Friday, May 13, 2016


As some of you may know, I have Type II Diabetes. It's an insidious disease that take constant monitoring and control. Unfortunately, I had a small health issue sneak up on me recently.

While in Virginia April 30-May 1 for the Ravencon convention, I took advantage of the local shopping malls. I bought a nice new pair of shoes at a department store, and wore them back to Texas.

Earlier this week, one night as I went to bed, I saw that I had developed a bad blister running up along the small toe of my left foot. I tried to take care of it myself, but today I went to see my doctor.

He patched it up a bit, and gave me some antibiotic cream, but said I had developed an ulcer. I will be seeing a podiatrist next Wednesday.

My doctor also said I should not wear shoes without socks any more. I went and bought a bunch of ankle socks this afternoon.

The problem seems to have been caught in time, but this is the first time I developed a diabetic complication like this. Then again, I've had the disease almost 20 years.

This will be the first time I've seen a podiatrist in my life. Just a reminder to be vigilant in watching this disease.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My ConQuest line-up

Well, I have received my line-up of panels for ConQuest in Kansas City. Here it is:

Friday, May 27 6:00 p.m. - 6:50 p.m.
Authors Reading Their Favorite Authors
Moderator: Earline Beebe
Panelists: Me, Sean Demory, Ozgur K. Sahin, Caroline Spector, Dennis Young

Saturday, May 28 10:25 a.m.

Saturday, May 28 4:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.
The Legacy of H.G.Wells
Moderator: ME!
Panelists: Rich Horton, Jeff Pryor, Tom Trumpinski

Saturday, May 28 5:00 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.
Writing The Future: Imagining What We Can't Possibly Know
Moderator: Tom Trumpinski
Panelists: Me, Chris Gerrib, H.G. Stratmann

Sunday, May 29 11:00 a.m.
Navigating the World of Short Story Submission
Moderator: Jack Campbell Jr.
Panelists: Me, Jude Marie Green, Tom Trumpinski

Sunday, May 29 1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.
Future of Space Travel
Moderator: Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Panelists: Me, Robin Wayne Bailey

Sunday, May 08, 2016

It's a small world

This definitely falls under the "Its' a Small World" department, but today I was minding a brush pile which needed to be burned, and to put my time to good use, I retrieved some boxes of old newspaper photos from the 1980s, and set up a work station as I curated the photos.

They were discarded when the newspaper I worked at in 2014 was sold. The significant photos were donated to the local library, but I hauled away a couple of trash cans of photos that were thrown out, and I scan and post them occasionally.

Lo and behold, as I near the end of the process of sorting through the hundreds of photos, a familiar face appears! Sure enough, here's fellow East Texan Joe Lansdale! He must have made a local stop while promoting a book.

This is probably 20 years before I went to work at the paper in 2007, and 15 years before I even started writing fiction.

Like I said, small world!

Friday, May 06, 2016

A plague on both their houses

In rare moments of quiet contemplation, I recall how a year ago my every day was assaulted by an ongoing outpouring of hate from David Gerrold, directed towards myself and the other Hugo finalists who did not meet with his approval.

He had a repetitious tirade which boilerplated a litany that began with something like "Can you tell me why these stories should be considered the equivalent of..." and then he'd run through a list of the same famous stories and novels - the same list day after day after day.

I think he went back and deleted those dozens of posts. Doesn't matter - I'll never forget what he did.

This year he doesn't seem to be spewing The Daily Big Lie. Of course, he isn't the presenter at the ceremony this year.

I had trouble last year explaining to normal people - like my wife - how a person designated as master of ceremonies of an awards event was daily posting vicious diatribes against people who were allegedly finalists for the same award. My wife simply did not believe me, or my prediction that not only would I not probably win in the categories I was nominated in, but Gerrold and his coterie would probably not present the award rather than give it to people they didn't like.

Imagine if, for the four months preceding an Academy Awards ceremony, the master of ceremonies was allowed to viciously attack - on an ongoing, daily basis - some of the Oscar contenders.

I sat through the atrocity of the Hugo ceremony in person, while my wife watched it on live streaming at home - until she turned it off in disgust. When I got home, I said "I'm sorry you had to see that, but now you know what assholes these people are."

She believes me now.

This year, the Sad Puppies took the high road and stuck strictly to a list of reading recommendations. Vox Day got his minions to screw up the ballot - this time on purpose. I'm chuckling from the sidelines. I hope both sides wipe each other out.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Paperback haul

One of the highlights of Ravencon for me was totally unexpected - I had great luck in grabbing some vintage paperbacks from a few of the dealers. Some of these are books that I read and loved when I was young, and in many cases I hadn't seen in many years.

"Time Enough For the Stars" hooked me on Heinlein juveniles when I was in grade school.

"The Chess Men of Mars" - and that cover - made a big impression with me and was probably the first Edgar Rice Burroughs book I read.

"The Magic Goes Away" also greatly impressed me. I always throught it had one of the best "hook" intros I ever read.

That particular edition of "Telempath" resonates because of the cover - that's the Columbia University campus in the background. I literally walked past that sundial a thousand times while in college.

The other two Heinlein books - "Time Enough For Love" and "Farnham's Freehold" - have eluded me over the years, and I have never read them, so I was glad to snatch them up, also.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Next up: Conquest

Hot on the heels of my return from Ravencon, here is my schedule for Conquest in Kansas City May 27-29:

Authors Reading Their Favorite Authors FRI 6 PM
Authors will select and read their favorite scenes from other author's books.

Reading  SAT 10:30 AM

The Legacy of H.G.Wells (M) SAT 4 PM
2016 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of H.G. Wells. This panel will discuss the works of H.G. Wells, their influence on authors and
literature. There will also be discussion of the portrayal of H.G. Wells
in media including television and movies.

Writing The Future: Imagining What We Can't Possibly Know SAT 5 PM
An SF story depends on a high level of current scientific and
technological knowledge not end up dated before even hitting the shelves. And that's the easy part, because even respecting that vast breadth of knowledge an SF story needs to look beyond the known and innovate in ways that even the current engineers and scientists aren't thinking of. Panelists discuss the burden of SF to inspire, innovate and remain relevant in a world where science and technology are accelerating expeonentially.

Navigating the World of Short Story Submission SUN 11 AM
This would be a repeat of last year's panel, which was very well attended and had a really good response.

Future of Space Travel SUN 1 PM
Panelists discuss the future of space travel and science fiction books and stories imagining it.

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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