Friday, April 15, 2005

The Slow Prometheus

Continued working last night on "Prometheus and the Little Lost Spaceship". This story has a few "deep concepts" in it and the writings going slower than usual, for me at least. So far I think I have 1,600 words.
One idea I'm tossing out in the story - that our solar system is the only one that has life, and it will be mankind's role to seed life through the galaxy - probably not go over well with s-f editors, who are more conservative lot than they would like to admit when it comes to the assumptions of the genre.
I explain that the 'aliens' we have been seeing are really time travelers from the past and the future and the answer to Fermi's Paradox is that - there's nobody out there.
This is not an original idea, so I'm not giving away any trade secrets.
I have a story outline - in fact, I think I started the story but stalled out at like 3,000 words - based on the "aliens as time travelers" story concept, called "Time Like a Rope".
"Prometheus" is the closest thing to Stapledonianism I've ever done. It's set 11,000,000 years in the future and the human race is extinct.
Sometime I even impress myself with a turn of phrase. I have an artificial human ask an old space probe when was the last time it encountered humans.
It describes the last humans it ever saw as "devolved child-like creatures wandering the ruins of its machines and eating vermin" or something like that. I'm quoting myself from memory, I don't have the story in front of me.
Jeez, what a bleak depiction - but it's what the story calls for.
One thing that's bothering me is that I can see the fuzzy outlines of a brilliant ending. I hope it clears up before I finish the first draft, or it will be another one of those stories I set aside for months and finish up later.
I think I finished the first draft of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" last August, but my gut tells me the longer I wait to finish it, the better it will be.
It's an alternative history story - which are always a hard sell - so it will have to be real snappy.
I finished the first draft of "A Rocket for the Republic" in July 2003 and then didn't finish it until October, because I changed jobs and moved in August.
Seems
Chris East at Futurismic returned "The Hideaway". Says it's not right for them - he's probably right, but he also turns around stories so fast, I don't mind running things by him.
One of the reasons I haven't written too much of "Prometheus" is that I worked on a serious revision to "Berserker" last night.
This was the story I workshopped at Turkey City last October. It was named "Death of a Monster" at the time.
This third incarnation of the tale has the alliterative title "Why I Came to California".
It's already made the rounds of the major venues. I noticed Chris hasn't seen it, so I decided to send it, but not before doing a worthy rewrite.
I had sent "Fermi's Fraternity" to Andromeda, but didn't get a response from their Slush-o-Matic, so yesterday I e-mailed a query. Robbie Matthews replied and said they didn't seem to have it, so I'd best resend.
I've been paranoid about not getting acknowledgment ever since I sent a rewrite to Chizine and didn't follow up.
By the time I queried, the reading period was up and the editor had never gotten the story. I blew a potential pro-level sale there.

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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. [JC]

---From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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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