Sunday, April 27, 2014

Checking the log book

Hmm. I have 18 stories out on submission, and I haven't had any come back in almost two weeks. Hope that's a positive sign. I have a couple that are scheduled to be published soon.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Port Radium"

Finished my latest alternate history this evening, "Port Radium". Comes in at 3,905 words; contracted over 300 words this evening in final edit.

This is the story where Douglas MacArthur's family immigrates to Germany instead of America and he is an officer in the German Army in World War II.

Nice piece of business: Field Marshal Macarther smokes a meerschaum pipe instead of a corncob.

This is the 120th short story I've ever written, the 8th this year. I'll figure out where to send it tomorrow, I already have 17 stories circulating.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hugo this way, I'll go that way

Wow, I was really stunned at the Hugo nominations Saturday afternoon. There were the usual suspects of well-connected types, such as Rachel Swirsky and Mary Robinette Kowal, but a surprising number of fresh faces, and some pleasantly refreshing surprises. Larry Correia was nominated in the novel category, and Brad Torgersen - a fellow SASS member - garnered two nominations in the novelette and novella categories. Neither Brad nor Larry are the typical run of the mill self-hating leftists who dominate the genre.

But the nomination of Vox Day (Theodore Beale) in the novella category sent the usual suspects running around like a chase scene in Benny Hill. Wow! I can't pass judgement on Beale's work because I don't read it, and I really don't agree with the way he conducts himself in public.He's very rude and confrontational. But he pushes the buttons that drive the pagans and atheists bananas, and they're frothing at the mouth.

Last year, when he ran for president of the SFWA and got ten percent of the vote, I predicted in advance he would be expelled from the organization because it is run according to traditional revolutionary socialist doctrine, which rejects dissent. I was right. He was the first person ever expelled from the SFWA.

I'm not even sure Beale voted for himself as SFWA president. Most of the votes he got, I'm sure, were protest votes. In the U.S., a protest vote might mark you as a crackpot. In places where the politics derive that dominate the opinion leaders in the s-f community, a protest vote will get you in front of a firing squad.

I have no idea whether that "gig the assholes" sentiment motivated some people to nominate his story. From comments I have seen, his nominated story is actually very good. Like I said, I don't read his stuff. But if anyone cast their nomination for him to piss off the sneering left, it seems to have worked.

Cynical British aristocrats have a saying, "If the gentleman can't win the game, the gentlemen change the rules." That pretty much covers it.

I'll say right now he will be the first person ever to have a Hugo nomination cancelled. I'll add that he will be banned from the World Science Fiction convention.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Con invites

Some interesting developments during the past week, both related to WorldCons.

This year's World Fantasy Convention is putting together a giveaway thumb drive of fantasy stories from around the world. I was asked last week if I'd be interested in donating a story for the project. I said of course I'd be happy to.

Yesterday I got an invite to be a program(me) participant at LonCon. Last year I was able to drive to WorldCon in San Antonio; getting to London will a little more difficult.

This morning I picked up a passport application from the county clerk's office. I'm 57 and have never had one.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fantastic Stories

Expanding a little bit on what I posted Friday, I'll explain that Warren Lapine is restarting Fantastic Stories magazine. Until he gets it off the ground he plans to publish a couple of online anthologies. When I saw his call for submissions I dropped a pair stories into the slush what I thought could stand republication.

"Double Exposure" is a story I have a particular fondness of. It's the only story since "A Rocket for the Republic" that Gardner Dozois bought for Asimov's that sold on itsfirst submission. I happen to think it is the best example of my Twilight Zone tendency. It was published in Daily Science Fiction in 2012. Being a flash however, limits its republication possibilities.

"Hopscotch and Hottentots" was published in such a small venue that I really don't know if anybody ever saw it. and so this could be an opportunity for it to finally reach the public.

Friday, April 11, 2014


Signed the contract and dropped it in the mail today for Warren Lapine. He is reprinting two stories of mine in his Fantastic Stories Presents Anthology, "Double Exposure" and "Hopscotch and Hottentots".

Sunday, April 06, 2014

News from nowhere

The latest issue of the ezine The Creatives has a story about me by Todd Glasscock. I don't have a link yet - apparently it's been published on Apple Newstand (whatever that is), but here I've cut and pasted the text:

Author invites readers to strange new worlds, alternate histories
By Todd Glasscock
The Creatives

Lou Antonelli lives in at least two different worlds. He spends most of his time in the real world as managing editor of The Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune. In that world, Antonelli presents the “first rough draft of history,” as the old journalism adage says, of the lives and events of an East Texas town. That draft might tell you about the accomplishments of a local elementary school's students or about the local police captain leaving for a new job.

Antonelli also lives in the science-fictional world--or worlds--of his imagination. These worlds may present the first draft of the future or of an alternate history--of what could be or what could have been.

Antonelli's latest story collection, "A Clock Struck None," takes readers into worlds where magic exists in a modern setting and Kodak kiosks or airships appear from, well, elsewhere, or perhaps nowhere.

"Each of the stories are alternate history, which is news from nowhere," Antonelli says.

"A Clock Struck None" ($14.99, Fantastic Books, 274 pages) debuted Feb. 14, 2014. The collection features 28 previously published stories, including 2013 Sidewise Award finalist "Great White Ship." The Sidewise Awards honor the best alternate history stories.

His previous short story collections are "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas & Other Planets," each containing a selection of his more than 80 previously published short stories. Many of these stories are set in alternate versions of his adopted state, Texas.

Originally from Medford, Mass., Antonelli came to Texas in 1985 from New York, where he had been studying history at Columbia University. While set all over, the stories in "A Clock Struck None" have a consistent theme: What could have been?

The story "Double Exposure," for instance, is about a distraught man whose life changes when a Kodak film kiosk appears in a parking lot. The kiosk happens to have photos from the man's 1976 high school senior class picnic and can't close "until all the photos are picked up.”

Carefully crafted, well-told stories, along with a prolific output have kept Antonelli in the minds of readers and peers alike. His stories frequently get honorable mentions and placement in anthologies, and he was recently entered into the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, an online compendium devoted to the genre and to those who have significantly influenced its development.

"In a spare, swift, convincing narrative style," science-fiction author John Clute writes in the entry, "Antonelli juxtaposes realities with very considerable skill, creating a variety of alternate worlds ... and making some sharp points about American history, race relations, dreams, and occasional nightmares in which the 20th century goes wrong."

Antonelli felt honored to be included in the encyclopedia. "John Clute gives a really good analysis. It’s not superficial; it shows he's familiar with my work."

Antonelli began writing science fiction in 2002 at age 45. "I had always read it," he says. "I had always wanted to write fiction but had never gotten around to it." As he recounts in the introduction to "Fantastic Texas," he took the plunge into fiction on a scorching August day with the air conditioning out, knowing that if he didn't start then he would never do it. He wrote and submitted a story to an online critique group, received some positive comments, and decided he might "have a shot at being an s-f and fantasy writer."

From that moment, he began writing and submitting stories regularly, and in June 2003, the Austin-based webzine Revolution SF published his story "Silvern." The title comes from his habit of carrying silver dollars in his pocket.

Jayme Blaschke, the magazine's fiction editor then, accepted the story because it was evident Antonelli had surpassed the novice stage as a writer. "Silvern" showed Antonelli understood that short stories became galvanized by two or more ideas resonating and playing off each other.

"I believe Lou instinctively grasped this concept, as every story he submitted to me boasted a confluence of concepts," Blaschke says. "New writers don't normally have such a sophisticated grasp of narrative structure." Blaschke also recognized that stylistically Antonelli's writing was polished and concise, a style Antonelli had developed as a journalist. "Not all journalists can make the transition to fiction, and vice versa. That Lou was able to do so, and make it look effortless in the process, impressed me."

Since Revolution SF took "Silvern," Antonelli began publishing regularly, but his breakout came in March 2004 when Gardner Dozois at Asimov's Science Fiction accepted his story "A Rocket for the Republic.” This was his first professional sale and he feels lucky about this break. It was one of the last stories Dozois accepted before retiring as Asimov's fiction editor.

In a curious twist reminiscent of his stories, Antonelli's career as a science-fiction writer blasted off because of a news item printed in the paper he was working for in 2003. "I was working at the paper in Malakoff (Texas) when ConDFW sent a news release,” he says. "I didn't know science-fiction conventions existed.”

He published the release in the paper and then attended the convention, held each February. He attended a panel of writing, and towards the end he asked “Am I too old to start?' and Jayme said, 'no.'" And so he submitted "Silvern."

Antonelli believes science-fiction conventions like ConDFW are good for beginning writers to attend because you get a chance to learn from experienced writers—not only what to do, but what not to do. "It's a great way to educate yourself."

At the conventions there are plenty of people to learn from, not only writers but also fans of the genre. He usually attends FenCon and ConDFW, both in Dallas, and the Armadillo Con in Austin. He moderated several panels at this year's ConDFW, held Feb. 21-23 in Dallas.

Antonelli has consistently published short fiction in paying markets, as well as anthologies. He also has been working on a book tentatively titled "Letters to Gardner" that uses his correspondence with Dozois as a source on writing fiction.

And while he continues to write short fiction, his next giant leap may be the one most writers aspire to—a novel. "I'm getting to the point where I feel I have time to write a novel."

As a science-fiction writer, he can only extrapolate what the future holds, but he has worlds and stories in mind, and perhaps a whole universe ready to expand.

Done, and done

Just completed my latest short story, "the Milky Way Dance Hall". I started Tuesday night and finished it up Saturday. First draft was over 3,000 words, but after editing it tightened nicely and dropped down to a final word count of 2,868 – in general, a good sign.

The story uses two pieces of business I heard over the years from old-timers who grew up here in East Texas. One was that years ago there was so little light pollution that at night, that not only could you always see the Milky Way up in the sky, but --according to this one fellow --you could see the glare of the Milky Way reflecting on the blacktop during the dark of the moon.

The other story I heard was that there was so little traffic on a rural road at night that the teenagers would go out and park the cars along the roadside and dance in the middle of the road to the music from the car radios.

I incorporated both these ideas into the story, which is a first-person narrative by a old man who's a teenager at the time (the story happens in 1956) and tells how he lost his date about one fateful night out there at the Milky Way dance hall.

This is my 119th short story I've ever written. I submitted it said a night; right now I have 17 stories in various slush piles.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

SciF Max ezine

I got an acceptance this morning via email from a new e-zine called SciFi Max. It just rolled out its beta issue, designated Number 0. I think I learned about it through Facebook postings and dropped a story in their slush pile Sunday. I heard back this morning from the editor Peter Saga, who said they were excited to be publishing it in the issue Number 1.

One thing that caught my attention about this e-zine is that Saga is apparently an artist first, and so this publication with him as editor is heavily illustrated and has beautiful artwork.

Mystory is called "Playing Catch-Up" and I am looking forward to seeing it in pixels.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The List

I have my own personal way of keeping track of story ideas. I sort of came up with the idea because of something Gardner Dozois once said he does. He once wrote online, when asked how he put together his annual “Best of” anthology, that he reads all the stories during the year quickly and then when it comes time to make his decisions he goes back to the list of stories. If he reads the title and remembers what the story is about — if it is that memorable — then it’s good for at least an honorable mention. He goes forward from there to make his final selection of the two dozen or so stories that are reprinted for the year.

Every so often I compile a list of story titles, which are essentially story ideas. I let the list sit for a while, and if some months later I come back and still remember what the idea was about, I know there's probably enough there for potential outline.

I updated my list this morning, after probably the longest gap ever. It was last updated in January 2013. I spent so much time last year working on my latest collection as well as “Letters from Gardner” that I only completed two short stories all year. Nobody noticed because I still had so many stories already written.

I had 31 stories published between 2011 and 2013 (which is one of the reasons "The Clock Struck None" came together like it did), and so my stockpile was diminishing rapidly.

One of the reasons I decided to buy the voice recognition software was to help me pick up the pace – which it has done. I’ve written up some of the stories whose titles sat on that list for over year now, and so I thought it was time to update it.

As has been the case, I can’t recall what I was thinking to go along with some of the titles, and so I know those ideas when strong enough to move forward. But I still have enough stories to keep me busy for a while, 15 to be exact.

The Milky Way Dance Hall

Knocked out the first rough draft of my next story, "The Milky Way Dance Hall" tonight, just over 3,000 words between 7 and 9:30 p.m.

One positive thing about dictating the story is that my wife can listen and give me almost instantaneous feedback. Right off the bat she said the ending didn't work, and after a little brainstorming, I realized I went a paragraph too far. I need to end the story sooner for it to have that TZ vibe that seems to be my trademark.

Sometimes less IS more.

Whatever happened to that old Sunbelt?

By LOU ANTONELLI Managing Editor It’s rained almost daily for the past four months. The ground is saturated; walking across grass is lik...