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The Alternate Lavender Island.

Marooned guest: Alex Wallace

Lavender Island, now home to Alex Wallace.

Once again, we interview our guest who is about to be marooned, or maybe Lavendered, on the Lavender Isle, to see what aspects of AH they’ll be taking with them to their isolation. This time, our guest victim is Alex Wallace, editor of the SLP anthology Allo Americana , a collection of myths and legends from different Americas.

Welcome to the isolation of the Lavender Isle, Alex. What’s the first AH book you’ve chosen?

The first? That’s hard. I’ve read a lot of alternate history fiction. I think my favourite, ultimately, is Arturo Serrano’s To Climates Unknown, a book that is so utterly out-there, so madly eclectic that it’s still, in my opinion, the most ground-breaking novel in the genre in the past decade at least. It’s so varied, too – when you only have so many books on an island like this, and something so sprawling would help. From the early modern period to a version of the present – there’s plenty to get lost in.

To Climates Unknown, by Arturo Serrano.

Picture courtesy Amazon.

And the second AH book you’ve selected?

Allen Steele’s V-S Day. I’ve never read a book that felt more like an action movie than this. Sometimes I want to feel the adrenalin, and this will be good for those times. I’m frankly stunned Hollywood hasn’t turned this into a movie with the cinematic AH boom of recent years – it was written for the screen in the first place!

Moving on to your third book. What is it?

For Want of a Nail by Robert Sobel. Sometimes I want something big, dense, and academic (it helps that it was written by an economist!), and this will sate my autistic urge to dig deeply into the crevasses of some arcane topic.

Can you talk about your fourth book?

Yateenya: the Old World, by Yasser Bahjatt – something with a distinctly different flavour than most western AH work, being as it is from Saudi Arabia. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

What’s the fifth and final AH book you’ve chosen?

Between the Helpless and the Darkness, by Brent Olson. Beautifully character-centric, it’ll be something more literary for when I’m in that mood. Also, it’s a pre-modern point of divergence, so that’s some diversity there too.

Those are your books. Music. What AH music would you like to have with you?

For AH music? Hmm. I’d want to hear what the 20th century popular music of the United States of Mexico in For Want of a Nail would sound like. It’d be some fascinating combination of African-American, European, and Mexican influences that may parallel OTL music – but may be wildly different simultaneously. I’d love to hear it.

You’re also allowed one history book of OTL history. What will you be taking?

The Fatal Shore, by Robert Hughes. It’s the book that showed me how beautiful prose can be.

The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes.

Picture courtesy Amazon.

The final item you are allowed is a luxury item taken from Alternate History. What have you chosen?

Fleetlord Atvar’s ship from the WorldWar series. I’d probably crash in the ocean, but it’d be a more interesting way of dying than just starving or drowning. It’d be an interesting tidbit for the journalists.

Those are all your items. How well do you think you will cope on Lavender Isle?

I briefly contemplated joining the Ukrainian International Legion when Russia started the war back in early 2022. I then reasoned that I have no military experience, I’m horribly near-sighted, I’m overweight, and I’m autistic, and that I wouldn’t be a good soldier. Those same things would condemn me to being a feast for buzzards.

Comment on this interview Here.

Alex Wallace is the Editor of the anthology Allo Americana, published by SLP and was a contributing author to Ten Years Later, published by Sergeant Frosty, with all proceeds of the book going to the reconstruction of Ukraine.


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