Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A possibility regained?

Back in 2014 I had an invite to be a panelist at LonCon 3. I had been a panelist at the WorldCon in San Antonio the previous year (it was nice to have a WorldCon I could drive to) and I was invited back to Worldcon for the following year.

The folks running LonCon were also very good to me with my panels. I had two, right on target with my author interests - Steampunk and Alternate History.

I've never owned a passport, and my wife and I were looking our first trip ever overseas.

Now, one of the guests for LonCon was Billie Piper, who played Dr. Who's companion Rose Tyler in 2005 and 2006.

When Dr. Who restarted in 2005, I did a double-take at that name - Rose Tyler. See, I live in East Texas, whose regional capital is Tyler - famed for its roses. In fact it's known as The Rose Capital of the World.

So I noticed the name, "Rose Tyler". And looking forward to LonCon, I had a thought. I would carefully pack a genuine Tyler Rose and while at the convention present it to "Rose Tyler".

I thought it was a cute idea.

Well, a few months before the convention, the newspaper where I worked was sold to a corporation, I had two weeks of paid vacation, but the cheap corporate assholes said that - since I was a new employee to them, I had no seniority, and no accrued vacation. They just wiped it out.

I could hardly afford to take a two weeks unpaid leave, so LonCon was off. I told the folks running the convention what happened, and we all felt bad.

I was given the heave-ho the following January, and I've worked at my current newspaper just over two years. When I wrote "Another Girl, Another Planet" last year, I modeled the villain on the SOB who fired me, as motivation.

 Last week I received word I was accepted as a visiting pro at Dragoncon. Yesterday the con, as part of updating its list of pros and guest, said Billie Piper would be there this year.

A-hah! So maybe I could still present Piper with one of those Tyler Roses, after all. Three years late, but better than never.

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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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