Monday, December 7, 2015

Weekly Update #214: The Massacre of Mankind, The Curse of Jacob Tracy and a New Segment Debuts!

Editor's Note

You know the present can be a scary place at times, but as alternate historians we must never forget our timeline's history. There have been many horrible tragedies (wars, oppression, genocide, disease, etc.) just in the last century, that are much worse then what we see today on the news. Let's remember that as we move forward into the future.

And now the news...

Gollancz Signs Stephen Baxter to Write Sequel to H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds

SF Signal reported last week that Gollancz acquired the rights to The Massacre of Mankind by award-winning author and Sidewise Award judge Stephen Baxter, which is a sequel to The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.

Marcus Gipps, Gollancz Commissioning Editor and the editor overseeing the book, said, “Steve has a great track record of collaborating with other authors, from Arthur C. Clarke and Alastair Reynolds to Terry Pratchett. I’ve seen early material from this remarkable new project, and can’t wait to unleash Steve’s new Martian terror upon the world.”

First published in 1897, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells has been both popular (having never gone out of print) and influential, spawning half a dozen feature films, radio dramas, a record album, various comic book adaptations, and a television series. Stephen Baxter’s sequel, set in late 1920s London, has the Martians return and renew their war against Earth, but the aliens do not repeat the mistakes of their last invasion.

Steve Baxter said: “HG Wells is the daddy of modern SF. He drew on deep traditions, for instance of scientific horror dating back to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and fantastic voyages such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726). And he had important near-contemporaries such as Jules Verne. But Wells did more than any other writer to shape the form and themes of modern science fiction, and indeed through his wider work exerted a profound influence on the history of the twentieth century. Now it’s an honour for me to celebrate his enduring imaginative legacy, more than a hundred and fifty years after his birth.”

This isn't Baxter's first sequel of a Wells original. His novel The Time Ships, is also an authorized sequel to The Time Machine by H. G. Wells and marked the centenary of the original’s publication.

The Massacre of Mankind will be published on the January 19, 2017.

Book of the Week: The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger

Last week there was one book I couldn't avoid on social media and that was The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger. Check out the description from Amazon:

St. Louis in 1880 is full of ghosts -- mangled soldiers, tortured slaves, the innocent victims of war -- and Jacob Tracy can see them all. Ever since Antietam, when he lay delirious among the dead and dying, Trace has been haunted by the country's restless spirits. The curse cost him his family, his calling to the church, and damn near his sanity. He stays out of ghost-populated cities as much as possible these days, guiding wagon trains West with his pragmatic and skeptical partner, Boz. 

Then, just before the spring rush, Trace gets a letter from the wealthy and reclusive Sabine Fairweather. Sickly, sharp-tongued, and far too clever for her own good, Miss Fairweather needs a worthy man to retrieve a dead friend's legacy from a nearby town -- or so she says. When the errand proves far more sinister than advertised, Miss Fairweather admits to knowing about Trace's curse, and suggests she might be able to help him -- in exchange for a few more odd jobs. 

Trace has no interest in being her pet psychic, but he's been searching eighteen years for a way to curb his unruly curse, and Miss Fairweather's knowledge of the spirit world is too tempting to ignore. As she steers him into one macabre situation after another, his powers flourish, and Trace begins to realize some good might be done with this curse of his. But Miss Fairweather is harboring some dark secrets of her own, and her meddling has brought Trace to the attention of something much older and more dangerous than any ghost.

Rich in historical detail and emotional depth, The Curse of Jacob Tracy is a fast-paced and inventive debut, an intriguing introduction to a bold new hero.

For those who want to learn more can check out Molly's interview at The Qwillery and the book's 4 star review on SF Signal where John DeNardo said the book was "[f]un, fast-moving and leaves me wanting more."

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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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