Monday, August 11, 2014

Thinking of Robin Williams tonight...

"I wish my agent Morty was here," Jimmy muttered. "He knows how to negotiate." Then he had a thought.

"Wait a minute. John and Jimmy and Gilda and Madeline - you're talking all these new kids... "

Jimmy stood up laboriously, ignoring the pain in his chest. "You bitch about your job, and you took Ernie Kovacs from us so soon? Man, come on. You couldn't have, like, taken Chevy Chase?"

Jimmy began to get that feeling, the feeling you get right when you're about to get control of the house, right when you know you're about to hold the audience in the palm of your hand. He had the room. He had it.

"What the hell was the problem? You take every-damn-body else and leave us with Chevy Chase? What, there was no more room in the van?"

The Stranger's eyes glowed with an angry glint that Jimmy somehow knew was a reflection of the Big Bang.

Then the Stranger cracked up. Laughter shook the walls of the dressing room. For one amazing moment, all the fatigue left the Stranger's face. Then he looked slightly startled.

"We might be able to sort something out, at that," he said at last. "Do you know how long it's been since anyone made me laugh?"

Jimmy grinned. "I'll bite. 'HOW-LONG- HAS-IT---' "

The Stranger cut him off. "Never."

---

From "Off the Hook" by Ed Morris and Lou Antonelli.

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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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