Sunday, July 26, 2009

In case you missed it...

Here is my portion of the Mind Meld feature which was posted by SF Signal on Wednesday:

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Lou Antonelli


Lou Antonelli has had 43 stories published in the past six years in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia in place such as Asimov's Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe, Dark Recesses and Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine. He has had ten honorable mentions in The Year's Best Science Fiction (St. Martin's Press, Gardner Dozois, ed.). His Texas-themed reprint collection Fantastic Texas is forthcoming from Wilder Publications. He lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas, with his wife, Patricia, and is managing editor of the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune

Some of the first stories that made a big impression of me were from the Silver Age of the 1950s that were just being anthologized when I was a kid growing up in the 1960s. Some of those stories included:

"The Nine Billion Names of God" by Arthur C. Clarke. Well-written with a clever as well as awe-inspiring ending, it made a big impression on me. Same goes for his story "The Star."

"Disappearing Act" by Alfred Bester. In retrospect, Bester was my favorite author when I was young, and this was the most memorable story for me, again, because of the ironic ending.

"The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin. A story that made a big impression on me because of how much I hated it, I've come up with a dozen ways over the years in my head how the problem in the story could have been solved without killing the stowaway. I guess I'm a humanist at heart; I feel science was made to serve man, not the other way around.

I read very little original s-f in the 1960s and 1970s while I was in junior high, high school and then college. "Eyes Do More Than See" by Isaac Asimov, published in 1965, is one story I remember. It is a very sentimental story that made helped me realize that I am, at heart, a very sentimental person.

I was a big fan of Omni in the 1980s and one of the stories I liked the best from that era was "Wild, Wild Horses" by Howard Waldrop. It is a magnificent piece of droll secret history, with some wistful twists, and it helped me realize what kind of fiction I might write myself one day. "Flying Saucer Rock and Roll", another Waldrop Omni story from that era, is one of the most fun things I've ever read.

"His Power'd Wig, His Crown of Thornes" by Marc Laidlaw, another Omni story from the '80s, impressed me at the time with the potential of alternate history.

More recently, I'd cite "The Lincoln Train" by Maureen McHugh, published in 1995. Another great alternate history story that centers on the seminal event of American history, the Civil War.

"A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows" by Gardner Dozois. Published in 1999, it impressed me with a realistic vision of the perils and promise of Transhumanism, with the humanity of the protagonist at the very core of the story.

"The Raggle Taggle Gypsy-o" by Michael Swanwick, published in 2000, was a very clever tale on the creation of archetypes. As a journalist for over 30 years now, I see the same crazy stuff over and over again, and it struck a chord with me.

Stories from this century I find memorable include "Sergeant Chip" by Brad Denton (F&SF, Sept. 2004), a well-written futuristic story with a canine protagonist who was honestly depicted; both Sergeant Chip and the story had a lot of integrity; "Just Like the Ones We Used to Know" by Connie Willis (Asimov's, Dec. 2003), clever, compelling, entertaining and extremely well written; and "Tearing Down Tuesday" by Steven Francis Murphy (Interzone, May 2007) which impressed me with how there are brand new writers out there who can still write the Good New Stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Lou, got your letter today. Thanks for the thoughts on Tearing Down Tuesday. They really made my day.

    Glad to see you are still writing. I can't seem to get anything done these days.

    Respects,
    S. F. Murphy

    ReplyDelete

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

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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