Monday, December 7, 2015

Map Monday: Hammer and the Cross (2014) by Bruce Munro

Last weekend was tough for me. My doctor put me on new medication that gave me headaches (among other side effects). I also had trouble sleeping and I had to mark a sad anniversary for me. This made me cranky and I found myself lashing out at people who didn't deserve it, which only made me feel worse. I was so down in the dumps that I skipped out on writing and instead just had a pity party. It was then I asked myself a question I think a lot of people who create stuff for the Internet ask at some point when their spirits are low: why am I even doing this? What is the point? Does anyone actually care?

Then, late Sunday night, I saw this map on Facebook:
This map was commissioned by longtime contributor to The Update, Sam McDonald (who has sent me another Audio File, so stay tuned for that) and created by one of my favorite alternate cartographers, Bruce Munro. It is based on my What Happens Next: Harry Harrison's The Hammer and The Cross Trilogy article where I imaged what the present day of Harry Harrison's The Hammer and The Cross universe would look like. Now I may be biased, but this is a pretty awesome map.

It is drawn in the usual Munroist style, which allows for a lot of detail, snarky commentary and even a Lovecraftian reference or two. Bruce also included an extensive description of the scenario with the map that expanded on some of the ideas I included in my original post and created a really fun world where high technology and realistic magic coexist. I liked how Bruce fleshed out the nature of divinity in this world and how there could still be conflicts regarding religions despite it being proven that gods are a natural phenomenon. The additions to the Hidden Folk were also great. I never really explained how they were able to fight humanity during the Oil Age, but it makes sense that they could keep up with humanity technologically speaking if they had any chance of resisting.

Bruce also corrected some of the plausibility issues in my original scenario, which I was certainly okay with. I especially liked how he filled in all the blank areas of the map, which helped make the scenario even more plausible...well as plausible as a world with gods and Neanderthals could be. I was also happy to see Bosnia is still around. It brings a smile to my face to think that my family's doppelgangers could be somewhere in this timeline if that tiny, war-torn nation still exists.

So thanks again to Sam and Bruce for doing this. It really helped save a crummy weekend and reminded me again of why I keep blogging about alternate history. Don't forget to check out Bruce's DeviantArt page and tell him what an amazing map maker he is. You should also subscribe to Sam's blog (Knowledge, Adventure and Wonder) and check out his other work for Amazing Stories.

Honorable mention this week goes out to "Theaters of the Second Greco-Latin War" by Rebecca "Upvoteanthology" Stirling.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger on Amazing Stories and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judgeWhen not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.

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