Friday, January 6, 2012

Reviews: “Lament for Lost Atlanta” and “Journal of a Civil War Nurse”


Two short story reviews by Shellie. First up: Lament for Lost Atlanta” ~ by Arlan Andrews

Told from the perspective of a young man who resides in what is left of an almost unrecognizable “dystopian US”, where the south is very different than it is today.

In an alternative future (a post Civil War America of sorts) this short story examines a South where the Union did not embrace the Confederates after the war.  As is often the custom by the winners of a war, there is a changed “mythology” around the war’s history - where the heroes from the loosing side are portrayed as villains by the usurpers. In this sad story all are designated as “terrorists”, including the beloved Robert E. Lee.

What is terrific about this readable short are its realistic consequences; looking at what is considered a terrorist, then thinking about how this kind of “mentality” is created in a person or group. Better yet (for me at least) is that this story occurs on Western soil, so I have a relatable and recognizable face for the quintessential “bad guy”.

Highly recommended, this story is a 4.5 star in my opinion. One of my favorite type of reads: a story with social relevance, a glimpse inside the complexity of human nature revealing how character can be created or destroyed, and answering a question that I personally have been struggling with.

About the author:  Arlan Andrews has been writing for more than 30 years, with his work published in various magazines and intellectual journals. He is a member of the SFWA and resides in Texas. For an interesting 2007 article from USA Today where Andrews and 4 other science fiction authors of “deviant thinking” are consulted on warding off terrorist attacks:

Alt Hist is a relatively new and promising magazine featuring historical fiction and alternative history stories. This first issue contains 5 more shorts on various subjects and is where this great story was found. For more info:

civil war nurse

Second up: Journal of a Civil War Nurse” ~ by Georgiann Baldino

A too short, short story about the conditions that existed during the US Civil War from the perspective of a nurse.

Based upon actual letters by Cornelia Hancock, a US Civil War nurse, this is a well written historical fiction that I recommend if you are interested in the day-to-day horrors of war as opposed to the battles. Which is what intrigues me the most, reading about the actual human losses which puts a realistic face on the tragedy of war. Too bad it was just not long enough. Regardless I give it a 3.5 stars.

Available as an ebook (free) at Barnes & Noble.


Although a bit behind with this post - these two short stories were read for several 2011 challenges: The War Through the Generations – US Civil War 2011; Dystopian Challenge; and the Basics Challenge where I explore speculative fiction. Link to our - 2011 Challenge List.

Personal update: We are a bit behind with our posts since we still have a house full of relatives. But it sure is fun catching up with family.  Thanks for reading.


Anna said...

I've seen the journal mentioned on other blogs and it sounds interesting, if too short. I will link to your reviews on the Civil War Book Reviews page. Thanks for participating!

Unknown said...

Anna -
I think your would like both stories. Sorry about being a bit late....

Aarti said...

I have gotten very into women's historical journals recently, so the Civil War book interests me. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Unknown said...

Aarti -
It's a very short story.. a good one and you can't beat the price - Free!!

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