Sunday, February 16, 2014

Research material

The 1975 World Almanac next to the current edition.
Back on Jan. 25 - the last weekend before this when I didn't have a book signing for "The Clock Struck None - my wife and I visited Marshall. I had a very successful book store at a small independent book store then in 2010 for "Texas & Other Planets". But the book store, Prospero's, subsequently closed down.

Otherwise, there is no place to have a book signing in Marshall. There is only one small bookstore in the mall in Marshall. While in Marshall on Jan. 25 I visited it. I introduced myself to the proprietor. This was the third used book store I approached in preparation for the release of "Clock" - the others were in Gladewater and Longview.

I know used book stores generally don't host signings for new releases - Prospero's was a pleasant exception - but in all all
three cases - in Longview, Gladewater and Marshall, too - I got a rude brushoff.

To make it worth my while, while I was at the Marshall store, I picked up a few used books. One of them was a copy of the 1975 World Almanac. I thought it might come in handy in research. As it happens, I found the contemporary references to the Watergate Scandal fascinating. It's interesting to see what the affair looked like to the public immediately after the fact. That helped me when I wrote 'As Tricky as Dick's Hat Band".

So the trip to the Marshall book store turned out to have been more useful than first thought.

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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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