Monday, April 6, 2015

Weekly Update #185

Editor's Note

I'M BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So if you have been paying attention to The Update over the last month, you would have noticed some pretty awesome things have happened to me. I posted the trailer for my new YouTube channel (with a new video coming out later this week), I interviewed Harry Turtledove for Amazing Stories (which was the second most viewed article for the site that week), I presented my paper on the online alternate history community at the Sideways in Time Conference (keep an eye out for my post-conference recap and the edited book collection) and the blog surpassed 600,000 total views!

I am both incredibly thankful for all of these great opportunities and, to be honest, physically and emotionally drained. Nevertheless, I am plugging along with all of my current projects because the only other option is to focus on my career and who wants do that, right?

As you can see below this Weekly Update is missing some key segments due to time constraints caused by the Easter weekend. I decided just focus on a couple highlights that caught my eye before returning to our usual format next Monday. Enjoy!

And now the news...

What do the critics think of Alan's Smale's Clash of Eagles?

Perhaps the biggest news from the last couple of weeks is the release of Alan Smale's Clash of Eagles, the first in a trilogy of novels based on his Sidewise award winning short story. Set in a world where the Roman Empire never fell and is colonizing the Americas, a ton of sites have commented and promoted this new alternate history novel...but is it any good?

Pat from Pat's Fantasy Hotlist gave the book a 7.5 out of 10 and said "Smale writes with aplomb and came up with a truly original tale" but did say there are info dumps and pacing issues. Meanwhile, the Falcata Times review said the novel had "a very interesting premise and whilst I initially wasn't as enthused with it as I thought I would be, I did find that as the tale moved on, I became more engrossed to see how the world would adapt." Not bad reviews at all.

If you would like to learn more about Clash of Eagles and it's author, check out Smale's article on Tor where he discusses his five novels "that twist history until it begs for mercy", his reader letter and guest essay on Suvudu and his favorite bit of the novel on Mary Robinette Kowal's journal. You can also read his interviews on The Qwillery, Eating Authors and SFFWorld.

If you had the chance to read Clash of Eagles, let us know in the comments.

Houdini and Doyle: Paranormal Detectives?

Steampunk fans should be excited to learn that Fox has greenlit a supernatural crime drama based on the real life friendship of Sherlock Holmes' author Arthur Conan Doyle and illusionist Harry Houdini. Here is the description from Deadline:

In Houdini And Doyle, two of the great characters of the 20th century — Houdini, master magician, escape artist and paranormal debunker, and Doyle, creator of the world’s greatest detective and a paranormal aficionado — grudgingly join forces to investigate crimes with a supernatural slant. Although they’re both rich, famous and brilliant, they’re the original odd couple, with Houdini believing in nothing, Doyle in everything.

From the description it sounds like a mash-up of the X-Files and Sleepy Hollow. As odd as this sounds, it could actually work. I would like to see Doyle use deductions like his famous character and have the skeptical Houdini be forced to confront a secret world existing parallel to our own. That being said, I think I rather see the pair going around and debunking supernatural mysteries around the world (i.e. Daniel Stashower's The Harry Houdini Mysteries), rather then fighting ghosts and monsters. I just think that would make for a better show, but that is only my opinion.

What do you think?

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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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