Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Peddling books

Don't forget, folks, I will be signing and selling copies of my retro-futurist alternate history "Another Girl, Another Planet" at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Dealers Room at Ravencon in Williamsburg, Va.

I only have eleven copies of the book on hand, so there's a possibility I may sell out!

My signing was added at the last minute, so it is NOT in the printed program book.

Here's a little promotion - the cover price is $17.99, but if you walk up and use the secret code phrase, you can have it for $16.

The secret code is "Admiral Heinlein".

Friday, April 14, 2017

President Correia (?)

OK. on Monday I asked the hypothetical question, on my Facebook page - if you could pick an s-f author to be U.S. President, who would it be?

I did not note nominations of authors who are dead, such as Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov or Poul Anderson. I DID count nominees who would be ineligible to serve because they are foreign born.
I have made up a very unofficial tally of the suggestions, and it looks like the winner is...

TRUMPETS!

DRUM ROLL!

THROAT CLEARING...

President...

Larry Correia!

The clear winner with 18 votes.

It was very close for second place. John Ringo had nine votes and Tom Kratman had eight.

A strong fourth place showing goes to an author who would not be considered right-of-center by any definition, David Brin - which shows there is come diversity of political opinion among my Friends.
Dr. Jerry Pournelle received five votes, and Ursula LeGuin - also certainly not a right-winger - received four.

On the basis of these results, then, if we had right vs. left political tickets, it would be Correia and Ringo vs. the Brin/LeGuin ticket.

Other authors who received more than one vote each were:

Michael Z. Williamson, David Weber - 4

Dr. Travis Taylor, Eric Flint, L. L Neil Smith, Elizabeth Moon, David Gerrold - 3

Lois McMaster Bujold, Chuck Gannon, Sarah Hoyt, Brad Torgersen, Chuck Tingle, Vox Day - 2

Authors with one nomination each were John Hemry, Chris Nuttall, Michael Briner, Spider Robinson, Owl Goingback, Laura Anne Gilman, Dave Butler, Phil Foglio, Samuel Delany, Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, C.J. Cherryh, Bruce Sterling, N.K. Jemisin, John Scalzi, Gregory Benford, Thomas Trumpinski, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, Raymond Feist, Adam-Troy Castro, William C. Dietz, Lee Modesitt, Gene Wolfe, William Ledbetter, Kim Stanley Robinson, Allen Steele, Stephen Michael Stirling, Steven Barnes, Liz Hand, and Stephanie Osborn.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kick-off

I had my first public signing event for "Another Girl, Another Planet" Saturday morning at the Red River County Public Library.

Helen Pryor bought the first copy. She is giving it to her granddaughter Chloe, who is an aspiring writer, and I inscribed it to her.

Another purchaser was Donna Hausler. When she told me her name, I had to divulge that in 2015 when I was writing the book, I picked a surname at random from the newspaper as the name of the "Girl" of the title - and that last name is Hausler.

It's actually a fairly common name in Red River County.

Patricia joined me. The library is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. After the library closed we went across the street to Tracy's Cafe and used some of the proceeds for lunch!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Thinking of the master

Today is the anniversary of the death of Isaac Asimov in 1992. I met him in 1984 when I was out on a date in Greenwich Village. The Village Light Opera Company was performing "The Yeoman of the Guard". I did not know he was a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan.

I was sitting in my seat during the performance when I commented to my date, "This guy in front of me looks a lot like Isaac Asimov." Then I took another look and realized it WAS Isaac Asimov.

During the intermission myself as well as some other fans chatted with him in the lobby. A woman walked up and took a photo of us together. Asimov asked "A friend of yours?" I told him I had no idea who she was. Years later the incident gestated into the short story "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?"

In the summer of 1992 I was living in Texas and heard of somewhere that Asimov had died some months earlier. I was surprised I had missed the news initially, but I took a guess as to the reason why, and I was right.

His death came a month before the local spring election date, which is always the first Saturday in May. I was engrossed in a hot and hectic school board election, and wasn't paying attention to outside news at the time.

I won the election, by the way.

Eleven years later I attended my first s-f convention, and 13 years later I had my story "A Rocket for the Republic" published in his namesake publication.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Abyss & Apex reviews "Another Girl, Another Planet"

Good Lord, Lou Antonelli did something I thought was impossible. He made me like an alternative history story,  and usually I hate those.

The story starts and ends with three aluminum crosses under a Martian sky.  In between we are treated to a world where the West and the Eastern Bloc have a space race, instead of an arms race, and the moon is an old colony: Mars is the new frontier.  As with any alternative history piece there are names and events you will recognize, but in new contexts. In this world Asimov and a team make real robots, then androids, and the androids cause that world’s equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis. This gets robots, and androids, exiled to the moon, and then Mars.

Dave Schuster gets sent to Mars as a political appointee. The head of the government there is dead and the second in command dies when he is enroute: he is the Martian government, for now.  Dave finds out that the old governor got less and less done as he got ill, and the second in command did nothing but party. He has his work cut out for him, catching up on the backlog. As Dave tackles the work a number of things do not add up until he sees hidden danger amid the charm of the techie frontier and the threat grows so out-of-control it reminded me of the sort of situation Miles Vorkosigan would get into.  I am not going to spoil the ride by telling you more than the plot touches on the concept of self-aware robots in surprising ways.

Larry Niven blurbed the book.  He loved it, and said it was great ideas, well told. He was right.

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If you would like to read the review on the web site, go here.

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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