Friday, January 29, 2016

Lou the loser

After spending most of 2015 - the period from April 4 until August 22 - being told I was an worthless hack writer and overall loser by the s-f literary establishment because I was a Sad Puppy nominee for the Hugo awards, I sometimes go and read my entry in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia by John Clute to remind myself I sometimes rise to the level of occasional competency:

"In a spare, swift, convincing narrative style, conveying in a deadpan voice a wide array of sometimes Paranoid suppositions about the world, Antonelli juxtaposes realities with very considerable skill, creating a variety of Alternate Worlds, some of them somewhat resembling the constructions of Howard Waldrop, and making some sharp points about American history, race relations), dreams, and occasional nightmares in which the twentieth century goes wrong."

Curses! Found out again!

I got two rejections today, both from top notch quality magazines. The first said it was "definitely a close one" but the ending was weak, so they would pass.

I have said before, and I will say it again: Good feedback, even with a rejection, resonates with the author. Yep, the editor is right, that story did have a relatively weak ending. But I couldn't come up with a better one - at least right now - so I sent if off and crossed my fingers.

The fact the editor mentions something that already crossed my mind confirms my previous thoughts. Maybe I will come up with a snappier ending in the future.

In the second case, the editor said the story was "thoroughly entertaining" and he personally enjoyed it, but ultimately the tone was too light for the publication. Again, a good call, and good feedback regarding the magazine.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Return of the Brute Squad

Had a funny exchange yesterday at the supermarket.

The cashier looked at me, and said, "You look like somebody. You look familiar."

I said, "I look like a lot of old guys with a beard."

She said. "No, you look like Lou Antonelli."

"I AM Lou Antonelli!"

She started laughing. "I should have looked at your credit card signature!"

We both had a good laugh.

I told my wife later, "The way I answered, I think I sounded like Andre the Giant in 'The Princess Bride'."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Farewell, David Hartwell

Two weeks ago I was cleaning up and rearranging stuff in a storage shed in my back yard. There are a lot of books and magazines there, and I ran across a small pile of old Astounding magazines from the 1940s - the kind on the real cheap pulp paper that by now has turned very yellow and brittle.

I thought of David Hartwell.

Living in New York state, our paths didn't cross much at the regional conventions I usually attend. I've met David in passing a couple of times at WorldCons, but he was usually surrounded by a gaggle of fellow old pros and I didn't have much of a chance of chat. He always seemed friendly and accessible, though.

Back in 2007, when the NASFIC was in St. Louis, we actually shared a panel - "Lost and Forgotten Writers from the Pulp Fiction Era". This panel Saturday morning was the single panel I enjoyed the most at the convention, and it was well attended.

I brought along some of those old crumbling pulp magazines to display on the table. As it happened, another panelist, Lloyd Kropp, did the same thing. David was on the panel and he had a lot to contribute. I really enjoyed it. We all had a good time, and there was a good interaction with members of the audience. I think everyone enjoyed it.

The magazines I took were all duplicates from when I had bought lots on eBay, so I didn't intend to haul them back to Texas. I said at the conclusion of the panel I would give them away,and when I mentioned this, there was a rush to the table.

David took a copy of Amazing Stories from 1947 that featured The Shaver Mystery. Kropp also took a copy of Amazing, and the rest went to audience members.

David and I chatted briefly after the panel. It was obvious he loved those pulp magazines and knew a lot about the era. I was impressed. I also learned a few other things. I didn't know he grew up in Massachusetts like I did.

Finding the old pulp magazines in the storage shed made me think of David again. Now he's gone.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

ApolloCon suspended

I was saddened to learn today via email that the Houston Science Fiction Association (HSFA) will not be holding ApolloCon this year.

I've been a guest panelist at ApolloCon a number of times - probably four or five - including last year. I always found it well run and fun. I especially enjoyed it last year because my wife Patricia also went.

The people who run cons are volunteers and dedicated, devoted and determined. My hats are off to them! I want to thank all the folks of the HSFA for all the hard work they did over the years for ApolloCon. They deserve a break. I hope they have lots of fun events in the future.

This is the second con I've attended multiple times over the years that has suspended. I still miss Conestoga, which used to be held in Tulsa.

Latest reviews

"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

“Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act. This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read. Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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