Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekly Update #39

Editor's Note

When I first started Weekly Update, I used a series of Google Alerts to keep me updated on what was going on in the alternate history community.  Now I have discovered that Twitter is much more helpful on keeping track of what is happening in the larger world of fake history.  Most of the big news stories you see below you are a result of that social networking site.

Speaking of social networking, do not forget to follow us at our new sub-reddit.  We only got one reader so far (guess who it is), so help us build up the number of our subscribers.

This week I will be announcing the start of Balkanized North America month, plus I will be reviewing Hitler Invades England by George Crall.  I also started reading New Frontier by Cliff Ball and you can expect a review about that next week.

And now the news...

Could Compensation Have Ended Slavery?

It is very common to find alternate histories that bring up the idea of a compensated end to American slavery.  Sometimes this is a solution to avoid the American Civil War altogether or a scheme that the Confederacy would eventually adopt when they decided to free their slaves.  Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic, however, questions whether such a scheme would have been feasible.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul (W) speaks during a Compensation Day Celebration.
In a two-part article (here and here) Teri discusses the history of this option and the counterfactual economics involve.  In short, the total cost of the American slave population in 1860 was $3 billion ($70-75 billion today), making it near impossible for the government to pay for all of the salves at once.  Even figuring in payments spread over 25 years and other cost-saving measures, government expenses could triple, especially since the slave owners would have no reason to accept the minimum price since it is the government that is attempting to avoid bloodshed and not them.

I highly reccomend any alternate historian who is writing a timeline during this period to check out these articles.

More Calls for Submissions

Want to be a published alternate history writer?  Well here are a few open calls for submissions that you should keep in mind:

Gingrich Returns

With Newt Gingrich once again one of the frontrunners for the 2012 Republican nomination, it was only a matter of time before someone used Twitter to poke fun at the former Speaker of the House.  The best part of Newt Gingrich is that his alternate history background provides some interesting fuel for laughs.  Just check out this Tweet from @gingrichfiction:

“His Satanic rituals complete, President Roosevelt resumed work on the architecture of The New Deal.”
Hilarious, though not as bad as this review of Newt's 1945, which was called "a fairly primitive example of the kind of speculative fiction known as 'alternate history'.”

Speaking of Gingrich's alternate history, check out the poll I have going at the top right.

Convention Watch: Harry Turtledove at A-Kon 23

Do you live in Dallas, Texas and want to meet Harry Turtledove?  Well you can!  The master of alternate history will be a guest at A-Kon 23, which will run from June 1st to the 3rd.  Those interested in attending can find more information here.  In the meantime, why not check out this review of Homeward Bound done by Emma at Em and Emm Expound on Exposition.

Links to the Multiverse


Doomsday Speeches: If D-Day and the Moon Landing Had Failed by Dominic Tierney at The Atlantic.

An exercise in insanity (or: an alternate history of the New York Rangers by Joe Reiter at Blueshirt Banter.

It’s Time to Rethink Steampunk by Jess Nevins at io9.

Shortlists revealed for British Science Fiction Awards by Alison Flood at The Guardian.


Greg Ahlgren done by JeanzBookReadNReview.  (You can check out my interview with Greg as well)


Fantastical Fake Machines, Rendered With a Historian's Eye for Detail by Steven Hellr at The Atlantic.

Review of The Great Game by Lavie Tidhar done by Traveler at The Traveler's Steampunk Blog.

Review of Soulless by Gail Carriger done by Weirdmage's Reviews.

Steampunk at by Steampunk Scholar.

Online AH

Eagles and Hawks by LSCatilina.

Odessa by Christian Rubiano and Louie Chin.


Alternate History: Three Mile Island by Troy Larson at Exodus North.


Alternate History Jewelry at Etsy.

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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.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read any of Gingrich's AH books, only "One Second After" for which he wrote the foreword. I enjoyed that one a lot.


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