I am going to be taking a short summer break at the end of July. It will only be about two weeks and while I may still share news on Facebook and Twitter, I will be incommunicado for most of that time. So while I am gone, everyone play nice and try not to do anything important.
So last week I teased that I had an important announcement. Well I am still awaiting permission to share the news with you. I have already told a few people in private and so far the response has been very positive. Keep an eye on this blog for when I am ready to share it with everyone.
And now the news...
What is Iron & Blood by Gail Z Martin and Larry Martin?
A book that seemed to catch readers attention last week was Iron & Blood by Gail Z Martin and Larry Martin. Here is the description from Amazon:
New Pittsburgh in 1898, a crucible of invention and intrigue, the hub of American industry at the height of its steam-driven power. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, New Pittsburgh is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the abandoned mine tunnels beneath the city, supernatural creatures hide from the light, emerging to feed in the smoky city known as 'hell with the lid off.'
Jake Desmet and Rick Brand, heirs to the Brand & Desmet Import Company, travel the world to secure treasures and unusual items for the collections of wealthy patrons, accompanied by Jake's cousin, Veronique 'Nicki' LeClercq . Smuggling a small package as a favor for a Polish witch should have been easy. But when hired killers come after Jake and a Ripper-style killer leaves the city awash in blood, Jake, Rick and Nicki realize that dark magic, vampire power struggles and industrial sabotage are just a prelude to a bigger plot that threatens New Pittsburgh and the world. Stopping that plot will require every ounce of Jake's courage, every bit of Rick's cunning, every scintilla of Nicki's bravura and all the steampowered innovation imaginable.
Both authors are originally from Pittsburgh and in an interview with Rising Shadow, Gail said they changed aspects of Pittsburgh's history to create their alternate history. Perhaps it has something to do with George Westinghouse who was based in Pittsburgh, was a rival of Edison and gained Tesla's AC patents. A different career trajectory for this man could have created the Martins' New Philadelphia, but we won't know for sure until we read the book.
What is The Old Iron Dream by David Forbes?
Inkshares. The description is too long to share it directly on this site, but David's book argues that SF's reputation as being an open and tolerant genre is rather recent and that the genre has a very powerful and influential faction of far-right, authoritarian authors who are still celebrated today.
He gave a brief summary of this fact in an article for Motherboard. It was interesting to learn that the name of the book was actually based off Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream, which is set in an alternate history where Hitler became a pulp SF writer and has similar themes regarding SF as Forbes book does. Also I used the cover for Spinrad's book because I couldn't really find one of Forbe's.
I could talk more about The Old Iron Dream, but I think this quote from David sums up the main thrust of his position: "Even Andrew Jackson would have let more Americans vote than Campbell, Heinlein, and Pournelle."
Video of the Week
I desperately wanted to find something with the word "iron" in it for the Video of the Week after the unintentional theme that started to develop in this article, but after not finding any good contenders, I decided to go with History Respawned's interview with Ishmael Hope, lead writer on Never Alone. Check it out below:
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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.