Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekly Update #118

Editor's Note

A few days ago someone on Twitter complained about being swarmed by pop-ups when they clicked on a link to The Update. This, of course, concerned me because the last thing I wanted was for this site to have the reputation for annoying ads. However, after checking my settings and attempting several times to duplicate the problem, I have been unable to witness any pop-ups. A call to our Facebook or Twitter followers to report any issues they had with pop-ups also brought no response.

I am hoping this was an isolated incident and that the person in question had an issue with their computer involving malware that did not involve The Update. Still I want to be cautious so if you do see anything weird with the ads, let me know at ahwupdate at gmail dot com.

And now the news...

RIP: Frederik Pohl

Frederik George Pohl, Jr., a science fiction writer, editor and fan, passed away last week. The award-winning author had career spanning over 75 years, winning honors both for his writing and blogging. He was influential to several authors, including S.M. Stirling. Several eulogies have been written since his passing and you can read them at SF Signal, Amazing Stories and Centauri Dreams.

When sad events like this occur, I try to remember the passing of these greats of science fiction by looking at their impact on our favorite genre, alternate history. According to Uchronia, Pohl wrote several stories in the genre including the novel-length The Coming of the Quantum Cats, where a militaristic American regime uses crosstime technology to steal technology from other timelines. His short fiction includes "The Reunion at the Mile-High" (where the US creates a "typhus bomb" in World War II), "Target One" (where survivors of a nuclear war travel back in time to kill Einstein), "Let the Ants Try" (another time travel tale about ants from the present being brought into the far distant past), "The Deadly Mission of Phineas Snodgrass" (a satire of de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall) and "The Golden Years of Astounding".

Then there was my favorite Pohl alternate history, "Waiting for the Olympians", which I read in The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories. Although set in the universe where Rome never fell, what really made me like this story was that it introduced me to the idea that intelligent extraterrestrials might have a damn good reason to avoid this dirty, blue ball we call home. Plus there are some humorous bits involving one character trying to explain to another character what an alternate history is. Highly recommend you check this story out.

Pohl career and wide body of work is an inspiration to us all. He will be missed.

Update: Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett

A few months ago I reviewed Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett on Amazing Stories. I really enjoyed the book and recommend you check it out, especially now that it will be released in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats over the next couple weeks. You can check out the book trailer below:
Because of the video I won't post the description here like I usually do, but you can see it over at SF Signal and check out an interview with David over at My Bookish Ways.

Update: BioShock Infinite

Want to know how the story of BioShock Infinite ends, but don't have the time to play it? Well this video is just right for you...but beware. Here be SPOILERS;
Speaking of BioShock Infinite, is it too violent?


September 12-15: The Asylum steampunk festival in Lincoln, UK.

September 27-29: Red River, NM’s Aspencade Arts and Crafts Fair will have a steampunk theme this year.

October 15: The Harlequin Hypnosis Show at Granville Island, Canada.

November 30: Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-Apocalypse submission period ends.

Links to the Multiverse


9 Scientific Breakthroughs That Killed Science Fiction Subgenres by Katharine Trendacosta and Charlie Jane Anders at io9.
1636 The Devil’s Opera – Snippet 45 by Eric Flint.
Afrika Reich: the audio book by Guy Saville.
Alternative History…What if women were in charge? by Alison Morton at Women Writers Women Books.
Cover Reveal: Author Lilith Saintcrow's 'The Ripper Affair' by Natalie Zutter at Bookish.
How the Steampunk movement is catching the eye of Big Tech by Antony Funnell at ABC.
The Netflix for books is here, it’s mobile, and it makes Amazon look old by Hamish McKenzie at pandodaily.
PERFIDITAS cover reveal, pub date and launch by Alison Morton.
Religion and Freedom of Choice in the Afrikanerverse by Matthew W. Quinn at Korsgaard's Commentary.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! Avoiding Cultural Appropriation in Steampunk by Balogun at Chronicles of Harriet.
TOC: ‘Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction’ by Jeff VanderMeer at SF Signal.
What is Steampunk? by Linda Williams The Willits News.
When Science Fiction is Not Science Fiction by Paul Cook at Amazing Stories.
Why You Can’t Travel Back in Time and Kill Hitler by Lauren Davis at io9.


Dark Horse Comics brings 'The Star Wars' to life by Matt Moore at Yahoo!
The End of an Era: How the Battle of Hastings Changed England by Lisa J. Yarde at Unusual Historicals.
Persia Blues: my graphic novel of modern Iran and ancient Persia by Dara N at

Counterfactual and Real History

A Design Thinking Retrospective: How History's Biggest Mishaps Could Have Been Averted by Patricia Morizio at Huff Post.
Here's what third-century China thought about the Roman Empire by Rob Bricken at io9.
Krugman's Counterfactual by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.


The Given Sacrifice by SM Stirling at PNC-Minnesota Bureau.
The Mammoth Book of Time Travel edited by Mike Ashby at Falcata Times.
Sherlock Holmes: The Stuff of Nightmares by James Lovegrove at More Than a Reading Journal.
Soulless by Gail Carriger at Forest Park Reads.
Total War: Rome: Destroy Carthage by David Gibbins at Falcata Times.


The 2002 Batman/Superman movie wouldn't have been the worst thing ever by Rob Bricken at io9.
The guy whose Reddit thread sparked a movie deal is at it again by Meredith Woerner at io9.


PAX Prime 2013: Guns of Icarus Online's new Adventure mode, features, and PS4 version by Patrick Mackey at Massively.


George R.R. Martin at The Austin Chronicle.
Priya Sharma at Alt Hist.


Book List: Alternate Histories by Alex Fitch at Masters of Horror.
Dissecting Worlds Series 7, Episode 6: The Iron Council at Geek Syndicate.
Worldcon Walk-by Session #1: Keffy Kehrli, Rachael Acks, Michael J. Martinez, Karen Burnham, & Kyell Gold at The Skiffy and Fanty Show.


Fil-Am actors star as Pinoy mythology gods in steampunk-themed US web series by Xianne Arcangel at GMA News Online.
Revolution - Season 2 - Press Release by Babar Suhail at Spoiler TV.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new story "The Enchanted Bean" can be found in Once Upon a Clockwork Tale from Echelon Press. 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.

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