Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekly Update #63

Editor's Note

I know I say this every week, but we really do have a lot of good stuff coming down the pipeline.  Besides our usual recurring posts, we have a new guest contributor, the winner of the Four Pictures Writing Contest, a review of Tom Horn vs. The Warlords of Krupp and a preview of the next book in my reading list.

Don't want to jinx myself (I am knocking on my desk as I write this), but at our current rate of page views, it looks like we can break last month's record and maybe even surpass 10,000 page views in one month!  Thanks to all of our fans and new readers for making this possible.

And now the news...

More Canadian Alternate Histories

With Tyler's profile on how Canada is portrayed in alternate history being so popular, I decided to share some counter-factual articles on the Great White North that came to my attention last week.

The first two deal with the War of 1812, yet come to different conclusions.  Jesse Greenspan on posted an article discussing the reasons for America's failure to conquer Canada during the war.  After listing the mishaps by American soldiers during the beginning of the war, Greenspan goes on to quote John R. Grodzinski, a history professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, who said “[h]ad [the invasion of Canada] in 1813 been better coordinated, the British really would have been stretched thin and might have collapsed." If this is true the war might have ended with Britain cutting its losses and ceding parts or all of Canada.  Would this be a good thing for the United States?  Part of the reason the war in north went worse then expected was America's misplaced belief that the Canadians would welcome them as liberators? How would Canadians take to being occupied by a foreign country?  More importantly, how would politics in the United States handle the influx of so many potential free states?  Could the American Civil War happen earlier over a crisis involving the first Canadian free state to enter the Union?

Compare Greenspan's article to Gaelen Foley's article about a British victory in the War of 1812.  In it she speculates that if the United States lost the war, the country would have been annexed by Britain, absorbed into Canada and the last surviving founding fathers executed.  American culture would have disappeared, but on the plus slavery would have ended without the American Civil War.  Though the article provides a nice counterpoint to the one above, it is not very plausible.  The idea that Britain was interested in annexing a country the size of the United States over a maritime dispute is unlikely.  Foley also ignores American designs on expanding north in Canada, which likely would not exist had America lost the war because there would be no reason to form a confederation if the threat from Canada's southern neighbor disappeared.  Meanwhile here line that "[m]aking a slave of an American is just about the worst thing you can do to us" is very patriotic, but will likely not go over well with the millions of Americans whose ancestors were enslaved by other Americans during this period.

Finally we have the 10th province of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, which on July 22, 1948 (then the Dominion of Newfoundland) voted on whether to become independent or join Canada.  In OTL, the dominion voted by a close margin to join Canada, but what if they did not?  Frank Jacobs at The New York Times explains that more was riding on the vote then what you would expect.  Due to the dispute with Quebec over Newfoundland's border, their were fears that the question of Newfoundland sovereignty would encourage Stalin to meddle in North American affairs.  Could there have been a Newfoundland missile crisis?  Luckily, Ottawa, Washington and London were keen to avoid such a scenario and encouraged the locals to vote for confederation.  Just goes to show you that the seemingly insignificant and forgotten events of history could cause drastic changes to our history if the outcome went different way.

Submissions Wanted

Here at Weekly Update, we like to encourage writers out there to take their ideas out of the Internet and put them into print.  To help you do that I would like to share two upcoming chances to be published:

  • Here Be Monsters is looking for unpublished works of fiction in any genre under 10k words to be submitted by July 30th.  Authors will receive $30 and a free copy of the anthology.
  • The New York Review of Science Fiction is accepting features and reviews for future issues.  Complete submission guidelines can be found here.
Need some advice on how to write?  Check out this insightful and humorous article by Chuck Wending called "25 Bad Writer Behaviors".  Sadly I do a couple of these behaviors, so I highly recommend that you read it before you make the same mistakes again.

Things to do

Step away from your computer and go see what is happening in the real world:

July 16-August 11: Thieftaker author DB Jackson is out on a book tour.  See this page to find where and when he will in your town.

July 17, 21 and 26: See "Flight of Fancy" a steampunk ballet in Washington, DC.

July 18, 20, 24, 26, 22 and 28: See a steampunk retelling of Wizard of Oz in Waterloo, Iowa.

July 19: The next meeting of the Steampunk Club at the Hammond Public Library in Wisconsin.

Going to Worldcon this year?  I plan to go to see the Sidewise Awards be presented.  Before you go, read this beginner's guide to Worldcon, written by this year's guest of honor Mike Resnick.  Have fun!

Links to the Multiverse


NCAA Football 13 Heisman Mode Inspires What-Ifs And Daydreaming by Jason Kirk at SB Nation.

Steampunk Soars Into Mainstream By Marianne Kushi at NBC San Diego.

What If?: A Brief Alternate History of Oregon Football by Nathan Roholt at Fish Duck.

Writers Anonymous by Geoffrey Wilson at Write Unboxed.


John Joseph Adams at SF Signal.

Harry Turtledove at Del Rey.


Parallel Worlds: The Grass Isn't Always Greener, But it is More Fun by John Denardo at Kirkus Reviews.

Book Report: Agent of Byzantium by Harry Turtledove (1987) done by Musings From Brian J. Noggle.

Spying for the angels in a post-steampunk world by Gwenn Ansell at Mail & Guardian.


Triumph Chronicles Steampunk Adventures of Bombastic Lord Cockswain by Hugh Hart at Wired.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Century: 2009 – review by James Smart at The Guardian.


Alex Proyas To Direct Adaptation Of 'Hellboy' Creators 'Joe Golem And The Drowning City' by Cain Rodriguez at Indiwire.

Going out: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Rianne Hill Soriano at Her Word.


Review - Zipang, Episode 1 by Sebastian Breit at The War Blog.


EU Heads Up – Dokuganryu Armour, Steampunk, nDreams Sale Bundles, Tron Sale and much more by Alpha Zone 4.

US Heads Up – Steampunk Collection, Weddings, Raves and much more by Alpha Zone 4.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a volunteer editor for Alt Hist and a contributor to Just Below the Law. His fiction can be found at Echelon PressJake's Monthly and his own writing blog. When not writing he works as an attorney and enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana.

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