Saturday, May 11, 2013

"If it wasn't for bad luck..."

One of the strangest things about the series of events during the past two months which have conspired to keep me from writing (believe me, I've only touched the tip of the iceberg) is that, a few months ago I came up with an outline for a steampunk novel I was enthused about  - to be called "Empress Theodosia's Wake" - and I got off to a great start when that server crash happened.

That stopped that. It was the first time I had come up with an original story that I thought I could see all the way to completion - "The Witch of Waxahachie" rests firmly on the foundation of the Baen's Universe story that was published in 2008.

I hope to get back to "Theodosia" soon, but the reason I picked "The Witch of Waxahachie" back up is because at one point a character from the magical alternate reality comments that our luck in our world is mostly bad because of the crappy black magic our satanists practice; it's left a lot of negative energy hanging around, like air pollution. In the other world, they know how to work magic properly, and because they believe in magic - even the black kind - they police it much better. In their world, black magic is a crime and policed, while in our world, it's not supposed to exist - but it does, and it mucks up our supposedly random probabilities.

I was thinking of that because of the bad luck I had, and besides, "The Witch of Waxahachie" is already written and could be revised in time for the conference.

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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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