Paradox: Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction
by Paradox Publications
Paradox Publications Zine ISBN/ITEM#: 1548-0593
Date: Winter 2005-2006 /
Paradox - The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction - Issue 8 - Winter 2005-2006 - ISSN 1548-0593
As its subtitle indicates, Paradox provides a mix of fiction, some of it straight historical. You need a fair knowledge of history to appreciate these stories but if you are a history buff then this is for you. I found the lead story, "Anezka" by Bruce Durham a bit disappointing. Anezka is a woman who knows how to run a royal household. She is asked by her king to organize the home of his guest, Hannibal of Carthage. I know really very little about Hannibal and might have appreciated the story more if I did. As it was, I did not find it all that interesting. The next story is a very ambitious alternate history. In "O, Pioneer", Columbus arrives in the New World but finds something different from our history. In a way, he finds what he is looking for but this is not a good thing.
I enjoyed "Draw Thy Breath in Pain" by Carrie Vaughn more than the previous two. William Shakespeare is asked to write a play by a foreign man named Horatio, who was witness to certain events in another country. This makes for a different take on what might have been behind a classic play. "Cassandra's Cargo" is a horror tale, taking place in the early 19th century. A man finds out what the life of an African slave is like and this changes his perspective. "Forty Shades of Gray" is a straight historical tale by Tom Welch. During World War II, an Irish nationalist smuggles a German agent into Northern Ireland. The experience has a profound effect on him. This is an excellent example of a historical short story and was my favorite in the issue. Lastly, "Power Play" by Jack Whyte is mostly a conversation between a Roman and a Hebrew in occupied Palestine. It was little more than that.
Again, I recommend this magazine to the real historical buff.
(Source: Paradox Publications)