Monday, January 5, 2015

Weekly Update #174

Editor's Note

Well my winter blogging break is over. I had a fun time over the holidays, but I am glad to be getting back into the swing of things. I got a lot of projects I want to complete for 2015. I need to finished my "Warping History: An Overview of Fans and Creators of Alternate History in the Internet Age" paper, I want to contribute some videos to the AltHistory Wiki YouTube channel and I set a goal to read and review 60 books this year. On top of that I want to continue a writing pace of 6 posts a week on The Update and one post a week on Amazing Stories, while also attending some more conventions around the Chicago area this year. Plus there are some projects in the works that I can't quite talk about yet that I want to get off the ground. Probably won't accomplish all of those goals, what with work and family life, but hey a guy can dream.

No Map Monday post today. A computer issue erased everything I had written and to be honest I am exhausted and frustrated and really don't want to have to rewrite everything. Expect its return next week.

And now the news...

Wolfenstein: The New Order Rated as One of the Best Games of 2014

It didn't make the tops of many lists, but there is no doubt that Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of the best games of 2014. This is good news for future alternate history video games. It seemed critics really enjoyed the FPS shooter set in a world where the Axis Powers won World War II. The grim story and engaging characters not only won over many reviewers, but the fact that the game didn't take itself so seriously that we couldn't enjoy all the Nazi killing action was also noted.

GB Burford of io9 called it one of his favorite shooters of 2014. Along with praising the old style game mechanics, GB also said that the "writing is some of the best I've come across in video games, a perfect blend of pulp and seriousness. The characters are deep, if not deeper than any you might find in your favorite RPG, and they're wonderfully varied too." Arthur Gies of Polygon also praised the story-telling saying "it's the people in it and their stories that hold everything together and set Wolfenstein: The New Order above so many of its action contemporaries, that place it above so many story-based games in general. It's the stories within that make it one of the best games of the year."

On top of those reviews, you can also check out these video reviews from TotalBiscuit and Zero Punctuation.

Professor Elemental to Perform at Dysprosium

Professor Elemental will be performing live on Friday April 3rd at Dysprosium, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention, at the Park Inn Heathrow. This is in addition to an evening concert by Guest of Honour Seanan McGuire supported by Talis Kimberley and her band on April 4th, and the Masquerade Ball on April 5th. Entry to all of those performances are included in a membership to Dysprosium.

For those who don't know, Professor Elemental is a Steampunk-flavoured mad Professor.  His act is a lively combination of comedy and music, with some friendly audience banter and plenty of improvisation.

Videos for Alternate Historians

Speaking of steampunk, we begin our review of last week's videos with a look at a Victorian village at Christmas recreated in Minecraft:
Before you angrily denounce me for me infatuation with steampunk, let me ask what would happen if the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty China fought a war against each other? That appears to be the premise for the upcoming film Dragon Blade. Let's watch the trailer:
Is Jackie Chan starring in alternate history movie or will this just be a filmmaker taking liberties with history? There has been talk recently about Romans fighting against/for the Chinese, so perhaps we can let a little plausibility slide for the sake of an intriguing action flick.

Links to the Multiverse

Books and Short Fiction

Excerpt: On Her Majesty's Behalf by Joseph Nassise at Beauty in Ruins.
January 2015: Alternate Pasts: International Uchronia at Words without Borders.
Melanie's Best Books of 2014 at The Qwillery.
More About Snapshot at Dale Cozort's Blog.
My Best Reads of 2014 at The Bathroom Monologues.
Review: The Golden Princess by S.M. Stirling at Tom Kepler Writing.
Review: A Gray Tide In the East at Andrew J. Heller at Other Times.
Review: Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell at SF Signal.
Sobel Wiki Year End Report: 2014 by Johnny Pez.
Snapshot - Waiting For The Verdict at Dale Cozort's Blog.
A Time-Traveling Graphic Novel and More Great Books We’re Reading This Month at Wired.
Top 7 Sci-Fi/Speculative Novels I Read in 2014 at Bibliotropic.
Tracey/Trinitytwo’s Favorites of 2014 at The Qwillery.
Why Frederick II Would Be a Great Character For a Sci-Fi or Fantasy Story at Suvudu.

Counterfactuals, History and News

10 Wannabe European Countries You Might Not Have Heard Of by Petar Todorovski at Listverse.
The Alternate Histories of Mario Cuomo at Yahoo.
Churchill's Family Begged Him Not to Convert to Islam, Letter Shows by F. Brinley Bruton at NBC.
The Great War: Steampunk or Dieselpunk? by Larry Amyett, Jr at Dieselpunk.
High-Tech Airships Could Be NASA's Next Challenge by Kelly Dickerson at Space.com.
How Napoleon Nearly Became a U.S. Citizen by Munro Price at Time.
If You're Planning To Invade The US, 2028 Will Be The Optimum Year by Mark Strauss at io9.
Looking to Solidify Superpower Status, China Set to Occupy Afghanistan at The Israeli Daily.
The moment the Tories won the 2015 election by Peter Kellner at YouGov.
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to stop him turning into a werewolf at The Independent.
The Real Story Behind the 1914 Christmas Truce in World War I by George Dvorsky at io9.
Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground by Peter Orsi at Yahoo.
What Can Latvia's Integration With Europe Teach Ukraine? by Fabrizio Tassinari at Huff Post.
What Real Historical Figure Is Portrayed The Least Accurately Onscreen? at io9.
Who has come closest to winning Civilization in real life? by djublonskopf at io9.
Why 19th Century Scientists Believed That Life Originated In Space by Mark Strauss at io9.

Film and Television

The Cancelled BioShock Movie At Least Looked The Part by Luke Plunkett at Kotaku.
The Christmas Truce of 1914 at Far Future Horizons.
How Syfy’s 12 Monkeys Series Will Differ From The Movie at Giant Freaking Robot.
If Luke Had Accepted Vader's Offer at Dorkly.
Must-Watch New TV Shows In 2015: Airdate Plus What to Expect at International Business Times.
Neill Blomkamp Was Developing an Alien Film and Heres Some Concept Art at Geek Tyrant.
Review: Doctor Who – Last Christmas at Geek Syndicate.
Take a Look at Michael Keaton’s ‘Batman 3′ Batsuit Prototype at Comic Book Resources.
Thank God This Version Of Toy Story 3 Never Saw The Light Of Day by Lauren Davis at io9.
VH1's Time-Traveling Series Is Made Entirely Of I Love The '90s Jokes at io9.
X-Men: Days of Future Past Nearly Starred Juggernaut at SciFiNow.

Games

Let’s Rank The Civilization Games, Best To Worst by Luke Plunkett at Kotaku.
Muzzy Lane Aims for Major Growth with New CEO in Place at Games Learning.

Graphic Novels and Comics

A Broke Geek’s Guide To Excellent Webcomics at The Mary Sue.
Jazz Age Glamour and Gothic Horror in MADAME FRANKENSTEIN at Image.

Interviews

Moshe Feder at Author Hank Garner.
Jasper Kent at Suvudu.
Paul Levinson at Book Goodies.

Podcasts

Dissecting Worlds Holidays 2014: Families at Geek Syndicate.

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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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