Saturday, March 26, 2016

Nostalgia at night

My story in the upcoming anthology "Decision Points" was inspired, at least in its beginning, by a scene in a column I published in my newspaper by a contributor, Ralph K. Banks.

The imagery stuck with me, and eventually prodded the initial setting for the story. Here is the pertinent passage:

"There actually was no dance hall building located on this road at all. Instead, what some of us called the dance hall was merely a straight flat stretch of the road that seemed wider and smoother than the rest of the road with the all around terrain mostly consisting of flat prairieland and by that time of year, harvested cotton fields.

"The cars would be parked along the sides of the roadway with one or two with good receiving radios having volumes turned up with the windows rolled down, enabling couples to dance to the radio music on the roadway pavement.

"As usual there was little traffic on this road, with the headlights of the few cars that did come our way being visible in plenty of time for the couples to clear the roadway for those cars to pass.

"And, so it went on this cool November night with the radios playing our favorite music tunes of the time and the few couples enjoying dancing on the old county road under a star-filled sky and full autumn moon.

"From the Sulphur Springs and Paris radio stations we enjoyed hearing and dancing to such tunes as Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”, Fats Domino’s “On Blueberry Hill”; the Platters’ “My Prayer”, “Its Twilight Time” and “Only You”, and perhaps the one that was most prophetic as our curfews got close, “It’s Almost Tomorrow”."

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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.

- 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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