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on 14 August 2012
A while ago Mark Lord contacted me asked me if I would like to read and review an issue of a magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History.

I followed the provided link and visited Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History for the first time. This is the website of the Alt Hist magazine. And I think you know by now that Mark Lord is the editor of Alt Hist.
Whoelse is more profound than the editor to tell more about Alt Hist.

"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."

With all the information - which I just shared with you - in my mind, I agreed to read and review the latest issue of Alt Hist. Mark Lord has been so kind to send me a digital copy of Alt Hist Issue 4. Before we go into details let me tell you that Alt Hist publishes twice a year in May and in November.

My Expectations
I expected to discover interesting and entertaining short stories written be not so well known but aspiring writers.

The Delivery
Alt Hist Issue 4 features seven stories by six 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.

Now let's have a deeper look at the editorial and the seven stories.

Editorial by Mark Lord
Mark talks about the genre variety of Alt Hist Issue 4 und correlate genre with the stories which is a useful information. Despite that Mark explained the story behind the cover. I can tell you that the cover image shows a part of Le Vauban (cuirassé) by Paul Jazet (1848-1918) and is related to the first story of Alt Hist Issue 4.

The product description on Amazon delivers a one sentence long blurb of each story. Of course I deliver these blurbs. Look at the italic text. And I added my comments to each story.

Restless by Dylan Fox set in the 1860s onboard a fleet of British ironclad warships steaming towards China.
The story is a modern version of David versus Goliath enriched with warships and interesting characters.

Kleine Menschen by Eric Jackson is a historical fantasy story set in World War II Germany.
First of all you should know that Kleine Menschen means small people. This is an interesting mix of war story and fantasy and mystery. Regarding the height of the characters it has something in common with a Matryoschka. For me the height of the characters is a symbol for power. And even in war children do not lose their imagination.

Feast of Faith by Shane Rhinewald explores the struggles of common soldiers during the First Crusade who don't have enough to eat.
To be honest most of us do not know what it means to be hungry, really hungry. A tough story which will get under your skin.

Three Months of Summer by Svetlana Kortchick is a love story that happens during the German occupation of Ukraine in 1942.
I have only one word for this story: BITTERSWEET

The Stork by George Piper is a backwoods horror that will scare and surprise you.
Once a while I try to read horror stories. But I must say every try failed. Horror is definitely not my cup of tea. I think that make it understandable that The Stork was not my favorite story.

Battalion 202: A blinded Falcon by Jonathan Doering
Battalion 202: Into the Darkness by Jonathan Doering
are two alternate history stories about the resistance to a German invasion of Britain.
From my point of view it has been the right decision to add both stories to the content of Alt Hist Issue 4.
The first story tells the beginning of Battalion 202. The second one is a tough story about a young boy and his experience what it means to kill a man. In my youth I read a lot of books about WW II.
Battalion 202 brings alive what happened at the home front. It is easy to forget that the stories about Battalion 202 are fiction.
Well executed and haunting stories.

And what do I think about Alt Hist Issue 4?

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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