Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of 2014

Well another year has passed so its time to announce the best of 2014. As usual, this is a completely subjective selection by myself. Only works I covered on Alternate History Weekly Update and Amazing Stories in 2014 are eligible, so that could mean stuff published pre-2014 may get a nod. On the rare occurrence I mention something I wrote as one of "best" of this year, I promise to share something from one of the many guest bloggers we had this year.

So without further ado...

Best Book

You are going to hear variations of "this was a difficult choice" for a lot of these categories and it begins with the best book of 2014. There were just so many memorable books this year it is really hard to narrow it down. If I had to pick one overall, I would have to go with A Kill in the Morning by Graeme Shimmin. It was a fun spy thriller that also had another great story on how it actually got published.

I need to give honorable mentions, however, for Richard Ned Lebow's Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! (as the best counterfactual book I read this year) and Alan Gratz's The League of Seven (for taking me on a wonderful, nostalgic journey with a book similar to ones I read as a kid).

Best Short Story

I guess this honor goes to "Murder on the Orient Elite" by Larry Correia. Although it was an entertaining dieselpunk short story, it sort of won this category by default. I honestly didn't read any alternate history short stories or anthologies. I really need to be better about that in 2015.

Best Comic

I read several comics this year, but the one that really stood out was World War Kaiju by Josh Finney and Patrick McEvoy. It just had an interesting premise and it is a must read for anyone looking for some alternate history in their comics.

Best Film

The best film had to be War of the Worlds: Goliath, which both Sean and I watched and reviewed for The Update. It had action, good animation and I got to watch the Batman of American presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, blow up alien death machines. That all being said, I still need to give a honorable mention to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Although I didn't cover it on The Update, it really was a great followup to the first Captain America film.

Best Television

So Sherlock Series 3, Episode 1: The Empty Hearse should win this by default...but I also didn't like that episode. It was a big disappointment after all the build up. So yeah very hollow victory for Sherlock, but 2015 should (hopefully) be better. I mean we got adaptations of SS-GBJonathan Strange & Mr. NorrellThe Man in the High Castle11/22/63 and 1632. Hopefully that will make up for my poor coverage of television this year.

Best Map

2014 was the year of the map. The Map Mondays and pretty much any posts with a map in it did insanely well when it came to page views. Picking just one, however, has proven to be a herculean task, so instead I narrowed it down to my three favorites. First up, Alan Gratz's Maps of The United Nations of America that gets the nod for the best map published in a book:
Next, the best map not posted originally on AlternateHistory.com goes to "American Quilt" by Jordan Penny:
Finally we end with the best map posted on AlternateHistory.com and that honor goes to "The Grand War" by PlatoonSgt:
Guys keep making great maps and I will keep talking about them on this blog.

Best Web Original

The winner for the best web original I read this year was Let's all go down the Strand - Images of 1984 reboot. I always loved 1984 fan fiction and both of Will's timeline are amazing works of dystopic reimaginings.  I highly recommend you check out both the original and the reboot.

Also a honorable mention to False Dmitri's Affiliated States of Boreoamerica, which I didn't cover this year (except for one Map Monday), but I still followed religiously for the past few months. Expect an article on it next year.

Best Interview

O please don't make me choose! I talked to so many interesting people this year. Well if you insist, hear are my top three.

First (and in no particular order), Thomas Wm Hamilton, because its rare when you talk to someone with an asteroid named after them.

Second, it was fun to talk with Ian Montgomerie, the mysterious founder and administrator of AlternateHistory.com, and here his opinions on alternate historians.

Finally, Paula Goodlett, for giving me a ton of info on the 1632 fan community. I never realized how much work goes into building that universe.

Best Article

This may sound a tad narcissistic, but I am really proud of my 6 Common Mistakes Every American Revolution Alternate History Makes article. It got a lot of views and feedback from a lot of people, although if I were going to be honest, my What If Wednesday: The Roman Empire Never Falls got even more of both. If I was going to be even more honest, I would have to give this to 1814: How Washington Was Saved (Part 1) by William Weber which is the single most popular article of all time on The Update. Check it out, I like it and I think so will you.

Best Contributor

This was a tough one, but I have to give it to Sam McDonald, a contributor known for his popular Flag Fridays and Twilight Histories covers. What I liked most about Sam's work is that you can tell he is a honest fan of the genre and his imagination reflects that. I look forward to seeing more from Sam in the future.

Conclusion

I won't lie, this was a tough year for me. A lot happened that made me want to quit and give up, but one of the things that kept me going was this blog. Writing for The Update kept me sane through some of my darkest moments and I have you guys to thank for it. Although 2014 is a year I sometimes want to forget, luckily I can remember some great times talking about alternate history with all of you.

Have a happy New Year and see you all in 2015.

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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.

6 comments:

  1. Today is my birthday, and I get Contributor of the Year! That was an nice inadvertent birthday present. Also, I must experts my thanks for that American Revolution article. It was very helpful with a map I was making (maybe it'll appear here in the coming year)

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  2. Matt, on behalf of the 300 plus artists and technicians who worked on "War of the Worlds: Goliath", thanks for the "Best of".

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  3. Thank you very much for your recognition of "World War Kaiju"! And rest assured, there's more to come from our alternate-20th-century world of monsters, cold-war intrigue, and wild super-science!

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  4. Awesome to see my map of "The Grand War" make it on here, I'm very honored! Great list to close 2014 out with, too, so here's to an even better 2015!

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