Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekly Update #190

Editor's Note

Ugh...Twitter. Can someone who better understands that platform explain to me how I went from over 700 followers to losing more than a dozen in a matter of a few days? Seriously, it boggles my mind. Is it something I am doing (or not doing) or is it something completely out of my control. Any insight would be appreciated.

And now the news...

What do the critics think of Michael J. Martinez's The Venusian Gambit?

Friend of The Update, Michael J. Martinez, recently celebrated the publication of his new book, The Venusian Gambit. The third and (so far) final book in the Daedalus series, check out the plot summary from Amazon below:

In the year 2135, dangerous alien life forms freed in the destruction of Saturn's moon Enceladus are making their way towards Earth. A task force spearheaded by Lt. Cmdr. Shaila Jain is scrambling to beat them there while simultaneously trying to save crewmember Stephane Durand, who was infected during the mission to Saturn and is now controlled by a form of life intent on reopening a transdimensional rift and destroying the human race. But Jain doesn’t realize that the possessed Stephane has bigger plans, beaming critical data to other conspirators suspiciously heading not for Earth, but for Venus…

In 1809—a Napoleonic era far different from our own—the French have occupied England with their Corps Eternélle, undead soldiers risen through the darkest Alchemy. Only the actions of Lord Admiral Thomas Weatherby and the Royal Navy have kept the French contained to Earth. But the machinations of old enemies point to a bold and daring gambit: an ancient weapon, presumed lost in the jungles of Venus.

Now, Weatherby must choose whether to stay and fight to retake his homeland or pursue the French to the green planet. And Shaila must decide if it’s possible to save the man she loves, or if he must be sacrificed for the good of two dimensions. In the dark, alien jungles of Venus, humanity's fate in both dimensions hangs in the balance—forcing past and present to once again join forces against an ancient terror.

While you can check out my thoughts on The Venusian Gambit over at Amazing Stories (spoiler: I do recommend you read it), what do the other critics think about Michael's book? Trinitytwo from The Qwillery called it a pleasure to read, remarked on its diverse cast of characters and finished by saying it was a satisfying conclusion to the series. Paul Weimer from SF Signal gave the book 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and said it had " [e]xciting action and strong diverse characters; good use of asynchronous time streams in character development.

So all good reviews for The Venusian Gambit and in case you want to know what the author thinks of our favorite genre, check out his list of five alternate history books you should check out over at Tor.

Alison Morton Celebrates the publication of Aurelia

Another friend of The Update who released a new book was Alison Morton. She published the fourth book in her Roma Nova series, Aurelia. Here is the description from Amazon:

Late 1960s Roma Nova, the last Roman colony that has survived into the 20th century. Aurelia Mitela is alone – her partner gone, her child sickly and her mother dead – and forced to give up her beloved career as a Praetorian officer. 

But her country needs her unique skills. Somebody is smuggling silver – Roma Nova’s lifeblood – on an industrial scale. Sent to Berlin to investigate, she encounters the mysterious and attractive Miklós, a known smuggler who knows too much and Caius Tellus, a Roma Novan she has despised and feared since childhood. 

Barely escaping a trap set by a gang boss intent on terminating her, she discovers that her old enemy is at the heart of all her troubles and pursues him back home to Roma Nova... 

As any good author in the 21st century has done, Alison has been busy promoting her novel across the Internet. You can read an excerpt from Aurelia over at Unusual Historicals and even read a scene that didn't make the final cut over at Alison's site. You can also read a guest post Alison wrote over at Sandy's Chatterblog.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Premiere Date Announced
We leave the world of books to share the news that BBC's adaptation of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell will premier on BBC One in the UK on May 17 and will premiere on BBC America on June 13 according to Deadline. Here is the plot summary from the same site:

In 1806, the reclusive and skillful Mr Norrell (Marsan) is thought to be the last remaining practical magician. His displays thrill the nation — in London, he raises the beautiful Lady Pole (Englert) from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. But he is sooon challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange (Carvel). While trying to secure his beloved Arabella’s (Riley) hand in marriage, he meets a vagabond, the magician of Threadneedle Street, who tells him he is destined to be a great magician. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrell. A dangerous battle ensues between the two great men.

...and thats all I got to say other than I can't wait!

Videos for Alternate Historians

We begin last week in videos with another episode from the Alternate History Hub that features two PODs on Iranian history. Check them out below:
And we end with Ray Narvaez Jr, my favorite Twitch streamer, playing a round of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood:

Links to the Multiverse

Books & Short Fiction

Announcing the 2015 Locus Award Finalists! at Tor.
Guest Post: John A. Connell, author of Ruins of War at My Bookish Ways.
More Dinosaur Lords Art from Richard Anderson at Tor.
Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King at Journal-Advocate.
Review: Bombs Away by Harry Turtledove at Article 94.
Review: The Chronicles of Light and Shadow by Liesel Schwarz at Geek Dad
Review: Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale at Fanboy Comics.
Review: Hitler’s Time Machine by Robert F. Dorr at Notes from the Bunker.
Review: Old Venus edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois at Falcata Times.
These Imaginative Parallel Universes Will Forever Change How You Think About Africa at Good.

Counterfactuals, History & News

The Austrian castle where Nazis lost to German-US force at BBC.
How Texas could have been French-speaking at The Independent.
Letter From Lovecraft to Houdini About Edgar Allen Poe's Desk at The Lovecraft eZine.
'Texas Ranger' Chuck Norris warns of government plot to take over state at The Guardian.

Film & Television

Alternate History: What If George Miller’s JUSTICE LEAGUE Wasn’t Cancelled? at Collider.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron: alternate endings that never were at Den of Geek.
Five Things About Penny Dreadful Are Better Than Ever (And One’s Not) at io9.
Outlander 1.13 Mother's Day at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.

Games

Review: Wolfenstien: The Old Blood at IGN.

Graphic Novels & Comics

Review: The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua at Journal Sentinel.

Interviews

Rod Duncan at SFFWorld.
Brooke Johnson at The Mary Sue.

Podcasts

Podcast Spotlight: Beneath Ceaseless Skies Podcast at SF Signal.
Ratchet RetroCast Episode 50 – RETROCASTERS NEVER SAY DIE! at The ESO Network.

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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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