Alt Hist Issue 2 Flashback

Today it’s time to have a look back at the second issue of Alt Hist. The cover story was from World War 1 – Son of Flanders by William Knight. This issue also featured some book reviews – which we occasionally ran in the magazine (but not any more).

Alt Hist Issue 2

Issue 2 of Alt Hist is available in eBook and print book formats. For an eBook format please visit Smashwords or Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk for Kindle versions. A print version of Alt Hist Issue 2 is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Alt Hist Issue 2 the magazine of alternate history and historical fictionAlt Hist is the magazine of historical fiction and alternate history. The second issue features eight new stories and also three book reviews. From ancient Egypt to World War I, and the death of Abraham Lincoln, there is something for every fan of historical fiction in Alt Hist Issue 2.

Stories featured in Alt Hist Issue 2:

Long Nights in Languedoc’ by Andrew Knighton
The Apollo Mission’ by David X. Wiggin
Son of Flanders’ by William Knight
In Cappadocia’ by AshleyRose Sullivan
The Orchid Hunters’ by Priya Sharma
Death in Theatre’ by Jessica Wilson
The Scarab of Thutmose’ by Anna Sykora
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ by N. K. Pulley

And reviews of:

Historical Fiction Writing: a practical guide and tool-kit by Myfanwy Cook
Ruso and the River of Darkness by R. S. Downie
Rome Burning by Sophia McDougall

Alt Hist Issue 9 – Flashback

Another flashback to an old issue of Alt Hist, The Magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History. This time from more recently. Alt Hist Issue 9 was published in 2016. We had a lovely Japanese piece of art for the cover to tie in with the story “Ikigai: A Reason for Being” by Samantha Payne – about a Samurai warrior and a Japanese lady.

Alt Hist Issue 9

The Magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History

Alt Hist Issue 9 Cover, The magazine of historical fiction and alternate history

You can purchase eBook and Print copies from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble

And eBook copies from:

Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks

Alt Hist Issue 9 brings you the best new writing in historical fiction and alternate history. This issue features six new short stories and takes the reader from German occupied Yorkshire to Samurai-era Japan, via the Bermuda triangle, medieval Wales, the Vikings and post-war Ireland. You’ll find action-packed stories of fights against sea monsters, the intrigue of resistance against Nazi and Norman oppressors and the upholding of honour within traditional Samurai and Viking societies inside the pages of Alt Hist Issue 9.

In “The Lords of Pontefract”, the penultimate story from Jonathan’s Doering’s “Battalion 202” series, the focus turns to one of the people tasked with providing government and leadership to the town. In “The Lords of Pontefract”, Jonathan Doering imagines the activities of “the other side”, a shadowy network of officials who would have acted as saboteurs and spies within the occupation administration.

Carl Owens, the navigator of “The Bonny Claire is a rational man of science. He uses books and instruments to do his work. In Rick Novy’s story the Bonny Claire is on its way to Bermuda, when the captain warns of an impending storm—against all the evidence of the Owens’s scientific observations. But the captain is right—and more than a storm confronts the Bonny Claire and its crew.

When you have to have a courageous death in battle to reach the afterlife, a death from illness can present a dilemma for a man’s kin. In “First Kill” by Megan Jones, a Viking’s brother lies dying and the man’s promised consolation of passing onto Valhalla looks like a remote hope. Yet he discovers that there may be a way to give his brother what he needs.

“Ikigai: A Reason for Being” by Samantha Payne helped inspire the wonderful cover art for Alt Hist Issue 9—an encounter between a Japanese lady and samurai warrior. Mamoru, an unconventional samurai, is intent on upholding the honour of Shouka, a woman who has fallen on hard times.

“Lackendarra” by Séamus Sweeney gives us an insight into the life of a man scared by his experiences in the First World War—a man who became famous in Ireland as a hermit. Séamus shows how someone could become so affected by war that they shut themselves away from society. The story portrays Lackendarra’s encounter with a journalist in 1954 who is intrigued about how the world has changed. Séamus’s has also been previously published in Alt Hist: the wonderful “Dublin Can be Heaven” in Alt Hist Issue 3.

I’ve previously much enjoyed Andrew Knighton’s gritty yet humorous medieval tales for Alt Hist. The latest one from him, “The Sound of Stones”, is a conflict between serf and lord in medieval Wales—but also a cultural clash between the Welsh and the Anglo-Norman newcomers. Take a look at some of Alt Hist’s back issues for other fine medieval tales by Andrew.

I hope you enjoyed this look back at Alt Hist Issue 9. Don’t forget to pick up a copy:

You can purchase eBook and Print copies from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble

And eBook copies from:

Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks

Alt Hist Issue 1 – Flashback

I thought it would be nice to look back at some of the old issues of Alt Hist. Here’s a reminder of Alt Hist Issue 1 – where it all began!!

Alt Hist Issue 1 CoverAlt Hist Issue 1

Alt Hist is the new magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History. Lovers of historical fiction for too long have been denied outlets for short pieces of fiction, as the number of print and online magazines for historical short fiction is very limited compared to the popularity of fiction set in past times. Alt Hist’s mission is to provide readers with entertaining and well-written short stories with a historical setting, whether portraying actual events or events that could have happened. If you read and enjoy historical fiction, alternate history or historical fantasy then we think you will like Alt Hist.

The first issue of Alt Hist features six short stories:

“The Silent Judge” by David W. Landrum
“Easter Parade, 1930” by Rob McClure Smith
“Holy Water” by Andrew Knighton
“Lament for Lost Atlanta” by Arlan Andrews
“The Bitterness of Apples” by Priya Sharma
“Travelling by Air” by Ian Sales

Alt Hist Issue 1 also includes an interview with Brandon H. Bell, co-editor of Aether Age, and information about the alternate history anthology Columbia & Britannia.

You can get Alt Hist from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and all other major book retailers.

Most popular Alt Hist Posts of All Time

Having restarted Alt Hist I thought it would be interesting to look back at the history of what we have published on this site and see what the most popular posts were. I have taken out hits for static pages like our Submissions page and pages for whole issues. And here’s what we have left.

  1. Historical Fiction Short Stories – the Long and the Short of it. A blog post by me.
  2. Jorge Luis Borges, Ireland, and Historical Fiction. A blog post by Séamus Sweeney
  3. Disambiguation. A short story by Ian Sales
  4. Dublin Can Be Heaven. Preview of a short story by Séamus Sweeney
  5. The Silent Judge. Preview of a short story by David W. Landrum

Hope you enjoy reading some of these classics again.

Updating the Website

As part of the process of getting Alt Hist back on the road, I took a look at the site to see if there were any updates needed. To my surprise I had neglected updating the How to Get Your Alt Hist page! In fact it only went up to Alt Hist Issue 6. I have now added details of all 10 published issues of Alt Hist to that page. It was quite fun to read through the descriptions of each issue – there were some great stories published!

So if you don’t have an issue of Alt Hist or need to complete collection take a look and see if there are any issues you want to pick up.

 

Alt Hist is open again for submissions!

After a long break (since 2017) we are open again for submissions. We will be publishing two issues per year as previously. The next issue will appear in December 2020.

Please go to our Submissions page for more details.

If you are thinking of submitting please consider purchasing some back issues to familiarize yourself with the fiction that we publish.

The Best Historical Fiction of All Time – What’s Your Opinion?

I was doing some research recently into which historical fiction novels are recognized as being the best of all time – the books that every budding historical fiction author and reader should have read. Of course there is no definitive list – such a thing can and should only ever be a matter of opinion. I found lists on the Telegraph site, Publisher’s Weekly, and of course Goodreads has several reader-curated list- as well.

The most reference one however seemed to be a list published by the Guardian/Observer back in 2012. Here’s what they have:

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Romola by George Eliot
  • The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  • Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
  • Pure by Andrew Miller
  • The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
  • I, Claudius by Robert Graves
  • Property by Valerie Martin
  • The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker

I have to confess that I have only read War and Peace, Wolf Hall, I, Claudius and the first of The Regeneration Trilogy – so no idea about the others. I think given that this is the Guardian its quite a literary fiction based list. I’d agree with these 4 titles that I know being on the list for sure, but I think for pure entertainment value I would have to add The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas well. But also what about Tale of Two Cities by Dickens?

What about you? What else should be on the list – please comment below – I’d love to hear what you think.

In Search of Historical Fantasy

I think that I may have a problem as a writer. Hopefully not in the quality of what I do, but in the choice of one of the genres that I like to write in. I do write mostly historical or fantasy fiction, and quite often what I enjoy most is to write historical fantasy. However, I think there’s a problem with that.

The problem is that Historical Fantasy (note switch to capital letters – to provide some more gravitas) is a slippery genre to define. If you check out the listings at online retailers or on places like Goodreads – or reader discussions online – then you realise that Historical Fantasy means different things to different people – and don’t get me started on Wikipedia.

The issue is that my definition, I believe, doesn’t match with that of some others. For me Historical Fantasy should be a piece of fiction actually taking place in an historical setting. So for instance, for my Hell has its Demons story, the setting is Fourteenth Century England. I then add in fantastical elements – basically demons and magic in my story are real.

Yet it seems for other people – and for those genre listings on online retailers particularly – the genre is in fact anything that has a vague historical tinge to it. So you get books by Tad Williams, G R R Martin, Brent Weeks, Michael J Sullivan and Joe Abercrombrie all appearing. If you then look at the sub-genre of Medieval Fantasy – which I think I’m writing in, then you get pretty much the whole Epic Fantasy genre. I just can’t understand how those books muscle into my ghetto and claim historical/medieval definitions!

But another issue with the genre, even if you take a stricter view of it, is that it is a bit of a mash-up. There’s no Historical Fantasy section in traditional bookshops or libraries. There’s actually not that many well known authors/books in the genre. I would say a handful really still writing – Gabaldon, Novik. Susanna Clarke – who wrote what I would say is the defining book of recent Historical Fiction – doesn’t seem to be producing anything new at all, which is a great shame.

So in a sense I am writing in a genre without much of a real fan base. But hey, maybe that’s a good thing! I think there is a desire for this kind of fiction, and it would be great to see it better defined and promoted by the big retailers – kick out the second-world fantasy that includes armour and swords please!

Hot New Releases in Historical Fiction – Really Amazon?

I found this quite amusing – it seems Amazon has embraced the idea of alternate history completely! According to their UK site George RR Martin’s books about Westeros now rate as historical fiction. Maybe a sign that we truly do want to escape our real world and imagine we were elsewhere!

Man Booker Prize: George Saunders wins for Lincoln in the Bardo

Not only has a historical novel won the Booker Prize this year (that’s not uncommon), but one with distinct speculative elements as well – in fact I’d say that with the large dose of the supernatural in the book, it’s practically a historical fantasy book – but of course it won’t be shelved as fantasy by any bookshop.

Saunders has also been published in Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy anthologies in the past so I think to some extent he is a genre writer – although I don’t think any writer should be limited to a category as such.

Anyway as a fan of realistic and fantastical historical fiction, I must say I am very pleased to see this book win!

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