Saturday, November 09, 2013

London calling?

It's a long hike - almost 5,000 miles for me - but I'm giving some thought to going to London for the WorldCon next year. It is early enough in August that my wife may be able to come - she's a school teacher, and this year, for example, she couldn't come to San Antonio because by the Labor Day weekend school has already been in session for two weeks. But LonCon 3 will start on August 14.

My wife might come along for touristy reasons, and I wouldn't blame her. The whole trip could be declared as a business expense.

Neither my wife and I have ever owned a passport and traveled outside the U.S., so that would make it quite an adventure. But it might be worth a try.

It's just speculation for now, but I did fill out a volunteer form. We'll see if they would be willing to take me as a panelist. Also, even if they will have me, until the day we leave I wouldn't be certain I'll be going - crap has a way of happening.

The day I was to drive to San Antonio for WorldCon I awakened to find the drain for an internal A/C unit had clogged and flooded two guest bedrooms, and I had to wait until a repairman made a service call to the house. I hit the road late and didn't arrive in San Antonio that Thursday until after 7 p.m.

When I was starting to attend conventions over a decade ago, these kind of last-minute calamities happened so frequently that I stopped pre-registering for conventions. Although it's more expensive, I'd rather walk up and pay at the door.

I never was able to attend a convention I pre-registered for - something always came up. For years now, I haven't had to pay because I've been a panelist, and this past WorldCon was the first time I can recall I pre-registered and was able to attend - barely.

I assume the pre-registration curse was avoided because I didn't pay the full amount until I arrived, I wrote the final check when I picked up my packet.

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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.

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