Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekly Update #189

Editor's Note

So I think I have had a long enough break since my Britain trip that its time to get back to some serious writing. Starting this week I am going to begin the long process of cutting my Sideways in Time paper to a more appropriate length. Hopefully that doesn't mean I will have to cut back on my writing elsewhere. In fact the schedule for this week is pretty much locked in, so that is good. If I can keep up the pace of 6 articles a week (counting my work at Amazing Stories) I think I can keep delivering alternate history content to you guys and work on my other projects.

Also no Map Monday this week. Sorry, but nothing inspired me enough to write about it.

And now the news...

What do the critics think of Hi Hitler! by Gavriel Rosenfeld?

Gavriel Rosenfeld, proprietor of The Counterfactual History Review, has a new book out called Hi Hitler! which discusses the normalization of Nazism in modern culture. Here is the description from Amazon:

The Third Reich's legacy is in flux. For much of the post-war period, the Nazi era has been viewed moralistically as an exceptional period of history intrinsically different from all others. Since the turn of the millennium, however, this view has been challenged by a powerful wave of normalization. Gavriel D. Rosenfeld charts this important international trend by examining the shifting representation of the Nazi past in contemporary western intellectual and cultural life. Focusing on works of historical scholarship, popular novels, counterfactual histories, feature films, and Internet websites, he identifies notable changes in the depiction of the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the figure of Adolf Hitler himself. By exploring the origins of these works and assessing the controversies they have sparked in the United States and Europe, Hi Hitler! offers a fascinating and timely analysis of the shifting status of the Nazi past in western memory.

The book got a lot of attention last week when Richard Evans (Altered Pasts) critiqued the book on The Guardian. He summed up Hi Hitler! by saying "Rosenfeld’s book is engrossing and thought-provoking, but in the end it does not convince." Well not the best review, but I guess there is no such thing as bad publicity. Speaking of publicity, Gavriel discussed stories where Hitler survives his death over at The Conversation. Go check it out and let us know what you think.

What do the critics think of Mary Robinette Kowal's Of Noble Family?

The always delightful Mary Robinette Kowal has published the conclusion to her Glamourist Histories series. Its called Of Nobel Family and here is the description from Amazon:

Jane and Vincent have finally gotten some much-needed rest after their adventures in Italy when Vincent receives word that his estranged father has passed away on one of his properties in the West Indies. His brother, who manages the estate, is overwhelmed, and no one else in his family can go. Grudgingly, out of filial duty the couple decide to go.

The sea voyage is long and Jane spends enough time unable to perform glamour that towards the end of the trip she discovers that she is with child. They are overjoyed, but when they finally arrive at the estate to complete what they expect to be routine legal tasks, they realize that nearly everything they came expecting to find had been a lie. Also, the entire estate is in disarray, with horrifying conditions and tensions with the local slave population so high that they are close to revolt.

Jane and Vincent's sense of peril is screaming out for them to flee, but Vincent cannot stand to leave an estate connected with his family in such a condition. They have survived many grand and terrifying adventures in their time, but this one will test their skills and wits more than any they have ever encountered before, this time with a new life hanging in the balance. Mary Robinette Kowal's Of Noble Family is the final book of the acclaimed Glamourist Histories.

Paul Weimer at SF Signal called it a "[s]trong endgame for the series and an excellent use of events from previous novels. Vincent and Jane continue to grow and glow as characters." Well it looks like Paul enjoyed the book, but if you want to know Mary's favorite bit of Of Noble Family, check out her post on her site. She also will be on book tour starting tomorrow.

Videos for Alternate Historians

Remember when I posted that teaser trailer on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, yeah turns out they released a longer version not much later:
Looks pretty good. Can't wait. Now lets figure out how to start our own country:
Fascinating and the rules to creating your own country should apply to future off-world colonies. Now lets dive back to the past and find out how to live forever:
You got to love the effort they put into creating these Vsauce videos. Anywho, Sean Korsgaard filmed the alternate history panel at Ravencon 2015, featuring another familiar face here at The Update, Chris Nuttall:
I haven't listened to the whole panel, so watch at your own risk.

Links to the Multiverse

Books & Short Fiction

2015 Readers Choice Awards at Steampunk Chronicles.
AURELIA - excerpt by Alison Morton.
Gideon Smith cover gallery by David Barnett at Postcards From The Hinterland.
Message Fiction: Politics in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Literature by The G at Tor.
Representing Marginalized Voices in Historical Fiction and Fantasy at Strange Horizons.
Review: Joe Steele by Harry Turtledove at That's What I'm Talking About.
Roma Novan family trees by Alison Morton.
The Strange Horizons Book Club: Hild by Nicola Griffith at Strange Horizons.
These incredible paintings of sci-fi suburbia are finally turning into a book at The Verge.
To Explore Strange Old Worlds, to Seek Out Old Civilizations at Strange Horizons.

Counterfactuals, History & News

7 Lesser-Known Victorian Inventors Who Were Just As Fascinating As Tesla at io9.
Abbott Orders Texas Guard to 'Monitor' Planned Military Exercises at NPR.
Deep, deep south: Brazilians proudly celebrate their Confederate ancestry at The Guardian.
Great Moments in Peaceful Protest History at The Nib.
The most racist places in America, according to Google at The Washington Post.

Film & Television

It's Still Alive! Modern Adaptations of Frankenstein by Sarah Clare at Hodderscape.
Outlander 1.12: Black Jack's Progeny at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.


7 Games We Saw in Action That Never Came Out by Keza MacDonald at Kotaku.
Can a game show us what would happen under far-right rule? at Boing Boing.

Graphic Novels & Comics

The Complete History Of The Joker's Many, Many Incarnations by James Whitbrook at io9.


Brooke Johnson at My Bookish Ways.
Michael J Martinez at SF Signal.
Gareth L. Powell at The Gutterbound Stargazer.


Dissecting Worlds Series 9 – Episode 6: Special Circumstances at Geel 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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