What If Germany and Japan Conquered the United States?

Man in the High Castle map
Map of North America from the titles of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle

Earlier this month, we looked at some hypothetical Axis invasion plans of the United States. In reality, neither Germany nor Japan ever had a concrete plan to attack North America. But what if they did?

Philip K. Dick’s 1963 novel The Man in the High Castle gives us a world in which the two Axis powers not only mounted an invasion of America but succeeded in conquering it.

His story diverges from the real world in 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt does not survive an assassination attempt. Without Roosevelt and the New Deal, America is poorer and unwilling to enter World War II until it is too late. Nazi Germany defeats Britain and the other European powers; Japan conquers all of Oceania. The United States surrender in 1947 and are split in two: Japan establishes a Pacific States of America on the West Coast, Germany a puppet United States on the East Coast. A buffer is kept between them in the Rocky Mountains. Continue reading “What If Germany and Japan Conquered the United States?”

Exhibit review: Game Changers

Game ChangersGame Changers
Fashion Museum (MoMu)
Antwerp, Belgium
March 18 – August 14

Game Changers, the Antwerp fashion museum’s (MoMu for short) current main exhibit, focusses on the evolution of the 20th century silhouette in high fashion. On top of that it collaborates with UNIQLO for the UNIQLO MOMU SUNDAYS, allowing free entry for everyone on every first Sunday of the month (May and June have already passed, but you can still go on July 3rd and August 7th). Incidentally, every 1st Sunday of the month is also a shopping Sunday in Antwerp, which comes in handy as you get a coupon for a free UNIQLO airism t-shirt with your entry ticket (which you need to pick up at the front desk of the MoMu) that you need to exchange within 7 days. Just an FIY, it’s until stock lasts and women get a sleeveless top and men a t-shirt, both are white. Regardless, it’s a really nice touch, especially because airism is pretty amazing.

Now back to the actual exhibit. Like pretty much every other MoMu exhibit, this one is pretty small. Even if you read every single thing and study every garment on display, you’ll be in and out within the hour. It is debatable whether or not such a small exhibit is worth the entrance fee, but with the free days, that’s a bit of a moot point. In any case, small as it may be, they did a great job making it varied. Focusing on several key points when it comes to 20th century fashion, they set up installations showing many different examples. It’s easy to move around between them, and you can really take your time looking at every piece on display.
It’s very well presented in general, and the garments chosen are very representative. The downside of the presentation is you can’t always see the entire garment, but if you are into fashion and the evolution thereof, it’s definitely worth checking out. Especially as there are still two days left to do it at no cost at all.

For some more exhibit photos, click here.

Movie review: Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice-Through-the-Looking-Glass-Poster-2Tim Burton’s sequel to his Alice in Wonderland adaptation from a few years ago, is once ago a take on a book by Lewis Carroll. This time Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found There, originally published in 1871.
As far as adaptations go, this is _very_ liberal. He doesn’t follow the book much at all, uses very little elements of it, and weaves them into what is essentially a sequel to his previous Alice movie. If you haven’t seen that one, make sure you do before you see Alice Through the Looking Glass, because otherwise you’ll be very confused.
Just like with the first installment, he has added original characters that are not part of the original book. Some return from Alice in Wonderland, some are brand new.

Even though the movie is visually pleasing, the story doesn’t flow well at all, and if it weren’t for Baron Sacha Cohen’s splendid and hilarious performance as Time, it would quickly go from an entertaining popcorn movie to a rather boring one. It’s not like the other actors don’t try to put on a good show, it’s just that for some reason, their performances feel forced most of the time.
Time is also the character that adds all the marvelous steampunk elements to Through the Looking Glass, ranging from the Chronosphere to a ton of other things I won’t go into as I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t seen it yet. The real word part is placed in Victorian London, which is always nice for those interested in Victoriana.
An added bonus is also that Disney has produced a nice range of movie merchandise available in Disney Stores, with some cool steampunk items.

That aside, Alice Through the Looking Glass is definitely not Tim Burton’s best movie. Nevertheless it is entertaining enough, provided you have seen the first movie so you know the setting and characters and you are ok with the original book being tossed out of the window for about 99% in total.

Jakub Rozalski’s Gigantic Machines

Jakub Rozalski is a Polish concept artist and illustrator whose paintings combine typical scenes from early-twentieth-century Eastern Europe with gigantic machines!

Rozalski’s gallery is a real treasure for dieselpunks. Here is just a small selection of his work.