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.

The subscription saga continues

The new printer was delivered to the Clarksville Times office today, and we got it up and running. We were able to print mailing labels - th...