From a Foreign Shore, by Andrew Knighton (40:00)

IOD score cardHey, gang! Another survivor! This one shows us that when it comes to alternate histories, a single provocative deviation from reality is much more engaging than a whole flock of them.

What I gleaned about the stories: Some days, you just can’t get rid of a statue.

Find this book on Amazon.

Note: This is a short story collection, so the rules are slightly different from standard Immerse or Die: instead of reading on every time I lose immersion, I stop reading that story and move on to the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.

WTF #1: Conspicuous capitalisation problem

Analysis: Part way through a Viking tale, Odin was referred to as all father rather than All Father. My instinctive parsing when I hit it was that all was the beginning of a group, so hitting father next muddled me. This slowed me enough for my mind to question whether, if the author had failed to capitalise a proper noun, whether other errors had slipped through.

After pondering for a moment whether or not this error was more serious in a collection aimed primarily at historical fiction readers, I moved on.

Kudo #1: Diversity of voice

Analysis: Each of the stories had a good balance of in-time tone and timeless concerns, so felt like an unique narrative fully embedded in the period without being a struggle to understand or empathise with.

Kudo #2: Subtle flavouring

Analysis: Those stories that sat more at the science-fiction/fantasy end of the “realism” scale were marked by a single change well-explored rather than lots of changes. In addition to making it easy to find my footing in the world, this avoided the sense of jumping from one thing to another that some short stories can suffer from.

Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.

Colossus, by Jette Harris (6:26)
Lament of the Fallen, by Andy Peloquin (33:08)

About the author

Dave Higgins has worked in law and IT for both public and private sector organisations. When not pursuing these hobbies, he writes poetry and speculative fiction. He was born in Wiltshire, England. Raised by a librarian, he started reading shortly after birth and has not stopped since. He currently lives in Bristol with his wife, Nicola, his cats, Jasper and Una, and many shelves of books.