Partnership with Sarah Zama

Never Was is proud to announce a partnership with Sarah Zama, author of four books and many stories set in the diesel era. She most recently published Living the Twenties, a nonfiction ebook about the decade. Sarah also maintains an active blog, called The Old Shelter.

In 2018, she blogged about the history of Weimar Germany in an A-to-Z challenge: 26 entries, one for each letter of the alphabet. We’ll be republishing those stories in the coming months. The first one, about the 1918 armistice that ended World War I, just went up.

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Happy Holidays!

Santa Claus Christmas poster

The team of Never Was wishes you and your family happy holidays!

It’s an usual Christmas for many of us. The coronavirus makes big family gatherings unwise. In some countries they’re not even allowed.

Please do follow the recommendations of health-care professionals where you live and remember there is light at the end of the tunnel: vaccines should become widely available in the new year. We will have Christmas again.

In the meantime, we’re switching from two to three new weekly blog posts to give you a little something extra to read. And don’t forget: we have our own message-board community, the Never Was Lounge, which is a great way to connect with fellow fans of alternate history, retro-futurism and science fiction!

Kevin Steele’s Steampunk Books Archived at Never Was

For the last four years, Kevin Steele published hackneyed book reviews and lists at his website, Steampunk Books. A fan of Mark Hodder, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville, he recommended A Red Sun Also Rises, The Court of the Air and the Bas-Lag trilogy that started with Perdido Street Station. Among his popular articles were the ten best steampunk books, four steampunk clichés and steampunk novels that should be made into movies.

We exchanged links and some content with Steampunk Books, so when Kevin’s website went down we happily agreed to host his stories in an archive here at Never Was. Visit the overview page or follow the tag to find them all.

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Why a Message Board Is Better Than Facebook

When I got involved in diesel- and steampunk, most of the online communities were message boards. Now most are on Facebook.

It has not been an improvement. Interactions in message boards were more civil and informative than they typically are on Facebook (or Twitter for that matter). Message boards were never enormous, so you could become a well-known member and make friends. Some of the fellow alternate-history aficionados I met in message boards are still acquaintances and in some cases Never Was contributors.

The problem with Facebook is that everyone is on it. But that is also its power. It’s why most people, when they want to create a community, create a Facebook group.

That’s not what we did for the Never Was Lounge. Here’s why.

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Partnership with Sea Lion Press

Never Was is happy to announce a partnership with Sea Lion Press, a UK-based publishing house that specializes in alternate history. You will see stories from their blog republished here every two weeks and vice versa, starting with Paul Hynes’ “The ‘What Ifs’ of Operation Barbarossa“.

Sea Lion most recently published Katherine Foy’s Freedom’s Rampart: The Russian Invasion of New Zealand, which follows Russian sailors and citizens of New Zealand during Imperial Russia’s naval bombardment and occupation of Dunedin in the late 1800s.

Other Sea Lion authors include Tom Anderson, author of the Look to the West series, in which Revolutionary France is far more aggressive in its conquests and America remains British; Andy Cooke, whose The Lectern Series imagines a more successful UKIP; and Hynes, who tells the story of the Allied invasion of Japan that never was in the two-parter Decisive Darkness.

New Logo, and Never Was Lounge Coming Soon

We have made a few design changes: our logo is now a stylized version of the image we used before (of a German zeppelin docking at the Empire State Building) and we are using Denis Masharov’s Poiret One font for our titles and subtitles.

You will also notice a new link in the menu: “Lounge”. This will soon take you to the Never Was Lounge, an online community for alternate history, retro-futurism and science fiction.

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Blog Posts Recovered from 2009

Never Was, then called The Gatehouse, launched its first blog in February 2009. Before then, we had been a hand-coded HTML website. (Learn more about our history here.)

Several members of our message-board community, the Smoking Lounge, joined as bloggers, including Kevin Cooney, Hilde Heyvaert and Ella Kremper. Tome Wilson of the Dieselpunks community wrote a weekly “Dieselpunks News” column.

In April 2010, The Gatehouse switched to a picture blog on Tumblr. We wouldn’t have a proper blog again until October 2011. The website you are reading now is a continuation of that third blog.

Many of the posts from the first blog have been lost, but I have been able to recover some.

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