Monday, September 26, 2016

Weekly Update #248! What I Am Reading Now...

Editor's Note

So I have been sick with a cold for the last few days (I guess this is what I get for turning down a free flu vaccine from my work). I did have brief moment on Saturday where I felt well enough to go outside and do some apple picking, but as I write this on Sunday I am sitting next to an overflowing garbage can full of my used tissues. Even Alana is afraid to kiss me. So my apologies if I don't have much to post this week. I also need to post a video soon, but until I get my voice back it may be a while.

Don't forget to check out Map Monday: Different Ottoman Partition by Panhomo and my review of Prince of Outcasts by SM Stirling, which has revitalized the Emberverse series in my humble opinion. Also don't forget to buy your books through our Amazon banner. May I recommend last week's new releases or some of the books I will be mentioning below?

Also I don't think I will be posting a Flag Friday this week. I didn't find anything interesting to talk about from last week's crop of flags. Still if there are any intrepid alternate vexillologists out there who want to showcase their work, send a submission to ahwupdate at gmail dot com.

And now the news...

What I am reading now...

So my next review will be the first Casefile: ARKHAM book, titled "Nightmare on the Canvas", which is perfect with Halloween season being upon us. Here is the description from Amazon:

What if Raymond Chandler wrote Lovecraft stories? Set in the mid-1940s, Casefile: ARKHAM follows Hank Flynn, a down on his luck private eye who is back from the war and now working the mean streets of the most cursed city on Earth Arkham, Massachusetts. And things only get worse for Flynn when a wealthy uptown socialite hires him to track down an artist by the name of Pickman. What begins as a simple missing persons case leads Flynn down a dark path of flesh eating ghouls, vengeful witches, and the notorious Innsmouth mafia.

The book I am currently reading, however, is King of Worlds by M. Thomas Gammarino, which can best be described as a 90s nostalgia trip set in the near future of an alternate history where humans have started colonizing the galaxy. So far its good, but a little sad. Here is the description from Amazon:

This dark comedy explores the lost universes of disgraced idol Dylan Greenyears. Dylan had always wanted to live as many lives as he could--that was the appeal of being an actor. But at the end of a brief, bright stint as a Hollywood heartthrob, Dylan loses the lead in Titanic and exiles himself and his wife to a recently settled exoplanet called New Taiwan.

At first, life beyond Earth seems uncannily un-wondrous. Dylan teaches at an American prep school, raises a family with his high school sweetheart, and lives out his restlessness through literature. But then a box of old fan mail (and the hint of a galaxy-wide conspiracy) offers Dylan a chance to recapture the past. As he tries to balance this transdimensional midlife crisis against family life, Dylan encounters a cast of extraordinary characters: a supercomputer with aspirations of godhood, a Mormon-fundamentalist superfan, an old-school psychoanalyst, a sampling of his alternate selves, and, once again, the love of his lives.

King of the Worlds throws cosmology, technology, nineties pop culture, and religion into an existential blender for a mix that is by turns tragic and absurd, elegiac and filled with wonder.

Next up is a book I have already read, but I am going to be jointly reviewing it with Alana on the channel. Its Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. Believe or not, there is some alternate history in this book, in the It's A Wonderful Life variety. Anyway, here is the description from Amazon:

"The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

And the last book I am reading right now is the Folio Society edition of The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. Now I have read this book already, but Alana hasn't. So we are reading it together in preparation for Season 2 of Amazon's The Man in the High Castle. Here is the description from the Folio Society:

In 1962 Philip K. Dick conjured a new vision of our world – a twisted simulacrum in which the Axis Powers have won the Second World War. America is now divided: the eastern United States is the puppet of a maniacal German Reich, while the western Pacific seaboard is governed by a militaristic, yet spiritual, Japanese dictatorship. Amongst the complexities of this new existence, a group of unremarkable people – an American- Jewish craftsman, a judo instructor, a Japanese diplomat – play out their everyday lives, each striving to uncover a remnant of goodness in the shadow of a gathering evil. As their narratives intersect, Dick poses larger metaphysical questions concerning the authentication of history, perception and the building blocks of destiny.

So that is what I am reading and will be reviewing soon. If you want, read along with me and maybe we can discuss it together.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger for Amazing Stories, a volunteer interviewer for SFFWorld and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judge. When not exploring alternate timelines he 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 Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, DeviantArt and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.


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