Sunday, September 13, 2015

The end of the convention season

I went to seven science fiction conventions this year - ConDFW in Dallas in February, RavenCon in Richmond, Virginia, in April, ConQuest in Kansas City in May, SoonerCon in Oklahoma City and ApolloCon in Houston in June, ArmadiloCon in Austin in August, and Sasquan in Spokane in August.

I enjoyed them all, especially the ones I attended for the first time - RavenCon and ConQuest - except for Sasquan. That was ruined for me because of the Sad Puppies controversy, but that's all (polluted) water under the bridge.

That's the most conventions I've done in one year, and that' all for this year. I made a decision to skip any events after Labor Day - I will not be at FenCon in Dallas, which is coming up Sept. 25-27.
If I travel out of state this fall, it will be for a 40th high school reunion in Massachusetts.

I doubt I will go to nearly that many conventions in 2016, but I have received an invite already, so I know there will probably be at least one.

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"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.

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- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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