Friday, February 26, 2016

Sometimes you find someone who gets it

I'm kind of puzzled why some people are still rehashing the 2015 Hugo nominations. That dead horse was beaten into discrete atoms months ago.

Having said that, on the blog "Women Write About Comics", Doris V. Doris Sutherland has been comparing 2015 versus 2014 nominees for a while. On Thursday her post "2014 Hugos Versus 2015 Sad Puppies: Related Works" caught my attention because she had a very fair and perceptive review of "Letters from Gardner".

She's the only person I know who actually "got" the one story that was never formally published:

"The stories themselves are hit or miss—Antonelli cheerfully admits that a few of them were rejected for good reason—but there are some strong works on offer. For my money, the best part of the book is a chapter entitled “In the Wake of the Columbia Tragedy.” Here, Antonelli describes his reaction to the shuttle disaster of 2003, which occurred over his home state of Texas. To exorcise his psychological demons following the terrible incident, he wrote a story called “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” in which a man finds a strange crab-like being amongst debris from the crash. The protagonist realises that it is a parasite that evolved to live off spacecraft, and was responsible for destroying Columbia; he then kills it in disgust.

"Gardner Dozois rejected the story on the reasonable grounds that, while Antonelli’s motives were heartfelt, a reader could easily misinterpret the story as crass exploitation. The chapter gives insight into the creative processes of both Antonelli and Dozois, which it places into historical context..."

Here is the full article.

Sutherland was equally perceptive in December when she discussed my short story nominee, "On a Spiritual Plane:

"Antonelli acknowledges that his background as a journalist shows through in his fiction. In some of his stories, the matter-of-fact clarity of his writing style works in his favour. With “On the Spiritual Plane”, however, he picked a subject that is just too subtle to fit his authorial approach."

Which, in reflection is probably quite true.

But I tried.

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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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