For several years I’ve been a member of an alternate history discussion board, mainly writing and posting stories but also discussing current events and playing a bit of Dungeons and Dragons.
Several years ago, I was approached by another member, David Wostyn, who was looking for folks to contribute to a timeline he’d been developing. This setting saw the history of China change in 1912, with consequences including the carving-off of a Siberian satellite state during the Russian Revolution, avoidance of the Warlord Era, and a fairly different Second World War. I was intrigued and honored; other writers on the board had already contributed stories based in this setting, and some of them were really damned good.
After a bit of thinking, it was decided that I’d take advantage of the altered history to re-do that world’s diamond industry. Thus was born Rock of Ages, my longest (at 28,000 words) piece of fiction to date. The novella begins with a chance encounter between Siberian peasant Afanasy Khristoforov and a gold prospector, and explores the consequences this meeting has on Afanasy, his family, and his country over the better part of the twentieth century.
The story was well-received by readers on the board, but I figured that would be as far as it went. Alternate history’s a bit of a niche thing, and the size of Rock of Ages is excessive in size for most anthologies.
But last year, a couple of members of this same discussion board set up a new small e-press to focus on alternate history. Sealion Press started releasing some of the best alternate history timelines and novels I’ve seen, and in the fall, approached David about pubishing his timeline. David, in turn, approached myself and some of the other contributors to his timeline about including our stories in the book.
I’m happy to report that the end result is With Iron and Fire, now available on Amazon.