The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley

The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley
Published by Unsung Stories on May 9, 2016
Genres: Historical, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 120
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble
Add to: Goodreads

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


In the aftermath of the Great War, Shirley Fearn dreams of challenging the conventions of rural England, where life is as unchanging as the seasons.
The scarred veteran Mr. Tiller, left disfigured by an impossible accident on the battlefields of France, brings with him a message: part prophecy, part warning.
As Shirley's village prepares for the annual May Day celebrations, where a new queen will be crowned and the future reborn, she must choose between change and renewal - will the missives Mr. Tiller brings prevent her mastering her destiny?
Exploring complex ideas of fate and power, and questioning the authority of those who write our cultural narratives, The Arrival of Missives is a unique work, deftly marrying literary and genre influences. It heralds the arrival of a major new voice in speculative fiction.


In The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley, the author continues to stun me with her expert wordcraft. Transitioning from the previous short work of New Weird fiction, The Beauty, Ms. Whiteley easily feels at home in the historical/science fiction genre. It was a solid short story, which I thoroughly enjoyed, however, I could not give it higher stars since I did end up feeling a little cheated towards the end. Perhaps it is because Ms. Whiteley is such a great author, I wanted more out of The Arrival of Missives. Literally, more — I wanted the story to continue.

I went into Missives not knowing what to expect. I thought, at first, that it was perhaps going to be a bit Pride and Prejudice-y, which had me confused since that would be remarkably different from Ms. Whiteley’s work in the past. We have our protagonist Shirley, completely smitten with a battle-scarred professor returned from war, a professor who seems to have his own agenda, and a local boy every assumes will marry Shirley. Seems pretty simple. And then, BAM! Professor goes topless and we discover the truth. What truth? Won’t talk about it here because I don’t want to spoil it, but look for a spoiler vlog about it Saturday!

The turn it took at the end, with the professor, really threw me for a loop. I guess, in the end, I felt a lot like Shirley did. Angry, confused, and determined to do something (which obviously I could not as a mere reader). The writing was infallible, pacing was great, character development (for such a short story) was fantastic. My complaint was simply that it ended too soon! I wanted to know more, to follow Shirley on her mission/adventure! But seriously, if you’re looking for a short, kinda weird kinda sci-fi story to pick up, give The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley a look.


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