Monday, August 20, 2012
Alt Hist Issue 2 - edited by Mark Lord
2011; 90 pages. New Author(s)? : Yes. Genre : Anthology; Hist. Twist. Full Title : Alt Hist Issue 2 : The Magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History. Overall Rating : 6*/10.
Eight short stories, plus three book reviews. What ties them together are their historical settings, ranging in time from ancient Egypt to World War 1. The stories vary in length, in sub-genre, and frankly in quality. But that is to be expected in any anthology.
The usual Hammy's Books format doesn't work well for compilations, so instead...
The Stories & Sub-Genres...
(1) Long Nights in Languedoc - Horror, Humor
(2) The Apollo Mission - Alt. History
(3) Son of Flanders - Whodunit
(4) In Cappadocia - Inner Terror
(5) The Orchid Hunters - Thriller
(6) Death in Theatre - Internal Psych
(7) The Scarab of Thutmose - Fantasy, Intrigue
(8) The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Fantasy
All the tales qualify as Historical Fiction. For me, (1), (2), (5), and (7) were the best of the bunch. YMMV.
Kewlest New Word...
Doxy : a mistress or lover (pejorative)
"Sir Richard." Tobias tried not to raise his voice. Never show a wild beast fear, his grandfather had said. Of course, the old codger died trampled by a boar, so maybe his wasn't the best advice.
(...) "Look at them," Tobias said, still backing away. "They're huge."
"All the more glory for us when we defeat them." Sir Richard held out a hand, blocking Tobias's retreat. "Show some spine."
"They'll show my spine if I stick around. Most of my ribs, too." (loc. 298)
"Ooh that feels almost as good as dancing." Seti leaned back in his ivory chair. "I told you before I'm fed up with my duties. What do I care about snails in the Nile that are wrecking the fishing industry? I just want to dance like a lovely maiden and enjoy life." Springing up he spread his arms and twirled like a top, his kilt of silk flying up around his slender thighs.
"Indeed you have a gift for the Goddess Hathor," Amenhotep said diplomatically. "Our lady of pleasure and drunkenness loves you." (loc. 1444)
Issue 2 was, and still is, a free download at Amazon. Issues 1, 3, and 4 range in price from $3.99 to $6.99. Issue 4 came out in late May, and it looks like the magazine is published every six months or so. So the next issue will probably come out in October/November.
"Nobody should drink beer this morning and tumble into the Nile." (loc. 1632)
At 90 pages, Alt Hist Issue 2 is a very short book, made even worse by the fact that there are three book reviews at the end that you probably won't care about. Since it's free, I have no quibble, but I don't think I'd pay several dollars for the other, equally-short issues.
There is very little Alt History. Yeah, I know, read the fine print in the subtitle, Hammy. All the stories are grounded in Historical Fiction, and varying the sub-genres helped keep things interesting. Therefore, I dub a selection of stories like this to be Historical Twists, which I'll shorten to Hist Twist for poetic reasons.
If you like to read History, and you don't mind it blended with other genres, you will find this a worthwhile book. If your taste is for "pure" Alt-History, however, you should probably give it a pass.
It's always hard to rate an Anthology, since you know going in that some of the stories will resonate with you more than others. We'll give this 6 Stars, cuz it's way too short, but there is some good stuff here.