Sunday, January 26, 2014

Open to new ideas

A while back I took some time to promote my story "Hearts Made of Stone", which was published in the original anthology Song Stories in 2013. Using the Nebula nominations in the SFWA as an excuse, I spent time going through the membership list and making an email list. I typed one version for Associate members - who can nominate for the award but not vote - and another one for full members, the Active members.

I sent the first email out Jan. 5, and the second Jan. 12. I included a link to a page on my blog where I had posted the story. Aside from the practical benefit of spreading the work out, I was curious to see if there was a different reaction between the classes of members.

The email to the Active members suffered from a flaw when I absent-mindedly posted all the names in the CC line instead of the BCC line (I sent the originating email to myself to check it). I mentioned that flub in a post here a while back.

Other than that, the emails were very similar. I thought what feedback I got was interesting. There were more bounced emails from the associate list, and a few "I don't write science fiction any more". A number of people asked me to read their stuff, which I am doing. It seems to have been a nice way to solicit some reading suggestions.

From the active members, a number of people told me what a mistake I made with the CC list, and some were pretty rude about it. There were also some very nice and positive replies, and some people understood the email flub was an honest mistake.

As you would think, the associate members seemed to be much more open to reading my story. The traffic to that web page the week after the email to the associate members was FOUR TIMES the traffic the week after the email to the pros.

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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

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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