It is amazing to think that the year is almost over. 2014 was a tough year for me and I'm being honest when I say I am looking forward to it ending. That being said I am looking forward to the next couple weeks. I got my wedding anniversary, my family's Slava, our annual downtown Chicago Xmas trip, Christmas and Boxer day. Plus I am going to see Otis Day perform at Hollywood Palms in Naperville on New Year's Eve.
With so much on my plate, this is probably going to be the last Weekly Update of the year. I may string together one more, but no guarantees. I will do my usual end of the year posts, but I am going to enjoy my winter break from blogging.
As some of you already know, we lost one of the original alternate historians this year, Stuart Shiffman. Steve Davidson, editor of Amazing Stories, was nice enough to compile a list of charities and causes Stu supported. If any of you would like to make a donation in his honor, I highly recommend you click on that link.
And now the news...
New Releases: In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands Before Israel by Adam L. Rovner
Back in March, I posted a list of five alternate locations for Israel on Amazing Stories. So when I saw the new book In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands Before Israel by Adam L. Rovner, it of course peeked my interest. Let's check out the description:
From the late nineteenth century through the post-Holocaust era, the world was divided between countries that tried to expel their Jewish populations and those that refused to let them in. The plight of these traumatized refugees inspired numerous proposals for Jewish states. Jews and Christians, authors and adventurers, politicians and playwrights, and rabbis and revolutionaries all worked to carve out autonomous Jewish territories in remote and often hostile locations across the globe. The would-be founding fathers of these imaginary Zions dispatched scientific expeditions to far-flung regions and filed reports on the dream states they planned to create. But only Israel emerged from dream to reality. Israel’s successful foundation has long obscured the fact that eminent Jewish figures, including Zionism’s prophet, Theodor Herzl, seriously considered establishing enclaves beyond the Middle East.
In the Shadow of Zion brings to life the amazing true stories of six exotic visions of a Jewish national home outside of the biblical land of Israel. It is the only book to detail the connections between these schemes, which in turn explain the trajectory of modern Zionism. A gripping narrative drawn from archives the world over, In the Shadow of Zion recovers the mostly forgotten history of the Jewish territorialist movement, and the stories of the fascinating but now obscure figures who championed it.
Provocative, thoroughly researched, and written to appeal to a broad audience, In the Shadow of Zion offers a timely perspective on Jewish power and powerlessness.
As Gavriel Rosenfeld of The Counterfactual History Review put it, there is a "strong counterfactual subtext to it". If you want a little taste of Rovner's book, check out his article on the Jewish Book Council. He talks about five alternate Israels, including some that did not make my list.
Crusader Kings II: Way of Life Launching December 16
Crusader Kings II: Way of Life, the next expansion for the strategy franchise, will be released on December 16th via digital storefronts worldwide. Way of Life will be available on PC, Mac, and Linux for $7.99.
Way of Life delves into the role-playing aspects of Crusader Kings II, giving players the ability to fine-tune their methods of seduction and break ups, and also the ability to set a Focus for your character that will influence the types of events that befall your character during their lifetime. Featuring hundreds of new events as well as over 20 new event pictures, Way of Life will give players control over their characters in ways never before available (at least according to the press release).
Videos for Alternate Historians
Wow, lot of videos to get through from last week. Lets begin with Epic Rap Battles of History's daytime talk show host smackdown! Oprah vs. Ellen:
Links to the Multiverse
Books and Short Fiction
Excerpt: On Her Majesty’s Behalf by Joseph Nassise at My Bookish Ways.
PM's Literary Award for Alternate History by John Birmingham at Cheeseburger Gothic.
Review: The Given Sacrifice by S.M. Stirling at Tom Kepler Writing.
Review: Silverblind by Tina Connolly at SF Signal.
Review: The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich at Open Book Society.
SUCCESSIO selected as Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller‘s at Alison Morton's Roma Nova.
Counterfactuals, History and News
4 Insane Theories People Still Believe About the Nazis by M. Asher Cantrell at Cracked.
The 14 Most Insane Fictional Versions Of Real Life Historical Figures at io9.
An Auto-Oriented Manhattan at Analysis by Matt Taylor.
Documenting Life in Countries You Probably Never Knew Existed by Jordan G. Teicher at Slate.
Fox: Obama Seeks Advice on Establishing Monarchy by Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker.
Here's what police planned to say if Darren Wilson was indicted at The Week.
The Real Story Of Apollo 17... And Why We Never Went Back To The Moon at io9.
This Greenpeace Stunt May Have Irreparably Damaged Peru's Nazca Site at io9.
Tom Harkin and the Alternate History of Health Care Reform at Bloomberg Politics.
What's the Historical Reality Behind the Trojan Horse? by Esther Inglis-Arkell at io9.
What Would Life Be Like On A Flat Earth? by Robbie Gonzalez at io9.
Films and Television
'Ascension': Could Mankind Really Survive 100 Years in Space? at NBC.
BBC Is Planning A Theme Park With “Doctor Who” And “Sherlock” at Nicole Wakelin.
How Will Smith Turned Down The Matrix by Jerome Maida at MoviePilot.
Marco Polo: Evocative History at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.
Orthodox Church Stopped A Giant Eye Of Sauron Being Built Over Moscow at Business Insider.
The 25 Best Video Games of 2014 at Slant.
Codename S.T.E.A.M. Arrives March 2015 With Online Multiplayer at GameInformer.
I'm Rather Worried About Assassin's Creed Coming to Victorian London at Kotaku.
Alison Morton at Layered Pages.
Dieselpunk Comics Micro Cast #17 12/10/2014 at Diesel Powered Podcast.
Ratchet RetroCast Episode 42 – Don’t Panic at Earth Station One.
* * *
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.