Sunday, August 04, 2013

Edi's Spotlight: Alt Hist Issue 5 edited by Mark Lord

Dear Readers,

on August 14th, 2012, I posted my review of Alt Hist Issue 4 edited by Mark Lord.

In May 2013  Alt Hist Issue 5 has been published .........

Mark Lord liked my review of Alt Hist Issue 4 and so he came back to me and asked if I would like to read an review Alt Hist Issue 5. As I liked the previous issue, I agreed and received a digital copy. Then a lot of things did not work as expected. My review activity hibernated and one of the "victims" has been Alt Hist Issue 5. I hope Mark Lord will accept my apology. I used the hot weekend in Germany to read and the following days with lower temperatures to review Alt Hist Issue 5.

For all of you who do not know  Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History, let me repeat the explanation by editor Mark Lord.

"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." [Source]
And now without further ado my review of Alt Hist Issue 5.

Alt Hist Issue 5 (digital and print, May 2013) 
edited by Mark Lord 
You can purchase eBook and Print copies from: | |
And eBook copies from:
Smashwords | Apple iBooks | Barnes & Noble Nook | Kobo | WH Smith

The Delivery
Alt Hist Issue 5 features five stories by five authors and editorial by Mark Lord.

At the end of each story you get basic information about the author and a link to a website or a blog which I appreciate.
I could not detect any obvious mistakes which means the proof-reading has been done well. I mention this because it seems no matter of course when it comes to digital publishing. Also the formatting worked well on my reader.

Before I go into detail I would like to talk about the cover image. Mark Lord mentioned  the name of the painting and the name of the artist. The Misses Vickers has been painted by the famous portrait painter John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925). I'm no adept which means I can't deliver an in depth review of the painting. If you would like to know more please follow the previous two links.

Editorial by Mark Lord

Mark explain the one year gap between Alt Hist Issue 4 and Alt Hist Issue 5 followed by additional information about the authors of the stories and the stories itself. The variety is shown in the historical periods covered by the stories from the 180s to the Second World War.
Anyway you get enough input to raise your nosiness.

It is always a balancing act not to give away too much of a short story. I decided to give you a short information of the content of each story based on the information you get in the editorial.

The first story of Alt Hist Issue 5 is After Mary by Prya Sharma which is set in the mid-1800s. A young scientist, misunderstood by the rest of the world, tries to realise his dreams in the reclusion of his country home supported by servant Myles and his assistant Myles. A copy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein changes everything.

My thoughts
To give someone a specific book is like throwing a stone into a lake and see what happens. Prya Sharma let you understand very well how and why the persons in her story act like they act.

AD 1929 by Douglas Texter is the second story within Alt Hist Issue 5. The author let us know what happens when science and criminal energy meets. In 1929 the Italian Futurist F.T. Marinetti offers his knowledge to Al Capone.

My thoughts
It is beautiful horrific to see what happens when science meet criminal energy and then use the laws and rules of country to manipulate the inhabitants. Not to forget the reaction of the administration and secret agencies. The more you read the more uneasy you feel. 

If you would like to get more information about the author and his story, I recommend to read
Interview with Douglas W. Texter, author of AD 1929

The third story  has been delivered by Meredith Miller.
The Stiff Heart is set in New England in the 1870s it gives an insight of fears, secrets and desires of some people in a post Civil War community.

My thoughts
While reading I felt a kind of trepidation. It must be traumatic when you can't cope with a situation and nobody seems to understand you or denies to understand you.

For more information about the author and her story please read
Interview with Meredith Miller, author of The Stiff Heart

With The Bridge by Micah Hyatt we reach the last but one story of Alt Hist Issue 5. This is a story about engineering and the risk of life AND soul.

My thoughts
If you like the TV series The X Factor then you will like The Bridge too. The story is well executed and you may see bridges or other buildings from a different angle.

For more information about the authors and his story please read
Interview with Micah Hyatt, author of The Bridge

The final story of Alt Hist Issue 5 is Battalion 202: Rotten Parchment Bonds by Jonathan Doering
World War 2. Germany invade Britain. As the previous ones this Battalion 202 story is set in the town of Pontefract

My thoughts
I have had the pleasure to read two Battalion 202 stories in Alt Hist Issue 4 which is a slight advantage as I knew a bit more. The story is like a magnifying glass which show how single individuals who know each other well, cope with an unpromising situation where every decision has an impact on the lives of all inhabitants. Jonathan does a great job with the description of motives and emotion.

Want to know more about Jonathan Doering and the world of Battalion 202? Then read

And what do I think about Alt Hist Issue 5?

I think it was worth to wait for this issue. Mark Lord put together a well mix of stories which show the variety of alternate history.
You get exactly what has been promised. It is a great opportunity to discover not so well known but promising alternate history authors.

If this is something after your taste then let me tell you that the previous four issues of Alt Hist are still available. You want to know how to get those ones? Just follow the link: How to get Alt Hist

If you want more information about the current and the previous issues of alt hist I highly recommend to visit Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History.


Rosalie Skinner said...

Great review. Hard to review short stories, but you give enough info to tempt.
What a collection!
The cover is beautiful. a terrific choice and a great sample of John Singer Sergeant's work. He was a skilled artist. One of my favourites.

ediFanoB said...

Dear Rosalie,

thank you for your feedback. I never heard of John Singer Sergeant before. It is incredible to see what one can learn and discover while reading, reviewing and blogging.

Shellie Nunn said...

Nice review as always Edi -
I have a recommendation request for you via the comments on my blog.

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