Tuesday, February 05, 2013

"Babylon Confidential"

With the GalaxyFest convention in Colorado Springs coming up this weekend, I am reading Claudia Christian's autobiography "Babylon Confidential". I was offered a review copy a few weeks ago, and with Christian being the celebrity guest, I saw the opportunity to interview her a part of a book review.

Last night I read two-thirds of the book, settled in an armchair in the living under a floor lamp that I basically bought just for when I read. It's a very interesting book, very well-written, and I've enjoyed it so far. I'm sure I can polish off the rest of it before I leave for Colorado Springs.

The convention gave me a schedule this past weekend, but I had to send it back with a request for some modifications. I'm working Friday and then flying out of Texarkana; I will be arriving in Colorado Springs too late to participate in anything Friday. The first stab at a schedule had me on two panels Friday night. I brought  that problem to the convention's attention and made some suggestions for my participation based on panels I read for Saturday and Sunday.

Cons like this are run by fan volunteers, bless their little geeky hearts, and I could never get mad when someone is working so hard for something they love and for no pay.

The con did get back to me and said they will work on it. Once I have a final schedule, I will be able to set a time to sit down and interview Ms. Christian. I'm sure the interview and review will make a good story for a weekend entertainment page.

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"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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