Sunday, May 11, 2014

Another good review

Andrew Andrews, the editor and publisher of True Reviews, has reviewed "The Clock Struck None".

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This collection by Lou Antonelli is marketed as a “collection of alternate and secret history short stories.”

I think these read well:

“The Great White Ship.” A tall tale of a huge and devastating East Texas thunderstorm and the arrival, at a small airport, of a huge white Airship (a dirigible) from an alternate time in America when the Hindenburg never blew up and World War II didn’t end with an atomic bomb.

“Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll.” A junket through time for a multimillionaire sends him to Dallas, Texas, in 1963 – and to examine the mystery of the two men in the grassy knoll. Why do some insist that separate shots were fired? What about the Lone Gunman Theory? And a lesson about how preventing a tragedy can sometimes CAUSE it.

“After Image.” It has been many long years since a major nuclear war transformed a great deal of the planet. One man is recruited to finally stage a scenario to break Texas free of the union – but at what cost in human lives in agony and sorrow?

“Double Exposure.” One of the 1970s-era Kodak photo developing booths appears to a man, Jake DeRidder, desperate to exit his failed life. But the photos he will pick up show him an alternate life that he could have had.

“The Relic.” What was simply a wheel to mount a garden hose is under scrutiny by archeologists thousands of years later, who speculate about its possible religious significance. They really don’t know what to make of a wheel mounted on a wall.

“Damascus Interrupted.” In this alternate history, Christianity is a small, struggling religion in modern times, overtaken by pagan rituals, adapted for the politically stranger world which has evolved from the Roman empire.

“Twilight on the Finger Lakes.” As a young boy, Rod Serling meets up with “Old Henry,” the (very) short story writer William Sydney Porter, who offers sage advice to the admiring young man. This is a book in which Rod lives to convey his own sage wisdom to Paulina, who speaks with the multiple-award-winning scriptwriter and then transfers her knowledge and respect for him down through the ages.

“Tell Gilgamesh I’m Sorry.” Omar Peshtigo is an old man. Really old. He knew, personally, Gilgamesh of Uruk, and in the epochs since, is living as a recluse in East Texas after the Crash. One boy risks it all to visit the legend, but has to come to grips with his own fate – which transforms (in the end) Omar’s history, perhaps for another hundred years. I wish Antonelli would write a novel with Omar alone – it would be fascinating, as this is one of the many rare memorable story characters ever brought to life.

“Black Hats and Blackberrys.” Time and the present can be altered forever by even one text message sent via smartphone – to the past, that is.

You can only postpone, for a time, inevitable history in “Mak Siccar.”

“The Amerikaan Way.” In this alternate timeline, U.S. and South Africa switch places – and circumstances – over Apartheid.

“Wet and Wild.” Speedboat races in the Florida Keys have a new twist in this tale.

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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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