Friday, September 16, 2016

A real mistake

OK, you know any time I express an opinion that someone like David Gerrold or Adam Troy-Castro disagrees with, their minions will mumble "That's a mistake. It will hurt your career."

Let me make my position clear. I don't have a science fiction and fantasy writing career. I'm a proud and happy small-town newspaper editor. I write fiction as a hobby, a sideline. I'm almost embarrassed sometimes that I've had more success as a talented amateur who writes sporadically than some people who tried long and hard for so many years. I suppose it's a testament to the utility of getting the English language into your bones. I've been writing for publication in community newspapers since I was 12.

For better or worse, whether anyone likes it or not, people like Gerrold and Troy-Castro are REAL s-f authors. It's their job, their metier, as the French say. Don't look to me as an opinion leader.

You want to hear a story about a real mistake? Back in the summer of 1975, I was working at a newspaper in Plymouth County, Massachusetts. I got a phone call from the custodian at the War Memorial Auditorium in Plymouth. He said he just learned of something that would be big news in a few months.

I was real busy at the time, and I asked him if I could call him back and get the details in a little while. And then I forgot to call him back.

Summer ends, I go off to college in New York City, I'm a freshman at Columbia University, walking down the street. I pick up a copy of the New York Post for Nov. 1, 1975, at the Mill Luncheonette, and there's a headline:

"Dylan make surprising start of Rolling Thunder Tour in Plymouth, Massachusetts."

THEN I remembered I never returned the call. That was what he wanted to tell me. That fellow was the guy who did the bookings at the auditorium.

I could have scooped the world on how the Rolling Thunder Tour was going to start by four months!

Now THAT'S a REAL mistake!

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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

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