Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekly Update #27

Editor's Note

So our official monthy page view record is 3402.  What is great about this new record is that if the current rate of page viewing continues, we will break it again in November.

Of course the only way to truly do that is if I and my fellow contributors continue to provide you, the reader, with quality content.  This week War Blogger will be reviewing Seelöwe Nord by Andy Johnson and I have a couple of articles in the works.  Meanwhile, for anyone interested in my work elsewhere, I will be guest blogging from time to time at Just Below the Law, a resource blog for contract attorneys in the Chicago area.

Finally, we got our first readers from Egypt, Belarus and Nepal.  Welcome.

And now the news...

Coming Soon: 11/23/63

Stephen King's new novel 11/23/63, which will be released tomorrow, is a time travel novel about an English teacher who travels to 1958 with the intention of preventing the Kennedy assassination.  Will it be an alternate history though?  King did consult with historians Richard and Doris Kearns Goodwin about possible plotlines involving the Vietnam War, which makes this blogger wonder if Kennedy could have handled the conflict better than LBJ.

Nevertheless it does not look like 11/23/63 will be up on Uchronia anytime soon.  Jeff Greenfield (author of Then Everything Changed) reports that "[n]ot until 800 pages have gone by in 11/22/63 does King offer up an account of the world as it might have been, and even then it has a cursory, I’m-doing-this-because-I have-to feel to it."  Disappointing for us, but Greenfield still recommended the novel and said about King "if a time traveler found a portal to the 22nd ­century and looked for the authors of today still being read tomorrow, Stephen King would be one of them."

Other reviews give a mixed opinion about the novel.  Janet Maslin of The New York Times said the book was "filled with immediacy, pathos and suspense."  Lev Grossman, however, gave the novel only a decent review stating that "[t]he build-up is better than the payoff, as it almost always is."

Those looking for more information about the book can hear it from the master of horror himself.  In the meantime, I will likely be reading this novel when I get the chance, so you can look forward to a review in the near future.

Not AH: Anonymous

It has been a while since I did this segment, but Emmerich's new film Anonymous forced me to dig up this old chestnut. 

Anonymous advocates and dramatizes the Prince Tudor theory variant of the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship, a literary and historical fringe theory proposed in 1920 which contends that the works of William Shakespeare were in fact written by an Elizabethan aristocrat, Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. De Vere is depicted as a literary prodigy and the lover of the Queen, with whom he sires a son, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. He eventually manages to get his suppressed plays performed through a frontman (Shakespeare) in order to support a rebellion led by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. The insurrection fails, and as a condition of sparing the life of their son, the Queen requires that he never take credit for the authorship of Shakespeare's works. Emmerich depicts the historic Shakespeare as a murderous, illiterate simpleton.

Some commentators have labelled the film an alternate history, categorizing it alongside recent alternate history films like Inglorious Basterds and WatchmenOthers have either used the scholarly label of "counterfactual history" to describe the film.  That cannot be further from the truth.  Anonymous does not change history from its original course, as long as you ignore the historical inaccuracies.  OTL remains the same in the world of Anonymous, thus it does not meet one of the prime requirements of being an alternate/counterfactual history.  At best it is secret history, which may make for an interesting story if true, but it does not create an alternate history where the Nazis win World War II or the Confederate State of America earn their independence.

The Living Dead History of Pittsburgh

Interested in zombies, alternate history and live in Pittsburgh?  Well Wildcard is presenting The Living Dead History of Pittsburgh on Thursday, Nov 17.

Ever since George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead revolutionized the zombie genre, Pittsburgh has been intertwined with tales of the living dead. This show, produced under Buchholz’s Alternate Histories artist name, raises the question: What if Zombies had been in this area since the days of Fort Pitt and the founding of the city?

WildCard is hosting an opening night party with drinks and snacks on Thursday, November 17, from 6 to 9pm. Admission to the party and to the store gallery is free. Original work and prints will be available for sale.  Check out their Facebook page for more details.

Links to the Multiverse


5 Backup Plans That Would Have Changed Modern History by Evan V. Symon at Cracked.

The Importance of Alternate History by Blaine Pardoe at Notes From the Bunker.

Making up history in the classroom by Sheradyn Holderhead at Adelaide Now.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November by Mark A. Rayner at The Skwib.


William Gibson, interviewed by David Wallace-Wells at the Paris Review.

Alastair Reynolds, interviewed by Gary K. Wolfe at Notes from Coode Street.

Kim Stanley Robinson, interviewed by Gary K. Wolfe at Notes from Coode Street.


Review of 1632 by Eric Flint, reviewed by Master of All Things at Geeky Scifi.

Review of Ganymede by Cherie Priest, reviewed by Fitz at Seattle pi.

Video Games

Bioshock Infinite, Fallout: New Vegas And More: Alternative History In Video Games by Jonathan Deesing at The Feed.


`Fabric of the Cosmos' takes viewers on wild ride by Lynn Elber at Bloomberg Businessweek.


Artist Jason Heuser Creates Alternate Bad-Ass United States History with more pictures here.

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Mitro is founder, editor and contributor of Alternate History Weekly Update. When he is not busy writing about his passion for alternate history, he spends his time working as a licensed attorney in the state of Illinois and dreams of being a published author himself one day.

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