Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekly Update #177

Editor's Note

I was so happy to get one of my two big announcements out of the when I revealed my Capricon 35 schedule. I plan to make the second this week, so stay tuned for some more big news.

Not sure if I talked about this yet, but I am going to be doing something different for the rest of the year. Occasionally I have experimented with "theme" months, but this year I am going to put a little more effort into it. You will learn more about what I am planning later either at the end of the week or next Monday.

And now the news...

What do the critics think of Agent Carter?

I know The Man in the High Castle is still on all of your minds and trust me I didn't forget about it. In fact I made another special link dump for it below under the Links to the Multiverse section. We still don't know when we are going to get a new episode, so if you need your alternate history television fix, why don't you check out Agent Carter?

According to WikipediaIn 1946, Peggy Carter must balance the routine office work she does for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (S.S.R) while secretly assisting Howard Stark, who finds himself framed for supplying deadly weapons to the top bidder. Carter is assisted by Stark's butler, Edwin Jarvis, to find those responsible and dispose of the weapons.

Now I have always held that the Captain America films and their spin-offs, like Agent Carter, blur the lines of comic book universe and alternate history. Even if it is not a true alternate history, there is no denying it has a dieselpunk aesthetic to it (and if you want some unexpected dieselpunk, go watch The Grand Budapest Hotel). But is it any good?

Well so far the reviews I have seen have been positive. Liz Bourke of Tor said she is in love with the show, but she may be predisposed to liking to show because of her "pro-ladies-hitting-people-with-snappy-dialogue" personality. Meanwhile Vix from Geek Syndicate gave episode three a 4 out of 5 star review and praised the show for being a trailblazer in bringing more female leads to the Marvel universe.

Have you watched Agent Carter yet? Tell us what you think in the comments.

“El Dorado” Expansion for Europa Universalis IV Lets You Go For Gold

Yeah I didn't come up with that title, but I thought it was amusing. Anywho, Paradox Development is bringing the genocide adventure and politics of the Spanish conquest to life with the "El Dorado" expansion for Europa Universalis IV.

This expansion’s historical focus will be on the Central American and South American theaters. According to the press release, you can play "[a]s the Aztecs, [and[ subject the Mexican plain to your rule but make sure you have enough vassal kings to sacrifice to your angry gods. As the Europeans, push deeper into the jungles of the Amazon, following rumors of lost cities and magical fountains. Defer to the Pope as he intervenes to divide the New World among squabbling empires."

The centerpiece mechanic of "El Dorado" is the Nation Designer, a tool that let’s you customize your starting nation in a campaign. You choose your starting capital and neighboring provinces, modify your starting culture and leader and then play as this nation in the game. Sounds like a useful tool when crafting an alternate history scenario.

Learn more by watching the trailer:

Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado will be available on major digital delivery platforms for Windows, Mac and Linux next month.

Videos for Alternate Historians

Its time for some more YouTube videos that bend the borders of reality. We begin with Game Theory's look at the Pokemon multiverse:
Next up, author Gareth L. Powell is interviewed on the Abaddon Solaris channel and man are those some amazing British accents:
By the way, you can also read this text interview with Gareth on Rising Shadow. Speaking of sweet British accents, here is the new trailer for PlayStation's The Order: 1886:
Learn more about the game's plot here and see how violent the game is here. And finally, we end by asking is time travel possible with some of the most seductive British accents Doctor Who can provide:

Links to the Multiverse

Amazon's The Man in the High Castle

Amazon 2015 Pilot Season: THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE Stands Out at TwitchFilm.
Amazon Launches New Pilots at Blastr Magazine.
Amazon's New TV Pilots: 7 Reviews, From Sci-Fi to the Civil War at Yahoo!
Bingeworthy: Amazon Prime wants you to find the next 'Transparent' at The Cap Times.
First Impressions: The Man in the High Castle at Ramblings of the Easily Distracted.
The future of television is here and now at Stuff.co.nz.
The Man in the High Castle: The Amazon pilot all sci-fi fans should watch at The Independent.
‘The Man in the High Castle’ Depicts America Under the Nazis at Medium.
The Man in the High Castle never lets us believe its alternate-history nightmare at The Verge.
The Man in the High Castle on Amazon: Outstanding at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.
The Man in the High Castle Recap: Pilot at Movie News Guide.
The Man in the High Castle S1.01 - Pilot Review at GamesRadar.
The Man in the High Castle Shines in Amazon’s Pilot Season at Geek Dad.
The Man in the High Castle: When a Nazi-Run World Isn't So Dystopian at The Atlantic.
Review: Amazon’s new pilot season offers the good, the bad, and one train wreck at GeekWire.
'Salem Rogers,' 'The Man in the High Castle' are the best of Amazon's 2015 pilot season at zap2it.
Two dystopian TV shows to die for at Your Tech Weblog.
Why The Man in the High Castle Is Essential Science Fiction at Den of Geek.

Books and Short Fiction

8 Books From the Last Decade that Made Me Excited About SF  and Fantasy by Jo Walton at Tor.
The 100 best novels: No 70 – Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949) at The Guardian.
100 Science Fiction and Fantasy and Horror Books to Look Forward to in 2015 (Part 2) at Kirkus.
Adam Rowe on The Most Ridiculous Moon Landings in Science Fiction History at SF Signal.
Book Trailer: The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber at Tor/Forge Blog.
Brian Staveley, Author of Providence of Fire, on Fictional History and True Stories at SF Signal.
A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab (Excerpt) at Tor.
Eight steps to building a fictional world that works by Alison Morton at Writers' Village.
Flashing Steel, Flashing Fire Is Now On Kindle Unlimited at The World According to Quinn.
Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King at The County Line.
Review: The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan at My Bookish Ways.
Review: The Just City by Jo Walton at SF Signal.
Review: Pacific Fire by Greg van Eekhout at Tor.
Review: A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon at SF Signal.

Counterfactuals, History and News

Creating a Jewish State in the United States instead of Israel at The Counterfactual History Review.
If It Happened There: The State of the Union by Joshua Keating at Slate.
Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia by Matt Novak at Gizmodo.
Two Years After Apocalyptic Predictions Related To An Obama Presidency, Life Goes On at SPLC.
Why Are the Middle Ages Often Characterized as Dark or Less Civilized? at Slate.
The Winds of Change (Predictions for the 1960s) at Galactic Journey.

Film and Television

9 Reasons you should watch Marco Polo at Hodderscape.
Ascension and alternative histories of the future at Future Fictions.
Discover the Truth Behind Sons of Liberty Series at Journal of the American Revolution.
George Lucas On ‘Star Wars': Disney Didn’t Use My Ideas For New Movies at Deadline.
A History of … The Mummy at Geek Syndicate.
Japan’s Atomic Bomb at Far Future Horizons.
Marco Polo: Netflix's Critical Flop That Dared to Be Diverse by Lenika Cruz at The Atlantic.
Oakwell Hall to appear in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell at The Huddersfield Daily Examiner.
Review: 12 Monkeys at Amazing Stories.
Review: 12 Monkeys 1.2 and 1.3 at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.
Review: Elementary 3.11 at Sherlock Peoria.
Review: Space 1999 at The Little Red Reviewer.
Tulsa History Buffs Not Required For 'Drunk History' Casting Call at NewsOn6.com.

Games

Crossing the Streams: Batman and Tarzan at Panels.

Graphic Novels and Comics

Original ‘hit list’ reveals a very different ‘Infinite Crisis’ at Comic Book Resources.

Interviews

Elizabeth Bear at SF Signal.
Cherie Priest at Reddit.
Adam Roberts at Tor.
Thom Trulove at Buzzy Mag.

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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.

2 comments:

  1. I'm very much a fan of Peggy Carter. I've posted reviews of the first three episodes, plus the "Man in the High Castle" pilot, on my blog (www.woodmr.net/blog). I hadn't considered "Agent Carter" alt history, but it makes sense especially given the revelations in "Winter Soldier."

    Thanks again for all the recommendations.

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    Replies
    1. Admittedly the amount of alternate history content is minimal and probably would be better classified as a "secret history", but aesthetically it looks like it belongs in a different timeline.

      BTW, followed you on Twitter. Thanks for commenting and I look forward to check out the reviews.

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