Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The spin rack is STILL making a comeback!


I'm still engaged in my policy of buying genre books from the spin racks in Dollar General stores to encourage them to stock these "gateway" mass market paperbacks. Here are two I bought last week, in Clarksville and Blossom, Texas. Total investment: $4. Value of great fun fiction: Priceless

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Doing it right this time

A couple of years ago, I had what I thought was a good idea at the time and suggested two works for a list of Hugo recommendations being compiled by an author colleague of mine.

That compilation turned out to work too well, and the success of those recommendations led to a backlash. I don't think I exaggerate when I say I think everyone involved didn't t like the ways things played out.

I resolved afterwards to never to seek support from any list in advance, but to "paddle my own canoe" - to use an old corny expression.

That's what I did in promoting "Another Girl, Another Planet". I am happy that some people and blogs decided to support it for the Dragon award, but I didn't seek any organized support in advance - although I'll accept it if offered.

Of course, I've asked many individuals for support, and some of those folks have their own lists and blogs.

I am proud of "Another Girl, Another Planet" and I think it stands on its own merits. I am very grateful to all of you who nominated it for the Dragon ballot, and I continue to to be thankful as the final voting progresses.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

News release from Dragon Con Media Relations

DRAGON CON’S DRAGON AWARDS PUBLISHES ITS 2017 BALLOT

Fans-Focused Awards Recognizes Excellence in Fifteen Categories of Fiction,

Comics, Gaming, and Filmed Entertainment

Second Annual Awards Will Be Announced at Dragon Con over Labor Day Weekend

ATLANTA – August 7, 2017 – Dragon Con’s Dragon Awards, a fan-chosen awards program to recognize outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy literature, comics, gaming, and filmed entertainment, has published its 2017 ballot.

The Dragon Awards are decidedly a “fans’ choice” award. All fans – not just Dragon Con members or attendees – are invited to select the Dragon Award winners by voting – for free – on the second annual Dragon Awards ballot. The full ballot can be accessed here: awards.dragoncon.org/2017-ballot/

To vote, fans much register on the Dragon Awards website: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_signup.php   Ballots are then emailed to registered voters a few days later.

“We believe strongly in the principle of one fan, one vote,” said Pat Henry, president of Dragon Con, Inc. “We believe that the vast body of fandom is in the best position to identify and recognize the most beloved works in science fiction and fantasy today.”

Henry went on to encourage every fan to go vote for their favorite works.

“We all know that a determined minority can carry the day when not enough people vote,” Henry said. “For that reason alone, we think it’s critical that fans everywhere vote for the books, games, comics and shows they love.”

The Dragon Awards were introduced in 2016 as part of the 30th Anniversary of Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention.

To accommodate as many creative genres as possible, awards will be given in each of 15 categories covering the full range of fiction, comics, television, movies, video gaming and tabletop gaming. Winners will be announced on Sept. 3rd at Dragon Con, which will be held September 1 to September 4, 2017 in Atlanta.

The ballot was selected in an open nomination process. Using the dedicated Dragon Awards website, fans were invited to nominate one (and only one) of their favorite properties in any or all the award categories.  Nominations ran from early April until July 25. The best and most popular of the nominated properties were elevated to the ballot.

All voting will be done electronically and only on the Dragon Awards site. No memberships or other qualifiers are required, making the voting open to all of the fans of all forms of science fiction. Fans have until Monday, August 28th at 11:59 p.m., Eastern, to register.  Voting ends 24-hours later, on Tuesday, August 29th at 11:59 p.m., also Eastern.

Further details are available on the awards website awards.dragoncon.org. Please direct all inquiries to dcawards@dragoncon.org or mail them to: Dragon Awards, PO Box 16459, Atlanta, GA 30321-0459 USA

About Dragon Con

Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television programming, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, August 07, 2017

The Five Stages of a Dragon Award nomination (or Political) Campaign – with apologies to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I mentioned in my previous post that self-promotion to get a work on an award ballot reminded me of running for public office.

After some reflection, I realized the stages in the both processes are the same, so I thought I’d put them down:

First Stage: EXCITEMENT
You’ve decided you’re going to toss your hat in the ring. You’re looking forward to the campaign. It’s going to be exciting and you look forward to doing great things. Your friends are all behind you, and with some elbow grease and a little luck, you’re a shoo-in.

Second Stage: REALITY SINKS IN
OK, you’ve begun to realize what you’ve gotten yourself into. It’s a lot more work than you anticipated, and you wonder if you are up to it. This is going to be real work, and you wonder if you have the time. The initial euphoria has worn off.

Third Stage: SELF-DOUBT
Now that you’ve been campaigning for a while, you’ve gotten to know the competition, and realize they are good – maybe better than you. Plus now you’ve learned some people you thought would help you have other plans, and some have decided to support other candidates. What have you gotten yourself into?

Fourth Stage: DEPRESSION
OK, now you see that you bit off more than you can chew. You’re strapped for time, you’ve lost supporters, and you have to admit there are other perfectly qualified candidates who could legitimately beat you. They’re just as good, if not better, and have better networks and connection than you do. You begin to think of your concession speech.

Fifth Stage: FATALISM
Election Day (or the deadline for nominations) nears, and you realize that, no matter what, this will all be over soon, and you’ll be able to relax. You decide to make one last push and pull out all the stops for a get-out-the-vote (or nomination) effort. You want to be able to say, at least for your supporters if not for yourself, that you gave it your best shot, and can hold your head high regardless of the outcome.

First thoughts on the Dragon award

I haven't posted that much regarding the Dragon Awards. I only learned of the final ballot Thursday night, and the following morning my wife and I left for the five hour (each way) drive to Austin for Armadilloncon. While at cons I don't post that much; I prefer to mix and mingle and enjoy the event.
So here are a few insights:

First of, self-promotion is hard work, and also tedious. It's a necessary evil, however, insofar as other authors are out there promoting their own works.

There's always a mix of private and public promotion. Old-timers and very successful authors do a lot of promotion behind the scenes, because they can. I was able to do some of that, also, but in my case most of my self-promotion was up front and public. As a part-time writer I don't have those really deep roots in the genre.

People reacted very well. I think it's like, every mom thinks their kid's cute. You allowed to toot your own horn and extol your own work. Even if someone isn't as enthusiastic about your work as you are, they will be polite and respectful.

I got a late start, compared to some other people, in promoting "Another Girl, Another Planet" for the Dragon because of a simple mental error. I assumed the eligibility period was the calendar year, as it is for the Hugos and Nebulas. The book was issued in January, so I assumed it would be in consideration next year. It was only in May that a friend pointed out my absent-minded oversight. The Dragons' period goes from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.

When the initial Dragon awards were announced last year, I was pleased to see one of the categories was Alternate History. Previously the only recognition I'd seen for my favorite sub-genre was the Sidewise Award. Alternate history is becoming more and more popular, and I applaud any efforts to recognize and highlight its best works.

I knew as soon as "Another Girl, Another Planet" was published it should be a contender for the Dragon award in that category, and the ongoing positive comments and reviews since its release convinced me it had a chance. Once I realized it would have to be on the ballot for consideration this year, I embarked on a program of promotion that reminded me very much standard political campaign.

It's best in a political campaign to keep the message simple and clear and repeat it constantly. My message - AGAP is a good book and deserves your consideration - seemed to have worked. By the time the nomination deadline neared, the repetition, though, was starting to drive me nuts. I got sick of hearing about Lou Antonelli - and I'm Lou Antonelli!

I've been a finalist for both the Sidewise and Hugo awards, and in both cases, if you have made the ballot, you are contacted in advance, and asked if you accept the honor. Sometimes people prefer to take a bye.

Nominations for the Dragon closed July 24, and after a week had passed I assumed I had not made the grade. I was sure of it last Thursday night when I received an email that had a link to the final ballot.

I opened the ballot, to see who HAD made the grade, and was startled to see my name there. The Dragon award apparently is less bureaucratic than some others, I suppose, and they simply released the final ballot the way the nominations fell.

I was delighted, of course, and very proud. I also saw I am in exalted company. The Alternate History selections are all excellent works and the ballot overall is very wide-ranging and inclusive. I mean, heck, when the honorees range from John Scalzi and N.K. Jemison to Vox Day and John C. Wright, you've covered the whole, and I mean whole, spectrum of authors!

I'm tired, as I just returned home from Austin, but I'll put down more thoughts shortly. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The ballot has been released for this year's Dragon awards.

Here it is:

2017 Dragon Con Awards

This ballot must be submitted by Tuesday, August 29th, 11:59 EDT (UTC -4)


1. Best Science Fiction Novel

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Babylon's Ashes by James S.A. Corey

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier

Rise by Brian Guthrie

Space Tripping by Patrick Edwards

Death's End by Cixin Liu

Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli


2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

The Hearthstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta

Beast Master by Shayne Silvers

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

Dangerous Ways by R.R. Virdi

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by Larry Correia and John Ringo

Wings of Justice by Michael-Scott Earle

A Sea of Skulls by Vox Day


3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

It's All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett

Swan Knight's Son by John C. Wright

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Rachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter


4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

Invasion: Resistance by J.F. Holmes

Cartwright's Cavaliers by Mark Wandrey

Caine's Mutiny by Charles E. Gannon

Iron Dragoons by Richard Fox

Alies and Enemies: Exiles by Amy J. Murphy

Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

Starship Liberator by B.V. Larson and David VanDyke

The Span of Empire by Eric Flint and David Carrico


5. Best Alternate History Novel

Witchy Eye by D.J. Butler

Another Girl, Another Planet by Lou Antonelli

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught by Eric Flint

The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville

Breath of Earth by Beth Cato

A Change in Crime by D.R. Perry

No Gods, Only Daimons by Kai Wai Cheah

Fallout: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove


6. Best Apocalyptic Novel

Codename: Unsub by Declan Finn and Allan Yoskowitz

The Seventh Age: Dawn by Rick Heinz

A Place Outside the Wild by Daniel Humphreys

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

American War by Omar El Akkad

ZK: Falling by J.F. Holmes

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow


7. Best Horror Novel

A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

The Bleak December by Kevin G. Summers

Blood of Invidia by Tom Tinney and Morgen Batten

Live and Let Bite by Declan Finn

The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells

Donn's Hill by Caryn Larrinaga


8. Best Comic Book

Monstress by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eleven by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs

Wynonna Earp Legends by Beau Smith, Tim Rozon, Melanie Scrofano, Chris Evenhuis

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa

Motor Girl by Terry Moore

The Dresden Files: Dog Men by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Diego Galindo


9. Best Graphic Novel

Love is Love by Marc Andreyko, Sarah Gaydos, James S. Rich

Girl Genius: the Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne, Book 2: The City of Lightning by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio

Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card by Jim Butcher, Carlos Gomez

March Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin

Stuck in My Head by J.R. Mounts

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

Clive Barker Nightbreed #3 by Marc Andreyko, Clive Barker, Emmanuel Javier


10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

Marvel's Agents of Shield, ABC

Stan Lee's Lucky Man, Sky1

Stranger Things, Netflix

Wynonna Earp, Syfy

Lucifer, Fox

Doctor Who, BBC

Westworld, HBO

The Expanse, Syfy


11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 directed by James Gunn

Doctor Strange directed by Scott Derrickson

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story directed by Gareth Edwards

Arrival directed by Denis Villeneuve

Logan directed by James Mangold

Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins

Passengers directed by Morten Tyldum


12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

Final Fantasy XV by Square Enix

Mass Effect: Andromeda by Bioware

Dishonored 2 by Arkane Studios

NieR: Automata by PlatinumGames

Titanfall 2 by Respawn Entertainment

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild by Nintendo


13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

Con Man: The Game by Monkey Strength Productions

Super Mario Run by Nintendo

Sky Dancer by Pine Entertainment

Monument Valley 2 by Ustwogames

Pokemon GO by Niantic

Fire Emblem Heroes by Nintendo


14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

Hero Realms by White Wizard Games

Mansions of Madness (Second Edition) by Fantasy Flight Games

Terraforming Mars by Stronghold Games

Gloomhaven by Cephalofair Games

Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk by Avalon Hill

Scythe by Stonemaier Games


15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game

Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon by Wizards of the Coast

Dark Souls: The Board Game by Steamforged Games

Star Wars: Destiny by Fantasy Flight Games

A Shadow Across the Galaxy X-Wing Wave X by Fantasy Flight Games

Pulp Cthulhu by Chaosium

Bloodborne: The Card Game by CMON Limited

Monday, July 31, 2017

Why I am in the doghouse...

Turner Classic Movies showed Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" last night at midnight. My wife recorded it and was watching it this afternoon.

During the the nerve-wracking final scene, when the characters are trapped in the house by the sea, I snuck up behind her chair, and crossed my arms, and then slapped each elbow with the opposite palm at the same time.

If you've ever done this, you know this makes a creditable flapping noise.

THIS IS CALLED BEING TOO CLEVER BY HALF.

Patricia jumped 20 feet, and now I owe her a week's worth of foot rubs, plus back rubs, and a lot more, and then she will - maybe - decide if I am allowed to live.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another great review

Review: Another Girl, Another Planet by Lou Antonelli

By David Afsharirad 
On his blog Tyrannosaurus Ranch


I don't really read science fiction novels much these days. With as many science fiction short stories as I read in order to assemble The Year's Best Military and Adventure SF series, when it comes time to wind down with a book, I find myself reaching for different genres. When I do read a science fiction novel, I tend to gravitate toward older works that I've meant to read but haven't gotten around to. All this to say, if a science fiction novel came out in the last three or four years, there's a stunningly good chance I haven't cracked its spine.


But I made an exception for Lou Antonelli's Another Girl, Another Planet. The premise was just too interesting. I couldn't resist.


With Another Girl, Another Planet, Lou Antonelli gives us the 20th Century we deserved rather then the 20th Century we got. It's an alternate history story in which Admiral Robert A. Heinlein (yes, that Robert A. Heinlein) convinces the United States and the U.S.S.R. to work together on a joint space program, rather than against one another in an escalating arms race. As a result, by 1985 (when our story is set) there is a thriving colony on the Moon and the frontier has moved to Mars.


The hero of the story is Dave Shuster, a low-level bureaucrat who is sent to the Mars colony to take over a vacant administration position. Once there, however, he discovers that the Martian governor has died while he was en route. Shuster is now interim leader of the colony.


The engine for Antonelli's plot is an Asmovian mystery involving a mysterious robot and android factory on Mars and a missing girl (an old flame of Shuster's) back in New York City. The mystery is well-done and kept me turning pages, and Shuster, who narrates the novel, is a likable protagonist with a great voice.


But the real joy of the novel is the world that Antonelli has created. For one thing, it's incredibly well thought out. More than that, it's just downright fun. In Another Girl, Another Planet, familiar faces from our timeline turn up in different settings throughout. Familiar technology such as fax machines exist alongside Moon-to-Mars rocketships. To say too much would be to ruin the fun of the novel, so I'll just mention two things that typify what I'm talking about. The first is when Dave Shuster finds a cassette of Buddy Holly's early material, from 1957 - 1961, before he and The Beatles became engaged in the U.S. vs. Britain Music Wars. Another is that we find out what happened to famed skyjacker D.B. Cooper in this timeline.


If I have a criticism to level against the novel it's that, from time to time, the forward movement of the plot is sidelined so that some aspect of the alternate timeline and/or retro-futuristic technology can be explained. But these diversions are so entertaining that it's hard to say that they should have been cut. I certainly would have missed them. Readers not as enamored with 20th Century history and pop culture might find themselves a little lost in all of the references, but I suspect that, for the most part, they will just sail on by, not causing a distraction.


Published by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta's Wordfire Press, Another Girl, Another Planet is available now. Here's a link to it on Amazon. Or, if you prefer, you can buy a DRM-free version from Baen.com.


If there were more books like Lou Antonelli's Another Girl, Another Planet, I'd 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Nice review on Amazon

Secret history on Mars debut novel!, July 25, 2017
By Margaret A. Davis
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Another Girl, Another Planet (Kindle Edition)

Secret history wrapped in alternate history. I've been reading alternate history for some time now. I've only recently gotten into secret history with Simon R. Green's Secret Histories (aka Eddie Drood) series. (Secret history has been a longtime category of science fiction, just new to me.)

Another Girl, Another Planet uses an "unreliable narrator" for this alternate history. Where the person relating his story is surprised that anyone might believe his tale and where the person has no explanation for the fact that his story obviously took place in an alternate reality/parallel universe.
As someone who remembers well the 1960's through 1980's, I also definitely enjoyed Mr. Antonelli's use of historical figures (as well as some actual contemporary people) in this novel.

Another Girl, Another Planet is the story of a man sent to Mars in 1985 to be executive assistant to the colonial governor at the joint Soviet-NATO Mars base. Not only was there the joint mission on Mars but there was also a thriving joint Soviet-NATO Moon settlement (complete with several cities).

In this alternate reality, instead of an arms race after WWII the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact nations & the U.S./Western powers had a space race and ended up deciding to go together on both the Moon and later Mars, as a better use of both of their resources. They had even set up a fixed rotation where the base was operated by the Soviets this year and twenty years later NATO would smoothly assume control of the base (until the next fixed turnover). Even if it were NATO's turn to operate the base, both sides had to agree on leadership positions such as the governor & lieutenant governor. That is, if it is NATO's operation, the Soviets must sign off as well on these critical appointees.

This alternate reality had both robots and androids, although both had been banned from Earth and the Moon by the time the story begins. Said robots and, in particular androids, were on Mars to both help construct the colony and also work there as common laborers, maids, waitresses, etc. etc. I enjoy science fiction novels with mixed societies of humans and robots/androids.

Another Girl, Another planet is a good yarn. Good worldbuilding, interesting choices as to how this alternate history was different from our own history, and I enjoyed getting to know the various characters. So far as I know, this is Mr. Antonelli's first novel. His earlier work has been shorter fiction, a lot of them short stories, and most of them secret histories/alternate history as well. Recommended for readers of secret histories/alternate history and Mars!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Armadillocon is coming up August 4-6.

Here is my schedule:

Fr1700BF Writing Golden Age Fiction Today
Fri 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Ballroom F
L. Antonelli, A. Porter*, J. Reasoner, A. Simmons
Let's have some of that old-time Sense of Wonder

Fr2030CC Reading
Fri 8:30 PM-9:00 PM Conference Center

Sa1100DR Signing
Sat 11:00 AM-Noon Dealers' Room
S. Allen, L. Antonelli, L.T. Duchamp, P.J. Hoover

Sa1300BE Clarke's Law
Sat 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Ballroom E
L. Antonelli, D. Cherry, A. Latner*, A. Martinez, J. Reisman, S. Trevino
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." With this pronouncement, Arthur C. Clarke joined Asimov (with his Laws of Robotics) and Sturgeon (90%...) in having epigrams transformed into "Laws". It's even been turned around! Our panelists discuss the continuing influence of these ideas at the boundary of SF & F.

Sa1500CC Writing 101
Sat 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Conference Center
L. Antonelli, M. Bracken, S. Allen, K. Catmull, G. Iglesias, M. Cardin*
Getting past the blank page for short story and novel writing. Come prepared for a writing exercise or two

Sa1900SPA Clarke's Vision - Nuts & Bolts vs. Visionary
Sat 7:00 PM-8:00 PM Southpark A
L. Antonelli, P. Hemstreet, Mi. Finn, J. Gibbons*, J. Moore
Space Exploration vs. Visionary Eschatology: Clarke's earlier career was split between hard SF of the exploration of space, and human destiny works like Childhood's End and The City and the Stars; later he tried to bridge that gap, with 2001: A Space Odyssey and others. Which modes worked, and what other authors have bridged this divide?

Su1300BE Dystopias (and utopias) in a dystopian age
Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Ballroom E
L. Antonelli, D. Hardy*, P.J. Hoover, J. Reisman, S. White
Reading and writing dystopias (and utopias) in a dystopian age

Su1500SPB What is this thing Called Plot?
Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Southpark B
L. Antonelli, M. Bracken, U. Fung, J. Lans

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Stop the presses!

To my many friends who know me as a science fiction and fantasy writer, this is what I do for a living.

This is called a newspaper. It made from ground up trees that are flattened, dried and then smeared with a dark petroleum product in a process called "printing" - a durable technology that's worked for 500 years but finally seems to be on the way out.

However, this newspaper is chock full of news and items of the people who live in its city. To rephrase something Daniel Webster said in the famous Dartmouth case, "It's a small paper, but yet there are those who love it."

Years ago, I was on a panel on writing at an AggieCon in College Station. A member of the audience asked the six authors if we would quit our day job and write full time if we could.

I was the only one who said I wouldn't quit my day job.

I've always enjoyed being a journalist. I love the variety of the work and the public contact. Writing is a lonely, solitary occupation. I've very outgoing and I'd go nuts if I had to stay tied to a computer grinding out fiction day in and day out for a living.

Given the amount of time I DO devote to fiction, I'm very proud of what I've accomplished, and I am extraordinary proud of my first novel, "Another Girl, Another Planet".

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Taking stock

I have five Upcoming Short Story Publications:

"The Orphan Hunter" - Aphelion

"Milady Wakes' -Theme of Absence

"The Mole and the Sun" - Surprising Stories

"Dry Falls" - Somnium (Brazil)

"A Choice of Weapons" - TANSTAAFL Press "Enter the Apocalypse"

I've had six stories published so far this year:

“The Silver Crescent” – Bewildering Stories, Issue 705

“Watch What Happens’ – Fiction on the Web, March 2017

“The World Turned Upside Down” – Rocket’s Red Glare anthology, Rough Edges Press

"The Last Run of the Piney Woods Express" - "Bewitched, Betwixt and Between" anthology, Crosstime Publishing

“A Stone’s Throw” – 4 Star Stories

“Riders of the Red Shift” – Astounding Frontiers, Vo. 1 No. 1 July 2017

That looks like a potential tally of eleven short stories published in o

Friday, July 21, 2017

On target

One of the most insightful observations about "Another Girl, Another Planet" comes from Hans Schantz:

"I finished Lou Antonelli's Another Girl, Another Planet this week. Think of it as an Asimovian robot mystery set in a Heinleinian alternate reality. Highly recommended!"

Saturday, July 15, 2017

"Sometimes mundane problems require supernatural solutions."

My latest short story:

A bureaucrat, faced with a seemingly intractable dilemma, gets advice from an other worldly visitor.

In the end he learns his adviser is the shade of the bureaucrat who made the worst decision in history - and has been serving penance ever since.

The name of the story is "Patron Saint".

Friday, July 14, 2017

A herd of dragons

My wife went to the regional archives library at Paris Junior College yesterday (Thursday) and I tagged along. She was doing some historical and genealogical research.

The Paris Junior College mascot is the dragon, and I found in the lobby of the library a display case full of dragons - toys, dolls, beany-type babies, etc.

I wonder if this is a good omen?

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Reaganaissance Faire

Do you yearn to play in a more simple time, between the Dark Ages and the Modern Era - before there was the internet, cell phones, painful on-line constant social interaction with every idiot on the planet, and music that was actually composed?

You can journey back and role-play in a festival designed for those who yearn for a less complicated era of history.

With the start of summer, the Society for Creative Anomaly (SCA) would like to announce the opening of the first ReaFair ( Reaganaissance Faire), a special village set up to duplicate the simpler and slower times of that long ago 1980s era.

Actors mingle in the crowds dressed in authentic era fashions. You are encouraged to dress appropriately and play any role you wish

You can pretend you are boogeying in Studio 54, while an actor portrays Steve Rubell presiding over the debauchery.

If the Cold War is your thing, you can watch Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev verbally joust.

Each day there is a Madonna look-alike competition, and also a Madonna/Cyndi Lauper song competition.

The main meadow stage is occupied by Freddy Mercury and Queen doing power pop sing-a-longs.

And beware as Adam Ant jostles and leads his band of merry cutpurses through the crowds.

It's great fun for the whole family, and its now open for the summer. Take that nostalgic trip back to an era that lives now only in myth.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A neat little book

I recently picked up a neat little book at the local library book sale. It was never part of the library collection; it's a 1923 book called "Representative English Essays". It was obviously meant to be a textbook, and in fact graffiti inside indicates it belonged to a student at Austin College in 1926.
It was cheaply printed. The cover is little more than a particularly heavy stock of cardboard. The thing I found interesting - confusing? - is that in a number of pages were not separated. It's like pages were printed in multiples of four and were meant to be separated when the book was bound and the pages trimmed - and because it was a cheap print job, the trimming was sloppy and a number of pages not cut apart.
I suppose because it WAS a college textbook the owner did not read it, otherwise the pages would have been cut apart. I've kept a small pair of scissors next to it on a table, and every time I find one of these conjoined pages I cut them apart.
It's an excellent book, by the way, coming right at the start of the era when the radio rose up and dominated storytelling. It represents the cream of essays from the era when READING was the dominant form of entertainment for many people. Authors include Alfred Tennyson, Francis Bacon, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, Richard Steele, William Hazlitt, William Makepeace Thackeray, George Henry Lewes, Henry Seidel Canby, Henry Thoreau, William Beebe, Lafcadio Hearn, Woodrow Wilson and others.
Does anyone know the printing process that would explain why so many of the pages were never cut apart?

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

109 and counting

With the publication of "The Last Run of the Piney Woods Express" last week in the "Bewitched, Betwixt and Between" anthology from Crosstime Publishing, that makes 109 short stories published since 2003.
I have five stories accepted and waiting to be published:
* "The Mole and the Sun" - Surprising Stories
* "Dry Falls" - Somnium (Brazil)
* "A Choice of Weapons" - TANSTAAFL Press "Enter the Apocalypse"
""Riders of the Red Shift" - Astonishing Frontiers
Astonishing Frontiers is a new publication that should debut by the middle of this month. This will be the third time, I believe, where I had a story in the debut issue of a publication.
The last time I did that was in the kick-off issue of Buzzy Mag in 2012. That urban fantasy story, "The Centurion and the Rainman", is archived here.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Dragon thoughts

In just two years, the Dragon awards have surpassed the Hugos as the benchmark of science fiction fandom approval. More people are interested in the Dragons, and trust the process, than the Hugos (IMHO). The Hugos were irreparably damaged two years ago, when - in the face of the Sad Puppies fiasco - the sf literary establishment essentially did what corporations sometimes do - they bought all the stock back and took the company private (by buying as many WorldCon memberships as needed to insure none of the "wrong" sort of people won.)

In the long run, maybe having more awards is a good thing, because it recognizes a greater variety of interests , But from what I see, the Dragons this year are where the Hugos were maybe 30 years ago, the award authors want and readers look forward to.

The deadline for nominating closes in a little over three weeks.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Latest stories

I may be a prolific author, but it looks like I did something this week that is unusual even for me - I had two stories published on the same day.

On June 25, Crosstime Publishing came out with an anthology, Bewitched, Betwixt, and Between, which includes my ghost story "The Last Run of the Piney Woods Express."

4 Star Stories, a neat little ezine published by David and Mary Gray, also came out with its latest issue, which includes my flash "A Stone'e Throw", on the same day. Follow the link here to read it.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cancellation

When you are poor, very small things can impact your plans. I'm sorry to say that my wife and I are doing so badly financially, and we've had so much bad luck recently, that we can't afford to travel this weekend, so I will not be able to attend Libertycon.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Back from OKC

Got back from SoonerCon, had a wonderful time. It's one of the friendliest conventions around, and the program topics were excellent. Enjoyed dinner Saturday night with Karl Gallagher and Clifford McMurray and Sonya McMurray at a barbecue joint on Douglas Ave. called The Rib Crib. I'll be posting some photos later, but I'm tired from the traveling right now

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Just a month left

There's now just a month to get your nominations in for the Dragon Awards this year (they close July 24). I'd like to think "Another Girl, Another Planet" is a contender for Best Alternate History Novel.

I'm sure you would enjoy it if you haven't read it already, and I'd appreciate your support.

"Brilliant ideas, well told. I loved it!" - Larry Niven.

"It was one of those rare optimistic alternate histories that still managed to convey an interesting story... If you are curious at all about one way humans might have flown farther than the Moon, then you might want to pick up Lou Antonelli’s Another Girl, Another Planet." - Mattmitrovich, Amazing Stories.

"Good Lord, Lou Antonelli did something I thought was impossible. He made me like an alternative history story, and usually I hate those." - Abyss & Apex

"You don’t like or read alternate history? Neither do I. Too bad, you’ll like it anyway. Really." - Declan Finn, A Pius Geek

You can find the Dragon Awards nomination page here:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Shrinking markets

Over the weekend I sent off a story to Red Sun magazine. They replied yesterday "Unfortunately, we must return it to you as we are on indefinite hiatus."

I'm grateful that even though they have closed, they were professional enough to still send a email. A lot of other venues, under similar circumstances, would have simply never replied. I had this happen recently with Perihelion magazine.

This highlights the disturbing shrinkage of respectable markets for short s-f fiction. It looked like a few years ago that the internet was leading to a proliferation of new markets, but I suspect many of them simply can't generate any revenue to cover whatever small overhead they have.

Even with a "4 the LUV" market, the owners must have a real job someplace and I'm sure become strapped for time.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

14th anniversary

Today marks the 14th anniversary of my first short story publication, when Jayme Lynn Blaschke published "Silvern" in Revolution S-F on June 17, 2003.

I attended my first s-f con, ConDFW, the previous February. I met Jayme there. I had just started in write spec fic and asked him if I could submit. He said "sure". I whipped up "Silvern" and emailed it to him.

This was his introduction:

"New writer Lou Antonelli isn't really a new writer at all. A longtime newspaper editor and reporter with multiple awards from Texas Press Association in editorial, column, and feature writing, Antonelli has recently turned his hand to science fiction with impressive results, as evidenced by the following story."

It is still archived at the Revolution SF site. You can it there.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday morning update

It's always nice to get a royalty payment you weren't looking for. It's even nicer when it starts the week off on a Monday morning. Kudos to Michael A. Willis at the Digital Fiction Publishing League for being a great publisher. He reprinted my Sidewise award finalist short story "Great White Ship" in his QuickFic anthology last year.

With the publication of my short story "The World Turned Upside Down" in "Rocket's Red Glare", I've had 107 short stories published since 2003.
This doesn't count any stories I self-published, either on-line or via Amazon.
I have 15 stories right now in various slush piles, and five pending publication.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Latest tally

With the publication of my short story "The World Turned Upside Down" in "Rocket's Red Glare", I've had 107 short stories published since 2003.

This doesn't count any stories I self-published, either on-line or via Amazon.

I have 15 stories right now in various slush piles, and five pending publication.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Anthology series

Superversive Press is planning a series of anthologies later this year, each with a theme tied to a planet. I have agreed to write a story each for Mercury, Venus and Mars. Thanks and a tip of the hat to Jon Del Arroz, David Hallquist and L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

My SoonerCon schedule

SooonerCon in Oklahoma City is only three weeks away, June 23-25. Here is my schedule:

Readings
Alternate History:  4:00 PM Friday – Rice:  Lou Antonelli, Walt Boyes, Jeff Provine, Joy Ward

Using Your Creativity for Fun and Profit - 5:00 PM Friday Ballroom E
Description: Bottom line: You’re in business for yourself. But’s that’s so boring! Inspired project and time management dos and don’ts from the pros on living and working as a creative person who gets stuff done.  Panelists:  Jan S. Gephardt, Lou Antonelli, Ryan Bellgardt, Jerry Bennett, W.J. Hodgson, Peter Pixie.

 Alternate History’s Allure - 1:00 PM Saturday Ballroom E
Description: What appeals most about the alternate history genre? How does a real historic setting with a changed fictional outcome inspire hope, regret, and more? Panelists: Jeff Provine, Lou Antonelli, David Carrico, Peter Pixie, Bradley H. Sinor, Joy Ward.

The Romance of “Out There” - 3:00 PM Saturday Ballroom F
Description: Discuss your favorite works involving exploration “just for the heck of it.” What human traits impel us over the next hill, or to the next star system? Can humanity’s drive to explore be fulfilled on this planet? Panelists:  Curtiss Mays, Lou Antonelli, Tim Frayser, Clifford McMurray, Cary G. Osborne, Mel White

Autographs
4:00 PM Saturday 10 Forward: Lou Antonelli, Deborah Chester, Karl K. Gallagher, Lou Antonelli

How to Create a Universe: 11:00 AM Sunday Theater
Description: World-Building Techniques It’s just as easy to get lost in trivial descriptive details as it is to hurry through and miss the small things that make up a dynamic SF world. Writers share their advice on developing descriptions of customs, settings, cultures, religions, politics, geography and more for cohesive and captivating genre reads.Panelists:  Lee Killough, Lou Antonelli, Deborah Chester, Maureen McHugh, Jody Lynn Nye, Timothy Zahn.

Ethics of AI Are androids slaves (Blade Runner, Star Wars)? 3:00 PM Sunday Pung
Description: Would a self-aware intelligence have the right to personhood (Chappie, Ex Machina)? Is it okay to love an AI (Westworld, Cherry 2000)? Panelists discuss the ethical considerations of artificial intelligence development and creation.  Panelists: Shawn Scarber, Lou Antonelli, Kimber Chessmore, Jackie Kramer, Tim Frayser, Joey Rodman.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Latest publication

I'm proud to announce that my short story "Riders of the Red Shift" will be leading off the first issue of  an new space opera-themed ezine, "Astonishing Frontiers", coming out soon.

This will be my 107th published short story. I think it's the first time since since the debut of Buzzy Mag in 2012 that I have the first story in a new publication.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Now Available: Rocket's Red Glare

The trade paperback edition of the new Rough Edges Press anthology ROCKET'S RED GLARE is now available on Amazon, and ebook editions for all platforms are available at the various on-line retailers.

Publisher James Reasoner said on his blog:

"I just want to say how proud I am of this book and all the authors involved, and how grateful I am to them and to Brad R. Torgersen and Livia J. Washburn for their work on the cover. There are some great stories in ROCKET'S RED GLARE: a major new novella from Brad R. Torgersen, a USAian story by Sarah A. Hoyt, gritty military SF from Nathan E. Meyer, an interstellar epic by Keith West, a superb first contact yarn from Robert E. Vardeman, suspenseful tales set in our solar system by Christopher Chupik and David Hardy, a poignant look at the future on Mars by Lou Antonelli, and stories set on Earth but involving galactic conflict from Martin L. Shoemaker and myself. Classic SF from top-notch authors. You can't go wrong with that."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Internet finally kills somebody





CONROE, Texas – Local law enforcement officials and the Texas Rangers say a man living in a Houston suburb is apparently the first person ever directly killed by social media negativity and hatefulness.

Pallas Mulligan, 34, was found dead in his Conroe home Tuesday after family members and friends expressed concern about his well-being.

Conroe Police Chief Ike Bessell said responding officers found Mulligan’s carbonized remains, intact but approximately one-fourth of their original size, in a burned area of the living room where he had apparently undergone spontaneous combustion.

“The officers who responded to the welfare concern call immediately felt there was a large amount of negative energy present, which was confirmed when an officer’s silver bracelet set off a large electrical discharge,” said Bessell.

The officer had to be treated for second degree burns on her wrist, added Bessell.

Monday night Mulligan posted a tasteless wisecrack on social media in the wake of the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, earlier in the day: “Wow, that show was a real bomb, eh?”

The Texas Rangers report the time stamp on Mulligan’s computer indicated he deleted it 98 seconds later, but not before it was copied, reposted or retweeted 17,541,459 times in 15 minutes.

Mulligan later posted a long apology, which was apparently read 15 times.

David Negley, a forensics expert with the Texas Rangers, said Mulligan’s computer shut down three hours later after it ran out of memory after receiving 465 million death threats.

Personal friends said while talking to Mulligan on their iPhone later that evening it was apparent he was physically deteriorating.

“He had dark rings around his eyes, and he said he felt feverish and burning,” according to Angela Lateek, who was a friend from high school. “I told him he needed to go someplace and calm down, but he said he was scared to go outside.”

Rangers said the last phone call made from Mulligan’s phone was at 11:35 p.m. Monday.

Officers who went to his Conroe home Tuesday morning found his charred remains, but no signs of any trauma, said Chief Bessell.

“We have to assume all that negative energy directed at him by all the hateful people on the internet burned him up like a piece of bacon,” said Bessell.

Mulligan’s remains were taken to a local mortuary; funeral services are pending.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Lou Antonelli

This weekend I did a feature called Ten Things You Didn't Know About Lou Antonelli:

Item No. 1 - Lou is a first generation American. Both his parents were born in Italy and immigrated to the United States after World War II. At the time of his birth his father was here illegally, his mother was a resident alien. Both became naturalized citizens later.

Interesting Lou fact No. 2:
Lou and special make-up creator Tom Savini are second cousins. They share a common great-grandparent.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 3:
Lou once served as an elected school district trustee. He was also once appointed a special judge to preside over a condemnation court (eminent domain) in Dallas County.

Which means he has been both an "Honorable" and a "Judge"in the past.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 4:
Lou was a precocious journalist but a belated s-f writer.

His first news story was published in the local newspaper when he was 12.

His first pro science fiction story, the secret history "A Rocket for the Republic" in Asimov's, was published when he was 48.

His first novel, the alternate history "Another Girl, Another Planet", was published when he was 60.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 5:
Lou's first pro sale, "A Rocket for the Republic" in 2005, was the last story Gardner Dozois bought before he retired from Asimov's Science Fiction after 19 years as editor.

He's not had a story in Asimov's since then.

Interesting note: Lou has always considered Howard Waldrop an inspiration and role model. Howard Waldrop's short story "Lunchbox" (1972) was probably the last story accepted by John W. Campbell at Analog (one can't be entirely sure because Campbell died suddenly).

Howard's not had a story in Analog since then.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 6:
As Managing Editor of The Bowie County Citizens Tribune in New Boston, Texas, Lou took first place in the Texas Press Association Community Service Award in 2006.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 7:
In 1969 when Lou was a 12-year old growing up in Massachusetts, be sent off to an ad in a comic book and bought a set of 100 canceled postage stamps. He later tucked them away in an envelope and forgot about them.

In 1998, when he was 41, he happened to find the envelope with the stamps in them. In going through them, he realized one of them was a George Washington one cent green stamp, pre-cancelled in Cedar Hill, Texas.

At the time he lived at 509 Houston Street, Cedar Hill, Texas - 2000 miles from where he grew up in Massachusetts.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 8:
While at Columbia University, Lou was a member of the staff of the Columbia Daily Spectator, the Columbia College Student Council, and the Office of Student Affairs - the only person to serve in the three main occupants of Ferris Booth Hall - which was torn down in 1996.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 9:
Lou is one of only four people ever to be nominated in a fiction and non-fiction Hugo category in the same year. The other three people are Mike Resnick, Michael Swanwick and John Scalzi.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 10:
Lou has had 106 short stories published in 13 years. His 100th story, "The Yellow Flag" (published in Sci-Phi Journal on August 1, 2016, was written, submitted and accepted in four hours - between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. May 6, 2015.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tired of the scenario

You know, I'm as big a fan of alternate history as anyone, but I am getting really, really tired of these iterations of the "What if the Nazis won World War II?" theme.

It's remarkable Germany got as far as it did, mainly because nobody believed Hitler was as unpredictable and aggressive as he was. The unpreparedness of the Allies was also a big factor,

I remarked - half jokingly - during the panel on Alternate History at Ravencon last month that I'm worried there is so much fictional narrative out there about the Nazis winning that I'm afraid one morning I'm going to wake up and find that somehow the accumulated weight of this "The Nazis won" narrative in the public consciousness will have caused some kind of parallel world shift - and we'll all be stuck in a world where the Nazis really did win!

There needs to be an anthology with the theme "They Still Lost", featuring alternate history stories about World War II where the Nazis still lose, but others things happen. For example:

* Enrico Fermi doesn't leave Italy and Mussolini gets the bomb!

* General Patton doesn't get in the car wreck and persuades Truman to turn on the Russians.

* We never use the bomb on Japan and so we can't get them to surrender.

* Hitler hides in the Alps and conducts guerilla warfare against the Allied Occupation.

* The Japanese in Manchukuo don't surrender, hold off the Soviet Army and then influence the coming Chinese civil war.

Of course, I think some of these ideas have already been explored

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Upcoming publication

Just finished proofing my short story "The World Turned Upside Down" which is in the forthcoming Rough Edges Press anthology "Rocket's Red Glare".

My colleagues in this anthology include Brad Torgersen, Keith West, Martin L. Shoemaker, Nathan E. Meyer, Sarah A. Hoyt, Dave Hardy, Bob Vardeman, Christopher Chupik, and Rough Edges Publisher his own self James Reasoner.

The last Rough Edges Press anthology I participated in. "Tales From the Otherverse" proved to be one of the best alternate history anthologies in recent years, and Bill Crider's story "It Doesn't Matter Any More" won the Sidewise Award for short fiction.

It was after "Tales From the Otherverse" came out I suggested to James that "Rocket's Red Glare:" would make a good title for a space opera anthology with positive stories. He liked the idea, and started on it.

I'm proud to be a part of it.

The Best Mother's Day Gift Ever

My wife and I never had any children, so we resorted to the traditional alternative and adopted a few furry children.

The alpha dog, Sugar, is half black Lab and (probably) half Italian Greyhound. She takes her job very seriously and is very smart; she figured out what the word "burglar" means without us teaching her.

A few years ago, a day or two before Mother's Day, I noted the upcoming event, and asked her, "So what are YOU going to give your mom for Mother's Day?"

I was being a wise-ass, but did I get my comeuppance!

The afternoon of Mothers Day, Patricia was on the couch watching television and the patio door was open.

Suddenly she shouted "Stop Sugar, she's carrying in a dead animal!"

I rushed to the door, and stopped Sugar. She had a freshly killed bird in her mouth, looking very pleased with herself, head held high and tail wagging.

I said, "Omigod, Sugar, I was KIDDING, you don't have to bring mom a present!"

As Patricia noted, by dog standards, this was probably the best present possible - a tasty freshly-killed tender bird for a meal.

I explained to Sugar that humans don't eat raw food, and thanked her for the gift. Then I disposed of it.

It's the thought that counts.

I also told Sugar that, in the future she was exempt from having to get mom a Mother's Day gift.

She never did that before, and she's never done it since. I personally think that, as smart as she is, she pretty much decided "I'll show him!"

There are HUMAN children who don't listen to their parents as much, and who wouldn't go to the trouble she did to get a "present" for mom.

God strike me dead if this isn't a true story. I could never make this up.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Helping the little guy

I haven't updated my short story submissions in a while, and I have a dozen of them ready to be sent on their merry little way.

Anyone out there want to recommend smaller or little - known venues? Don't bother with the obvious ones, like Analog or Asimovs or F&SF. I'm looking for little guys who'd like a little bit of quality speculative fiction. I don't care about money - if I did I'd never started writing in the first place.

I'm always willing to help folks who publish for the love of the genre, so if there is some venue out there I wouldn't think of that might like to read something by Lou Antonelli, post a comment here because I will be sending out stories all weekend.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Latest sale

I'm proud to announce I have signed a contract with Rough Edges Press for the publication of my short story, "The World Turned Upside Down", in its upcoming space opera anthology "Rockets Red Glare".

Back in 2015 I had an alternate history story, "Port Radium" in the Rough Edges Press "Tales From the Otherverse", which had a great deal of critical acclaim, and I expect this anthology will be equally successful.

Thanks go to Publisher James Reasoner for picking up the story

Friday, May 05, 2017

Calling Grendel Briarton

One day, while I was a teenager in Massachusetts, a group of high school students volunteered to help with a beach clean-up. It was an uncommon spill, but not unheard of – illicit drugs had washed up on a beach in the Cape Code National Seashore.

Apparently a boat, while being chased by the Coast Guard, threw its cargo of drugs overboard – which happened in this case to be bales of marijuana. Normally, the bales would have sunk, but because they was wrapped in plastic, they didn’t get water-logged and in fact had the right buoyancy to float – which they did, right onto the beach of the National Seashore.

By the time authorities found the bales, wave action had, however, had broken most of them open, and the marijuana was lying there wet and soggy on the beach. It gave a whole new meaning to the term “sea weed”.

Local public works employees had begun to collect up the soggy weed, but unfortunately local wildlife began to eat it. Marijuana is a plant, after all. Seagulls and terns had swooped in and gobbled it up, and then began to show symptoms of toxicity from eating the plants. As an emergency measure, the authorities asked for warm bodies to collect up the wet weed as soon as possible.

That’s how myself and other members of the National Honor Society found ourselves on a bus on the way to the seashore.

When we got there, we were given buckets and rakes, and told to work as fast as we could. Any thoughts anyone might have had of pocketing any of the weed was eliminated by its poor condition by then – soaked in salt water, with sand and other stuff mixed in.

I could see why the authorities had been concerned about the birds ingesting the marijuana. There were a number of birds staggering and flopping on the sand and in the grass. While we filled our buckets at the edge of the water, there were animal rescue people scooping up the birds for their own protection and taking them to a safe place where they could recuperate.

While I raked I saw a few birds clumsily flap down from the sky, and plop themselves on the beach until one of the animal rescue volunteers could grab them.

I was near a mooring post, however, when a tern swooped down and alighted on it. He looked at me and cocked his head in puzzlement. He seemed quite steady, so I supposed he was late to the party. From the way he sniffed the air I think he was a late arrival and hadn’t gotten there in time to get a snack before the clean-up began.

I looked at him, and he looked at me with what I took to be big eyes of disappointment. I decided my good deed for the day would be to see that he didn’t get left out, so I took a small handful of some relatively dry marijuana, walked over to the post, turned my back and slipped him some.

Unfortunately I didn’t see a rescue person just behind the next dune, but they saw me. She came over, and with some indignation, growled at me: “Do you think it’s funny? We are trying to save these birds, and here you are feeding one what is making them sick!”

“I just have a soft heart,” I pleaded. “It didn’t think it was fair he’d be the only bird left out of the pot party.”

“Besides,” I said as I wiped my hands and the bird flew away, “I wanted to make sure no tern was unstoned.”

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Back from Ravencon

I'm back from Ravencon. The tiredness has unfortunately been replaced by con crud, I'm really run down. I'm taking cold medicine and cough drops and trying to push on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Peddling books

Don't forget, folks, I will be signing and selling copies of my retro-futurist alternate history "Another Girl, Another Planet" at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Dealers Room at Ravencon in Williamsburg, Va.

I only have eleven copies of the book on hand, so there's a possibility I may sell out!

My signing was added at the last minute, so it is NOT in the printed program book.

Here's a little promotion - the cover price is $17.99, but if you walk up and use the secret code phrase, you can have it for $16.

The secret code is "Admiral Heinlein".

Friday, April 14, 2017

President Correia (?)

OK. on Monday I asked the hypothetical question, on my Facebook page - if you could pick an s-f author to be U.S. President, who would it be?

I did not note nominations of authors who are dead, such as Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov or Poul Anderson. I DID count nominees who would be ineligible to serve because they are foreign born.
I have made up a very unofficial tally of the suggestions, and it looks like the winner is...

TRUMPETS!

DRUM ROLL!

THROAT CLEARING...

President...

Larry Correia!

The clear winner with 18 votes.

It was very close for second place. John Ringo had nine votes and Tom Kratman had eight.

A strong fourth place showing goes to an author who would not be considered right-of-center by any definition, David Brin - which shows there is come diversity of political opinion among my Friends.
Dr. Jerry Pournelle received five votes, and Ursula LeGuin - also certainly not a right-winger - received four.

On the basis of these results, then, if we had right vs. left political tickets, it would be Correia and Ringo vs. the Brin/LeGuin ticket.

Other authors who received more than one vote each were:

Michael Z. Williamson, David Weber - 4

Dr. Travis Taylor, Eric Flint, L. L Neil Smith, Elizabeth Moon, David Gerrold - 3

Lois McMaster Bujold, Chuck Gannon, Sarah Hoyt, Brad Torgersen, Chuck Tingle, Vox Day - 2

Authors with one nomination each were John Hemry, Chris Nuttall, Michael Briner, Spider Robinson, Owl Goingback, Laura Anne Gilman, Dave Butler, Phil Foglio, Samuel Delany, Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, C.J. Cherryh, Bruce Sterling, N.K. Jemisin, John Scalzi, Gregory Benford, Thomas Trumpinski, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, Raymond Feist, Adam-Troy Castro, William C. Dietz, Lee Modesitt, Gene Wolfe, William Ledbetter, Kim Stanley Robinson, Allen Steele, Stephen Michael Stirling, Steven Barnes, Liz Hand, and Stephanie Osborn.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kick-off

I had my first public signing event for "Another Girl, Another Planet" Saturday morning at the Red River County Public Library.

Helen Pryor bought the first copy. She is giving it to her granddaughter Chloe, who is an aspiring writer, and I inscribed it to her.

Another purchaser was Donna Hausler. When she told me her name, I had to divulge that in 2015 when I was writing the book, I picked a surname at random from the newspaper as the name of the "Girl" of the title - and that last name is Hausler.

It's actually a fairly common name in Red River County.

Patricia joined me. The library is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. After the library closed we went across the street to Tracy's Cafe and used some of the proceeds for lunch!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Thinking of the master

Today is the anniversary of the death of Isaac Asimov in 1992. I met him in 1984 when I was out on a date in Greenwich Village. The Village Light Opera Company was performing "The Yeoman of the Guard". I did not know he was a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan.

I was sitting in my seat during the performance when I commented to my date, "This guy in front of me looks a lot like Isaac Asimov." Then I took another look and realized it WAS Isaac Asimov.

During the intermission myself as well as some other fans chatted with him in the lobby. A woman walked up and took a photo of us together. Asimov asked "A friend of yours?" I told him I had no idea who she was. Years later the incident gestated into the short story "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?"

In the summer of 1992 I was living in Texas and heard of somewhere that Asimov had died some months earlier. I was surprised I had missed the news initially, but I took a guess as to the reason why, and I was right.

His death came a month before the local spring election date, which is always the first Saturday in May. I was engrossed in a hot and hectic school board election, and wasn't paying attention to outside news at the time.

I won the election, by the way.

Eleven years later I attended my first s-f convention, and 13 years later I had my story "A Rocket for the Republic" published in his namesake publication.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Abyss & Apex reviews "Another Girl, Another Planet"

Good Lord, Lou Antonelli did something I thought was impossible. He made me like an alternative history story,  and usually I hate those.

The story starts and ends with three aluminum crosses under a Martian sky.  In between we are treated to a world where the West and the Eastern Bloc have a space race, instead of an arms race, and the moon is an old colony: Mars is the new frontier.  As with any alternative history piece there are names and events you will recognize, but in new contexts. In this world Asimov and a team make real robots, then androids, and the androids cause that world’s equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis. This gets robots, and androids, exiled to the moon, and then Mars.

Dave Schuster gets sent to Mars as a political appointee. The head of the government there is dead and the second in command dies when he is enroute: he is the Martian government, for now.  Dave finds out that the old governor got less and less done as he got ill, and the second in command did nothing but party. He has his work cut out for him, catching up on the backlog. As Dave tackles the work a number of things do not add up until he sees hidden danger amid the charm of the techie frontier and the threat grows so out-of-control it reminded me of the sort of situation Miles Vorkosigan would get into.  I am not going to spoil the ride by telling you more than the plot touches on the concept of self-aware robots in surprising ways.

Larry Niven blurbed the book.  He loved it, and said it was great ideas, well told. He was right.

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If you would like to read the review on the web site, go here.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Strange bedfellows

I am proud to announce that, as a result of a long period of reconciliation as well as a practical need on the part of a distinguished author, I am collaborating with David Gerrold on a Star Trek tie-in original novel, "The Tribbles of Texas".

"One venue that has never been visited in the Trek Universe is Texas," says David. "And like so many people, I have always been fascinated by the Texas frontier during the period of Westward expansion."

"I have an outline for a story where the crew of the Enterprise returns to a locale similar to that depicted in 'Spectre of the Gun', but inadvertently transports a continent of tribbles with them," he continued. "The interaction between the crew of the Enterprise and the Melkotians while being overrun by tribbles should be... umm... fascinating."

As a result of the need for authenticity in the setting, David asked if I would sign on as a co-author and I agreed. Although we had significant differences during the late unpleasantness of the Hugo nomination period in 2015, time heals all wounds, and after a substantial cooling off period we have subsequently reconciled - a process aided by the 2016 presidential election, where I commiserated with David on the election of Donald Trump.

"Lou's a fascist, but otherwise a nice guy," said David. "And talented enough to be of some small use in this project. He certainly knows Texas and the region well-enough. I think this will be a mutually beneficial collaboration."

"I think we will get along fine, so long as he keeps his damn wop hair trigger temper in check," he concluded.

I appreciate the chance to do something helpful to both the genre and David personally, and I look forward to working with David on "The Tribbles of Texas".

I am also grateful that Adam-Troy Castro has agreed to act as a mediator and otherwise help facilitate the collaboration.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Letters from Gronow

This was originally posted to my Facebook page, but it bears repeating"

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Hey Lou -
Just so you'll know, you are in inspiration--literally. I read your book Letters from Gardner last year, and enjoyed it a lot. It inspired me to start a series of stories in the 1632 universe about a young down-timer who becomes enamored of future-style horror fiction as published in a new magazine there in 1634, and starts trying to write stories, with predictable results. (I hasten to say there is no resemblance between my character and any actual writer, living or dead. He is simply an Everyman writer.) Each episode ends in a letter from the publisher/editor to the writer detailing what he did wrong this time. The publisher, who was an already existing character in the series, is named Johann Gronow, and naturally, when the idea for the series hit me, I immediately thought of your book, and presto, the series became Letters from Gronow.  :-)

Episode 1 was just published in the most recent Grantville Gazette, and I just finished writing Episode 5. There will be at least one more, because he hasn't sold a story yet.  :-)
You're an inspiration to us all, in more than one way.  :-)

David Carrico

Friday, March 24, 2017

Feedback

Comments made so far about my story "Watch What Happens" at Fiction on the Web:

"I enjoyed this story very much, nice to get a feel-good story in these troubled times and I'm sure that it will resonate with writers of all genres! Thank you,"


"Thank you for the sweet story with a happy ending. I enjoyed it."


"Totally agree, what's wrong with a feel good story? Well drawn characters and a good idea with the watch and of course our hero being a writer!"


Yep, I totally understand why I'm a minor spec fic writer. Nobody really wants feel good stories with happy endings, right? We all want depressing stories whose world view is as negative as our opinions of ourselves.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jimmy Breslin is dead

Let me tell you a little story about him.

Every year, the Columbia University student newspaper, the Daily Spectator, holds a dinner in late winter to mark the transition to the next set of student editors, for the coming academic year.

It's called the Blue Pencil Dinner, and it usually features a journalism-related guest speaker.

Now the Spectator, mind you, is not affiliated with the journalism school, it is run by the student body. Unless things have changed in recent years, it isn't even officially affiliated with the university.

The Blue Pencil Dinner in 1980 was held on Valentine's Day. It was the last one I ever attended. Two months later I was elected to the student council, and university senate and never wrote for the paper again.

Prior to the Blue Pencil Dinner, the board announced that Jimmy Breslin would be the guest speaker.

I grew up in Massachusetts and Breslin wasn't such a big deal to me. The native New Yorkers thought otherwise.

There was one underclassman, Ken, who was just thrilled that he would get to hear Breslin hold forth. He made no secret he was a great fan of Breslin's.

The night of the Blue Pencil Dinner - held in the rotunda of Low Library, the university's administration building - comes, and Breslin is introduced by the editor-in-chief.

Staggering drunk. And in a bad mood.

It seems Breslin thought he had been invited to speak before the students of the distinguished journalism school - and not the undergraduate student newspaper.

And he made his displeasure quite plain, as he went on a drunken tirade about what a bunch of losers we all were.

And then, to rub it in ever further, he decided to give us a lesson from the podium, as he grabbed the most recent issue of the Spectator and decided to critique it then and there.

Holding the paper aloft, he read the headline and byline of the lead story.

It was by Ken.

He proceeded to rip the story apart, delivering a vicious evaluation that was unfair, inappropriate, and plain damn cruel.

I knew how much Ken admired Breslin, and I took a quick glance across the rotunda to where Ken sat.

Just a glance, mind you - it was too painful a moment. All I can say is that Ken looked stunned.

After Breslin finished eviscerating Ken's story, he moved on to the next, the second lead, and read the headline.

I held my breath. It was by me.

After Breslin read the headline, he continued "By Lou..." He stopped a look of hostile drunken befuddlement crossing his sweaty brow.

"Oh, thank God," I thought. "The drunken bum can't make out my name."

Sure enough, in his inebriated state, he couldn't get past my last name, and that seemed to stop him in his tracks. He stopped the rant and dropped the copy of the newspaper.

He still went on with a load of hateful drivel, but it seemed once he had paused he lost his momentum and he sat down after a few more minutes.

It was a terrible night, and I know for sure some of the students at the dinner were sorely disillusioned with Breslin after that.

I never learned how Ken took it, I never saw him again.

Here I am, a Texas resident 32 years, 37 years after that night, and the news of Breslin's death reminds me of that night.

I don't know what else to say.

The facts speak for themselves.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It always goes downhill


One of the things to proliferate on Facebook recently was when Pat Cadigan - who was in Philadelphia for Susan Casper's Memorial Service on March 11- left to go back home, and someone noted that Cadigan had "gone" people took the worst possible interpretation of the word and thought Pat had died.

Everything on the internet goes negative and downhill. I feel the best way to deal with this constant baloney is with a horse laugh.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Another excuse to read Lou Antonelli fiction

There are just a few days left in the nomination period for the 2017 Hugo Awards. Details of the process can be found on the Worldcon 75 website.

This is just as good excuse as any to read some of that good ol' Lou Antonelli speculative fiction.

Even if you have already submitted nominations, you may update your selections as long as the nomination period continues. But you probably should so in advance of the deadline to avoid any problems in the final hours when the system will be very busy.

You may make changes to your nominations until March 17 at 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time (2:59am Eastern Daylight Time, 06:59 Greenwich Mean Time, 08:59 in Finland, all on 18 March).

Although members of MidAmeriCon II, Worldcon 75 and Worldcon 76 in San José can nominate for the 2017 Hugos, only members of Worldcon 75 will be eligible to vote on the final ballot and choose the winners of the 2017 Hugo Awards. They expect to announce the final ballot in early April, and the awards will be presented on t Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland, in August.

Other than the Hugos, I believe a couple of my stories are eligible for the Sidewise award, but that's a juried award. I have nothing eligible for the Dragon Awards this year, since all I had in 2016 was short fiction. Next year "Another Girl, Another Planet" will be eligible.

"If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love" was a podcast. If there an award for podcast fiction?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Flashback

I was listening to WLIR yesterday morning during breakfast and it played "Tesla Girls" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and I remembered - in a flashback - that the first vision I had of what would become "Another Girl, Another Planet" thirty years later came when I first heard the song.

Those of you who have already read the story know exactly what I am referring to.

Ironically, to make the story work, I had to set it in the year I firsrt heard the song, 1985 - but in an alternate timeline.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Health woes

My apologies to my regular readers for not posting as often as I sometimes do, but I caught a cold two weeks ago and I've been run down and battling it ever since.

I've been trying hard to keep it from settling in my chest and becoming pneumonia - which has happened to me before. I think I've succeeded but it took a lot of work.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The spin rack is STILL coming back


Some of you may recall I have posted in the past about how I like to buy genre mass market paperbacks in Dollar General stores. I started doing this years ago after learning from Tom Doherty that the people who stock the spin racks DO pay attention to what sells.

These discounted paperbacks sell for only one or three dollars - which means the author really isn't getting very much at this point - but I feel they serve as a "gateway" to encourage people to pick up a genre title.

I lived in Mount Pleasant, Texas, from October 2007 until December of last year, and while there I practiced this. By the time I left one of the stores (the city has three Dollar Generals) had s-f and fantasy titles on its own shelf, and used the spin rack for every thing else.

Now that I live in Clarksville, Texas, I am doing the same thing, and I am already seeing the effect. Yesterday I was able to purchase two paperbacks (see photo) because the s-f and fantasy titles seems to be proliferating.

I've bought books I've already read, and books I had no intention of reading, and I've bought some titles more than once (such as the Richard Matheson 2011 collection "Steel and Other Stories") as an encouragement to the stores.

I usually give the books away or donate to the local Friends of the Library fundraiser.

It's my little pet crusade, and for a few bucks I think I'm helping in a very concrete way.

A dilemma

Hmm, I'm conflicted. Should I start on a sequel to "Another Girl, Another Planet" yet? Or keep writing short stories as usual for now?

I like writing short stories, but AGAP seems to be getting a good reception.

To get through writing AGAP, I just pretended in my head it was a very LONG short story (I know, that makes no sense), The original draft had NO chapter breaks.

I wanted to encourage people to read it in one sitting.

I couldn't get that past the editor and publisher, no way

Amazon reviews

So far, the reviews of "Another Girl, Another Planet" at Amazon have been very positive, two four stars and one five star.

Buy this book! It's lots of fun!
Bybrendan f kellyon February 10, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Really fun book. Reminds me a lot of the early Heinlein stories. Part thriller, part mystery, part space opera it was the best read I've had in a long time. The universe it is set in is incredibly compelling (despite a nit pick or two), and it is a TREMENDOUSLY fun read. I was actually late to my doctor appointment because I literally could not put it down. I'm really hopeful there will be a sequel because I really enjoyed it.
I gave it four stars because there are a couple of spots that I found a little unbelievable (in regards to characters not plot). That being said, when Mr. Antonelli is on, he is ON. There are some action sequences that are really great, and some of sad parts are really moving. Well worth the money, definitely a fun, interesting, and compelling read.

Don't be put off by the title. Well worth the read!
ByKen of NJon February 22, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

So many stories these days are derivative; this one isn't. I don't often give five stars but this novel truly deserves it. It is a unique SciFi mystery with a twist. Well written (a few editing errors but they didn't interfere with immersion), interesting and intriguing, the story presents androids in an interesting light. In tone, the story reminded me of some of the best by Heinlein or Clarke. Give it a try...you won't be sorry.

Different Kind of Cold War
ByRichard C. Kruegeron February 25, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A nicely done, thoroughly enjoyable alternate history adventure, unfolding from a clever premise. Antonelli does a fine job spinning this well-wrought tale. Rather than focus on "the human predicament," he focuses on the characters' common humanity (or perhaps I should say "personhood") to deliver an emotional payoff with lots of impact. It's definitely fun for fans of space opera, "competent engineer" stories, and Golden Age fans, but I think it has broader appeal as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Look what arrived today!


When I came home from work I found the box with my author's copies of "Another Girl, Another Planet" on the porch!

I also got my first five star review for "Another Girl, Another Planet" on Amazon:
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Don't be put off by the title. Well worth the read!
February 22, 2017
By Ken of NJ
So many stories these days are derivative; this one isn't. I don't often give five stars but this novel truly deserves it. It is a unique SciFi mystery with a twist. Well written (a few editing errors but they didn't interfere with immersion), interesting and intriguing, the story presents androids in an interesting light. In tone, the story reminded me of some of the best by Heinlein or Clarke. Give it a try...you won't be sorry.

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If you want to go buy the book like right this minute, here's a link.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

When the wait is worth it

With as many short stories as I have written, I will submit outside genre fiction, to publications such as The New Yorker, Harper's and - in this case - Tin House.

Now, Tin House is one of the top fiction venues, period, so when I submit a story I am willing to be patient. This week I received a rejection from them for a story I submitted (using Submittable) in Oct. 2015.

You might think waiting 16 months for a reply is unacceptable, but in light of how many submissions they must get and how stiff the competition is, it's completely understandable.

And their reply was very nice:

"Unfortunately, we have decided to pass on this submission.

"Thank you, also, for your patience in waiting to hear back from us. Submittable generally makes managing the many submissions we receive each year much easier, but the staggering number of submissions we received last year means it is still a long process.

"We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future—and responding to it in a more reasonable amount of time."

Two notes here:

First, at least they replied. The New Yorker is so swamped, they simply state if you don't hear from them in six months you can assume you were rejected.

Back when The New Yorker still sent out rejection slips, I received a couple with handwritten notes encouraging me to submit again.

Second, a while back I commented that the number of venues which send me rejections with encouragements to submit again seems to have dropped in the past couple of years.

Referring back to Tin House's comments, the fact remains the top genre venues - folks like Asimov's, Clarkesword, F&SF and such - still drop in those little nuggets of encouragement. They're pros and act professionally.

I got another rejection this week - again, from a Top Tier venue, with the comment - following the mention of what might be considered a spoiler "Points for originality. I'm sorry the story didn't end up working for us."

Any feedback from editors is helpful, even with rejections. At the very least, it lets you know you're on the right track.

The spin rack is STILL making a comeback!

I'm still engaged in my policy of buying genre books from the spin racks in Dollar General stores to encourage them to stock these &q...