Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The List

I have my own personal way of keeping track of story ideas. I sort of came up with the idea because of something Gardner Dozois once said he does. He once wrote online, when asked how he put together his annual “Best of” anthology, that he reads all the stories during the year quickly and then when it comes time to make his decisions he goes back to the list of stories. If he reads the title and remembers what the story is about — if it is that memorable — then it’s good for at least an honorable mention. He goes forward from there to make his final selection of the two dozen or so stories that are reprinted for the year.

Every so often I compile a list of story titles, which are essentially story ideas. I let the list sit for a while, and if some months later I come back and still remember what the idea was about, I know there's probably enough there for potential outline.

I updated my list this morning, after probably the longest gap ever. It was last updated in January 2013. I spent so much time last year working on my latest collection as well as “Letters from Gardner” that I only completed two short stories all year. Nobody noticed because I still had so many stories already written.

I had 31 stories published between 2011 and 2013 (which is one of the reasons "The Clock Struck None" came together like it did), and so my stockpile was diminishing rapidly.

One of the reasons I decided to buy the voice recognition software was to help me pick up the pace – which it has done. I’ve written up some of the stories whose titles sat on that list for over year now, and so I thought it was time to update it.

As has been the case, I can’t recall what I was thinking to go along with some of the titles, and so I know those ideas when strong enough to move forward. But I still have enough stories to keep me busy for a while, 15 to be exact.

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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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