Sidewise Winners Announced

The Sidewise Awards, which honour the best in Alternate History writing, were announced on the 17th August. The winners were:

Sidewise Award for Best Long Form Alternate History

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Enemy Within

(WMG Publishing)

Sidewise Award for Best Short Form Alternate History

Ken Liu, The Long Haul: From the Annals of Transportation,

The Pacific Monthly, May 2009 (Clarkesworld Magazine, 11/14)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has previously won the Sidewise Award for her story “Recovering Apollo 8” in 2007.  She has won two Hugo Awards and a World Fantasy Award.  Rusch was one of the founders and editors of Pulphouse Publishing and spent six years as the editor of The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Ken Liu has won two Hugo Awards, a Nebula Award, and a World Fantasy Award.  This is his second nomination for the Sidewise Award.  His first novel, Grace of Kings was published in 2015 and Liu has been working to translate science fiction by Chinese authors into English, including Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem.

For more information about the Sidewise Award, please see http://www.uchronia.net/sidewise/

Tales from the Vatican Vaults – New Secret History Published

Alt Hist readers might be interested in a new anthology containing 28 science fiction and fantasy stories based on an extraordinary secret history.

Vatican Vaults is a captivating collection of original science fiction and fantasy stories based on the same alternate world premise: a collection of documents that have been suppressed by the Vatican and hidden away for years, in some cases centuries, are revealed when the vaults are thrown open by a reforming pope.

In this alternate reality, Pope John Paul (I) does not die a month after his accession in 1978; instead he lives on for over 30 years to become the most reforming pope of all time. In addition to relaxing the rules on birth control and priestly celibacy he also opens up the most secret parts of the Vatican Library to scholars . . .

In the Vatican’s deepest vaults, documents are discovered which shed new light on world history, containing information which, if true, would cause many parts of accepted history to have to be rewritten. These include not just the undercover involvement of the Catholic Church in world affairs, but documented accounts of what really happened in historical conundrums, the real lives of saints and popes, miracles, magic, angels and even alien encounters.

For more information visit the publisher’s website.

New Historical Fiction Novels in 2014

Do you want to know what historical fiction novels are coming up for 2014? Then take a look at the Historical Novel Society Forthcoming historical novels for 2014 page.

Ones that I personally am looking forward to include:

Cover of "THE ROYAL SUCCESSION ( The Accu...
Cover via Amazon

Maurice Druon, The Royal Succession, HarperCollins UK (4th in The Accursed Kings series set in medieval France)

Matthew Reilly, The Tournament, Orion (thriller set in 1546 Constantinople, featuring Princess Elizabeth of England and her tutor Roger Ascham)

Tim Pears, In the Light of Morning, William Heinemann (British soldiers parachuted into WWII Slovenia and their relationships with the local partisans as the Axis forces close in)

Toby Clements, Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims, Century (1st in series set during the Wars of the Roses, beginning in 1460)

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What kind of people read Historical Fiction? Help find out.

Would you like to help with the understanding of Historical Fiction as a genre? If so, then the wonderful Historical Novel Society is currently running a survey into reading habits of those who partake of fiction set in past times.

I encourage anyone who likes Historical Fiction to take the survey. I believe that the results will be made public in the future – so you’ll be able to understand a little bit more about your fellow readers and the genre as a whole.

Here’s the introduction to the survey if you want to know a bit more about it:

Your views on reading and on historical fiction are very important to us, and we very much appreciate your time.

THE SURVEY SHOULD ONLY TAKE 5-10 MINUTES. In addition to the survey results, as a thank you we would like to offer a free e-copy of the Historical Novel Society’s historical fiction anthology from authors at the London (UK) conference in 2012. You will be prompted for your email at the end of the survey.

PLEASE PASS THE SURVEY URL ALONG – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JCG7NYP – the more participants, and the broader the base, the better.

Survey questions were developed by M.K. TOD, author of UNRAVELLED and blogger at www.awriterofhistory.com, in collaboration with RICHARD LEE, founder of the Historical Novel Society. We are grateful to the many authors and bloggers who contributed ideas for this year’s survey and agreed to publicize it.

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Could you be a Longitude Punk Author?

If so check out this blog post from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich about a new anthology to celebrate 2014’s longitude celebrations. I’ve quoted the blog post in full so you have all the information, but please do check out their site at http://blogs.rmg.co.uk/longitude/2013/09/20/calling-irregular-authors/

Calling irregular authors!

The steampunks are taking over the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and we need someone to write about them! Jurassic London are looking for authors for an anthology called Irregularity to accompany next year’s longitude celebrations and events, including Longitude Punk’d.

The brief is quite wide – fiction set between about 1660 and 1860 that looks to the systematic (and not so systematic) attempts to impose order on nature’s chaos. We’re looking for stories about the efforts, successful and unsuccessful, to know the world better, to comprehend it, and to make it comprehensible. And, just as importantly, we are looking for stories about that chaos which ultimately proves itself unknowable.

This is a really good theme for the material we’ve been looking at in the project and which will feature in our various exhibitions, since the search for longitude methods is so full of glorious schemes of all sorts. And there are plenty of sources for inspiration, what with the Board of Longitude archive now available online, not to mention our own collections, which include many instruments associated with the Board and other stuff we like from the period. I’ve been having another look through the archive recently and was struck again by some of the ideas on perpetual motion:

William Parr's dial or orrery for finding the longitude

William Parr’s dial or orrery for finding the longitude

not to mention the splendid illustrations projectors included:

Johann Vetter’s machine for measuring currents

Johann Vetter’s machine for measuring currents, submitted in 1777

and some of the instruments that survive:

Azimuth compass by Ralph Walker

Azimuth compass by Ralph Walker

Irregularity will be published in Spring 2014 by Jurassic London, who also produced The Lowest Heaven (which I can recommend) for the Museum’s Visions of the Universe exhibition. The closing date for submissions is 7 November 2013. More details at Jurassic London’s website.

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Recent Historical Fiction and Alternate History News

Here’s a selection of news and features that I’ve come across recently in the world of Historical Fiction and Alternate History. Enjoy!

Polite Englishman

From Salon: The myth of the polite Englishman. I thought this book sounded like a great resource for anyone writing historical fiction set in the Eighteenth century. Interestingly enough I don’t see many stories coming into Alt Hist set in that era – not even American War of Independence stuff very often, which is disappointing. Such a rude century should definitely be better represented!

From the Guardian: Kate Williams joins queens of historical fiction.  I didn’t agree with what she had to say at the end of the article about female documentary presenters being chosen for their looks – the BBC does the same with its male presenters too!

Guardian again: Alternate history lessons for children’s fiction – new wave of alternate histories searching questions about technology. Interesting that alternate history is being more accepted in schools, but how do we make sure kids know the real version as well?

From contactmusic.com: Steven Spielberg – Steven Spielberg’s European History. Europeans are much more interested in history says Steven. Quite a debatable statement I think – certainly most of Alt Hist’s story submissions come from the US.e make sure kids know the real version as well?

From The Daily Beast: The Graphic Novel Renaissance – and historical graphic novels are leading the way! Hurrah!

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