High Seas

Alta mar

From the moment the Villenueva sisters Eva (Ivana Baquero) and Carolina (Alejandra Onieva) decide to smuggle a woman who claims to be in mortal danger (Manuela Vellés) aboard their transatlantic journey to Brazil, Alta mar (High Seas) does not relent on surprises. Every one of its eight episodes, currently streaming on Netflix, brings a new twist or turn, usually toward the end in a bid to make you binge on the Spanish series.

It works. The show is great fun. Set in the aftermath of World War II, both the style and the story will appeal to dieselpunks. The costumes and art deco decor are beautifully done. The dark-family-secret theme starts off well enough.

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Rapture BioShock concept art

BioShock Concept and Fan Art

If there is a perfect dieselpunk video game, it must be BioShock (our review here). It has several of the genre’s major influences (Art Deco, Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, dystopian fiction like Nineteen Eighty-Four, Hugh Ferriss, the Red Scare and Jazz) as well as tropes (the lone hero fighting the system, mind control).

It’s the BioShock aesthetic, though, that is the most evocative.

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Wolfenstein: The New Order artwork

How to Change World War II

Alternate World War II histories typically either kill Hitler, to end the war quickly or avoid it altogether, or correct one of his many strategic mistakes (invade Russia in winter, needlessly declare war on the United States), to enable an Axis victory.

There were many more inflection points, however, any one of which could have steered history in another direction. If you want to change World War II, here are 22 ways to do it.

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Republic of Pontus map

Countries That Almost Existed

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand proposed dividing up Belgium between France, Germany and the Netherlands. Heinrich Himmler fantasized about crowning himself regent of an independent Burgundy. The Allies in World War II had multiple plans for Balkan federation. Iraq and Libya both pushed plans for Arab unification.

The only things these schemes have in common is that nothing came of them. Belgium still exists. Burgundy doesn’t. The Balkans and the Arab world are even more divided.

What if history had taken a different turn? Here is a look at the countries that almost existed.

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The Great Gatsby show

Be Part of Gatsby’s Entourage for a Night

The Great Gatsby Belgium, an immersive play, has premièred at a secret location. Currently running in Dutch and French, soon the London cast will travel down to Brussels to perform the original English version here as well.

As we mentioned in our preview of the show, The Great Gatsby is nothing like you’re used to. People aren’t taking their seats in a theater and watching what happens on the stage. Here you are literally part of the play. Actors will interact with you, you might be asked to follow them into another room, alone or with a small group of people. You might become the focal point of a scene.

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The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy

Originally a comic by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance fame, the books have been turned into the first season of a TV series, mostly covering the story arc known as The Apocalypse Suite.

Years ago, in 1989, all around the world, 43 women gave birth on the same day. This might not sound strange, were it not for the fact that none of them had been pregnant at the start of the day. Seven of these children are adopted by Reginald Hargreeves, only to be treated to a cold life where nothing matters but becoming superheroes destined to ward off the apocalypse. Needless to say, this has left a mark on the children, now adults, and each has their own personal issues to overcome.

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North America map

Hemisphere Defense or Sea Command: America’s Choice in 1940

On the eve of America’s entry into World War II, George Fielding Eliot reported for Life magazine that the country essentially had three ways to defend itself against an Axis invasion.

He rejected the first option, a purely defensive strategy, out of hand. Protecting just the United States, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and Samoa, but not Canada, Greenland, Newfoundland and South America, would allow Germany and Japan to gain footholds in the Americas.

The whole of military history rises up to warn us that this is the inevitable prelude to defeat.

The choice, he argued, was between hemisphere defense and sea command.

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The Great Gatsby cast

Get Immersed in Gatsby’s Big Night

After more than three years of overwhelming success, The Great Gatsby, the immersive musical theater, is coming from London’s West End (where it is still running in the London Bridge area) to Belgium.

Starting this March, and running into May, shows will be held in Dutch, French and English in a secret location in the heart of Brussels.

Never Was was lucky enough to attend the press conference introducing the principal Dutch- and French-speaking cast. Because the Jazz Age is bread and butter to many dieselpunks, this piece will tell you more about this unique show.

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