Monday, September 5, 2016

Weekly Update #246! Alternate Histories to Read in September

Editor's Note

It's hard to believe summer is ending. Although I am indoor kind of guy, I do love summer. The early sunrises, the barbecues, the festivals, the beach days, the picnics and the all-around beautiful weather that lets me read outside in comfort. I had a great time this summer and I will be sad to see it go.

Recommendations from last week include Sam McDonald's review of the anime: Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. I am still surprised by the number of anime works that feature alternate history content and will probably need to sit down and watch some of them in the future. In the meantime, my thanks to Sam for bringing these obscure works of alternate history to my attention.

Don't forget that you can support The Update by buying through Amazon. Click on the banner to your right when you go to purchase something and we will get a little something something to fund our mission of bringing you the best alternate history news and reviews on the Internet. If you are looking for something to buy, may I recommend some of last week's new releases or maybe some of the books below?

Finally, I am posting this a little early due to my Labor Day plans. I hope no one minds (and I don't care if you do). Map Monday also may come out later than usual.

And now the news...

Books to Read in September

So there are a lot of good books coming out in September that I am excited to read. In fact I decided to preview a few of them in case you want to read along with me. The first one is Michael J. Martinez's MJ-12: Inception which is coming out tomorrow. Now you can already read my thoughts on the book by checking out my review on Amazing Stories, but here is the description from Amazon:

It is a new world, stunned by the horrors that linger in the aftermath of total war. The United States and Soviet Union are squaring off in a different kind of conflict, one that’s fought in the shadows, where there are whispers of strange and mysterious developments.

Normal people across the United States have inexplicably gained paranormal abilities. A factory worker can heal the sick and injured. A schoolteacher bends emotions to her will. A car salesman alters matter with a simple touch. A former soldier speaks to the dying and gains their memories as they pass on.

They are the Variants, controlled by a secret government program called MAJESTIC-12 to open a new front in the Cold War.

From the deserts of Nevada to the palaces of Istanbul, the halls of power in Washington to the dark, oppressive streets of Prague, the Variants are thrown into a deadly game of shifting alliances. Amidst the seedy underbelly of nations, these once-ordinary Americans dropped in extraordinary circumstances will struggle to come to terms with their abilities as they fight to carve out a place for themselves in a world that may ultimately turn against them.

And as the MAJESTIC-12 program will soon discover, there are others out there like them, some with far more malevolent goals.

Also coming out tomorrow is Bill Fawcett's 101 Stumbles in the March of History: What If the Great Mistakes in War, Government, Industry, and Economics Were Not Made? Although Bill wrote most of the essays in this book, there are many other contributors from the alternate history genre who are participating like Harry Turtledove, Eric Flint, Mike Resnick and Charles E. Gannon. I actually have a couple posts about the book coming out tomorrow, but in the meantime, here is the Amazon description:


When asked to name a successor, Alexander the Great declared that his empire should go “to the strongest”. . . but would rival factions have descended into war if he’d been a little more specific?

What if the Vienna Academy of Art took a chance on a hopeful young student named Adolf Hitler?

If Pope Clement VII granted King Henry VIII an annulment, England would likely still be Catholic today—and so would America. 

Bill Fawcett, author of 100 Mistakes That Changed History, offers a compendium of 101 all-new mammoth mistakes—from the ill-fated rule of Emperor Darius III to the equally ill-fated search for WMDs in Iraq—that will, unfortunately, never be forgotten by history.

Coming out tomorrow as well (the first Tuesday of any month is usually a big day for new releases) is a book I have been very excited to read: SM Stirling's The Prince of Outcasts. This is the next book in the Emberverse series, which I have gushed about on numerous occasions and I have even reread the first three books a couple of times. In case you are interested, here is the description from Amazon:

John Arminger Mackenzie wanted to be a troubadour, but fate made him the son of the king of Montival. His sister Princess Ă“rlaith will deservedly inherit the throne of the High Kings, and it will only pass unto him in the event of her death, leaving the young Prince on an unknown path to discover his true role in the family. 

The opportunity to prove his mettle comes when John’s ship, the Tarshish Queen, is caught in the fierce storm raised against the enemies of the alliance. When the clouds recede and the skies clear, John and his crew find themselves on the other side of the Pacific, in the island chains of the Ceram Sea, fighting to survive against vicious pirates and monstrous creatures of the deep, meeting new allies and mysterious enemies of this world and another. 

Now, Prince John must seize his birthright and lead his people in battle against the darkest forces man and nature can conjure against them.

And now we get to our last, but certainly not least, book coming out in September that I wanted to talk about. Its What Ifs of Jewish History: From Abraham to Zionism edited by counterfactual historian, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld. I actually just started reading this book and I am enjoying it. Its even given me a few ideas for what if videos (like a Protestant Christian state founded in Palestine in a world where Germany won WWI). More on that later, but for now, here is the Amazon description:

What if the Exodus had never happened? What if the Jews of Spain had not been expelled in 1492? What if Eastern European Jews had never been confined to the Russian Pale of Settlement? What if Adolf Hitler had been assassinated in 1939? What if a Jewish state had been established in Uganda instead of Palestine? Gavriel D. Rosenfeld's pioneering anthology examines how these and other counterfactual questions would have affected the course of Jewish history. Featuring essays by sixteen distinguished scholars in the field of Jewish Studies, What Ifs of Jewish History is the first volume to systematically apply counterfactual reasoning to the Jewish past. Written in a variety of narrative styles, ranging from the analytical to the literary, the essays cover three thousand years of dramatic events and invite readers to indulge their imaginations and explore how the course of Jewish history might have been different.

Well I hope you guys find something to read this month and if it is any of the books I mentioned, please let me know what you think about them.

Video of the Week

Today's video of the week is AlternateHistoryHub's "What if Gunpowder Never Existed?":

And let's not forget my recent video where I asked what if the America First Committee kept America out of WWII?

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

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