Monday, February 9, 2015

Weekly Update #179

Editor's Note

Just a reminder that this weekend I will be at Capricon so please come check out my panels if you happen to be in town. Because of the convention and Valentine's Day, I probably won't have my usual Weekly Update ready for next Monday, but I will still be posting throughout the week.

And now the news...

Check Out Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory

The Internet blew up last week about Elizabeth Bear's new steampunk novel, Karen Memory. Here is the description from Amazon:

“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I'm one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It's French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, beggin sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions.  And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.

So what do the critics have to say about Karen Memory? Kathy F. at Stellar Four said the book is "stocked with interesting, diverse characters, the villains are heinously evil, the steampunk element starts out subtly then grows, great action, and the titular character and narrator has a distinctive voice." Meanwhile, Joel Cunningham of B&N said "Bear is clearly having a ball with this one, from incorporating crazy gadgetry to writing in Karen’s idiosyncratic, irresistible voice." So this book is getting some good reviews. I may have to check it out.

If you would to learn more about Karen Memory and Elizabeth Bear, check out Far Beyond Reality where Bear writes about steampunk and listed to her interview on Rocket Talk. Bear also stopped by John Scalzi's blog to talk about "The Big Idea" behind the book and had another interview over at Suvudu.

Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart's Clockwork Lives Out in September

Speaking of steampunk, last week Kevin J. Anderson and legendary Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart announced that the sequel to Clockwork Angels, the steampunk novel that accompanied the Rush concept album of the same name, will be out in September. Titled Clockwork Lives, the press release describes it as a "steampunk Canterbury Tales that explores the lives of secondary characters in Clockwork Angels and introduces a new protagonist." The story will follow Marinda Peake, who is gifted a blank book by her alchemist father that she must fill with other people's stories.

Videos for Alternate Historians

Alright, enough steampunk. Since this is Black Alternate History Month, I decided to do a special edition of this segment. First up, did you know Lion's Blood has its own soundtrack? Check out one of the tracks, "Fire on the Sea", on Heather Alexander's album:
Did anyone ever see White Man's Burden? Well maybe you should check out Fable, a British TV movie where Britain is governed by black people and whites live under apartheid like conditions (thanks to Adrian Cook for finding this for me):
And we are not the only site covering the contributions of African-Americans to speculative fiction. Check out "Science Fiction Authors on Black History Month":

Links to the Multiverse

Amazon TV's The Man in the High Castle

Review: The Man in the High Castle at Lanny Savage.
Review: The Man In The High Castle at Memphis Flyer.

Wait...is that it? Are people starting to forget about The Man in the High Castle?

Books & Short Fiction

5 Time-Looping Tales You’ll Want to Experience More Than Once at Barnes & Noble.
2015 HNS Indie Award: Shortlist and Longlisted Titles at Historical Novel Society.
Alt Hist author Michael Fertik hits New York Times Bestseller list at Alt Hist.
Dennis O’Flaherty on Steampunk’s Legacy at Night Shade Books.
Excerpt: King of the Cracksmen by Dennis O'Flaherty at The Qwillery.
Excerpt: The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar at Tor.
How Not To Publish A Book by Chris Nuttall at The Chrishanger.
Just how different was George RR Martin’s original Game of Thrones outline? at Winter Is Coming.
Review: The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich at I Make Up Words.
Robert Harris, one of the inspirations for Roma Nova’s existence at Alison Morton's site.
Russia May Slap Germany With A $4.5 Trillion Lawsuit For Nazi Atrocities at io9.
Suzette Haden Elgin – RIP at Amazing Stories.

Counterfactuals, History and News

Arms reduction and alternate Cold War histories by Robert E. Levine at Scitation.
The Brazilian Town Where the American Confederacy Lives On at Vice.
Buzz Kill – 15 Amazing Facts about the V-1 Flying Bomb at Military History News.
Steven Shapin on Churchill and the British Atom Bomb at The Counterfactual History Review.
Three Teachers Were Fired For Teaching African-American History at Woman's Day.

Film & Television

Gay Short Film Showcase: We Are Animals – An alternate history at Big Gay Picture Show.
Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Time Travel Movies at Rolling Stone.
Review: 12 Monkeys series 1.4: "Uneasy Math" at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.
TMG takes Strange & Norrell at C21Media.

Games

Alternative Civil War – more new models at Game Wire.

Music

If Taylor Swift Lyrics Were About King Henry VIII at BuzzFeed.
What If Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel Had Been In the Same Band? at Uncle Mike's Musings.

Podcasts

Ratchet RetroCast Ep. 45 – 1+9+8+5 = Retro Pop Culture’s Moral Imperative! at Earth Station One.
Show 21 – Hannibal One at Twilight Histories.

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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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