Friday, January 31, 2014

Freedom, Tyranny, and Technology: The Message of the Afrikanerverse

Guest post by Matthew W. Quinn.

Hey everybody, it’s Matthew W. Quinn again. I’m taking advantage of a recent opportunity afforded by our friend Mr. Mitrovich to discuss my alternate history spy tale, “Picking Up Plans In Palma.”

I’ve got a friend who is rather more zealous in religion than me who once said every work of fiction has a message. I strongly disagree with him on this issue, since I never wrote any of my short fiction with the intention of making a point.

(Okay, “The Beast of the Bosporus” is basically “don’t mess around with things beyond human comprehension,” but most Lovecraftian stories have that due to the nature of the beings involved.)

However, “Picking Up Plans In Palma” is the one exception thus far. The Afrikanerverse in which it is set began as a challenge to create a cold war between the U.S. and an Afrikaner power in the vein of S.M. Stirling’s Draka, so this world is ultimately a homage to the Drakaverse. However, like many others, I had plausibility issues with the Drakaverse. One of the biggest ones is how a society in which 90% of the people are chattel slaves (and most of those are illiterate) can equal or exceed a coalition of free societies, even after the enormous non-Draka “own goal” that was the Eurasian War.

Imagine if American slavery lasted another generation. George Washington Carver’s career as an inventor would have been greatly stunted if ever got off the ground in the first place (his former masters educated him but if they ran into financial trouble he might’ve ended up sold south and working in a field somewhere) and both the USA and the world would be so much poorer for it.

Although the Afrikaner Confederation does not practice slavery, “better than the Confederacy” is damning with faint praise. The die-hard colonialists of Rhodesia limited secondary education for blacks, while for much of its history apartheid South Africa provided blacks with only the education to do menial jobs. The education system in the Jim Crow South similarly failed to develop the talents of the African-American population and successful blacks risked victimization up to and including lynching by jealous whites, which no doubt contributed to the South’s endemic poverty. Though the Confederation’s black underclass is not as grotesquely impoverished as in our world’s South Africa or Mississippi, the same issue remains (and also applies to the Indian lower castes and the Southeast Asian peasantry, also under Afrikaner rule).

On top of not developing (when not actively repressing) the full potential of its non-whites, the later Confederation makes the same mistake (to a much lesser degree) with the white female population. Due to the influence of the Theonomic Party (modeled on Christian Reconstructionism), there comes a fair bit of cultural pressure against women seeking careers and even higher education. This prompts journalist Katje de Lange (lover of “Palma” protagonist Connor Kelly) to immigrate to the United States, thus enriching the Confederation’s great rival at the Confederation’s expense. That reminds me of a quote from the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II on the “wisdom” of Spain’s expelling of the Jews.

(Amy Chua wrote a whole book, Day of Empire, on the economic benefits of ethnic, religious, etc. tolerance. I recommend reading it.)

The result of all this is that the Confederation stagnates while the United States prospers, especially in the exploitation of space. This ultimately results in the nuclear war depicted in my short story “Coil Gun” (available as part of Pressure Suite: Digital Science Fiction #3) that bloodies the U.S.-led League of Democracies but completely destroys the Confederation and its traditionalist allies.

So if this gets into “too long, didn’t read” territory, here’s the gist. Limiting the opportunities for education and advancement of part of your population (be it in the name of an economic system that only benefits part of the supposed ruling class or a misinterpretation of religion) is shooting your community or your country in the foot, if not dooming it outright.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Atomic Machines: An Atompunk Sampler

Guest post by Mark J. Appleton.

The dawn of the atomic age in 1945 inspired myriad proposals for ways to apply this terrifying new force.   Some of these – power plants, ships, and submarines – were actually built.   Many more were not.

As a connoisseur of atompunk – retrofuturism based on the 50s and 60s, standing to Robert Heinlein and rocketships as steampunk is to Jules Verne and zeppelins – I have collected some of the more entertaining possibilities thrown up in those heady early years.   I've decided to limit my selection to American proposals for the moment, but similar projects were launched in other countries as well.   These were not merely the musings of fanciful journalists, but serious proposals put forth by scientists and engineers that, with a change in circumstances, might perhaps have been built.

The Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program
What: ANP aimed to build a plane with jet engines powered by heat from a nuclear reactor instead of burning oil.   The massive radiation shielding needed meant the A-plane would be expensive, slow, and huge – more than twice the size of the B-52 – but it could potentially stay aloft for weeks.   A nuclear-powered airplane could orbit over the oceans continuously, beyond the reach of Soviet attacks, and then approach and strike its targets from any direction.

When: 1945 to 1961, with some research continuing into the early 70s.

How Far: Convair installed a low-power nuclear reactor in a B-36 and flew it 47 times – followed by a plane carrying paratroopers.   If the NB-36 crashed, their job was to jump down and secure the wreckage – the 2 MWth reactor was too small to contaminate a large area, but the intense radioactivity would make the crash site extremely dangerous for unprotected onlookers and would-be rescuers.
GE also built and static-tested three nuclear-powered turbojets in Idaho, known as the Heat Transfer Reactor Experiments.   HTRE-3 was essentially a prototype of a flyable atomic jet engine.
And Oak Ridge National Laboratory built and briefly operated a prototype molten-salt-fueled reactor for a more advanced indirect-cycle propulsion system, although it wasn't connected to a jet engine.

Why Not: The Air Force kept changing their mind through the 1950s about whether or not they actually wanted a nuclear airplane; the resulting oscillations in the budget seriously delayed development.   By the time Kennedy was elected the government had spent $2 billion on the project – more than $15 billion in modern money – and expected to spend a lot more before an A-plane could see combat.   Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara decided that the money could be better spent on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

How It Could Happen: The simplest point of divergence would be more consistent support from the Pentagon; with stable funding, a low-power prototype could fly before 1960, although it would not be suitable for combat.   It's harder to find a way to keep A-planes flying, given the obvious safety and environmental problems, but they could perhaps find roles as ballistic missile carriers and airborne command/communications posts.

Further Reading: Giving Wings to the Atom

Project PLUTO
What: A nuclear-powered cruise missile.   Actually, it was more like a nuclear-powered unmanned bomber – powered by a direct-cycle nuclear ramjet, and without the need for any wussy “radiation shielding”, the Supersonic Low-Altitude Missile (SLAM) could reach Mach 3.   Boosted to its operating speed by strap-on solid rockets, the SLAM would penetrate Soviet airspace at treetop height, carrying 12 hydrogen bombs and spraying radioactive fission products behind it.

When: 1957 through 1964.

How Far: Two nuclear ramjets, Tory-IIA and -IIC, were static-tested in Nevada.   Tory-IIC reached 513 MWth power for five minutes, cooled by pressurized air supplied by 25 miles of oil well casing.
Why Not: PLUTO, like ANP, found itself outclassed by cheaper, simpler ballistic missiles.   An extra problem was that no one could figure out a way to test such a machine without running the risk of the guidance computer going haywire and, say, taking it on a tour of downtown Los Angeles, spraying fallout behind it.   One engineer proposed flying it over Nevada tied to a gigantic tether.

How It Could Happen: Stall the development of ballistic missiles long enough and PLUTO might have a chance.   PLUTO was as fast as the planned B-70 Valkyrie, could remain on airborne alert for weeks, and could penetrate Soviet airspace via circuitous routes at low altitude.   Perhaps if the Nazis had put the money for the V-2 into more V-1's instead, leading to less post-war support for ballistic missiles, ballistic missiles could be delayed long enough for PLUTO to fly.

Further Reading: The Flying Crowbar

Project Orion
What: A spacecraft propelled by nuclear explosions.   The ship would be mounted on top of a giant “pusher plate”; small hydrogen bombs would be ejected out the back, and the ship would ride the shockwave.   An ideal spaceship drive has both a high thrust, so that it can push out of the Earth's gravity, and a high fuel efficiency, so that it does not need a massive fuel tank.   Existing spaceship drives can only achieve one or the other; Orion is one of the few proposals that could offer both.   Project engineers envisioned 10,000-ton spaceships making three-year cruises of the Saturn system or putting thousands of tons of payload into Earth orbit.
When: Although first proposed in 1946, real development work began in 1958 and continued until 1964.

How Far: Several small model-scale demonstrators using conventional explosives were flown; one reached a height of 56 meters.

Why Not: Orion always faced a number of challenges, but the proximate cause of the project's demise was the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which forbade nuclear explosions that were not contained deep underground.

How It Could Happen: It's not entirely clear even today if Orion would actually work – several serious technical problems remained, such as pusher plate ablation, misfire recovery, and coping with the EMP generated during launch.   Leaving those aside, the simplest way to get Orion flying is for the human race to need to launch a lot of payload into space as quickly as possible.   Say, if aliens showed up, or we discovered the Earth is going to explode.

Further Reading: Project Orion

The Pan-Atomic Canal
What: A new canal excavated through central America with hundreds of hydrogen bombs.   The new canal would be wider than the Panama Canal, allowing bigger ships to cross, and located at sea level, so it would not need the Panama Canal's complicated system of locks to carry ships over the mountains.
When: The late 50s through mid 60s.

How Far: Several nuclear cratering tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site, most famously the 100-kiloton SEDAN test.
Why Not: Like Orion, the project was scuppered by the Partial Test Ban Treaty.   Work continued for some time after the PTBT was signed, since the Atomic Energy Commission hoped the Soviets might agree to a revision of the treaty for “peaceful nuclear explosions”, but this was not to be.   Besides this, it was rather questionable if the US could find a partner in Central America willing to host several hundred thermonuclear detonations.   Panama was certainly not interested – in addition to the obvious issues, a new sea-level canal would mean the thousands of Panamanians employed operating the existing canal lock system would be laid off.

How It Could Happen: Not only do you need a very different public attitude towards radiation, but also a reason for why the Panama canal could not be used.   That means somehow detaching Panama from the American orbit and attaching it to someone else's, presumably Russia.   A communist-aligned Panama under the Soviet nuclear umbrella, though implausible, would definitely lead to a new canal of some kind.

Project PACER
What: Electrical power generated from nuclear fusion has been a holy grail for physics since the mid-1950s, but so far we've only been able to produce fusion energy in bombs.   So a group of Los Alamos scientists proposed a simple solution to the problem: detonate hydrogen bombs in enormous underground chambers filled with steam, and use the heat produced to drive a turbine.   Two 50-kiloton blasts per day would power a 2 GWe generating station, enough to power 1.6 million American homes.

But electricity would really be a side-benefit; PACER's main product would be neutrons from the blast, which would transmute thorium into fissile uranium-233 to power conventional nuclear reactors.   The U-233 would produce ten times as much energy as the PACER machine itself.

When: The concept was proposed in 1957 and studied off-and-on by the Plowshare project.   PACER itself lasted from 1972 to 1974.

How Far: One nuclear test in 1961, GNOME, had power generation as a secondary purpose, but PACER itself was largely limited to computer modeling and nuclear charge design.

Why Not: PACER would only be cost-competitive if it could produce U-233 fuel more cheaply than conventional uranium fuel could be mined – and an outside review in 1975 concluded the price of uranium would have to rise by a factor of eight before that happened.

How It Could Happen: It probably couldn't happen historically – but it's imaginable it might come into use some time in the far future, if all other resources are depleted and no better alternative is found.

The Manhattan Shelter Study
What: A system of underground bomb shelters deep enough to survive (hopefully) a direct hit with a high-yield thermonuclear weapon and the ensuing radioactive fallout.   Although the study used Manhattan as a case study, the plan was to build them in every major urban area in the country, with space for 200 million people in total – the system would make Fallout's Vaults look like broom closets.   The Manhattan shelters would have enough supplies for two months of underground living, and be powered by four submarine reactors.

When: 1956 through 1958.

How Far: A preliminary study with some concept art.

Why Not: It would be insanely expensive – the study estimated their proposed national shelter system would cost $1.6 trillion in 2012 dollars, and I have it on expert authority that that is likely an underestimate by a factor of six.   Also, one in every ten people in the country would be recruited as quasi-military “civil defense cadres”, and the Eisenhower administration was unwilling to endorse such a permanent militarization of American society.

How It Could Happen: Given the titanic resources demanded for such a project, it will only happen if the US government and populace believe nuclear war is not just possible, but actually imminent.   My suggestion would be that continued US neutrality in World War II allows the Nazis to defeat Russia; by 1960 the US has woken up to the threat and is furiously building up for an anticipated nuclear war with a genocidal Third Reich led by an increasingly unstable Hitler.

Further Reading: Rock to Hide Me

The Subterrene
What: A tunneling machine that would drill through the Earth by melting the rock in front of it with heat from a nuclear reactor.
When: 1970 through 1976.

How Far: Small-scale versions using electrical heating elements instead of an atomic reactor were built and successfully tested.   Patents were filed on the nuclear version, but no serious development work was done.
Why Not: I haven't found any record for the specific reason, but the 1970s were not a good time to be proposing new and exciting uses for the atom.   The Atomic Energy Commission was transforming into the Department of Energy and nuclear energy wasn't sexy anymore; there was no appetite in Washington for the effort needed to turn this into a working technology.

How It Could Happen: There's likely no way to rescue the subterrene in the '70s.   But a world that saw significantly more use of nuclear energy in general, and a public more tolerant of radiation hazards, could perhaps see the machines be built.   And even if it was never used on Earth, there have been several proposals to use it in space, such as on a probe to melt through the Europan ice cap to the ocean underneath.

Further Reading: The Atomic Subterrene

Thermal Radiation Attenuating Clouds (TRAC)
What: Massive smoke generators would cover cities with dense banks of smog.   The smoke would absorb the pulse of heat from an atomic bomb detonation, attenuating it and reducing the damage.   A bomb would still damage a TRAC-protected city, but to a lesser degree.

When: 1951 through the late 60s.

How Far: Prototype smoke generators were built and tested in two nuclear tests in the 1950s.
Why Not: I have not found a specific reason for TRAC's cancellation, but I suspect it was cancelled because while it did work, it only reduced (not eliminated) the damage, and only one type of damage – TRAC did nothing to shield against blast or radiation.

How It Could Happen: Like the Manhattan Shelter Study, TRAC is only likely to happen if the United States believes that a nuclear war is imminent, and is desperately trying to do anything it can to minimize the damage.

Chrysler TV-8
What: It's a nuclear-powered tank.   Yes, really.

When: 1955.

How Far: They made a really cool-looking scale model.   The TV-8 was a speculative tank design proposed more as a thought experiment than anything else.   The nuclear engine was just one possibility listed among a number of other propulsion options, and most of the work was on the unusual (and bizarre) hull design intended to resist near-misses by tactical nuclear weapons.

Why Not: It was determined the TV-8's unusual design did not actually offer any advantages.

How It Could Happen: It probably couldn't.   Even if the TV-8 was somehow built, it wouldn't have a nuclear engine – I'm skeptical a reactor could even be made small enough to move such a vehicle using 1950s technology.   It certainly could not be done at a price even the Pentagon would be willing to pay.

Further Reading: The Chrysler TV-8 Concept Tank

Nuclear Gas and Oil Stimulation
What: Using deeply-buried hydrogen bombs to break up rock to release natural gas or oil – think of it as nuclear fracking.

When: The late 50s through early 70s.

How Far: Three natural gas stimulation shots were conducted (GASBUGGY, RULISON, and RIO BLANCO), as well as several tests at the Nevada Test Site to develop nuclear explosives that would produce less radioactive contamination in the gas.

Why Not: Three reasons: because of worry about nuclear proliferation, because the biggest experimental test failed to actually produce much gas due to mistakes in site selection, and because by the early 70s people no longer thought that a little radiation in the morning put hair on your chest.

How It Could Happen: The Russians actually did it, setting off 25 oil and gas stimulation shots, so it apparently can be cost-effective (English-language reports disagree about whether the gas produced was radioactive).   However, widespread use of nuclear stimulation goes against the strong anti-proliferation inclinations of the US government since the 60s, and as long as simpler, less nukey options are available it's very unlikely the technology would be deployed even if radiation was not a concern.   Perhaps if the US became extremely desperate for oil it might be deployed.

Check out Part 2!

* * *

Mark J. Appleton blogs on atompunk history at Atomic Skies.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Look What Greed Did: Birthing a Dystopia using Alternate History

Guest post by Steve Keefe.

Writing during the austerity of post-war Great Britain, Orwell projected a grim, totalitarian future for his nation as Airstrip One in 1984.  When viewed in the context of Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union of Orwell's own time, or Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Kim Jung-un's North Korea that followed, such a repressive society as Orwell's 1984 hardly defies reality.

But even more chilling than seeing the operation of the fully matured police states of recent history, or of fictional ones from Orwell's Oceania to Collins's Panem, could be observing how relatively just and free societies devolve into oligarchic machines bent on exploitation.  Perhaps having such a front row seat to witnessing a struggling democracy slip into darkness made Larson's In the Garden of the Beasts such a frightening read.  Despite the candor and detail of his reports, no one cared to pay attention to Ambassador Dodd as he rang the alarm bells warning of Hitler's rise.  Within a few years of Dodd's flow of telegrams to Washington, getting caught doing something as fundamental to a free society as distributing leaflets warranted a death sentence in Germany, like the one meted out to Sophie Scholl in wartime Munich.

But how does it all start and when does a society reach injustice's tipping point?  Is the descent into tyranny even reversible without tremendous suffering once flawed mankind has wandered off course?  And at the bottom of most of history's tyranny and suffering, is some extreme ideology usually the culprit?  I wrote Look What Greed Did to search for answers to these questions.
The United States has problems, no doubt.  Hospital charge-masters, as persuasively set forth by Steven Brill in his recent Time magazine article "Bitter Pill," have pushed millions into medical bankruptcy.  The lobbying industry has formed a financial wedge between the American people and their elected government. Education costs have absolutely and unjustifiably skyrocketed, threatening to rip apart the level playing field so important to rewarding those wishing to rise in a capitalist society.  And atop these first three egregiously misbehaving American institutions sits Wall Street, ruling over global capitalism, perhaps as the true tyrant king of our society.

The wealth gap is increasing, and America has perhaps already entered a second Gilded Age of robber barons and rising poverty threatening to hollow out the middle class.  In the final analysis, this widening economic inequality may provide more fodder for a future dystopia than even the Orwellian misadventures of the National Security Agency in recent months.

Americans have been flirting with some pretty extreme ideologies in recent decades--a somewhat curious exercise for a nation of historically practical-minded people.  The objectivist "greed is good" line propagated by Ayn Rand, who incidentally immigrated to America from a land cursed by ideology and tyranny, may in the end reveal itself as a terribly tragic wrong turn in the history of an economic system.  Has greed so pervasively infected our hospitals, universities, lobbyists, and financial sector that they now unwittingly sow the seeds of some future dystopia?

Maybe.  Maybe not.  After all, whether society's institutions are falling into tyranny likely forms the crux of the struggle conservatives and liberals have been embroiled in since even before they called themselves Populares and Optimates on the streets of Rome.

But putting all the politicized economics aside, there's still one surefire way to rev up the engines of tyranny and push a society quickly toward dystopia.  It can happen when misbehaving institutions start to get their hooks into one of the holiest of Democracy's pillars.  And you'll find lobbyists, today's equivalent of the corrupt Renaissance Catholic Church, standing at ground zero of the political crime tantamount to the rape of democracy.  That is, if you mess around too much with the vote and play too many cynical games uncoupling swaths of American society from the right to vote, then you might put a nation on the bullet train to dystopia.

When the law breaks apart from justice and serves as an obstacle to the voting booth, and when a people lack the political instincts to recognize such tyranny and the courage to fight back against it, then the tipping point into oppression may be close at hand.  Therein lies one possible road to destinations like Oceania and Panem.

I wrote Look What Greed Did to fictionalize a first wrong turn toward dystopia.  The book's imaginary America portrays much of the actual present, but also reflects a less fortunate alternate history where the nation has slipped further toward tyranny.  Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama, who both love their country despite seeing it quite differently from each other, serves as the villain in this less fortunate version of our world.  Greed itself, that innate imperfection of mankind now polished up by ideology into a would-be virtue, stands as the enemy to justice in the book.

Following grossly gerrymandered 2012 elections, Look What Greed Did begins with tensions across the country at a fever pitch.  With mistakes made on all sides, a private security firm fires into a crowd of students protesting Wall Street and perceived inequality on December 22, 2012.  Outraged by a feeble response by the courts, survivors of that massacre on Wall Street form the December 22nd movement, counterattacking with a vengeance against the private security guards who machine-gunned the crowds and targeting the private actors behind the voting scandals infecting the 2012 election.  But as December 22nd's reign of terror rises over the political landscape, the violent revenge the movement inflicts may only serve to push the country further away from justice.

Concepts like one person, one vote live at the core of a functioning democracy.  Let medical and university debt, a cynical lobbying culture, and a financial sector ruled by Mammon batter democratic institutions and the middle class too much, and the pillars of freedom could start to buckle.  Long before modern society could allow any ministries of love or reapings to roll over it, it must first surrender the core institutions of democracy.  Look What Greed Did explores the beginnings of one such decline into dystopia, where human greed marshals the forces of hospital chargemasters, rising tuition, K Street, and Wall Street against the will and the spirit of the People.

* * *

Steve Keefe is the author of Look What Greed Did, available on Amazon.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Releases 1/28/14


Dominion by CJ Sansom

Description from Amazon.

Winner of the 2012 Sidewise Award.

1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany. The global economy strains against the weight of the long German war against Russia still raging in the east. The British people find themselves under increasingly authoritarian rule--the press, radio, and television tightly controlled, the British Jews facing ever greater constraints.

But Churchill's Resistance soldiers on. As defiance grows, whispers circulate of a secret that could forever alter the balance of the global struggle. The keeper of that secret? Scientist Frank Muncaster, who languishes in a Birmingham mental hospital.

Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, a spy for the Resistance and University friend of Frank's, is given the mission to rescue Frank and get him out of the country. Hard on his heels is Gestapo agent Gunther Hoth, a brilliant, implacable hunter of men, who soon has Frank and David's innocent wife, Sarah, directly in his sights.

C.J. Sansom's literary thriller Winter in Madrid earned Sansom comparisons to Graham Greene, Sebastian Faulks, and Ernest Hemingway. Now, in his first alternative history epic, Sansom doesn't just recreate the past--he reinvents it. In a spellbinding tale of suspense, oppression and poignant love, DOMINION dares to explore how, in moments of crisis, history can turn on the decisions of a few brave men and women--the secrets they choose to keep and the bonds they share.


Disenchanted & Co. by Lynn Viehl

Description from Amazon.

In the Provincial Union of Victoriana, a steampunk America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian “Kit” Kittredge makes her living investigating crimes of magic. While Kit tries to avoid the nobs of high society, she follows mysteries wherever they lead.

Unlike most folks, Kit doesn’t believe in magic, but she can’t refuse to help Lady Diana Walsh, who claims a curse is viciously wounding her while she sleeps. As Kit investigates the Walsh family, she becomes convinced that the attacks are part of a more ominous plot—one that may involve the lady’s obnoxious husband.

Sleuthing in the city of Rumsen is difficult enough, but soon Kit must also skirt the unwanted attentions of a nefarious deathmage and the unwelcome scrutiny of the police chief inspector. Unwilling to surrender to either man’s passion for her, Kit struggles to remain independent as she draws closer to the heart of the mystery. For the truth promises to ruin her life—and turn Rumsen into a supernatural battleground from which no one will escape alive.

Siege Perilous by E.D. deBirmingham

Description from Amazon.

Ocyrhoe, a young, cunning fugitive from Rome, safeguards a chalice of subtle but great power. Finding herself in France, she allies with the persecuted, pacifist Cathar sect in their legendary mountaintop stronghold, Montségur. There she resists agents of the Roman Church and its Inquisition, fights off escalating, bloody besiegement by troops of the King of France, and shields the mysterious cup from the designs of many.

Percival, the heroic Shield-Brethren knight from The Mongoliad, consumed by his mystical visions of the Holy Grail, is also drawn to Montségur—where the chalice holds the key to his destiny.

Arrayed against Percival and Ocyrhoe are enemies both old and new who are determined to reveal the secrets of the Shield-Brethren with the hope of destroying the order once and for all.

Alive with memorable characters, intense with action and intrigue, Siege Perilous conjures a medieval world where the forces of faith confront the forces of fear. Choices made by characters in The Mongoliad reach their ultimate conclusion in this fifth and concluding novel—and all of Christendom is at stake.

Wicked After Midnight by Delilah S. Dawson

Description from Amazon.

An electrifying paranormal romance . . . with a twist!

Only rebellious Demi Ward could be bored with her life as a contortionist in Criminy Stain’s magical traveling circus. But being a cabaret star in the City of Light is dangerous . . . especially for an audacious Bludman.

After Demi’s best friend, Cherie, is brutally kidnapped en route to Paris by a roving band of masked slavers, passionate highwayman Vale Hildebrand shows up to save the day. With his help, Demi rises to the top of the cabaret scene as part of her plot to find Cherie—but what she really discovers is a taste for Vale’s kisses. Meanwhile, wealthy suitors vie for a night of her charms, crowding the glittering club where Demi commands the stage with a host of colorful daimons. She is soon seduced by a smoldering portrait artist whose ties to a secret society could be the break she and Vale need on their hunt. But—unlike the Paris that Demi read about in college on Earth—the Paris of Sang is full of depraved pleasures and deadly surprises...


The Sharp End: Alternate History Zombie Apocalypse by Joseph Nassise

Description from Amazon.

The zombie apocalypse meets World War One in this exciting prequel story to BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES, book one in the Great Undead War alternate history series!

March 1921. The War to End All Wars continues, with no foreseeable end in sight. The Central Powers control most of Europe, with only a thin stretch of French coastline still in Allied hands. A beleaguered Britain fights resolutely on, but everyone knows that without the continued support of the United States it would fall within weeks. Even that may not be enough to defeat the brilliance of the Central Powers' scientists and the advantages their advanced weapons give their troops as wave after wave of zombie soldiers are sent against the Allied front lines...

On May 1st, 2012 HarperVoyager released BY THE BLOOD OF HEROES, the first book in the new zombie steampunk alternate history series known as The Great Undead War by internationally bestselling author, Joseph Nassise.

Here, for the first time, is the story behind the story. Follow the hero of The Great Undead War zombie apocalypse series, Captain Michael "Madman" Burke, leader of Burke's Marauders, in the early days of the war, when the Germans are just beginning their field tests of a new weapon.

A weapon that will eventually come to change the face of the war itself, that will resurrect the bodies of the dead, both friend and foe alike, and turn them into flesh-eating monsters. A weapon that will come to be known as corpse gas.

To fans, authors and publishers...

Is your story going to be published in time for the next New Releases? Contact us at ahwupdate at gmail dot com.  We are looking for works of alternate history, counterfactual history, steampunk, historical fantasy, time travel or anything that warps history beyond our understanding.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. 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.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekly Update #132

Editor's Note

Thank you everyone for the condolences I received last week. I appreciated all of the kind words and stories from others who suffered the same tragedy. This might sound odd to say, but it does help to know that my wife and I aren't freaks. There are others who have experienced the same loss, thus we are not alone.

Back to the blog, I am filled with a new sense of purpose and I am extremely interested to move this beast in a different direction. I don't want to go into specifics, in case I end up not doing anything and disappointing some readers, but here are some ideas I am toying around with:
  • A new and improved website featuring the blog and other features.
  • A YouTube channel with regular alternate history content.
  • A podcast featuring round table discussions on various what ifs and interviews with authors/creators.
  • Regular contributors with weekly segments.
If you have any interest in the above or else can at least give me advice on how to proceed, please leave a message in the comments below or email me at ahwupdate at gmail dot com. I realize many of these ideas will require some cash to fund, so I have also been thinking about Kickstarter and other crowd funding sources. Advice on that will be welcomed as well.

And now the news...

Hearts of Iron IV Announced at Paradox Convention

Big announcement last week from Paradox was the coming of Hearts of Iron IV, the next installment in the grand strategy series set during World War II. Paradox promises fans : "the most authentic real-time simulation of World War II to date, with authentic historical figures battling on land, sea, and air with period-accurate armies, vehicles, and newly discovered weapons of mass destruction – along with plenty of diplomatic and trade tactics."

Watch the announcement trailer below:
I have played the first two Hearts of Iron games and found them to be incredibly fun ways to mess with history. One of my more memorable moments was time I played as Turkey. After joining the Axis powers early in the game, I made some amazing gains that saw me fighting the South Africans in modern day Zimbabwe. Sadly free time has been limited so I don't think I will get to play the newest edition to the series.

Are you looking forward to playing Hearts of Iron IV? Let us know in the comments below.

Map Gallery

A few maps caught my eye this week. First, an alternate Dragon Ball map. Yeah, I know, sounds weird, but Promethean at managed to actually come up with an intriguing scenario (click the link to read it yourself) where our heroes become warlords and carve out personal fiefdoms on their version of Earth:
Next we have another map, this one by Ephraim Ben Raphael featuring an alternate take on Stirling's Emberverse (which was somewhat controversial when I posted on the SM Stirling fan group on Facebook):
Finally we round out the week with this interesting map by Ben Carnehl (creator of the ethnically balkanized United States map) featuring a "a dieselpunk authoritarian monarchist rump Germany, following totalitarian revolutions in the rest of central Europe":
If you have maps you would like to see on the Map Gallery, shoot us an email. Maybe this will become our next weekly post.


February 16: Last day to fund the Zeppeldrome: A Humorous, Hazardous Dirigible Rally Kickstarter by 12SP Entertainment.

February 20: Last day to fund the Kingdom Come: Deliverance Kickstarter by Warhorse Studios and the Steampunk For Simpletons Kickstarter by Travis I. Sivart.

February 21: Last day to fund the TimeWatch: GUMSHOE Investigative Time Travel RPG Kickstarter by Kevin W. Kulp.

Also check out Tor's list of steampunk events for February.

Links to the Multiverse


Historically logical or completely bonkers? The sliding scale of alternative history by Alison Morton.
The Right Way to Write for a Living by Robbie Blair at Lit Reactor.


Anglo-German War Post-Invasion of 1950 by Chris Nuttall at The Chrishanger.
Cover Revealed - Macaque Attack by Gareth L. Powell at The Qwillery.
A Great Castle Made of Sea: Why Hasn’t Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Been More Influential? by Jo Walton at
Living With the Nazis by Felicity Savage at Amazing Stories.
Mosey On Up to a Weird Western Shindig by John DeNardo at Kirkus.

Counterfactual/Traditional History

5 Famous Pieces of Presidential Trivia (That Are Total BS) by Alex Hanton at Cracked.
Alternate history: 49ers win by David Ebner at Medium.
Alternate History: Had King Lived by Martin Sieff at The Globalist.
An Alternative History of the Egyptian Revolution by Maged Atiya at Atlantic Council.
Did a Victorian-era penny dreadful inspire the creation of Batman? by Ria Misra at io9.
History Branched #1: Introductions, Atomic Bombs, and Imperialism by Matt Foss at A Branch Historic.
The Lawyer and the Scientist Who Predicted the Atomic Bomb in 1915 by Ron Miller at io9.
The Man Who Could Have Shot Hitler by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.
The Racially Fraught History of the American Beard by Sean Trainor at The Atlantic.
What caused a 10-year winter starting in 536? by Annalee Newitz at io9.


Propaganda posters show a dark world where Voldemort won by Matt Carter at Movie Pilot.


Assassin's Creed set in feudal Japan remains a possibility by Eddie Makuch at Game Spot.


Michael Moorcock at Amazing Stories.
Cherie Priest at Reddit.


Tuesday Tune: “Automatonic Electronic Harmonics” by Steam Powered Giraffe at SF Signal.


Lecture from Harry Turteldove - Coming Soon! at Sofanauts.


1920: America's Great War by Robert Conroy at Deseret News.
Anatomy of Steampunk by Katherine Gleason at Amazing Stories.
Hild by Nicola Griffith at io9.
Our Mathematical Universe: My quest for the ultimate nature of reality by Max Tegmark at New Scientist.
Muses of Roma by Rob Steiner at DaveBrendon's Fantasy & SciFi Weblog.
Papers, Please at Ramblings of the Easily Distracted.
Revolution 2.12 at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.
The Rocketeer, Hollywood Horror at The Gatehouse.
Sherlock 3.1 at Thinking about books.


Da Vinci’s Demons Season 2 Premiere Date Announced at KpopStarz.
It’s Elementary, Sherlock: How the CBS procedural surpassed the BBC drama by Zack Handlen at AV Club.
Star Trek MixTape: Crazy Alternate History Heart Rippers by Ashley Rose at My Year of Star Trek.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. 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.

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Policy Regarding Self-Published Works

Due to an excessively large pile of review copies, increased work load at the office and a lack of time to read just for fun, I am changing my policy regarding reviewing self-published works. Just to be clear, I personally don't have any issue with authors who take that route. I have in the past read both good and bad self-published works, but because of the reasons mentioned above I will no longer accept review copies of self-published works.

HOWEVER, I still want to support all alternate historians and their endeavors. That is why I am willing to feature a guest post promoting your work. This policy has generally been in effect for the last few months, but now I am making it official. So if you are a self-published author who has published an alternate history, steampunk, historical fantasy, dieselpunk, counterfactual, etc. work of fiction, you can now promote it on The Update.

Here are the guidelines:
  • All entries should be between 500-5000 words (although entries close to 5000 may be split).
  • Authors will be allowed to promote themselves and their work with links, pictures, plot summaries, blurbs, etc., but the guest post should be more then an advertisement (general rule of thumb: if I removed all mention of yourself and your book I would still have 500+ words of content to use)
  • Send guest posts to ahwupdate at gmail dot com. They can either be included in the body of the email or attached as a Word document.
  • All pictures should be attached to the email with instructions on where to put them in THE guest post. DO NOT embed them in a Word document.
  • I reserve the right to edit your guest post for spelling, grammar or flow, but any content edits will be discussed with you beforehand.
  • I reserve the right to reject any guest post that does not meet the subject matter of this blog or else is otherwise inappropriate.
If you need some ideas, check out A Brief Summary of the Alternate History Genre in Hungary by Bence Pintér and Rethinking the War of 1812 by Bill Weber. Both are good examples of informative guest posts that still manage to promote their author's work in an unoffensive manner.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. I look forward to reading your upcoming submissions.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. 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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: Sherlock Series 3, Episode 1: The Empty Hearse

I never really started enjoying the Sherlock Holmes universe until I watched BBC's Sherlock. Although I read a couple of the short stories myself, it wasn't until I saw the modern day retelling that I finally began to seek out more Sherlock to consume. I read Doyle's entire body of work on Sherlock and sought out old movies featuring the detective (Peter Cushing is currently my favorite actor to portray him).

So why am I reviewing the most recent episode to premier in America here? Sherlock might not exactly be alternate history, but it features several tropes that make it appealing to alternate historians. The character of Sherlock Holmes lends itself to alternate fictional histories and steampunk stories like Anno Dracula and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, while the modern retelling of the famous detective implies a very different career for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the very least. Even fans of the genre have been drawn to him, even when others speculate on whether he is really a him.

The show itself is amazing and really highlights Steven Moffatt's skill as a writer. The gritty realism combined with the efficient use of modern technology in the show and the film like quality of the episodes (each series has three episodes usually an hour and a half long) makes for gripping television. So as you can probably guess I was eagerly awaiting the premier of Series 3.

Titled "The Empty Hearse", the show begins with Sherlock returning home to Britain after spending the last two years dismantling Moriarty's criminal network. Although we saw Sherlock fall to his death at the end of Series 2, we also inexplicably saw him watching John Watson mourn at Sherlock's supposed grave. We quickly learn that Sherlock faked his death to protect Watson and his friends from reprisals, but now his brother, Mycroft, needs him back to uncover a terrorist threat to London.

Sherlock, however, first seeks out Watson who has moved on with his life and is on the verge of proposing to his girlfriend, Mary, when Sherlock surprises both. Now in the original stories Watson faints upon discovering Sherlock is still alive, but in this modern retelling he reacts more naturally by physical assaulting his resurrected friend...multiple times. With tensions still high between the two former friends, Sherlock works to uncover who is behind the terrorist threat and how to stop them before it is too late.  Meanwhile, Watson struggles to come to grips with his friend's return and whether or not he wants him back in his life.

To begin, it was great to see the characters again. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are still excellent playing their versions of the crime fighting duo (no...not the one with the tights) and the camaraderie between the two is very believable. I also liked how the writers trolled the fans by featuring multiple theories on how Sherlock survived his fall, without actually telling them what really happened. This doesn't bother me because in the long run it is not important how Sherlock lived, but why he chose to "die". We all have to make sacrifices for the ones we love and it is important in Sherlock's character arc to see that there are people who he would give up years of his life to save.

All that being said, overall I did not enjoy this episode. The pacing was surprisingly fast compared to older episodes. Cinematography was chaotic with multiple jumps to other scenes and unnecessary slow motion. Even the plot wasn't very and seemed to borrow (or stole) from V for Vendetta. Spoiler alert: turns out the terrorists were going to blow up Parliament using a train covered in explosives on Guy Fawkes Day. Really?!?! That is the best you can do? Out of all of the books, short stories, comics, games, etc., created around Sherlock Holmes you go with an already used idea that has nothing to do with the character? Not exactly the best way to reintroduce a character we have not seen in two years.

Frankly, I was disappointed by the series premier, especially when you factor in the long wait. My wife, who also became a fan of the series through me, found it so boring she fell asleep midway through! I can only hope the remaining episodes in the season make up for such a weak premier.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. 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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: Explaining the Iraq War by Frank P. Harvey

A popular what if of the recent decade is the President Gore counterfactual. In these timelines, Al Gore becomes President of the United States in 2000 either because of a different Supreme Court decision or some other point of divergence (POD). A unique circumstance of these timelines is the general assumption that the Gore administration would not have gone to war with Iraq. Frank P. Harvey, however, attacks the plausibility of this assumption in his book: Explaining the Iraq War: Counterfactual Theory, Logic and Evidence.

Through his book Harvey makes a compelling argument against the generally accepted view of history: that President Bush and his neoconservative allies managed the mislead the American public and the rest of the world about the danger of Iraq, thus leading to an unpopular war. This view of history is apparent in Greenfield's 43*, as Andrew Schneider pointed out in his review and even in Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives. Harvey, on the other hand, suggests that the groundwork for the confrontation with Iraq was laid much earlier than 9/11 and that a foreign policy hawk like Gore would have followed a similar route as Bush in dealing with Iraq.

Fair warning, Explaining the Iraq War is not an alternate history book. It is a counterfactual history and yes there is a difference. This is not a traditional narrative most alternate historians are used to, even including the fictional history textbooks or memoirs like When Angels Wept. This book is over 300 pages of facts, figures and quotes from a large variety of sources that Harvey uses to make his argument about the foreign policy of his counterfactual Gore administration. It is a dense tome that counterfactual historians and foreign policy buffs will enjoy for its insightful look at the causes of the Iraq War, but more casual alternate historians will find this book difficult to read.

Although I found Explaining the Iraq War to be a fascinating look at recent history, the relative nearness of the counterfactual's POD means that how much weight you give to Harvey's argument will likely depend on your own personal politics. The Iraq War remains a controversial subject for most of the world and will remain so until sufficient amount of time is allowed to pass to remove it from the present and truly make it history. Nevertheless, Explaining the Iraq War is a good look at another perspective of history besides Great Man theory and an important lesson for why you study all of the factors leading up to important historical events instead of just the people who were in charge.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. 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.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Capricon 34 Schedule

If you guys are going to attend Capricon 34 in Wheeling, IL on February 6-9, why not come and check me out? I am happy to announce I am going to be a panelist at a SF convention for the time first time in my life. Below is my schedule:

Time Travel without Technology - Friday, 02-07-2014 - 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm - Willow
While most time travel seems to involve a technological breakthrough, sometimes, as with Matheson’s Bid Time Return or Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, characters manage to move through time either through force of will or natural phenomenon. How is this time travel different from the more traditional type?
Other Panelists: Walt Boyes, Roland J. Green, Bill Higgins and Ken Hite.

Judging a Book by Page 119 - Saturday, 02-08-2014 - 11:30 am to 12:45 pm - Birch A
We're baaaack! No escaping this panel! They say that you can't judge a book by its cover. Can you judge it by what's on Page 119?
Other Panelists: James Bacon, Stephan Kelly, Helen Montgomery and Leane Verhulst.

Time Travel and Alternate History in Media - Saturday, 02-08-2014 - 5:30 pm to 6:45 pm - Willow
From It’s a Wonderful Life to Timequest, from Sliders to Stargate, time travel and alternate history have often focusing on the highly personal history rather than the history of the world. What makes film and television time travel and alternate history different from the written type.
Other Panelists: Paul Booth, Chris Gerrib, Jim Rittenhouse (you know, the Sidewise Award judge) and Tadao Tomomatsu.

I am really excited (and nervous) about this great opportunity. I mean check out this list of participants. Alongside Roland J. Green and Ken Hite, I am also listed with such heavy-hitters in the alternate history genre as Eric Flint and SM Stirling! Plus friends of The Update Dale Cozort and Steven H Silver will be in attendance.

Huh...I am starting to feel like I bit off a little more than I can chew. Yeah the nervousness is definitely starting to kick in now. O well, too late to back out now. All I can do is ask that if you are attending Capricon, please attend my panels and cheer me on. I need all the support I can get!

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. 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.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Weekly Update #131

Editor's Note

I have returned. Those who follow me on Facebook probably already learned of the reason for my sudden leave of absence. For those who don't know, my wife and I lost our child. She was born as a stillborn on the 10th. We named her Geraldine Erin after our mothers.

As you can expect this has been a very difficult time for my wife and I. Not knowing how I would react to this tragedy and wanting to help my wife recover, I took time off of work and my writing responsibilities. I learned that everyone deals with grief differently and while I do not regret my decision, I believe it is time I return to my normal life. I imagine that if I had lost my daughter when she was much older, she would be ashamed of her father for giving up the things he loved. So I am now motivated more than ever to not let her down.

Thank you to everyone who has contacted me with their condolences. My wife and I feel blessed to have such support, even from people we have never met in person. I look forward to continuing my coverage of alternate history here at The Update.

For Gerry...

Author Neal Barrett, Jr., Dies

In other sad news, author Neal Barrett, Jr., died on January 12, 2014. Born in San Antonio, Texas, on November 3, 1929, he was the Toastmaster at the 1997 WorldCon in San Antonio, and SFWA’s 2010 Author Emeritus.

His first published story was “To Tell the Truth,” which appeared in Galaxy in 1960, and his first novel, Kelwin, came out ten years later. He wrote a lot of fiction under his own name, but also used several pseudonyms and house names. In addition to his speculative fiction, he also wrote mysteries, comics, media tie-in novels, and some Tom Swift and Hardy Boys novels. His most recent story may be “Bloaters,” which appeared in the 2013 anthology Impossible Monsters, while his most recent collection, Other Seasons: The Best of Neal Barrett, Jr., appeared in 2012 from Subterranean Press.

Barrett’s long and storied career resulted in surprisingly few award nominations. His only Hugo and Nebula nominations were for “Ginny Sweethips’ Flying Circus” (a novelette published in the February 1988 issue of Asimov’s). He earned a Theodore Sturgeon Award nomination the same year, for “Stairs” (Asimov’s, September 1988), and a World Fantasy Award nomination for his 2000 collection Perpetuity Blues and Other Stories.

Barrett wrote one alternate history short story according to Uchronia. Titled "The Leaves of Time", it was published in 1971 by Lancer. The story is set during an alien invasion, where a human soldier is thrown into an alternate North America that was settled by Vikings, but he is pursued by an alien. If you would like to learn more information about Barrett, you can check out the unofficial fan site about his works.

Conquest of Paradise Expansion Now Available for Europa Universalis IV
Last week, Paradox released Conquest of Paradise, the first expansion to Europa Universalis IV. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Conquest of Paradise provides players of Paradox’s strategy game with an all-new set of challenges during the Age of Exploration, including a randomized American continent, trading with the natives, establishing colonies, and more. Players can also take control of newly formed colonial nations or play as one of several Native American nations, complete with unique buildings, events, and mechanics. See the trailer below:
You can also check out a let's play (or try in this case) of the expansion pack at Quill18's YouTube channel:
There is also a new patch for Europa Universalis IV and you can check out the notes here. If you have played Conquest of Paradise or Europa Universalis IV, we want to know. Leave a message about it in the comments or shoot us an email.

Video Gallery

Here are some more videos for the alternate historians out there. First up, what did Total War: Shogun 2 get right and wrong about Japanese history? Find out at History Respawned:
Next up, learn about Zoomin Games' favorite memories from the alternate history classic Red Alert 2:
Finally, can you name the eight films that were saved by historical inaccuracies? Cracked can:

Links to the Multiverse


25 Time Travelers NOT From Gallifrey by Marc Buxton at Den of Geek.
Bright Ideas: Alternate History by Matt Foss at Foss' Flicks.


9 Awesome Works of Supernatural Alternate History by Nicole Hill at Barnes & Noble.
Bring on the Night published – a New Short Story and Sequel to Chivalry at Mark Lord's Writing Blog.
Five Things I Learned Writing Hive Monkey by Gareth L. Powell at Terrible Minds.
Literary cousins – comparing alternate histories and invasion narratives at Island Mentalities.
Re-reading Philip José Farmer by Robert Silverberg at SF Gateway.
What’s Coming up in Alt Hist Issue 6 by Mark Lord at Alt Hist.
What to do During Sherlock’s Hiatus by Jess Dimond at Apex Publications.

Counterfactual/Traditional History

Another Pacific War Timeline: A Different Leyte Gulf by Matthew Quinn at The World According to Quinn.
Counterfactual Croydon: #OccupyCroydon by Tom Black at The Croydon Citizen.
Japan WWII soldier who hid in jungle until 1974 dies by Hiroshi Hiyama at Yahoo.


1984: the romantic film. Love the idea? by Alison Flood at The Guardian.
Always a Time Traveler’s Girlfriend, Never a Time Traveler: Rachel McAdams and Science Fiction’s Weirdest Typecasting by Ryan Britt at


Emma Jane Holloway at My Bookish Ways.
Lavie Tidhar at The Skiffy and Fanty Show.
Ian Tregillis at S&L Podcast.


Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! by Richard Ned Lebow at Blogcritics.
CSA: The Confederate States of America at Loving The Stories.
Dominion by CJ Sansom at Birmingham Post.
Elementary 2.13 at Thinking about books.
The Hartlepool Monkey at Geek Syndicate.
Nothing Lasts Forever at Hit & Rung Blog.
Revolution 2.11 at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.


WGN Unveils their Historical Fantasy Series Salem by Roth Cornet at IGN.

* * *

Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. His new short story "Road Trip" can be found in Forbidden Future: A Time Travel Anthology. 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.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Thank You and Goodbye For Now

Dear fans and contributors of Alternate History Weekly Update,

I regret to announce I am taking an indefinite leave of absence from The Update. There has been a family emergency and I feel the best course of action is to remove certain distractions from my life. Perhaps in the near future I can share with you the details regarding my leave, but for now I ask that you please respect my privacy.

Thank you for all the interest you have shown in this little blog over the last two and a half years. I really appreciated the support and I will miss sharing with you my love of alternate history. One day I may return, but for now there is something more important for me to do.

Thank you again,

Matt Mitrovich