Sunday, March 26, 2017

Letters from Gronow

This was originally posted to my Facebook page, but it bears repeating"

---

Hey Lou -
Just so you'll know, you are in inspiration--literally. I read your book Letters from Gardner last year, and enjoyed it a lot. It inspired me to start a series of stories in the 1632 universe about a young down-timer who becomes enamored of future-style horror fiction as published in a new magazine there in 1634, and starts trying to write stories, with predictable results. (I hasten to say there is no resemblance between my character and any actual writer, living or dead. He is simply an Everyman writer.) Each episode ends in a letter from the publisher/editor to the writer detailing what he did wrong this time. The publisher, who was an already existing character in the series, is named Johann Gronow, and naturally, when the idea for the series hit me, I immediately thought of your book, and presto, the series became Letters from Gronow.  :-)

Episode 1 was just published in the most recent Grantville Gazette, and I just finished writing Episode 5. There will be at least one more, because he hasn't sold a story yet.  :-)
You're an inspiration to us all, in more than one way.  :-)

David Carrico

Friday, March 24, 2017

Feedback

Comments made so far about my story "Watch What Happens" at Fiction on the Web:

"I enjoyed this story very much, nice to get a feel-good story in these troubled times and I'm sure that it will resonate with writers of all genres! Thank you,"


"Thank you for the sweet story with a happy ending. I enjoyed it."


"Totally agree, what's wrong with a feel good story? Well drawn characters and a good idea with the watch and of course our hero being a writer!"


Yep, I totally understand why I'm a minor spec fic writer. Nobody really wants feel good stories with happy endings, right? We all want depressing stories whose world view is as negative as our opinions of ourselves.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jimmy Breslin is dead

Let me tell you a little story about him.

Every year, the Columbia University student newspaper, the Daily Spectator, holds a dinner in late winter to mark the transition to the next set of student editors, for the coming academic year.

It's called the Blue Pencil Dinner, and it usually features a journalism-related guest speaker.

Now the Spectator, mind you, is not affiliated with the journalism school, it is run by the student body. Unless things have changed in recent years, it isn't even officially affiliated with the university.

The Blue Pencil Dinner in 1980 was held on Valentine's Day. It was the last one I ever attended. Two months later I was elected to the student council, and university senate and never wrote for the paper again.

Prior to the Blue Pencil Dinner, the board announced that Jimmy Breslin would be the guest speaker.

I grew up in Massachusetts and Breslin wasn't such a big deal to me. The native New Yorkers thought otherwise.

There was one underclassman, Ken, who was just thrilled that he would get to hear Breslin hold forth. He made no secret he was a great fan of Breslin's.

The night of the Blue Pencil Dinner - held in the rotunda of Low Library, the university's administration building - comes, and Breslin is introduced by the editor-in-chief.

Staggering drunk. And in a bad mood.

It seems Breslin thought he had been invited to speak before the students of the distinguished journalism school - and not the undergraduate student newspaper.

And he made his displeasure quite plain, as he went on a drunken tirade about what a bunch of losers we all were.

And then, to rub it in ever further, he decided to give us a lesson from the podium, as he grabbed the most recent issue of the Spectator and decided to critique it then and there.

Holding the paper aloft, he read the headline and byline of the lead story.

It was by Ken.

He proceeded to rip the story apart, delivering a vicious evaluation that was unfair, inappropriate, and plain damn cruel.

I knew how much Ken admired Breslin, and I took a quick glance across the rotunda to where Ken sat.

Just a glance, mind you - it was too painful a moment. All I can say is that Ken looked stunned.

After Breslin finished eviscerating Ken's story, he moved on to the next, the second lead, and read the headline.

I held my breath. It was by me.

After Breslin read the headline, he continued "By Lou..." He stopped a look of hostile drunken befuddlement crossing his sweaty brow.

"Oh, thank God," I thought. "The drunken bum can't make out my name."

Sure enough, in his inebriated state, he couldn't get past my last name, and that seemed to stop him in his tracks. He stopped the rant and dropped the copy of the newspaper.

He still went on with a load of hateful drivel, but it seemed once he had paused he lost his momentum and he sat down after a few more minutes.

It was a terrible night, and I know for sure some of the students at the dinner were sorely disillusioned with Breslin after that.

I never learned how Ken took it, I never saw him again.

Here I am, a Texas resident 32 years, 37 years after that night, and the news of Breslin's death reminds me of that night.

I don't know what else to say.

The facts speak for themselves.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It always goes downhill


One of the things to proliferate on Facebook recently was when Pat Cadigan - who was in Philadelphia for Susan Casper's Memorial Service on March 11- left to go back home, and someone noted that Cadigan had "gone" people took the worst possible interpretation of the word and thought Pat had died.

Everything on the internet goes negative and downhill. I feel the best way to deal with this constant baloney is with a horse laugh.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Another excuse to read Lou Antonelli fiction

There are just a few days left in the nomination period for the 2017 Hugo Awards. Details of the process can be found on the Worldcon 75 website.

This is just as good excuse as any to read some of that good ol' Lou Antonelli speculative fiction.

Even if you have already submitted nominations, you may update your selections as long as the nomination period continues. But you probably should so in advance of the deadline to avoid any problems in the final hours when the system will be very busy.

You may make changes to your nominations until March 17 at 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time (2:59am Eastern Daylight Time, 06:59 Greenwich Mean Time, 08:59 in Finland, all on 18 March).

Although members of MidAmeriCon II, Worldcon 75 and Worldcon 76 in San José can nominate for the 2017 Hugos, only members of Worldcon 75 will be eligible to vote on the final ballot and choose the winners of the 2017 Hugo Awards. They expect to announce the final ballot in early April, and the awards will be presented on t Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland, in August.

Other than the Hugos, I believe a couple of my stories are eligible for the Sidewise award, but that's a juried award. I have nothing eligible for the Dragon Awards this year, since all I had in 2016 was short fiction. Next year "Another Girl, Another Planet" will be eligible.

"If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love" was a podcast. If there an award for podcast fiction?

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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