Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Lou Antonelli

This weekend I did a feature called Ten Things You Didn't Know About Lou Antonelli:

Item No. 1 - Lou is a first generation American. Both his parents were born in Italy and immigrated to the United States after World War II. At the time of his birth his father was here illegally, his mother was a resident alien. Both became naturalized citizens later.

Interesting Lou fact No. 2:
Lou and special make-up creator Tom Savini are second cousins. They share a common great-grandparent.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 3:
Lou once served as an elected school district trustee. He was also once appointed a special judge to preside over a condemnation court (eminent domain) in Dallas County.

Which means he has been both an "Honorable" and a "Judge"in the past.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 4:
Lou was a precocious journalist but a belated s-f writer.

His first news story was published in the local newspaper when he was 12.

His first pro science fiction story, the secret history "A Rocket for the Republic" in Asimov's, was published when he was 48.

His first novel, the alternate history "Another Girl, Another Planet", was published when he was 60.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 5:
Lou's first pro sale, "A Rocket for the Republic" in 2005, was the last story Gardner Dozois bought before he retired from Asimov's Science Fiction after 19 years as editor.

He's not had a story in Asimov's since then.

Interesting note: Lou has always considered Howard Waldrop an inspiration and role model. Howard Waldrop's short story "Lunchbox" (1972) was probably the last story accepted by John W. Campbell at Analog (one can't be entirely sure because Campbell died suddenly).

Howard's not had a story in Analog since then.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 6:
As Managing Editor of The Bowie County Citizens Tribune in New Boston, Texas, Lou took first place in the Texas Press Association Community Service Award in 2006.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 7:
In 1969 when Lou was a 12-year old growing up in Massachusetts, be sent off to an ad in a comic book and bought a set of 100 canceled postage stamps. He later tucked them away in an envelope and forgot about them.

In 1998, when he was 41, he happened to find the envelope with the stamps in them. In going through them, he realized one of them was a George Washington one cent green stamp, pre-cancelled in Cedar Hill, Texas.

At the time he lived at 509 Houston Street, Cedar Hill, Texas - 2000 miles from where he grew up in Massachusetts.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 8:
While at Columbia University, Lou was a member of the staff of the Columbia Daily Spectator, the Columbia College Student Council, and the Office of Student Affairs - the only person to serve in the three main occupants of Ferris Booth Hall - which was torn down in 1996.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 9:
Lou is one of only four people ever to be nominated in a fiction and non-fiction Hugo category in the same year. The other three people are Mike Resnick, Michael Swanwick and John Scalzi.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 10:
Lou has had 106 short stories published in 13 years. His 100th story, "The Yellow Flag" (published in Sci-Phi Journal on August 1, 2016, was written, submitted and accepted in four hours - between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. May 6, 2015.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tired of the scenario

You know, I'm as big a fan of alternate history as anyone, but I am getting really, really tired of these iterations of the "What if the Nazis won World War II?" theme.

It's remarkable Germany got as far as it did, mainly because nobody believed Hitler was as unpredictable and aggressive as he was. The unpreparedness of the Allies was also a big factor,

I remarked - half jokingly - during the panel on Alternate History at Ravencon last month that I'm worried there is so much fictional narrative out there about the Nazis winning that I'm afraid one morning I'm going to wake up and find that somehow the accumulated weight of this "The Nazis won" narrative in the public consciousness will have caused some kind of parallel world shift - and we'll all be stuck in a world where the Nazis really did win!

There needs to be an anthology with the theme "They Still Lost", featuring alternate history stories about World War II where the Nazis still lose, but others things happen. For example:

* Enrico Fermi doesn't leave Italy and Mussolini gets the bomb!

* General Patton doesn't get in the car wreck and persuades Truman to turn on the Russians.

* We never use the bomb on Japan and so we can't get them to surrender.

* Hitler hides in the Alps and conducts guerilla warfare against the Allied Occupation.

* The Japanese in Manchukuo don't surrender, hold off the Soviet Army and then influence the coming Chinese civil war.

Of course, I think some of these ideas have already been explored

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Upcoming publication

Just finished proofing my short story "The World Turned Upside Down" which is in the forthcoming Rough Edges Press anthology "Rocket's Red Glare".

My colleagues in this anthology include Brad Torgersen, Keith West, Martin L. Shoemaker, Nathan E. Meyer, Sarah A. Hoyt, Dave Hardy, Bob Vardeman, Christopher Chupik, and Rough Edges Publisher his own self James Reasoner.

The last Rough Edges Press anthology I participated in. "Tales From the Otherverse" proved to be one of the best alternate history anthologies in recent years, and Bill Crider's story "It Doesn't Matter Any More" won the Sidewise Award for short fiction.

It was after "Tales From the Otherverse" came out I suggested to James that "Rocket's Red Glare:" would make a good title for a space opera anthology with positive stories. He liked the idea, and started on it.

I'm proud to be a part of it.

The Best Mother's Day Gift Ever

My wife and I never had any children, so we resorted to the traditional alternative and adopted a few furry children.

The alpha dog, Sugar, is half black Lab and (probably) half Italian Greyhound. She takes her job very seriously and is very smart; she figured out what the word "burglar" means without us teaching her.

A few years ago, a day or two before Mother's Day, I noted the upcoming event, and asked her, "So what are YOU going to give your mom for Mother's Day?"

I was being a wise-ass, but did I get my comeuppance!

The afternoon of Mothers Day, Patricia was on the couch watching television and the patio door was open.

Suddenly she shouted "Stop Sugar, she's carrying in a dead animal!"

I rushed to the door, and stopped Sugar. She had a freshly killed bird in her mouth, looking very pleased with herself, head held high and tail wagging.

I said, "Omigod, Sugar, I was KIDDING, you don't have to bring mom a present!"

As Patricia noted, by dog standards, this was probably the best present possible - a tasty freshly-killed tender bird for a meal.

I explained to Sugar that humans don't eat raw food, and thanked her for the gift. Then I disposed of it.

It's the thought that counts.

I also told Sugar that, in the future she was exempt from having to get mom a Mother's Day gift.

She never did that before, and she's never done it since. I personally think that, as smart as she is, she pretty much decided "I'll show him!"

There are HUMAN children who don't listen to their parents as much, and who wouldn't go to the trouble she did to get a "present" for mom.

God strike me dead if this isn't a true story. I could never make this up.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Helping the little guy

I haven't updated my short story submissions in a while, and I have a dozen of them ready to be sent on their merry little way.

Anyone out there want to recommend smaller or little - known venues? Don't bother with the obvious ones, like Analog or Asimovs or F&SF. I'm looking for little guys who'd like a little bit of quality speculative fiction. I don't care about money - if I did I'd never started writing in the first place.

I'm always willing to help folks who publish for the love of the genre, so if there is some venue out there I wouldn't think of that might like to read something by Lou Antonelli, post a comment here because I will be sending out stories all weekend.

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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