Monday, March 2, 2015

Weekly Update #182

Editor's Note

So I am going to be honest: theme months are very hard for me. The Update is something I do at the seat of my pants...and I think many notice that. Theme months require a lot of planning because you want to make sure you have to content to go along with the subject. Long term projects, like my Sideways in Time paper (conference schedule coming soon) or my YouTube channel, take up a lot of my planning time. So my hopes to do more theme months may be a tad optimistic.

This week I have jury duty on Tuesday. Yay...I guess. I mean on one hand the attorney in me is looking forward to the experience. On the other hand, there is a ton of things I should and rather be doing. O well, its a sacrifice we all must make in my country and I am trying not to complain too much. At least my firm is cool with me taking the time off and hopefully I don't get picked.

Thanks to everyone who bought books and other goodies from Amazon through my site. You guys gave me on of my best months ever!

And now the news...

What is A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab?

The Internet had a lot to say about V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic. For those who missed last week's New Releases, here is the description again from Amazon:

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers - magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There's Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There's Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London...

I like short descriptions. Anywho, Paul Weimer at SF Signal said A Darker Shade of Magic is "[a] strong novel of magic, character and multiple Londons that succeeds on a variety of levels and promises delights for a wide swath of fantasy readers." Well that is good news and if you would like to learn more about this magical mutliverse you can check out interviews with Schwab at Tor and Suvudu.

The Critics Review Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

If you are a steampunk fan, you may want to check out Elizabeth Bear's Karen Memory. Here is summary 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.

But what do the critics say? Well Diana Biller from B&N said "Karen Memory is the kind of book that grabs you by the ribs in the first few pages and doesn’t let go until you see the word 'Epilogue.'" Furthermore, Angela Blackwell at Bull Spec said Karen Memory is a "very interesting and quick read" with a "setting and cast of characters [that] have great potential". Sounds good to me. Its now on my to-read list.

Did you see the Parallels trailer on YouTube?

Well if you haven't seen it, you can watch it below:
To be honest it looks like this show was shot with a small budget and a very limited pool of talent. Also traveling through the multiverse by way of a conspicuous skyscraper seems a very awkward way to explore parallel timelines. Nevertheless, it is available now on Netflix so I will give it a shot. Who knows? Maybe I will even have a review later this week...

Links to the Multiverse

Books, Short Fiction & Web Originals

2015 Debut Author Challenge Update - Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale at The Qwillery.
Adam Christopher (ELEMENTARY: THE GHOST LINE) on Juggling Genre at SF Signal.
All Timelines Lead to Rome: Author's View by Dale Cozort.
Alternate History: Drivers and Toy Steering Wheels by Dale Cozort.
Caligula A Christian? This Could Be Fun... at The World According to Quinn.
Cold Flesh by Andrew Knighton – Free Extract at Alt Hist.
Edi's Spotlight: Alt Hist Issue 7 edited by Mark Lord at Edi's Book Lighthouse.
The Grand War-Preview by Lynn Davis at Maps, Writing, and Ramblings.
Review: Altered Pasts by Richard Evans at The Weekly Standard.
Review: Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes at Draumr Kopa Fantasy Book Blog.
Steampunk: Gears, Gadgetry, and Genre of Victorian Science Fiction! at Liberty Voice.
Time Travel In Science Fiction at Shelf Talk.
TOC: Jews Vs Zombies and Jews Vs Aliens Edited by Levene and Tidhar at SF Signal.
Uncovering Hidden Black History, On Screen And On The Page at NPR.

Counterfactuals, History & News

After 8 centuries, rats exonerated in spread of Black Death at The Washington Post.
The fiasco that is the Nicaragua Canal, explained by Brad Plumer at Vox.
Hanson’s Counterfactual about Obama Appeasing Hitler at The Counterfactual History Review.
ISIS Burns 8000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul by Riyadh Mohammed at Yahoo!
ISIS Smashes 3,000 Years of History in Iraqi Museum Attack at Gawker.
Ron Paul: U.S. secession is already ‘happening’ by Steve Benen at MSNBC.
Swiss Guard: We are ready to defend Pope from ISIS at Catholic News Agency.
U.S. military vehicles paraded 300 yards from the Russian border at The Washington Post.
What If Putin Were Nice? by Keith Gessen at Politico Magazine.
World War II Should Not Be Forgotten, Japan's Prince Naruhito Says at NBC News.

Film & Television

12 Monkeys 1.7: Snowden, the Virus, and the Irresistible at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.

Games

42-Player Civilization Game Is Destroying The Planet by Luke Plunkett at Kotaku.
New Artwork Show The Order: 1886 PS4 Set In Berlin, Florence And Sydney at Gamepur.

Graphic Novels & Comics

The Problem with a Nazi Superman by Evan Narcisse at Kotaku.

Interview

Rod Duncan at Leicester Mercury.
Leanna Renee Hieber at My Bookish Ways.
Gary Whitta at /Film.

Music

What If Grunge Never Happened? by Zachary Lipez at Hazlitt.

Podcasts

Show 22 – Cleopatra Caesar 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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