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Paradox, Autumn 2003

Paradox, Autumn 2003
Paradox publishes both historical fiction and sci-fi/fantasy/horror with historical themes, as well as articles, news and reviews.

If you would like to subscribe to Paradox, a one-year subscription (three print issues plus one PDF issue) can be purchased for $15 in U.S.A. ($18 in Canada, $24 elsewhere), and a two-year subscription (six print issues plus two PDF issues) for only $27 in U.S.A. ($33 in Canada, $45 elsewhere). Or you can order a single copy of the debut print issue for $6 in U.S.A [$5 cover price plus $1 shipping] ($7 Canada, $9 elsewhere). It can be ordered online at their site or by mail from:
Christopher M. Cevasco
P.O. Box 22897
Brooklyn, NY 11202-2897

Paradox: The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

Paradox is a new magazine featuring straight historical fiction, alternate history, and fantasy set in historical settings. History is the common denominator. Issue #3 is the first I've seen.

The mix of stories in this issue is weighted toward "speculative fiction": five stories to two (with both "historical" stories by writers better known for SF). I think I'd prefer a more even mix, but I suspect the SF short fiction field is healthier (believe it or not) than the HF field. One historical story, "Escape Hatch" by Brenda W. Clough, has J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and James Joyce meeting in the trenches of World War I, eventually to make a point about the value of fantasy for escape. Well enough done, though I confess the implausibility of Joyce in the Army rather threw me. The other, "And Yet it Moves" by Kenneth R. Chiacchia, views a Vatican functionary assigned to Galileo's case as he struggles with his conscience. Once again, well enough done, and fairly illuminating as to the real issues behind Galileo's treatment by the Church.

The best story in the issue is a substantial novelette by Steve Vance: "The Fighters". A 21st Century company sends time travellers back to the scenes of famous prizefights to record them for a sports-starved public. Then they come up with the idea of altering the past so that fighters such as Dempsey fight more often, to allow more and better product. In so doing, they inspire a young boy to eventually become a new competitor for Joe Louis -- but a mistake leads to him discovering their existence. I also liked Sarah Prineas's "The Savage Infant", set in an alternate early 18th Century, complete with magic, as an heir to Queen Anne comes to light late in her life, and her one-time midwife becomes caught up in some nasty political infighting. There is also a retelling and fleshing out of the ballad "The Twa Sisters" with "The Harp That Sang" by Jennifer Barlow; a story of an immortal named Inanna, who is, as the title has it, "Perhaps a Goddess" and who is obsessed with death, especially the deaths of her lovers; and finally a tale of a maimed sculptor looking for death: "Wings" by Sarah A. Hoyt. On the whole I found the fiction competent but not inspired.

There is also some historically oriented non-fiction: a review of the career of adventure novelist Harold Lamb, by Howard Andrew Jones; and a brief look at ancient Parthian batteries, by Sean McLachlan. I found both pieces interesting, and very appropriate to the magazine's subject matter. Add some reviews of both books and film, an interview with Piers Anthony, and some interesting art by historical figures (sketches by Galileo to illustrate Chiacchia's story, boxing lithographs from the early 20th Century by George Bellows to illustrate Vance's story), and we have a very intelligently and interestingly put together magazine. I find Paradox a promising product at this early stage in its life.

Copyright © 2004 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at

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