Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekly Update #139

Editor's Note

I wanted to post my next entry in my World War I series last week, but with so much information coming in from NPR and Evans' article on counterfactuals I decided to postpone it so I can absorb all this new information. Don't worry, I still got plenty of great content on the way including some fun interviews and coverage on some World War I themed games.

As a reminder, you can support The Update's mission on providing the best news and reviews on alternate history by buying stuff through Amazon. Just click on the banner on the top right corner of the blog before you do so. You get to buy what you were going to buy anyway and we get to wet our beak a little in the process.

And now the news...

The Reviews Are In For 300: Rise of an Empire

Last week, 300: Rise of an Empire, sequel to the Frank Miller adaptation 300, was released. This  fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Salamis has done well at the box office, ensuring more sword and sandal films in the future. Whether that is a good or a bad thing, I leave up to the personal opinion of the reader. My personal opinion, strongly influenced from my viewing of The Immortals, is that it would be a a bad thing.

I will be honest: I don't have any intention of seeing this movie. Although I enjoyed 300 when I first saw it, the movie has not aged well for me. Luckily, several reviewers I respect have seen it for me and have shared their opinion of the flick on the Internet. Lets see what they had to say...

Let's start with the good:
  • Matthew Stienberg: All in all though the film is really satisfying and I couldn't have enjoyed it more. I'd heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to see a damn good action film.
  • The Man from Singapore: Go see it- I liked it but it could have been so much better.
And now the bad:
  • Matthew Quinn: Great concept, but it didn't live up to its full potential. It's a good movie to see--at the dollar theater. (Check out his supplemental post on the film and the Athen state.)
  • Sean Korsgaard: [I]t lacks the heart, the guts or the glory of the real deal, and ultimately betrays everything that made the previous film stand out.
So my hand picked reviewers are split on the film. What do you think?

Map Gallery

Now we will look at my three favorite maps of last week. First we have a beautiful map of sketchdoodle of the Brooke Kingdom of Sarawak & Sabah:
Not only is this a well drawn map, I like that it focuses on a part of the world often forgotten by alternate historians (except when the Japanese occupy it).

Next we have a world map from long time contributor Sean Korsgaard focusing on his Communist Confederacy timeline:
Great to see you producing more content for this world, Sean.

And we finish our trio of alternate history maps with a curious scenario featuring this 20th century Poland-wank by Zauis:
What I like about this wank is that it is quite believable. In this universe the Nazis do better against the Soviets, but still lose the war. The Soviets are confined to their 1939 border and a capitalist Poland is left in better shape to build a Eastern European coalition against the Soviets and any attempts by Germany (which I assume is not split in this timeline) to reclaim their old borders as well.

Submit your maps to ahwupdate at gmail dot com for a chance to be featured on next Monday's Weekly Update.

Video Gallery

And now the video portion of our weekly newsletter. First up, the book trailer for William Shakespeare's Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back! by Ian Doescher:
If the trailer convinced you to pick up a copy, don't forget to click the link above to get it from Amazon. Next up, Cracked wants to inform you about the six myths you probably believe about the American Revolution:
Admittedly they over-simplified some of the reasons for the Revolution and completely ignored the fact that the French and Indian War was just another name for the Seven Years' War. If you want my take on the American Revolution, check out 6 Common Mistakes Every American Revolution Alternate History Makes.

Finally we end this week's video gallery with another video from friend of The Update Cody Franklin. He has the sequel to his what if the Soviets won the Cold War video:


March 26: Jeff Greenfield will speak about his book If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History at the Clay Center in Charleston during the West Virginia University David C. Hardesty, Jr. Festival of Ideas.

April 1: Registration rates for Detcon1, the 2014 North American Science Fiction Convention, will go up.

Links to the Multiverse

Books and Short Fiction

“B-36”by Douglas W. Texter – Free Story Extract at Alt Hist.
Choosing A Favorite Historical Period by Miles Cameron at Bookworm Blues.
Egypt rules half the world in alternate history ‘three princes’ at Pop Mythology.
Excerpt: THE IRON JACKAL by Chris Wooding at SF Signal.
The Golem and the Jinni is a powerful masterpiece of historical fantasy by Andrew Liptak at io9.
Reaching back into the past to write the alternative present by Alison Morton at Alive on the Shelves.
Review: Then Will the Great Ocean Wash Deep Above by Ian Sales at UpComing4.Me.
Silk Road Fantasy and Breaking the Great Wall of Europe by Paul Weimer at SF Signal.
Table of Contents: THE CUTTING ROOM: DARK REFLECTIONS OF THE SILVER SCREEN Edited by Ellen Datlow at SF Signal.
This map describes the world of George Orwell's 1984—or does it? by Lauren Davis at io9.


Comic Review: Legenderry — A Steampunk Adventure at Amazing Stories.
The 5 Most Pointless “What If” Comics of All Time by Diana at Geek Pron.

Counterfactual/Traditional History

7 Utopias that Changed the Future by Annalee Newitz at io9.
10 Hardcore Female Military Leaders from History by Dan Wohl at The Mary Sue.
Best of Beyond Apollo I by David SF Portree at Wired.
British Jews in the first world war: spirit of the Maccabees by Adam Foulds at The Guardian.
Crowdsourcing Counterfactuals: NPR Asks: What If World War I Had Never Happened? by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.
The Latest Hitler Counterfactual: What If Hindenburg’s Last Will and Testament Had Come to Light? by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.
Really? Richard Evans Thinks Counterfactual History Is a "Waste of Time?" by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld at The Counterfactual History Review.


Chrononaut script teaser by Zach Lipovsky at Vimeo.
Max Brooks' Harlem Hellfighters Graphic Novel Will Go To War For Sony by Nick Venable at Cinema Blend.


Mary Robinette Kowal at The Sword and Laser.
Jason Sharp at Three Cents Worth.
Dusty Wallace at Three Cents Worth.


Elementary: Season 2, Episode 18. The Hound of the Cancer Cells at Thinking about books.
Syfy Greenlights 6-Hour Mini-Series ‘Ascension’ by Stuart Conover.
Revolution 2.16: The Manchurian Post-Blackout Patriot at Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update and a blogger on Amazing Stories. Check out his short fiction. 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.


  1. Thanks for the shout-outs - for the movie review AND the upcoming update for my Communist Confederacy works - still so weird to see it in the map gallery!

  2. Thanks for the shout-out within! Much appreciated!


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