Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The terrible cover

Here's a funny, true story that could only happen to me:

As many of you know, my real job is as a small town newspaper editor. About ten years ago I was working for a semi-weekly (2x a week) newspaper in Bowie County, Texas.

One of my regular duties was to attend and report on the deliberations of the local school board. Now, there are a number of subjects that a school district deals with which, under Texas law, can be discussed behind closed doors for reasons for privacy. Student discipline and personnel matters are two of the most common reasons for an "executive session".

I was a board meeting when the members had to leave and deliberate in private, which meant myself, members of the public and the school district staff had to wait in the board room and kill time. Knowing from the agenda this was planned, I brought a book I could read while waiting.

I've done this a number of times, and as I have a large number of books at home I had picked an anthology pretty much at random and began to read it, held up in front of my face, while waiting for the school board members to return.

After a few minutes, I became aware that the other people in the room were looking at me with the strangest expressions. It hit me like a flash:

"Oh, crap, what's on the cover of this book?!"

I knew - being a reader of s-f and fantasy - there was a distinct possibility the cover was pretty wild.

I turned the book around, and chuckled. Yes, this is the photo of the cover.

I apologized to the other people and explained that no, I wasn't reading a book on Satanism, but science fiction. And I stashed the book.

I will still sometimes take a book with me to read in similar circumstances - but I always remember to look at the cover!

1 comment:

  1. I can see how that would upset some small town Texans. At first I thought you were going to say the school board was trying to ban the book or something.

    So did religious tracts start showing up in you mail box?

    ReplyDelete

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

Blog Archive

Legalese

The content of this web site is subject to the following creative commons license: Click here for the fine print