Alt Hist: Issue 2 by Mark Lord

8/10 Engaging and well-written short stories with a historical setting.

Over the last six years, since setting up Fantasy Book Review, I have on occasion come across people and organisations that I like for what they are doing, and how they approach their work, every bit as much as the work that they produce. Alt Hist, a magazine for lovers of historical fiction and alternate history, is a prime example of this.

Edited by Mark Lord, the new magazine contains engaging and well-written short stories with a historical setting that portray actual events or events that could have happened.

The second issue begins with Long Nights in Languedoc, inspired by warfare in the era of the Black Prince, and written by history graduate Andrew Knighton. To follow this we have the most intriguing concept of them all – space travel during Roman times in The Apollo Mission written by Brooklyn resident David X Wiggin.

After these first two stories I was impressed with the quality of writing and the imagination behind the stories and the third story, Son of Flanders, was my favourite of them all, a detective story set amidst the horrors of trench warfare during the First World War. I found William Knight’s story to be both intelligently written and touching.

The next three stories, In Cappadocia by AshleyRose Sullivan, The Orchid Hunters by Priya Sharma (deserving of special mention for being my second favourite) and Death in the Theatre by Jessica Wilson are all strong little stories. Unfortunately though I have to admit that The Scarab of Thutmose by Anna Sykora left me feeling rather bewildered but perhaps a re-read will resolve that.

And then finally issue is brought to a satisfying end with The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by NK Pulley, a story with a lovely Japanese feel.

For more information on these stories and authors, plus interviews, visit http://althistfiction.com/.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading these short stories and would highly recommend the magazine to lovers of alternate history and historical fiction as well as those who just love a damn good short story. The UK Kindle version retails at £2.14, which I think is excellent value for money as I would happily pay as much as £3 for a publication of this quality.

In music there is nothing better than finding and liking a band that is as-of-yet pretty much unheard off, only for them to go on and become a world-renowned name. I believe that this is why readers may also enjoy Alt Hist – the authors mentioned above will likely be new to 99% of readers but we may be catching them right at the beginning of their career and find that we can embark on a great journey with them.

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