Priya Sharma’s After Mary included in Ellen Datlow’s Honorable Mentions

Alt Hist Issue 5 coverSome great news for Alt Hist. One of our stories from Alt Hist Issue 5 has been included in the list of “Honorable Mentions” by esteemed Editor Ellen Datlow. The list covers her favourite Horror stories from 2013. She breaks the list into batches. Priya’s story is listed here along with some of her other stories.

Well done Priya!

You can read a preview of After Mary on this site – and of course the full story in Issue 5 of Alt Hist – so if you haven’t got a copy be sure to get one today – read some great stories and support Alt Hist.

Review of Alt Hist Issue 5 at SF Crowsnest

Alt Hist Issue 5 coverAlt Hist Issue 5 has received another very good review – this time at SF Crowsnest from Kelly Jensen. Here are some of the highlights:

‘A.D. 1929’ by Douglas W. Texter … I really liked the ‘what if’ aspect of this story. I also thought Douglas Texter showed a great understanding of both Capone and Marinetti. It’s definitely a tale that stirs the imagination.

‘The Bridge’ by Micah Hyatt … This story is a unique take on alternate history. It could have been any bridge, but the author imbued his tale with the history of New York City, nonetheless. The supernatural element is different and unexpected. I liked it a lot.

‘After Mary’ by Priya Sharma … I enjoyed the gothic feel.

‘Rotten Parchment Bonds’ by Jonathan Doering … Doering writes well and I enjoyed his exploration of the divided loyalties of the men who reside within the skin of a soldier. I’m looking forward to further stories in this series.

Click here to read the full review. And if you haven’t got Alt Hist Issue 5 you can check out buying options by clicking here!

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Get all back issues of Alt Hist

As well as being able to subscribe to Alt Hist, and buy individual issues, you can now purchase all 5 back issues at a discount. The offer is for all 5 printed issues and includes free copies of the eBook for each issue as well as free shipping in the US – all this for only $44.95 (each print issue normally costs $9.99, so with free eBook and shipping taken into account that’s quite a good saving.

If you want to take advantage of this offer then either go to the Subscribe page or hit the PayPal button below:

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Offer only available at the moment for US customers.

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Alt Hist Issue 5 Reviewed at Fantasy Book Review – 8 out of 10!

Alt Hist Issue 5 cover“8 out of 10 cats prefer Alt Hist” – well maybe not quite, but Alt Hist did recently get a very nice review over at Fantasy Book Review. So if you haven’t read Alt Hist Issue 5 yet, please go and take a look at their review and you’ll see what you’ve been missing :)

As ever Alt Hist is a solid, well-written collection of short stories that will appeal to readers who enjoy works of alternate history, historical fiction and historical fantasy. From the American Civil to the Second World War this anthology takes us for a trip through the major events that have shaped human history.

Well worth checking out the other reviews at Fantasy Book Review as well – it’s a great site.

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Interview with Priya Sharma, author of After Mary

priya sharmaLast (but definitely not least) in our series of interviews with authors from Issue 5 is Priya Sharma. Priya is a fairly regular contributor to Alt Hist, see “Orchid Hunters” and “The Bitterness of Apples”. I would heartily recommend that you also take a look at her latest story for Alt Hist, “After Mary”.

How did you get the idea for “After Mary”?

I’m going to try and answer this without spoilers- I wanted to write my own “mad scientist” story, although I hope that Daniel’s quest is unexpected. The original story was written in a modern day setting but it didn’t work- it needed a historical setting.

I was lucky enough to see Danny Boyle’s production of “Frankenstein” at the National Theatre in London. It made me think a lot about science in that period, as well as the responsibilities of scientists towards their creation.

Your stories for Alt Hist tend to cross boundaries between horror, speculative fiction and historical fiction. How you happy fitting into a genre category and if so, where would you place yourself?

To be honest, I’m greedy. I want to try everything. I don’t place myself anywhere. The core of the story I want to tell dictates which genre it’s going to lean towards.

I like reading stories that are neither literary or genre, or one genre masquerading as another- writers like Kuzuo Ishiguro, Iain Banks, David Mitchell, Sarah Hall, Margaret Atwood, Vonnegut and Jim Crace.

At the time of our last interview you were working on two novels. How are these getting along?

Terribly. I’m trying to work through it to iron out the problems with the first one. The second was as awful to write as it is to read. When I can cope to look at it again, I’ll dismember it and use what I can in other stories. If I’m being completely honest, the whole process has left me with a morbid fear of novel writing. As much as I want to try again, my bowels turn to water and I break out in a sweat at the thought of embarking on a novel.

Can you tell us a bit more about the other short fiction that you have published recently?

I’ve been lucky this year- “Rag and Bone” appeared on the Macmillian speculative website, Tor.com. It’s about a pseudo-Victorian Liverpool, where the poor are fodder for the factories of wealthy merchants, who also find other uses for them.

“Thesea and Astaurius” is my version of the Minotaur myth and is published in Interzone.  “The Anatomist’s Mnemonic” is a horror story about hands that’s appeared in Black Static. it was a love story when I started to write it but strayed. “The Beatification of Thomas Small” is an alternative history/horror (subtitled “How to Make a Saint”) and is included in Arcane II, an anthology available from Cold Fusion Media.

What other stories are you working on?

I’ve got a couple of things on the go that I’m hoping to find a home for. “The Rising Tide” is a horror story about guilt. “The Firebrand” is about a sideshow act that goes wrong.  The one that I’m wrestling with is “Panopticon”, which is dystopian (hopefully).

Working as a doctor must mean you don’t have a lot of time to write. What’s your strategy for making time for your writing?

Note to self – get a strategy!

There are a lot of writers out there juggling jobs, families and other commitments. I don’t imagine there are many people who have great swathes of time to write. I try and use what I have. If it’s not long enough to get stuck into writing something new, I try and use it for planning and editing. It’s not just about trying to protect time, it’s about using it to write efficiently.

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Interview with Jonathan Doering, author of Battalion 202

 

Jonathan Doering has now contributed three stories from his series about a German invasion of Britain in WW2, so it’s about time we heard a bit more about him. His story Battalion 202: Rotten Parchment Bonds appeared in Alt Hist Issue 5, and the previous stories appeared in Alt Hist Issue 4. Here’s some more from Jonathan.

This is a photo of Monika, Noah and Jonathan on holiday in Germany last summer. Jonathan is the one on the right!
This is a photo of Monika, Noah and Jonathan on holiday in Germany last summer. Jonathan is the one on the right!

Three stories from your series Battalion 202 have now appeared in Alt Hist. Can you tell us what’s next in store for the people of Pontefract?

Unfortunately, things are going to get far worse before they start getting better. The Nazis have been gradually consolidating their power, as they would have done in reality had they successfully landed in Britain. The next story, “The Sheep and the Goats”, again focuses on the local police officer Harold Storey and his growing awareness of the sinister aspects of the Nazi project, and how he reacts to this. The next story that I’m working on now deals again with the local Auxiliary Unit which has a traitor in its midst.

What’s the historical background for your story? Was there really an organisation called Battalion 202?

Yes, there really was an organisation called Battalion 202. In 1941 there was a growing realisation in Britain that Hitler intended to invade Britain. Churchill ordered for a nascent resistance movement to be organised against that possibility, with the umbrella title of ‘The British Resistance Organisation’. The spine of this organisation was to be dozens of Auxiliary Units, teams of between four and eight men who had been trained in clandestine warfare and who were to go to ground as the Nazis swept over Britain. They were actually supposed to focus on sabotage and interference rather than fighting and assassination, but there is little doubt that there would have been a lot of violence, both on their parts and that of the German occupiers. Administratively, they were organised into three battalions: 201 covered Scotland, 202 the North of England, 203 the South of England. AUs were established in Wales, but were not organised under an overarching title as in other parts of Britain. Their uniforms were ordinary Home Guard uniforms, apart from the shoulder patches which identified their Battalions – although the numbers would have been meaningless to anyone not in the know. George Orwell, with his experience of front line warfare in Spain, was involved in training AU volunteers in London. Many of these men served from D-Day onwards in the regular army.

There were also “observers”, civilians who had been trained to gather intelligence which they would then pass on via intermediaries to radio operators. These operators would transmit the intelligence to AUs in the locale, which would then plan attacks. Finally, there were deep-level agents, members of local and national government and the civil service, primed to apparently collaborate with the Nazis, who would also be sending intelligence out to the Resistance and doing what they could to frustrate the Occupation. These people were known as “the other side” and would have walked a daily knife edge as well. Although some members of the AUs have been identified, as far as I know no one in the “the other side” has ever been made known to the public. They would have all been taking appalling risks for their communities and their country, and in researching and writing these stories, I’ve heaved several sighs of relief that history spared us the horror of occupation. So, yes, there was such an organisation, and they really were told that in the event of the Nazis arriving that they could expect to live for fourteen days.

For our readers not familiar with Pontefract, can you tell us a bit more about your home town?

Truth to tell, I’m a bit of an interloper, not being a native of Pontefract. I was born in Stockport and as a child lived just South of Manchester. My father was an engineer, so we moved with his job. When I was eight we went to North Berwick, near Edinburgh, and when I was thirteen we moved to Southport, near Liverpool. Since leaving home and taking my degrees, I’ve lived and worked in Japan, France, Norwich, Oxford, London,… and now Ponte! Pontefract is ace! It’s a market town of about 30,000 inhabitants. Previously it relied heavily on mining, and retains quite a bit of farming. There is still a sweet factory (one of its products is the world-famous liquorice Pontefract Cake). Pontefract is a fairly tightly-knit community which has weathered a lot over the years. Its castle was where Richard II was imprisoned and died, and where Richard III was declared king. It was also besieged during the Civil War by Cromwell’s Roundhead forces (if you look at the town crest that I use on the Resistance newspaper, it includes the town’s motto: Post mortem patris pro filio – Latin for “After the death of the father [Charles I] we are for the son [Charles II]”). It occupies a central position, being fairly central in the island of Britain if you look at the map, as well as central to the North and to Yorkshire, which means that although it was and is relatively small; its strategic significance has led to its involvement in several historical developments. It also meant that I could imagine the Nazis being keen to establish themselves here.

I met my wife whilst I was teaching in North London, which is another lovely place, but my wife prefers to visit London rather than live there, so being a Northerner I started to look for teaching jobs in quieter, leafier climes North of Watford Gap. The job I have now came up, so we moved here. Pontefract is a hard-working, good-humoured place to have fetched up in and I think we’ll be here for quite some time to come.

How did you get into writing?

I think many writers are similar in that they have always felt an urge to write. When I was young (five or so), one of my aunts visited us from Canada. I was already making up little stories in my head and playing around with words, and one day she had me tell her a story, which she wrote down and then read back to me. That sense of pleasure from making up stories stuck with me and I carried on doodling away. In school I wrote Science Fiction stories for fanzines that some friends were printing, and at university got involved in the campus newspapers and magazines, and so on.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Be with my family, day dream, teach English at a sixth form college, read as much as possible, listen to music (Folk, Jazz and Classical mainly), watch films (just watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid again for the first time in twenty years, and it’s still brilliant!), attend my local Quaker Meeting, dig over our allotment,  go walking….

Are you working on any other short stories or novels at the moment and if so can you tell us a bit more about them?

Beyond Battalion 202, I’m mulling over a story set during the witchcraft trials in Seventeenth Century Scotland, which I first heard about when I was growing up there, so that would be interesting to return to. I’m also thinking over a short comic play about allotment holders, just for a bit of a change! I used to write comic sketches for my friends to act in at school, so it would be good to have another go at that kind of writing. On top of that I’m hoping to write about Quaker communities in Prague and Budapest for the national Quaker magazine, The Friend.

What are your ambitions as a writer?

To keep writing and getting my work read! I enjoy writing short stories and articles, so that’s where a lot of my energy goes. I have an ambition to communicate with other people about the things that I find exciting, interesting and important. If someone enjoys reading something I’ve written, and also gets something useful from it, that’s fantastic. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed developing a series of interlinked short stories in Battalion 202 – it’s been very challenging and rewarding. I hope that people who have read the stories have enjoyed them and are looking forward to more – please do keep reading!

***
If anyone would like to read another of Jonathan’s stories (which is set in the present day and doesn’t deal with WW2 at all, please follow the links below to read ‘Magic Christmas Snowballs’ online, or to purchase a print version of Gold Dust Magazine.
 
 

Interview with Micah Hyatt, author of The Bridge

Third up out of our interviews with contributors to the fifth issue of Alt Hist is Micah Hyatt, author of “The Bridge”.

When you wrote “The Bridge” did you have an actual bridge in mind?

In my day job as a train conductor I cross hundreds of bridges. Last year a bridge collapsed beneath the train ahead of me and dropped a couple thousand tons of coal into a ravine. So bridges are often on my mind.

The bridge that inspired the one in the story is an old railroad bridge that spans the Missouri river. My train got stuck on it for several hours one night, and I had nothing to do but stare down into the dark water or explore what I could see of the beams and structure with my lantern. Everything was rusted beyond belief, but I found a marking that said 1924, which I assume is when the bridge was built.

Later that month, I decided to write a horror story. I had been listening to some old Johnny Cash recordings, and there was a line that got stuck in my head:
“…A place called Boulder on the wild Colorado, I slipped and fell into the wet concrete below…”

Do you think that large infrastructure projects create their own mythology?

Projects of sufficient scale become far larger than their physical counterparts – they embed themselves in the culture and are a monument to the time in which they are created. You cannot think of the pyramids without thinking of the ancient Egyptians. You cannot think of the Hoover Dam without thinking of the Great Depression, speakeasies and G-men.

On the subject of mythology, there’s quite a strong element of mythology in your story. Can you explain some more about the symbolism behind it?

Large projects tend to bring people together and create communities. This seems like a noble, beautiful and wonderful thing. But consider the Manhattan project – the American people united to do something incredible. The accomplishment would not have been possible without an entire people united in mind, will, and spirit. But the end result was an atrocity of an unimaginable scale.

I wanted “The Bridge” to seduce people with the idea of unity, but with the end result being something very evil. That’s why when Ryan is going to pitch the bridge, he keeps practicing the line, “The bridge will connect the districts”, playing on this sense of community to get the bridge completed.

Behind the scenes, there’s an ancient battle going on between uniting people for good and uniting people for evil. The tower of Babel was used because its a classic example of uniting people, and because I wanted to show the timescale.

There’s a boy at the end of the story and it’s implied he will become a great leader of people and a uniting force for good. I was specifically thinking of Martin Luther King Jr., but in the story I intentionally left out his name.

How did you get into writing?

I loved reading as a kid. One of my aunts sent me 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, King Solomon’s Mines, and Treasure Island. I read them all and in my childhood naivete I thought I could do better.

So at seven years old, I wrote the first few chapters of a story called “Sword Island”. It had lots of swords in it and was set on an island, because in my mind these were the key elements to good fiction. Of course, it was terrible.

Twenty-Two years later I am just beginning to write fiction that isn’t terrible. But swords and islands are just as awesome as they ever were.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I read about four hours a day. I love Patrick O’Brian, Cormac McCarthy, Brandon Sanderson, and Ian M. Banks.

I used to be able to play video games, but now that I have four kids…

Occasionally my wife and I find time to get in a couple hours of Borderlands 2 on PC.

Are you working on any other short stories or novels at the moment and if so can you tell us a bit more about them?

I’m writing a book called Light Swallower-Book I of The Long Council. It’s set in a world where these enormous whale-like creatures provide the main fuel source for society.

Joshua Camblin, an expeditionary army captain, is sent to eradicate the indigenous tribes that hunt the whales. Instead of wiping the tribes out, he tries to save them.

It’s 600,000 words, but I’m currently trying to split it into two books, with more (much, much more) to come later.

Titan’s Lullaby is a high-fantasy novella that follows two traveling performers.

Mira is a mythdancer, and when she dances she can pull in light and sound and transform it into hypnotic scenes from ancient tales. Her partner Bashan is a Jindosi, a race of horned-people born without vocal chords who can only communicate through musical instruments.

When the Titan entombed beneath the luxuriant mountain city of Merio begins to wake, Mira and Bashan seek to cash in by plying their trade on the wealthy, fleeing refugees.

Eating the Exhibits is a novelette set in a zoo during a fungal-zombie epidemic. When the city is evacuated, a group of workers and zoologists stay behind to care for the animals.

I’m planning on putting it up on Amazon once my wife finishes with the illustrations.

What are your ambitions as a writer?

On days where my confidence is high, I want to be the next George RR Martin and Ernest Hemingway combined.

Other days I just want to write something that won’t make me cringe, that uses active rather than passive voice when appropriate, and avoids egregious use of adverbs.

I’d like to be able to write full time, but I am content right now to be able to provide for my family and produce work that I am proud of.

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Interview with Douglas W. Texter, author of AD 1929

This is the second of our interviews of author’s from our fifth issue. Douglas W. Texter contributed the alternate history story AD 1929 for Alt Hist Issue 5. Read on to find out more about the story and about Doug’s career in writing.

Al Capone has a charismatic allure that attracts fiction writers. What is it about his character that attracted you to write about him?

To me Al Capone is fascinating. He was certainly brutal. He really did beat people to death. Then again, look at the leaders of some of the countries that the US supports and calls friend and you’ll see that this brutality is there as well. We turn a blind eye to foreign thugs as long as they help us. Criminals have no monopoly on physical violence. Capone also had a few other qualities that make him interesting to me. First, he was generous. He did in fact spend a summer in Lansing, Michigan, and pay for a young bride’s wedding. He helped out people during the Depression as well.  In addition, he was charismatic. Walter Winchell and Damon Runyon were mesmerized by him. Finally, he was organized. What’s always struck me is the level of organization in the 1920s and 1930s, especially after the Crash. Files and taxonomy were the order of the day. In some weird way that I don’t fully understand yet, the physical organization—files, libraries, museums, etc—paved the way for the organization provided by the computer a few generations later. Government was incredibly organized. On both sides of the Atlantic, governments were consolidating power to deal with the Depression and, of course, to mobilize armies for what would become the Second World War. Criminality seemed to mimic the general modernist drive toward centralization. Capone’s organization was centralized and efficient. Today, we live in a postmodern age, when crime (think of the theatre shooting last year in Colorado) has become random and senseless, like much of the postmodern world. While Capone was a violent criminal, he made sense.

Do you think it’s possible that a person like Al Capone could have ever become President of the United States?

Most US Presidents have done brutal things during their administrations: drone strikes, fire bombings, assassinations, declarations of war, to name a few. So, from that perspective, would violence have precluded Capone? I don’t think so. Now, Capone was a criminal. Would that fact have precluded him from the Presidency? I don’t think so, ultimately. A conviction would change that, and, of course, Capone was convicted of tax evasion. But an un-convicted and charismatic criminal? I could see that kind of person becoming President very easily. Remember, I live in a country that has seen Ronald Regan, Jesse Ventura, Al Franken, Sonny Bono, and the Terminator hold high office. So much of politics in the US is about show. Capone had the resources to produce a very good show.

Can you tell us a bit about Marinetti’s attempts to work with Mussolini?

Marinetti never came to America, and as far as I know, never communicated with Capone, but I’ve been fascinated by Marinetti ever since I was introduced to Futurism when I did my MA in English at Villanova University. We were studying Great War literature and culture. Marinetti did in fact serve as the Minster of Culture under the Mussolini regime in the 1930s and 1940s. When I was thinking about creating “AD 1929,” I thought to myself that Mussolini was a lot like Al Capone. And Marinetti was always interested in the super-modern. He really did write that people would eventually grow propellers. So, it made sense to me that Marinetti might want to come to the US, which was more “up-to-date” than Europe. And then I wondered what would have happened if Marinetti had left Italy and worked for Capone.  And the result is the story.

How did you get into writing?

I’ve been involved with writing and writers in one way or another since I was twenty-two. During college, I wrote some essays that were published, and I was a student worker at the University of Pennsylvania Press. After college, I was a production editor at a medical publishing house. That was very weird. I edited stuff that I couldn’t understand. Then I did my MA and wrote a lot during that time. After that, I went to the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard and worked as a textbook editor. Then, I went back to school for my Ph.D. in English and wrote constantly: hundreds of pages a semester. As for fiction, when I was about thirty, I woke up one morning and said, “I should write fiction.” Then, I said, “I want to write science fiction, and I have no idea how to do it.” So, after writing a few stories, I applied to go to the Clarion Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop. I started publishing short fiction right after Clarion. I was still doing my Ph.D. as well. So, I was writing fiction, scholarly essays for publication, reviews, and articles for the Chronicle of Higher Education almost simultaneously. I like both fiction and the essay form. I also got fairly lucky in 2006 and won the Writers of the Future Competition.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I teach in a BFA in Creative Writing for the Entertainment Industry program at Full Sail University in Orlando. Essentially, I teach literature to budding screenwriters. One of the ironies is that one of my colleagues, who is Italian, loves the Futurists. I’m in the classroom a lot. I’m also an alumni admissions interviewer for my undergraduate institution, the University of Pennsylvania. I read at the Catholic Church I attend. I enjoy investing and finance and spend a fair amount of time working on my investments and reading about investing. Right now, I’m also brushing up on my editorial skills by taking some online courses through the University of California at Berkeley. Last—but certainly not least—I spend time with my family, Lynn, my fiancé, and her two boys, Michael and Joel.  Lynn and I are getting married in December, and our honeymoon will be in Scotland—where I studied for a year when I was an undergraduate. We will be going to Orkney and then Edinburgh, for Hogmanay.

Are you working on any other short stories or novels at the moment and if so can you tell us a bit more about them?

I just finished a story, “Das Zombie Boot,” that I submitted to Raus! Untoten! an anthology calling for tales about zombies and Nazis. My story—a cross between Das Boot and Twenty-eight Days Later—tells the tale of what would have happened if a U-boat had been in New York Harbor in 1942 when a biological experiment went awry and created a super-virus.  I’m currently working on an essay that I’m going to submit to the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts about John Birmingham’s Axis of Time trilogy, which imagines what would have happened if a US-led multinational naval task force had been sucked back in time to the Battle of Midway Island. After I finish this project, I’ll be writing an alternate history story about the American Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who died in Bangkok in 1968. In my story Merton lives and fulfills his changed destiny. After that, I have to finish up another non-fiction project about the history of medical publishing. Then, when the dust settles, I’m returning to work on the second draft of my first novel, Berlin Airlift: An Alternate History. This novel tells the tale of what would have happened if Joseph Stalin had decided to drive the Americans out of Berlin in 1948, during the airlift.

What are your ambitions as a writer?

My goal is to publish long-form alternate history. I love doing thought experiments, and I love alternate history and have since I was about eight when I saw the Star Trek episode City on the Edge of Forever and read Marvel’s “What if” comics. In the last few years, I’ve been—in several ways—surrounded by alternate-history writers. I reviewed Robert Conroy’s 1942 for Strange Horizons and got into a rather intense discussion with SM Stirling. Then in 2009, I studied at the British SF Foundation’s Master Class at the University of Liverpool and met Adam Roberts, a very formidable writer of alternate history and a genuinely wonderful person. Then I wrote about Harry Turtledove for the New York Review of Science Fiction.

I’m getting ready to make my move!

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Alt Hist Issue 5 now published!

I am very pleased to announce that Alt Hist Issue 5 has now been published!

Alt Hist Issue 5 cover

You can purchase eBook and Print copies from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

And eBook copies from:

Smashwords | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble Nook | Kobo | WH Smith

Alt Hist Issue 5 features stories covering a variety of historical periods from the 1800s to post-War USA.

This issue includes five new original works of fiction including stories about Al Capone and Italian Futurism, the aftermath of the American Civil War, the real Frankenstein, the Bridge that consumes the souls of men, and the latest instalment in a series of stories about a successful Nazi invasion of Britain.

Alt Hist is the magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History, published twice a year by Alt Hist Press.

You can read a free preview of each story by following the links below:

  • After Mary by Priya Sharma
  • AD 1929 by Douglas W. Texter
  • The Stiff Heart by Meredith Miller
  • The Bridge by Micah Hyatt
  • Battalion 202: Rotten Parchment Bonds by Jonathan Doering

Priya Sharma’s “After Mary” is set in the mid-1800s and  is the story a scientist with dreams of greatness who lives alone in his country house with only his assistant, Isobel, and servant Myles.  Then his friend comes to the house and leaves a copy of Frankenstein, which changes everything.

“AD 1929” by Douglas W. Texter is a story describing a meeting of artistic guile and criminal muscle. This is a tale of what might have happened if the Italian Futurist F.T. Marinetti had come to America and gone to work for Al Capone.

Meredith Miller is the author of “The Stiff Heart” which draws its title from a poem by Emily Dickinson. Meredith’s piece is a story about life under the surface, in New England in the 1870s where secrets and fears and desires sometimes refuse to behave properly. Not everyone joins in the self-satisfied complacency of this prosperous post-Civil War community.

Micah Hyatt is the author of “The Bridge”. Throughout history men have risked their lives to achieve great feats of engineering: The pyramids of Giza. The Empire State building. The Panama canal. But those who build The Bridge risk their very souls.

“Rotten Parchment Bonds”, the latest story in the Battalion 202 series by Jonathan Doering, features Harold Storey, a quiet man praying for a quiet life after the horror of the First World War trenches. But his prayers are cruelly crushed by the German Invasion of Britain in 1941. As a police officer he is forced to co-operate with Nazi officials and is thrown into moral turmoil by the accommodations that start to be made. But perhaps there is one good man amongst the enemy ranks?

Update on Alt Hist Issue 5

I thought I should give followers and readers of Alt Hist a quick update on where we are with Alt Hist Issue 5. I was hoping that we would have an issue ready for November this year – our plan being to publish an issue twice a year, one in May and one in November.

However, we don’t have enough stories yet for the issue. Currently there are three stories accepted for the issue, but we need another two or three to get the issues up to the right size. So that means we are probably looking at publication sometime in the New Year – so hopefully you should be seeing something in early 2013 from Alt Hist.

Until then don’t forget that there are four wonderful issues of Alt Hist available – so why not make sure you have the full collection! Check our our How to Get Your Alt Hist page for details.