Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Praise for the Professor

Tangent on-line has reviewed Issue No. 4 of Science Fiction Trails, and the reviewer, Aaron Bradford Starr, had nothing but praise for my story:

"Lou Antonelli’s story, “Professor Malakoff’s Amazing Ethereal Telegraph,” spends its opening building a single coherent setting, carefully working into the narrative both the political preoccupation of post-Civil War Reconstruction, and the growing public awareness of the advances of science. Mr. Antonelli is careful to explain scientific particulars to the reader only when his character, the rather dubiously-named Dr. Eustace K. Malakoff, can find a willing audience.

"And the details of Dr. Malakoff’s “ethereal telegraph” are very interestingly presented, making the so-called Professor less than a complete charlatan, but just enough of a trickster to intrigue. His ability to pull telegraph messages “from the ether,” as he claims, using just the power of his mind, is debunked for the reader before we ever see his show, and yet the potential for plot twists makes the story rumble forward unstoppably. Lou Antonelli has crafted a first-rate piece of historical science-fiction here, where the historical elements and scientific detail dovetail to make a strong, believable whole."

Mr. Starr also had some nice observations about the publication as a whole:

"Though there is some dispute, the genre of science fiction is generally agreed to be anchored in some time from the present forward, from the standpoint of the writer. Written work ages, of course, and most of the speculation never comes to pass, or, even more disconcertingly, arrives sooner than expected, and far more advanced and powerful than imagined. So used are we to the idea of science fiction as being predictive in viewpoint, and of a forward-looking orientation, that a collection such as Science Fiction Trails can be perplexing. While the occasional historic slant to a science fiction story has been seen before, a group of seven all under one cover is unusual, and to have them all rooted in a time and place as specific as the American west during the tumultuous years of unfettered expansion is a project of some ambition. The fact that this is a recurring effort, repeated annually, says something about the love that David Riley-–the publication’s editor and publisher--has for the concept."

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