Review of Alt Hist Issue 4 at SFcrowsnest

Apologies for not posting anything here for a while, things have been busy. You should hopefully see more regular postings now though – about once a week. Also I am working on the next issue of Alt Hist. A number of stories have been selected already and I just need a couple more to round things off. That should mean that I will be working through the Alt Hist submissions pile a bit faster over the next couple of weeks.

At the start of October Geoff Willmetts from SFcrowsnest emailed to report that they have now published a review of Alt Hist Issue 4. The reviewer generally liked the issue, although they preferred the alternate history pieces a bit more. However, they liked the varied nature of the stories on offer.

SFcrowsnest has had a makeover, so I recommend that you go and check it out. It looks great and there’s some interesting material there.

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New Review of Alt Hist Issue 4 at Edi’s Book Lighthouse

Edi’s Book Lighthouse has just published a rather good review of Alt Hist Issue 4. Here’s the concluding part of the review:

A well done magazine which delivers exactly what the editor promised:
Well written and entertaining stories set in different period of times and an informative editorial.

If you want to discover alternate history beyond all the well known authors then you should give a Alt Hist try. You will get an entertaining and well written bunch of stories. Even you do not like all stories (who loves all stories and books) like me, you get a lot of impressions and ideas how history could have been.

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New Book Review by Ian Shone – Augustus: Son of Rome by Richard Foreman

Ian Shone has just reviewed another historical fiction novel for Alt Hist. Check out his review of Augustus: Son of Rome by Richard Foreman in our Reviews section.

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New Book by Ian Sales reviewed by Ian Shone for Alt Hist – Adrift on the Sea of Rains

Adrift on the Sea of Rains by Ian SalesIan Shone has reviewed another new alternate history book for Alt Hist.

Ian’s latest review is of a new novel by Ian Sales called Adrift on the Sea of Rains. This novel is about the Cold War and astronauts – a combination of alternate history and hard science fiction.

Ian Shone’s review of Adrift on the Sea of Rains is in the Book Reviews section of our site.

Ian Sales has also written two stories for Alt Hist: ‘A Light in the Darkness’ and ‘Travelling by Air’, and we also have a free story on the site by him: ‘Disambiguation’.

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Alt Hist Issue 3 News and Table of Contents

Alt Hist Issue 3 is on its way and should be with us in November (or perhaps sooner for the eBook version). In the third issue of Alt Hist we have two stories about the American Civil War, one about the great Tesla, a tale about of wartime revenge set in Dublin, and a dramatic look at the early years of the cold war space race.

Here are the story titles and authors:

  • ‘A Light in the Darkness’ by Ian Sales
  • ‘Dublin Can Be Heaven’ by Seamus Sweeney
  • ‘Riders on the Storm’ by Arlan Andrews
  • ‘Bummers’ by Matthew Warner
  • ‘To The Stars’ by Brooks Rexroat
Don’t forget to sign up to the RSS feed or email subscription to make sure you get the latest news about Alt Hist Issue 3.
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Historical Film Coming Soon: Red Tails

Another Historical Film Friday!

Red Tails is about a crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.

It’s released 20 January 2012 in the USA.

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Historical Fiction for Columbus Day

Christoper Columbus arrives in America
Image via Wikipedia

With Columbus Day coming up soon as a holiday in America – 12th October is the date celebrated I believe, I though it might be interesting to see what historical fiction has been inspired by Christopher Columbus the great explorer (although the Vikings got there before him didn’t they!)

If you do a check on Amazon for books featuring Christopher Columbus, the following spring up as most intriguing:

Codex 632: The Secret of Christopher Columbus: A Novel by José Rodrigues Dos Santos

Christopher Columbus Answers All Charges by Yuri Rubinsky

There also seems to be quite a bit of self-published material (I am guessing anyway by the look of it and the lack of popularity), and no really big name authors. I’m probably missing something huge, but has anyone really done a good fictional account of Christopher Columbus?

I have the feeling that someone is going to comment and provide the answer! Please let me know. Perhaps we’ll find out before Columbus Day itself dawns?

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New Historical Fiction Book: The Dower House by Malcolm MacDonald

The Dower House by Malcolm MacDonald

A second book from Severn House Publishing released on 1st October

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0727880616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727880611
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 1 inches

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

From the publisher’s website:

From war-torn Europe they came to Britain, yearning to start a new life. Together, they found it.
Spring, 1947. A concentration camp survivor, noted sculptor Felix Breit, arrives in London, hoping to rebuild his life and career. His opportunity comes when two English architects invite him to join a community they are creating at the Dower House, a Georgian country house in Hertfordshire. He is soon joined by Faith Bullen-Ffitch, an ambitious young publisher, but as the house fills with families, Felix realises he has fallen for Angela Wirth, a fellow camp survivor. But dare they ever admit their love, knowing the horrors in their pasts? . . .

And from Amazon:

Severn House adds to its engaging series of historical romances with the first in a new series by bestselling British author MacDonald set during in the devastating aftermath of World War II. Jewish sculptor Felix Breit has survived Nazi medical experiments at the Mauthausen concentration camp. He reaches London in 1947, where two architect friends, sensing that the war and its atrocities will utterly change humankind’s perspectives on our capacity for good and unspeakable evil, rent a 60-room country manor, the Dower House, in the hope of establishing a commune dedicated to a “post-war renaissance.” Their “community of the future” will include working class people, and all will strive for “the next stage of himself warning a Frenchwoman about the scars she’ll get if she “keeps picking at the wound,” thus establishing the tale’s moral center amidst post-war tension. Blending a well researched setting with an unusual story line, MacDonald captures the era’s specifics, and reaches for universal truths while probing wounded psyches in a damaged world. — Booklist, September 15, 2011

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New Alternate History Book: Firestorm by Taylor Anderson

Firestorm: Destroyermen by Taylor Anderson is a new Alternate History book published on 4th October 2011

Hardcover$25.95
ISBN 9780451464170 | 432 pages | 04 Oct 2011 | Roc | 9.25 x 6.25in

Available from Amazon.com

And Amazon.co.uk  – seems to be simultaneous publication on 4th October on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here’s some more information from the publisher’s website:

“I cannot recommend Taylor Anderson too highly.” -David Weber, author of Out of the Dark

Lieutenant Commander Matthew Reddy and the crew of the USS Walker find themselves caught between the nation they swore to defend and the allies they promised to protect. For even as the Allies and the Empire of New Britain Isles stand united against the attacks of both the savage Grik and the tenacious Japanese, the “Holy Dominion”-a warped mixture of human cultures whose lust for power overshadows even the Grik-is threatening to destroy them both with a devastating weapon neither can withstand.

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Interview with Andrew Knighton, author of ‘Long Nights in Languedoc’

Andrew Knighton is making writing stories for Alt Hist a bit of a habit! With a piece of medieval historical fiction in both issue 1 and issue 2, I’m hoping that we’ll be seeing much more of his work in the future. Find out a bit more about him in our interview.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Norwich, and following a couple of detours now live in Stockport, part of the growing sprawl that is Greater Manchester. I spend most of my time doing the sorts of things people do to avoid reality – playing games, writing fiction, and working in an office.

How did you get the idea for ‘Long Nights in Languedoc’?

The two I’ve had in Alt Hist came from different places mentally. ‘Holy Water’ came from reading about local Cheshire myths, and then cramming together the ones that seemed to have a thematic connection. The story that a lord had a statue executed particularly appealed to me because it showed an idea taken to its logical yet absurd conclusion.

‘Long Nights in Languedoc’ was inspired by my undergraduate dissertation from over a decade ago, which was about the role of chivalry during the Hundred Years War. I love the idea of chivalry, and again it’s the absurdities and contradictions that appeal to me. No-one really lived by its rules, so I wanted to explore the behaviour of someone who tried. The monsters became a vehicle for that – an impossible challenge for an impossible person.

Both your stories for Alt Hist have been set in the Middle Ages. What’s the appeal of this period in history for you?

It’s in my upbringing. My parents used to take me to castles during my summer holidays, and my dad read me Ivanhoe and Lord of the Rings at a susceptible age. I loved the glamour and excitement that is the fantasy of the middle ages, an age of heroism completely different from our own. As I grew older and more jaded I became fascinated by the reality of that period, the inequalities and stupidities that made the Middle Ages so much like the modern world. But it’s mostly still a love of castles.

Who are your favourite authors/books and why?

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, because of its wonderful depiction of a person as a product of their setting, and never gets bogged down in its prose. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller – a story that’s funny, sad and insightful, full of great characters and with a smart, playful structure. Julian May’s Saga of the Exiles – an epic story with an unusual setting and some fascinating, deeply damaged characters.

Now that I look at those choices together, it seems that I like contradictory characters facing impossible situations and defying the accepted order. And I don’t like straightforward happy endings. There needs to be some bite.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve been playing with ideas about smugglers. There’s a period sometimes referred to as the scientific age of smuggling, when people along England’s south coast went to ingenious ends to turn a tax-free profit. Fake hulls, hidden chambers, secret coves, chases across sea and shore. But just as fascinating is the context, the way that a certain type of crime became acceptable to whole communities, and a way for them to retain some independence from oppressive power structures. It’s not just a struggle for rum, it’s a struggle for
identity and for control. But turning that into a successful story is proving tricky.

Andrew has a website at https://andrewknighton.wordpress.com.

His stories for Alt Hist are:

‘Long Nights in Languedoc’ from Issue 2

‘Holy Water’ from Issue 1

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