterina Sedia at SF Signal.
A World Where Mankind Makes Its Own Magic by Charlie N. Holmberg at Amazon Blogs.

Comics

Preview: Springheeled Jack by David Hitchcock at Comic Book Resources.

Counterfactuals, History and News

23 Eerily Specific Predictions from History That Came True at Cracked.
Alternate histories: How the past is taught to Israelis and Palestinians at Day 6.
Another SCOTUS counter-factual: Justice Posner? at PrawfsBlawg.
Composers Who Died in WWI by Jordan Harbour at Michael Drislane MA.
A Historic Experiment Shows Why We Might Not Want to Debate Fanatics by Esther Inglis-Arkell at io9.
A Questionable Counterfactual: Could World War II Really Have Been Avoided? by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.
If Reagan Had Picked Rumsfeld as His Vice President, Would We Never Have Had President Clinton? at Ifnicity.
Rebels: Jackson would have won Gettysburg by John Hilton at Gettysburg 150.
The Secret German Scheme To Invade America Before The First World War by George Dvorsky at io9.
Time Travel Simulation Resolves “Grandfather Paradox” by Lee Billings at Scientific American.
Turkey’s Imperial Fantasy by Behlul Ozkan at The New York Times.
The War That Never Was by Philip Jenkins at Patheos.
Why Independence Could Put Scotland In Danger Of Russian Invasion by James Cook at Business Insider.

Film and Television

5 Classic Movies That Almost Had Terrible Endings by Lex Black at Cracked.
The 36 Greatest Shows and Movies Ever to Almost Happen at Cracked.
ACHTUNG! CTHULHU to Become a Movie by Ed Fortune at Starburst.
Alternative Blockbuster Movie Posters at Short List.
The Other Doctors. 50th Anniversary and Beyond by Alasdair Stuart at Scifind.
REVIEW: Doctor Who, S8, E2: Into the Dalek at Geek Syndicate.

Games

Gwydion to Alexander: Colonialism in Kings Quest III by Angela R Cox at Play The Past.
Ryse: Son of Rome Bludgeons Onto PC 10th October by Casey Douglass at Geek Syndicate.
Wargame: Red Dragon gets free DLC, adds "full-length story campaign" set in the early 90s by Tom Sykes at PC Gamer.

Interview

Rod Duncan at Tor.

Podcasts

Dissecting Worlds Special: Schools Out at Geek Syndicate.
Episode 200: Robinson, Silverberg, Walton and Loncon! at Notes From Coode Street.
Making History as We Know it a Thing of the Past by Tristan Verboven at The Class Struggle.

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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 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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