Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Look Back at 2005 - and the obligatory New Year's resolution

The year 2005 hasn't been a bad one. Lots of hard work, but it was fairly rewarded.
On a purely personal note: Patricia completed two more academic semesters at the Texas A&M-Commerce. She earned a Presidential Scholarship both terms. That means she had at least a 3.5 GPA and a full course load.
This past semester (Fall 2005) was her last full academic semester. Next month she starts interning at the Mt. Pleasant school district. She will be teaching third grade. She still will be doing some classroom-based study, but for this and the next semester, it's mainly "field-based learning" as they say.
Next fall, she will be an intern. A year from now she will have her degree in Early Childhood Education. I'm so proud of her.
As for me, back in March I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and starting taking a pill daily - a regimen I probably will continue the rest of my life.
In November I had an eye exam, and had my specs upgraded to trifocals. Too much staring at the computer screen, I guess. Otherwise, my health has been pretty good, and I felt better this year than I have in a while. The Type II Diabetes seems to be in check, although my blood sugar has shown a tendency to creep up. I'm making plans to start some oral medication, probably in February.
I started a new job June 1st. I went from the third person in a three-person news department at a weekly paper to the first in a three-person department in a semi-weekly (2x a week). Nice change and certainly feel a move up. Of course, it required a move, but we found a nice house in Hooks in August. The house was also a big step up. We went from a three bedroom with one bath (and no shower) to a four bedroom with two full bathrooms. Plus it has a nice fenced yard, which was a boon for the pups.
In November, a stray cat adopted us. She has to live outside because Patricia is allergic to cats, but otherwise she seems quite happy. I named her Dreamer. She lives in the backyard now with Solace, the big dog. Ashley, the 12-year old cocker spaniel, also enjoys the yard, although she sleeps indoors at night.
On to science fiction: 2005 was obviously a good year. I had my first pro sale hit the newsstands with the Sept. 2005 Asimov's. I still have my subscriber's copy - which is very weather-beaten at this point. I gave away 12 copies so far - my two authors' copies plus another ten I ordered from Dell magazines. I sent them to family members, old friends, an old scoutmaster - you know the drill. I probably need to order another dozen, which will dribble out a lot slower.
It was a genuine piece of luck that "Cast Iron Dybbuk" hit at the same time as "Rocket". Nice one-two punch for a debut - and totally fortuitous, since the publication schedules of the two mags are totally different.
The stories were also different enough that they complemented each other. For example, Tangent on-line panned "Rocket", but liked "Dybbuk". I also got some feedback from individuals the same way - they liked Dybbuk more than Rocket.
I asked to be paid by ASIM in copies, which I also handed out liberally, although the distribution there was much more limited. The only non-family member I recall I gave a copy to was Howard Waldrop - although I "sold" a copy to one of Patricia's professors who is a s-f reader. He had known of Andromeda but had never seen a copy. Patricia offered to give him one, but for ethical reasons (since Patricia was in a class he taught at the time) he paid for the copy. Of course, I never say the money...
The Rocket-Dybbuk combo was part of that run of six stories I had during three months this summer, the others being "Big Girl" at Ultraverse, "The Honor of the Blue Devil Patrol" at Beyond Centauri, "Dialogue" at RevolutionSF and "Hideaway" at Alienskin.
Three of these stories three were print - Rocket, Dybbuk, and the Blue Devil Patrol - and four were paid; those three plus Hideaway.
Bewildering Stories published "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?" in February and "The Queen of Guilty Pleasures" in September. Surprising Stories published "After Image" in September.
Convention-wise, I was very happy to get to ConDFW in February. It was the second time I had made it. The first time, in 2003, was also the first con ever attended. I had just begun to write a few months earlier. The con's publicity person (I still remember her name, Stephanie Folse) sent out a news release that crossed my desk at the paper in Malakoff where I worked at the time.
She apparently had sent it to all the papers in the DFW area; Malakoff is on Cedar Creek Lake and the very fringe of the area (zip code prefix 751). I ran the release, and then wheedled my way in on a press pass.
It was there that I realized writing s-f was what needed to be doing. I know it sounds corny, but that's how it happened. I also learned a lot; the best piece I advice I heard was Dave Marusek's comment that breaking into writing was probably "one-third talent, one-third talent and one-third luck". I also met Jayme Blashcke there, the fiction ed of RevSF. On one panel, he commented it was tough to get good s-f when you aren't a paying site. When I went back home. I wrote "Silvern" for him. It was my first publication. My next story for him, later that year, "Silence is Golden", earned me my first HM in the YBSF the next year.
BTW, I let the folks at ConDFW know how much the event meant to me while I was there. I plan to go back in February.
In July, I was a guest at Conestoga in Tulsa. It was a great con, and marked the first time I chaired a panel. It was on "How the Defeat Writer's Block". The room was packed; Jayme remarked later on his blog I looked like I knew that I was doing and had been going to these things for years. Boy, did I fool everybody!
Conestoga featured one of the most embarrassing accidents that I've ever had. Sunday morning Howard and I slouched across the street to a supermarket to grab some breakfast food. I wanted to eat there, but Howard wanted to get back to his room; he was still working on a story he was writing for a reading. The reason I wanted to eat right away was because I could tell I was getting the shakes (the Type II diabetes in the morning). But I went along. Howard went back to his room to work on his story while I went to the green room. Then, I took the lid off the very tall cup of coffee to put some sweetener in it. When I reached to put the lid back on, I guess my had was shaking so bad that I practically flung the cup of coffee across the table - and all over an artist guest. I think her name was Janie Dann. Young Asian girl. Christ, I felt horrible. She was covered in coffee from the waist down, like a donut! Poor thing. I apologized most profusely.
After that I didn't care or mind my reading was scheduled opposite the GOH, George R.R. Martin. Myself and the other sacrificial victim for the hour, Dorothy Leblanc, were along in the reading room. I read a couple of stories to LeBlanc for practice. She was very nice about it. (I remember she said she had a rough start to the con, when she went to the hospital Thursday after having an allergic reaction to some food). She left afterwards and headed home to Louisiana. Later, when I got my copies of Asimov's with "Rocket", I sent her one as a thank-you for listening to me.
BTW, Howard once told me, when he was a newbie, they did the same thing to him - put his reading as the minor one opposite a con's GOH. I guess that's what new authors are for.
The next weekend after Conestoga, I attended a Turkey City at Lawrence Person's house in Austin on July 23. It was really a strain for me to attend; I just started my new job in June and, as noted, had traveled to Tulsa the previous weekend. (I had also made a work-related trip to San Antonio on July 11).
The bit I brought to the workshop was very experimental and didn't go over well. Ted Chiang was the guest author. I know he's a great writer, but jeez, I couldn't warm up to him personally.
In September, I attended FenCon, again in Dallas. It was a bit of a disappointment; Joe Lansdale couldn't make it because a tree fell on his house in Nacogdoches during Hurricane Rita. Jayme couldn't make it for personal reasons. The panels were good, with lots of high-powered guests. I hope FenCon isn't sucking energy from ConDFW.
OK, as a finale to this long report, I actually have a resolution for the new year: I resolve that I will write better characters in my stories.
Pretty simple, huh?
When I first began submitting, one editor (Jayme again) commented my stories seemed fairly polished for a newcomer, and that I seemed to have skipped the novice writer's stage. The truth is, of course, my novice writing (my first million words) was published in journalism. S-F fans never read my novice s-f because there was none.
I also have gotten many comments about my stories having clever ideas and twists. OK, so the imagination seems to be working.
I got a rejection just a few weeks ago from Albedo One that made me slap my forehead. The editor said, in so many words, "good story, but it's idea-driven, and we like character-driven stories".
Here I am - the guy who's said more than once that science fiction is about people - and in my determination to come up with snappy ideas, I've been neglecting character development. At least, that's the way I see it.
So from now on. starting in 2006, I will try to not only have imaginative and entertaining stories, but fully formed characters. That's something to work for.
Well, that's enough for now. I'll just close by saying have a safe and happy New Year's Eve.
Time to go out and buy some black-eyed peas...

A Look Back at 2005 - and the obligatory New Year's resolution

The year 2005 hasn't been a bad one. Lots of hard work, but it was fairly rewarded.
On a purely personal note: Patricia completed two more academic semesters at the Texas A&M-Commerce. She earned a Presidential Scholarship both terms. That means she had at least a 3.5 GPA and a full course load.
This past semester (Fall 2005) was her last full academic semester. Next month she starts interning at the Mt. Pleasant school district. She will be teaching third grade. She still will be doing some classroom-based study, but for this and the next semester, it's mainly "field-based learning" as they say.
Next fall, she will be an intern. A year from now she will have her degree in Early Childhood Education. I'm so proud of her.
As for me, back in March I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and starting taking a pill daily - a regimen I probably will continue the rest of my life.
In November I had an eye exam, and had my specs upgraded to trifocals. Too much staring at the computer screen, I guess. Otherwise, my health has been pretty good, and I felt better this year than I have in a while. The Type II Diabetes seems to be in check, although my blood sugar has shown a tendency to creep up. I'm making plans to start some oral medication, probably in February.
I started a new job June 1st. I went from the third person in a three-person news department at a weekly paper to the first in a three-person department in a semi-weekly (2x a week). Nice change and certainly feel a move up. Of course, it required a move, but we found a nice house in Hooks in August. The house was also a big step up. We went from a three bedroom with one bath (and no shower) to a four bedroom with two full bathrooms. Plus it has a nice fenced yard, which was a boon for the pups.
In November, a stray cat adopted us. She has to live outside because Patricia is allergic to cats, but otherwise she seems quite happy. I named her Dreamer. She lives in the backyard now with Solace, the big dog. Ashley, the 12-year old cocker spaniel, also enjoys the yard, although she sleeps indoors at night.
On to science fiction: 2005 was obviously a good year. I had my first pro sale hit the newsstands with the Sept. 2005 Asimov's. I still have my subscriber's copy - which is very weather-beaten at this point. I gave away 12 copies so far - my two authors' copies plus another ten I ordered from Dell magazines. I sent them to family members, old friends, an old scoutmaster - you know the drill. I probably need to order another dozen, which will dribble out a lot slower.
It was a genuine piece of luck that "Cast Iron Dybbuk" hit at the same time as "Rocket". Nice one-two punch for a debut - and totally fortuitous, since the publication schedules of the two mags are totally different.
The stories were also different enough that they complemented each other. For example, Tangent on-line panned "Rocket", but liked "Dybbuk". I also got some feedback from individuals the same way - they liked Dybbuk more than Rocket.
I asked to be paid by ASIM in copies, which I also handed out liberally, although the distribution there was much more limited. The only non-family member I recall I gave a copy to was Howard Waldrop - although I "sold" a copy to one of Patricia's professors who is a s-f reader. He had known of Andromeda but had never seen a copy. Patricia offered to give him one, but for ethical reasons (since Patricia was in a class he taught at the time) he paid for the copy. Of course, I never say the money...
The Rocket-Dybbuk combo was part of that run of six stories I had during three months this summer, the others being "Big Girl" at Ultraverse, "The Honor of the Blue Devil Patrol" at Beyond Centauri, "Dialogue" at RevolutionSF and "Hideaway" at Alienskin.
Three of these stories three were print - Rocket, Dybbuk, and the Blue Devil Patrol - and four were paid; those three plus Hideaway.
Bewildering Stories published "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?" in February and "The Queen of Guilty Pleasures" in September. Surprising Stories published "After Image" in September.
Convention-wise, I was very happy to get to ConDFW in February. It was the second time I had made it. The first time, in 2003, was also the first con ever attended. I had just begun to write a few months earlier. The con's publicity person (I still remember her name, Stephanie Folse) sent out a news release that crossed my desk at the paper in Malakoff where I worked at the time.
She apparently had sent it to all the papers in the DFW area; Malakoff is on Cedar Creek Lake and the very fringe of the area (zip code prefix 751). I ran the release, and then wheedled my way in on a press pass.
It was there that I realized writing s-f was what needed to be doing. I know it sounds corny, but that's how it happened. I also learned a lot; the best piece I advice I heard was Dave Marusek's comment that breaking into writing was probably "one-third talent, one-third talent and one-third luck". I also met Jayme Blashcke there, the fiction ed of RevSF. On one panel, he commented it was tough to get good s-f when you aren't a paying site. When I went back home. I wrote "Silvern" for him. It was my first publication. My next story for him, later that year, "Silence is Golden", earned me my first HM in the YBSF the next year.
BTW, I let the folks at ConDFW know how much the event meant to me while I was there. I plan to go back in February.
In July, I was a guest at Conestoga in Tulsa. It was a great con, and marked the first time I chaired a panel. It was on "How the Defeat Writer's Block". The room was packed; Jayme remarked later on his blog I looked like I knew that I was doing and had been going to these things for years. Boy, did I fool everybody!
Conestoga featured one of the most embarrassing accidents that I've ever had. Sunday morning Howard and I slouched across the street to a supermarket to grab some breakfast food. I wanted to eat there, but Howard wanted to get back to his room; he was still working on a story he was writing for a reading. The reason I wanted to eat right away was because I could tell I was getting the shakes (the Type II diabetes in the morning). But I went along. Howard went back to his room to work on his story while I went to the green room. Then, I took the lid off the very tall cup of coffee to put some sweetener in it. When I reached to put the lid back on, I guess my had was shaking so bad that I practically flung the cup of coffee across the table - and all over an artist guest. I think her name was Janie Dann. Young Asian girl. Christ, I felt horrible. She was covered in coffee from the waist down, like a donut! Poor thing. I apologized most profusely.
After that I didn't care or mind my reading was scheduled opposite the GOH, George R.R. Martin. Myself and the other sacrificial victim for the hour, Dorothy Leblanc, were along in the reading room. I read a couple of stories to LeBlanc for practice. She was very nice about it. (I remember she said she had a rough start to the con, when she went to the hospital Thursday after having an allergic reaction to some food). She left afterwards and headed home to Louisiana. Later, when I got my copies of Asimov's with "Rocket", I sent her one as a thank-you for listening to me.
BTW, Howard once told me, when he was a newbie, they did the same thing to him - put his reading as the minor one opposite a con's GOH. I guess that's what new authors are for.
The next weekend after Conestoga, I attended a Turkey City at Lawrence Person's house in Austin on July 23. It was really a strain for me to attend; I just started my new job in June and, as noted, had traveled to Tulsa the previous weekend. (I had also made a work-related trip to San Antonio on July 11).
The bit I brought to the workshop was very experimental and didn't go over well. Ted Chiang was the guest author. I know he's a great writer, but jeez, I couldn't warm up to him personally.
In September, I attended FenCon, again in Dallas. It was a bit of a disappointment; Joe Lansdale couldn't make it because a tree fell on his house in Nacogdoches during Hurricane Rita. Jayme couldn't make it for personal reasons. The panels were good, with lots of high-powered guests. I hope FenCon isn't sucking energy from ConDFW.
OK, as a finale to this long report, I actually have a resolution for the new year: I resolve that I will write better characters in my stories.
Pretty simple, huh?
When I first began submitting, one editor (Jayme again) commented my stories seemed fairly polished for a newcomer, and that I seemed to have skipped the novice writer's stage. The truth is, of course, my novice writing (my first million words) was published in journalism. S-F fans never read my novice s-f because there was none.
I also have gotten many comments about my stories having clever ideas and twists. OK, so the imagination seems to be working.
I got a rejection just a few weeks ago from Albedo One that made me slap my forehead. The editor said, in so many words, "good story, but it's idea-driven, and we like character-driven stories".
Here I am - the guy who's said more than once that science fiction is about people - and in my determination to come up with snappy ideas, I've been neglecting character development. At least, that's the way I see it.
So from now on. starting in 2006, I will try to not only have imaginative and entertaining stories, but fully formed characters. That's something to work for.
Well, that's enough for now. I'll just close by saying have a safe and happy New Year's Eve.
Time to go out and buy some black-eyed peas...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Getting back to normal

With the crush of holiday traveling and deadlines at work, I obviously have been strapped for time to keep things updated here. But things are leveling out a bit.
Just saw that Bewildering Stories has picked my story "The Queen of Guilty Pleasures" as one of the choices for its editors' year-end retrospective. I had two stories published with them this year. "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?" was published in February. "Queen" was published in October.
One of my honorable mentions in this year's "Year's Best Science Fiction" was for "I Got You", which they published in two parts last year. That was the first HM Bewildering ever got.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

at work

sloppy posting. the wassail was served up at work.

Holiday Silliness

Well, the day is almost here. It's hard not to be in a good mood. At the other day, someone whipped up a batch of "wassail". They made it with apple juice and 7-Up.

Which led me to comment, "if you make wassail with 7-Up, does that make it Wassup?"

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Whoops!

I took a break while posting the last entry, and then never got around to the topic that my title referred to - my story "The Hideaway". I've just posted it on my web site. I had seven stories published this year, and by the Dec. 31 I plan to have them all archived on my web site for everyone to see (www.cedarhillsentinel.com). "The Hideaway" was published by Alienskin in June, and after the obvious choices ("Rocket for the Republic" in Asimov's and "The Cast Iron Dybbuk" in Andromeda), it was my next favorite choice of the year. (And, since I took my payment from Andromeda in copies, it actually was the second most profitable story I sold this year.)
It's another monologue story - like "Rocket" - and I though it had some snappy lines. I especially liked the description of what happened when the grizzly attacked the hunters' tent:
"It was probably about 2 a.m. when the grizzly tore open the tent. Tucker had gone to sleep with a bag of Cheese Waffies under his pillow.
The tent came apart like a thin tissue after a big sneeze."
There are places in that story I almost sound like Mickey Spillane - which makes sense in context.

"The Hideaway"

I mentioned a while back that a bad combination of carpal tunnel syndrome plus a pinched nerved has contributed to my wearing a wrist brace for the past few weeks. That's obviously slowed down my posting. I've also had to save my typing time for work, since as a newspaper editor, I write a lot, too.
I also think that a very old thumb injury may have factored in. When I was a freshman in high school and on the footbsll team, a kid once tackled a dummy I was holding when I wasn't looking, and it tore the cartilage of my left thumb. It twinged for maybe 20 years but went away, and I had forgotten about it. That may be part of the problem, too.
Also, I was working extra from Sept. 20 to Nov. 28 because a reporter was out on worker's comp and the company didn't replace her in the meantime. I had to essentially work two jobs and do the equivalent of 72 hours a week of work - since I work 40 hours a week and the other personb worked 32. My hand was at its worst right before she returned to work. One more week at that pace and I don't know what would have happened.
A nurse practioner I visited with suggested the wrist brace, plus aspirin as an anti-inflammatory (thankfully, I do real well with aspirin and I can pop five at a time with no ill effects. She had suggested I might want to tale Aleeve, instead.) She also said Vitamin B-6 is good for long-term nerve health (I already knew that). Since I have Vegemiter at home, I stepped up the pace of getting into that. I'm trying to eat some every day.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Some thoughts on "Dialogue"

I just posted "Dialogue" under my archives of my web site. As my stories go, it had one of the more convoluted histories.
I wrote it almost three years ago as an entry in the Writers of the Future. It was mailed off right at the end of 2002. WOTF lost it for a full year; it didn't turn up again until late 2003.
In the meanwhile I had submitted it to ASIM, and it was the first story I ever submitted that wasn't rejected outright. It passed the first reading. In the end, it didn't fly, but I finally sold "Cast Iron Dybbuk" to them a year and a half later.
It centers of a meeting with an alien race called the Ymilans. Later in 2003, after attending ConDFW in Dallas, I write a story for Jayme Blaschke at RevolutionSF called "Silvern" and set it on my envisioned Ymilan world. "Silvern" was the first story I ever had published.
After bouncing around a couple of years, "Dialogue" finally also found a home at Revolution - which makes it seem its a kind of prequel of sorts. Of course, the funny thing is, it is actually the older of the two stories.
"Dialogue" is the only story I had published at RevolutionSF this year, and since Blaschke is leaving, I have no idea of what kind of relationship I will have with them in the future. I tell ya' though, I'll always be grateful to RevSF and Blaschke for giving me a little validation when I needed it.
The left hand seems to be feeling better. But now, the transmission on the pickup is dying. I think the clutch is gone. If it's actually the transmission, the truck's toast, because a new transmission will be double what the truck is worth.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Slower

My pace of posting has slowed up a bit. About a couple of weeks ago I developed pinched nerve in my left hand. It may be carpal tunnel, it may be the result of my hitting my elbow, or both. It didn't clear up quickly, so I've taken to wearing a wrist brace and slowing down my typing a bit.
Insofar as my job involves typing, it's hard for me to avoid it altogether. But I've definitely tried to slow down.
A week ago I had a real good writing session one night, but it really seemed to aggravate the problem and I haven't gotten back to the story yet.
Temperature was down to 29 degrees this morning, which is really cold for this part of Texas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Onward to AggieCon

Here's a little new item copied from my web site:

"Lou Antonelli has been invited to be a panelist at AggieCon 37, to be held at Texas A&M University in College Station March 23-26, 2006. AggieCon is the oldest and largest student-run science-fiction convention in the U.S. Held annually since 1969 by Cepheid Variable at Texas A&M University's Memorial Student Center, it has grown to become one of the larger conventions in Texas."

On my last job, I han an impossible conflict with AggieCon. An annual special section of the paper deadlined on the same weekend. But I think the coast is clear for next March.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Lou's Lasagna

Some old family friends from the Dallas area drove 2 1/2 hours to visit us for dinner last night. I baked a big fat lasagna,and everyone enjoyed it. We offered to let them stay overnight, but they drive back and were back home by midnight.

It was wild having three kids in the house, two of them teenage boys. For a while there, it was a regular three-ring circus. Our old 12-year old cocker spaniel just retreated to her kennel and stared at the pandemonium.

One of the reasons I keep up a personal web site is to keep my personal archives on line. I just posted "The Honor of the Blue Devil Patrol", the YA story published by Beyond Centauri this summer. If for some reason you only visit the blog and not my web site, its www.cedarhillsentinel.com.

I got "The Dragon's Black Box" from SciFiction earlier this week, but I knew about that and had already sent it off to Interzone.

Got the copy of Judith Merrill's 1955 Year's Best S-F I bought off e-Bay in the mail Wednesday. Pretty good volume, glad I got a copy. Merrill did an annual Year's Best for a long time; 1955 was a particularly good year for s-f.

Strangely enough, she only gave "The Allamagoosa" an honorable mention.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving

Drove three hours into Dallas to visit the mom in law, who cooked up a nice gobbler (fresh, not frozen - I was impressed). Side dishes included dressing, green beans, scalloped potatoes. Stayed six hours, drove back again.

"Italians will often have baked Lasanga instead of either."

I'm baking one tomorrow night for some friends from the Dallas area who are coming to visit.

Unfortunately, I have to work Friday (paper still has to come out, you know).

BTW, I've been told many times my lasagna is the best on this planet.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Positive News

Got word via e-mail from Down Under that "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" passed its first reading at Andromeda Spaceways. That's always good to hear. The nice thing about ASIM is that, even if you don't clear the second reading, they'll send you the editors' comments, which can be quite helpful.
That's what happened with "The Hideaway". It didn't clear the second round, but I make some changes based on the comments, and then it sold to Alienskin. I may have made more money from Alienskin than I would have from ASIM - can't be sure.
GVg returned "Business as Usual". Didn't like that one at all. I sent "The League of Dead Nations' to Strange Horizons.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Appreciation of "The Allamagoosa"

by Lou Antonelli
Word came out last weekend that SciFiction - the online web zine that publishes science fiction as part of the SciFi channel's web site - will be shutting down at the end of the year.
The SciFi Channel was formerly owned by an outfit called Vivendi, which was snapped up by NBC this summer. Apparently the bean counters at Rockefeller Center noticed they now owned something that actually didn't make money - so they killed it. Isn't corporate consolidation wonderful?
Ellen Datlow has served as editor of SciFiction for its past five and a half years. During that time, it has oublished some of the best original fiction around, period.
As a tribute to Ellen's fine work as well as the overall quality of SciFiction, a fellow named David Schwartz has set up a tribute blog that lists all the stories and classic reprints the site has featured. Authors and fans have been invited to write "appreciations" of the stories.
My contribution to this project is my appreciation of the first story to be honored with a Short Story Hugo 50 years ago, "Thr Allamagoosa' by Eric Frank Russell. Here it is.

#

Fifty years ago, Eric Frank Russell's "The Allamagoosa" won the first Hugo ever given out for short story.
SciFiction brought us many brilliant original pieces of fiction in its five and half years, but one of my most enjoyable reads of late was when it republished "The Allamagoosa" as one of its classics.
The story seems a little dated when read today - the jut-jawed spacefarers so common in earlier sf were already on their way out by 1955 - but in his sly observations about the rigidity of the military (British or otherwise) Russell seems more of a precursor of Douglas Adams than a descendent of Doc Smith.
In the way it depicts people facing bureaucracy in the future, Russell's story shows both an understanding of and sympathy with people that is unfortunately not all that common in a genre whose bedrock are the hard and cold sciences.
Like O. Henry, Russell often seems to be in the background with a sardonic chuckle. His stories are all the more endearing in that we know that his depictions of people and the way they react to life - especially when dealing with their own screw-ups - is honest and accurate.
His conclusion to "Allamagoosa" - with the spaceship captain going cross-eyed as he chews his fingernails alone in his cabin - not only flows naturally from the story, it's one of the funniest finales you'll ever read; all the more impressive because the story is not a parody or comedy.
It instead explains what happens when the crew of a spaceship can't account for an item in their inventory during an inspection, and how their efforts to bullshit their way out of the dilemma just snowballs all the hell out of control.
"Allamagoosa" is apparently a nonsense word the Brits use for something you don't know the name of - like "thingamabob" or "doosiehickey" here in the U.S.
One reason I especially like the story is because the screw up happens due to a typo in the ship's inventory. If you've ever worked in an office and had someone call a service tech because they didn't know they had accidentally unplugged their computer, you appreciate that - despite the technical brilliance of our tools, gadgets and toys - the human capacity to screw up due to ignorance, inattention or just plain damn laziness will continue unimpeded into the future.
I picked up copy of Vol I of the "Hugo Winners" series of paperbacks, edited by Isaac Asimov, two weeks ago for fifty cents at a local thrift shop.
Of course, "The Allamagoosa" is right at the front. I reread the last page just to see if it was still as funny as remembered - and I still laughed my ass off.
I've always thought Russell's reputation in the genre dropped because of the fact that - although he didn't pass away until 1976 - he stopped writing science fiction in 1959.
He is one of the few great names of the genre who apparently simply lost interest in it, from all accounts.
As a result, fans and editors seemed to have reciprocated the disinterest over the years.
Russell's work includes the justifiably famous "Sinister Barrier" and other great works such as "...And Then There Were None", "Hobbyist", "Love Story", "Symbiotica", "The Prr-r-eet", "Dear Devil", "The Witness", "Diabologic". "Space Willies", and "Wasp", among others.
If Russell perhaps didn't love sf until the day he died, no matter. The corpus of a great author stands apart from his personality.
Thanks to Ellen for keeping a great story and a great writer on public view.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Good Publicity

When "Rocket" came out, I sent a few press releases out to local newspapers in the East Texas area. The news release was the basis of the little blurb which ran in the September issue of the Texas Press Association newsletter, the TPA Messenger:

"Lou Antonelli, editor of the Bowie County Citizen’s Tribune, recently broke into the pro fiction writing ranks with publication of “A Rocket for the Republic,” in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. Antonelli mentions Nacogdoches, Corsicana, Tyler, Malakoff, Athens and Eustace in the story, which is a monologue by the 200-year survivor of the world’s first space shot."

I just learned (via a Google search) that the editor-in-chief of the Tyler Telegraph also used the info in his column this past Saturday, Nov. 5:

"Science fiction with a bit of East Texas flavor?

That was a winning combination for Lou Antonelli of Bowie County in East Texas, who recently broke into the professional fiction writing ranks with the publication of the tall Texas tale, "A Rocket for the Republic," in Asimov's Science Fiction.

"Asimov's, named for science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, is the second-largest science fiction magazine in the English-speaking world.

"Antonelli said he began work on the story while editor of the Malakoff News in East Texas in 2003. The story was published in the September issue of the magazine.

"Tyler, as well as Malakoff, Athens and Eustace, all are mentioned in the story, a monologue by the 200-year survivor of the world's first space shot.

"Antonelli also had four stories recognized with honorable mentions in the 2005 edition of "The Year's Best Science Fiction," published by St. Martin's Press of New York City.

"The writer said he came up with the idea for "Rocket" while day- dreaming about how a community once was named Science Hill in Henderson County. An alliterative title and a desire to write a story with a Texas "voice" led to the first draft, which was written while he still lived in Eustace.

"The story is set in the early Texas frontier and also mentions Corsicana and Nacogdoches."

When I had my reading at the New Boston Public Library Oct. 18, one of the attendees said she had seen the same article in the Nacogdoces paper, so it was apparently used there, also.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The slush pile shuffle

This past week, I did the slush pile shuffle as stories came back from all four of the major venues within a few days of each other.
As I noted earlier, I got "Business as Usual" back from Stanley Schmidt. I made the corrections he noted (I had a mistake on page one and page two) and sent it to Gordon. I sent Stanley "Video Killed the Radio Star", which had been sitting around for a while cooling off.
I sent "My Ugly Little Self", which Gordon had returned, to Sheila. Ellen sent back "The League of Dead Nations". I sent her "The Dragon's Black Box", which had also been sitting a while. I sent "League" to Abyss & Apex, which is one of the magazines who opened for submissions Nov. 1.
Tales of the Talisman is another (I think I sent them "Prof. Malakoff". They used to be called Hadrosaur Tales.
I also sent Aeon (another mag who opened a reading period Nov. 1) "Damascus Interrupted".
I found out by checking Ralan that Lenox Ave. has gone belly-up, which means "The Man Who Ran" is freed up.
Right now I have 23 stories in magazine slush piles, and one story in the pile for an anthology. I'm also about to drop "The Hideaway" and "The Cast Iron Dybbuk" in the mail to Ellen for consideration for the horror side of the next "Year's Best Fantasy and Horror".
I picked a copy of Heinlein's "Expended Universe" cheap off e-bay for a few bucks. It came in the mail yesterday. I have it on the shelf next to me desk at work.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Whoops!

I got back "Business as Usual" from Stanley Schmidt on Saturday. He said he thought it was "kinda fun, in a bizarre sort of way', but didn't strike him as quite right for the magazine.

He noted at least two places where I used "discretely' where I probably meant "discreetly". I'd like to say that was an oversight, but it's not. I got the two words confused and used the wrong one.

Oh, well, corrected by the best.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Reflections on "For Us, the Living"

I'm sure everyone has a story the wrote when they were really young that they latest admitted schtunck! I actually finished a story in 1987, when I was 30, which I still have sitting in a folder. After I finished it, I just stashed it away, because I knew it wasn't that good. I was more interested in pursuing my career in journalism at the time, anyway.

I didn't look at the story for 16 years, and then ran across it after moving in 2003. It was set at the turn of the century, and boy did I call the history wrong! I had the Berlin Wall falling ten years too late, and the Christian Coalition taking over the country too early (I had Pat Robertson winning the 1992 presidential election).

BUT... reading the story now, I realize that if I had kept after it, rewrote it and few times, and maybe got some feedback, it might have been usable. The problem wasn't with the story, it was with me - I wasn't interested enough in writing fiction then.

By 2002, when I started writing s-f again, I had achieved a number of personal and professional goals which had been unfulfilled earlier. I was ready to try something new.

I also think 16 more years as a writer also really helped. I remember when I tried writing in the 1980s how labored it seemed to me - the actual writing process. Now, the writing seems easy - my problem is coming with clever, biting and original ideas. Which is a problem everyone faces.

The story I wrote up in 1987 still has an idea I'd love to explore - western society collapses in anarchy and violence as people go crazy because of their inability to handle the pace of technological change in their everyday lives.

Just as in "For Us, the Living", you can see the seeds of Heinlein's later works, when I found the manuscript of this story, I could see the roots of what I wrote later. The story is mostly a monologue, by the last man who makes it into a cave in Central Texas before they close the entrance. Above insanity and destruction spreads. The newcomer explains to another man that, essentially, he saw it all coming, and was ready to make a fast break when the collapse happened.

By the time I found the story and reread it, I had sent off "A Rocket for the Republic" - which, of course, is a monologue. The other story isn't quite a monologue - the other fellow gets a few words in - but you know what I mean.

I also found the handwritten beginning of another story - equally optimistic - that starts out pretty much like "A Canticle for Liebowitz", except that civilization didn't collapse due to war or disaster, but instead because people's collective intelligence ultimately lagged so far behind their technology that no one understood how stuff worked, and then - after free trade agreements bring in foreign made electronic goods that are especially shabbily made and prone to failure - people stop believing that the stuff works and it DOES stop working because of their collective disbelief. Somehow the laws of physics are changed because of the dead weight of doubt and ignorance.

The story would have a young monk who finds an old textbook by a Mr. Wizard type fellow, and the text is so clear and easy to understand that the monk "gets it" and some of the old technology starts working again for him.

I never even finished a first draft of that story.

Even back then, I would write potential story titles down. My wife was the one who actually found the box with these old papers while we were unpacking after a move, and she went through them.

She found an old brown crumbling sheet of paper where I had written down story titles, and pointed out one was "Circe in Vitro".

Pretty funny, I finally came up with a story to match that title last year. It was published by Astounding Tales, and was one of my Honorable Mentions in "The Year's Best Science Fiction, 22nd annual collection".

Lou Antonelli
\topurl{http://www.cedarhillsentinel.com/,http://www.cedarhillsentinel.com/}

Nice Haul

I've found over the years that if you don't mind rummaging through the shelves of thrift shops, you can sometimes get nice old s-f books cheap.

Earlier this year, I really confirmed this to myself when I picked up four great old Heinlein books at a thrift store in Winnsboro - where I used to live and work - for fifty cents each.

Friday afternoon I was home (because I have to cover football Friday nights, I get out early from the office on Fridays) and I took the opportunity to browse a thrift shop just a block from where I live. I found a copy of Asimov's "The Hugo winners Vol. 1" for 50 cents.

Good deal, thinks I. Then Saturday morning, I went to a book sale held by the Friends of the Library in New Boston, where I work now. This is the same group that hosted my reading of "A Rocket for the Republic" on Oct. 18.

I picked up a copy of "Lucifer's Hammer", "1984", "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume IIA" and a Ray Bradbury collection, "Quicker than the Eye", for fifty cents each.

BUT, here's the best part. The hardcovers were a buck each, and I found a perfect copy of "For Us, the Living" there. Two years ago, I would have paid $25; now I got it for a buck, a dollar, uno greenback.

Friday, November 04, 2005

My apologies again

I haven't posted in so long I just about forgot how. (Note the screw-up below). Sorry, but I've been so busy on the job I had no time. I'm still one staff member short, and had to complete a special section for the upcoming Veterans Day holiday.

Gordon returned "My Ugly Little Self". Had some good feedback - not that I agree with him, but any feedback is good, IMHO. I will send it to Sheila next. I don;t mind running stories by Gordon first, since he'll return them quickly.

A web site called BestSF recently reviewed Issue 19 of Andromeda Spaceways. Apparently, it was the first time they saw the mag. They could tell is is kinda small, but they still had some positive comments:

"The magazine is digest-sized, and does have a higher quality cover than is often the case with smaller magazines. A couple of names on the cover ring bells (Antonelli, Lake, McIntosh) as they have appeared in some of the aforementioned bigger circulation mags."

Huh? I'm becoming a familiar name? Hot damn!

In the review of "Dybbuk", it was noted it has a "touch of Quatermass and the Pit, as a long buried burial chamber is opened and an ancient horror is revealed. The story is ok without being really outstanding, and I did grimace a bit with a slightly clumsy opening couple of sentences which has one too many usages of 'on the radio' to read smoothly ('Henderson mashed the button on his radio. As he did, he looked over to see whose channel had lit up on the radio.') I'd have edited out the last three words! "

Uhhh, actually, the reviewer is right, that was a mistake. After the story was accepted, I went back to a copy of the story I realized I had inserted "on the radio" one place and forgot to remove it in the other.

Busted!

My apologies...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hitting 55

I finished my latest story last night. I'm dropping in the mail to today. It's probably not "serious" or "cutting edge" enough for modern scifi tastes, but I don't care - I think it's fun. It's called "My Ugly Little Self" and is kind of a combo of Robert Sawyer (Hominids) and Isaac Asimov (The Ugly Little Boy). It's the 55th story I've written since 2002.

I updated my submissions log last night. I have 21 stories out there is 21 slush piles. I have one story in an anthology slush pile, and about four or five that have been AWOL so long I've taken them off the list. Magazines like Interzone and neo-Opsis don't seem to be replying at all any more, and some smaller venues - such as Shadows of Saturn and Gothic.net - seem to have died out.

Here is a copy of the article about my reading before the local Friends of the Library. A member of the group write it, which is what I wanted because it looks too self-serving if I write an article about my own talk:

(Bowie County (Tx.) Citizens Tribune, Oct. 26. 2005)
By Jane Morris
Special Contributor
Local journalist and science fiction author Lou Antonelli was the first speaker in the New Boston Friends of the Library 2005-2006 Guest Author Series at the Friends October meeting.
Known to many as the editor of the Bowie County Citizens Tribune, Antonelli has written science fiction for the past three years.
In that short scope of time he has received five honorable mentions in several annual anthologies.
His stories have been published in Asimov's Science Fiction in the United States - the second largest science fiction magazine in the English-speaking world - and Andromeda Spaceways, the largest magazine in Australia.
Antonelli says he wants "science fiction to be fun," and indeed his reading of his most recently published work, "A Rocket for the Republic" from Asimov's, was perceived as fun and funny by members of the Friends of the Library.
The story met with much laughter and some outright guffaws.
The story recounted the hilarious exploits of a Texas pioneer during the days of the Republic.
The story, written using Texas colloquialisms, was read by Antonelli, who is originally from Massachusetts, with a Texas accent.
The story wove historic facts such as the coming to Texas of Jim Bowie, the Runaway Scrape and the battle of San Jacinto. with an account of adventure that incorporated the technical aspects of rocket travel. It was truly a Texas tall tale.
After concluding his reading, Antonelli talked about elements of writing science fiction and science fantasy. He then donated a signed copy of the Asimov's magazine featuring his work to the New Boston library.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Reading the Rocket

I had my first public reading Tuesday night. The local Friends of the Library asked me to speak at their October meeting. I read "A Rocket for the Republic" to about two dozen ladies.
I explained a little of my personal background, and the background of the story as well as the genre before reading "Rocket". Many of the ladies in this group are also active in Texas historical and/or genealogical groups, so they ate it up.
I explained that as a non-native Texan, I probably made a better-than-average attempt to include Texas historical tidbits - because I've had to learn these things in the past 20 years I've lived here.
Mom and Patricia came along, too. Overall, everyone had a good time.
Afterwards some of the ladies asked me some questions. One lady also said she had looked up my stories on the web, and had enjoyed a couple of them.
She didn't recall the titles, but after a brief description I knew they were "Silence is Golden" and "Big Girl".
She was especially impressed with "Silence", especially she 'fell" for the trick ending. I told her that "Silence" was my first story to get an honorable mention in the "Year's Best Science Fiction".
I only wish I had taken a few of the blow-in cards I have laying around at home and handed them out. I might have picked up a few subs for the magazine. But this is the first time I'd ever done this.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Update

I just updated my biblliography at my web site. I thought I'd also post it here:

Lou Antonelli has had 22 stories published since he started writing science fiction in August 2002. They are:

1. "Silvern" - RevolutionSF, June 2003.
2. "Silence is Golden" - RevolutionSF, August 2003.
3. "Comes the Juju Man" - GateWay science fiction, December 2003.
4. "S*P*P*A*M*" - Bewildering Stories, December 2003.
5. "Rome, If You Want To" - Surprising Stories, May 2004.
6. "Pen Pal" - RevolutionSF, July 2004.
7. "I Got You" - Bewildering Stories, July 2004.
8. "Flash, Boom, Bam (a flash anthology" - Bewilderimg Stories, July 2004.
9. "Doppelgangster" - Bewildering Stories, Sept. 2004.
10. "Double-Crossing the Styx" - Continuum Science Fiction, Fall 2004.
11. "The Rocket-Powered Cat" - RevolutionSF, Dec. 2004.
12. "Circe in Vitro" - Astounding Tales, December 2004.
13. "They Call It Time" - AlienSkin, Dec./Jan. 2005.
14. "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?" - Bewildering Stories, Feb. 2005.
15. "Big Girl" - Ultraverse, May/June 2005.
16. "The Hideaway" - AlienSkin, June/July 2005.
17. "The Honor of the Blue Devil Patrol" - Beyond Centuari, June/July 2005.
18. "The Cast Iron Dybbuk" - June/July 2005, Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine.
19. "Dialogue" - RevolutionSF, August 2005.
20. "A Rocket for the Republic" - Asimov's Science Fiction, Sept. 2005.
22. "After Image" - Surprising Stories, Sept. 2005.
22. "The Queen of Guilty Pleasures" - Bewildering Stories, Oct. 2005.

"Silence is Golden" was honored with an Honorable Mention in "The Year's Best Science Fiction, 21st annual collection (2004)"

The following stories were honored with Honorable Mentions in "The Year's Best Science Fiction, 22st annual collection (2005)"

"Pen Pal"
"The Rocket-Powered Cat"
"I Got You"
"Circe in Vitro"

Milestones:

First acceptance: "Comes the JuJu Man" January 2003.

First Publication: "Silvern" June 2003.

First Print Publication: "Double Crossing the Styx" Fall 2004.

First Foreign Publication: "The Cast Iron Dybbuk" June 2005.

First Pro Publication: "A Rocket for the Republic" Sept. 2005.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

My first public reading

Well, it's not the Library of Congress, but it's a start:

By JANE MORRIS
Special Contributor
The Friends of the New Boston Public Library will host the first program of their 2005-2006 Guest Author Series on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the New Boston Library at 7 p.m.
Lou Antonelli of Hooks will be the featured author. Antonelli has published many works of science fiction and his most recent short story called, "A Rocket for the Republic," was published last month in the prestigious Asimov's Science Fiction.
This magazine is the second largest science fiction periodical in the United States with a circulation of nearly 30,000 and has been published over 35 years.
Antonelli had four stories honored with honorable mentions in "The Year's Best Science Fiction, 22nd annual collection" anthology published in 2005 by St. Martin's Press of New York City - the most of any Texas science fiction author. Antonelli will read his short story and invite questions and discussion from those in attendance.
He will donate a signed copy of the magazine to the library featuring his story. Antonelli's talk will begin at 7 p.m. on the evening of the program; however, the Friends of the Library's October business session will begin at 6:30.
Interested community members are invited to attend both meetings.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A nice exchange

Got a rejection from Lenox Ave. today. But it was rather pretty nice, and I replied to it:

Dear Lou Antonelli:

Thank you for submitting "Insight" to LENOX AVENUE. It was well received here,
but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication. I love
the core idea behind this story, but the rest of the story is undeveloped, and
the prose is sometimes flawed.

I hope you'll consider us again, and I wish you the best success in placing this
story elsewhere.

Best regards,

John Schoffstall

John -

Thanks for the kind comments. "Insight" was the very first story I ever wrote back in 2002, and it shows. I'm actually quite impressed you thought so well of it, considerring it was my very first story ever submitted. I still haven't given up on it!

I'll see what I have sitting in the drawer!

Lou Antonelli

Monday, October 10, 2005

Since I mentioned it...

Since I brought it up, here's a listing from the Locus calendar:

Fri 14 Oct 2005,

* Howard Waldrop reads at Library of Congress, Pickford Theater, Madison Building, 3th floor, Washington DC, US

random thots

I spent some time on the phone getting caught up with Howard on Friday. He'll be the GOH at CapClave this coming weekend. I had originally thought to perhaps go myself, but I can't fit in the time and expense right now.
Howard is not only having a reading at the convention, but he's having a reading at the Library of Congress! What an honor! I get my first public reading Tuesday the 18th. The local Friends of the Library in New Bosotn have invited me to read "A Rocket for the Republic" at their next meeting. One of the members of the Friends of the Library read "Rocket" and - also being a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas - was quite impressed that I got my history correct. I'm putting a news item on the paper, but adding her byline as a "special contributor". I want people to know I didn't write the story.
Not quite the Library of Congress, but I'm happy for now.
Well, mom arrived this weekend. Actually it's been a quite pleasant visit so far. And I got some writing in, started a new story. I have, as usual, about 20 stories out in various slushpiles, but some of them are fairly small. Some of these stories are getting to the point I may pull them or give them to old favorites such as Bewildering or Surprising Stories.
I'm trying to avoid the writer's equivalenmt of sophomore slump. Just got to work my way through this.

Monday, October 03, 2005

More bad news

The employee on medical leave went to the doctor today. She's still out until at least Nov. 7. Being salaried, the burden of taking up the slack is falling on me. The company won't adjust its budget (since it still has to pay her while she's on worker's comp). Hmm... the problem may solve itself. If I get too overrworked, I may collapse anyway - being a 48-year old type II diabetic. We'll just tough it through as best I can. But with me working extended hours, and my mom coming for a two-week visit next weekend, heck if I know when I'll have time to write.

I mentioned two posts ago that Zoetrope returned a manuscript without so much as a cover letter. When I spent some time over the weekend getting caught up on submissions, I realized I had it wrong, it was Brutarian. I had sent them a return envelope with a change of address sticker I pulled off a magazine. I guess they thought if I was too lazy to write out the envelope, they wouldn't bother to drop in a letter.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A week goes by... quickly

I turned to my wife this morning as we were walking across the parking lot at church.
"Uhh, we didn't go to church last Sunday, right?"
"No, you were at FenCon in Dallas, remember?"
"Fencon was LAST weekend? It seems like forever!"
Yep, it's been that kind of week. The reporter who broke her arm did so the Thursday before FenCon. I assumed once that happened FenCon was toast - but the other reporter who had been on vacation indicated she actually WANTED to cover an event on Saturday that I assumed I'd have to cover, so I was able to attend Saturday and Sunday.
The reporter who is on medical leave had already done some work for last weekend's paper, but this week I had to come up with stuff to take up her slack from scratch, and that's when it got real hard.
Plus, as I indicated, we had a problem develop with the fence Thursday which I couldn't fix until the weekend.
I cover football Friday nights and have to write up the game right afterwards - which means I'm up until 3 a.m. every Saturday morning.
Of course, some idiot usually calls or phones like at 8 or 9 on Saturday morning, so I never get a chance to sleep in. However, yesterday, we didn't get bothered until 10:15 a.m. when a neighbor knocked on the door. That's so close to a normal night's sleep I was actually quite happy.
That afternoon I borrowed a sledge hammer and narrow spade from the neighbor and Patricia and I actually got the t-posts set to fix the fence. We reattached the chain link fence to the posts where it had popped loose, and attached it to the t-posts, which were set in the middle of the other posts.
In case I didn't mention why the fence had to be fixed, our neighbor had kept some sheep in the adjacent pasture and over time the ram had butted the fence so often (when he got pissed at the dogs - both my pup and the dogs that belonged to the people who lived here before) that the fence was badly bowed inwards towards our yard, so much so that the bottom was off the ground - hence my dog being able to slip out.
It was hot work, but we had it done by about 3:30 p.m. I finally was able to let the mutt out of his kennel. The look of consternation when he went back to the fence was worth it all. Hahaha!
After resting, we rewarded ourselves by hitting the Target in Texarkana, and then we pigged out at the Cici's pizza there. Ah, bliss.
Since I've gotten more sleep, I'm doing better in fighting this summer cold. I think it's obvious from the number of spelling mistakes in my last post how tired I was.
My next chore is to go over the stories that came back this week and send them off to different venues again.
More about FenCon? Hmm, it was really kind of like a job for me. Although my learning curve on this science fiction racket has leveled off some somewhat, it's still good to learn stuff from people who get around more. I don't anticipate going to any con before ConDFW in February. With my work schedule (the paper I edit is a semi-weekly, which means it had a mid-week and weekend edition - ergo, I have a 2 p.m. deadline on Friday, which makes it hard for me to sneak out for a long weekend. ) Also, until the end of the fall I MUST cover football - Friday Night Lights in Texas, you know. Back in 2003 I was able to attend Philcon, but that was because it was in December, after the football season is over and before district starts for basketball.
I'd love to go to PhilCon again, but the budget and cost of fuel probably has scotched that. However, I think just in principle I probably need to get out to the East Coast every once and a while - just to rub elbows with the publishing people.
I was glad to hear a couple of time at panels at FenCon that I'm not the only person to have noticed how dominated the magazines and publishers are by New York City. It's really obvious, if you live out where like I do, that there's a cultural thing here, and folks on the East Coast are not as sensitive and sympathetic to us writers in the vast hinter-heartland.
Steve Stirling's GOH talk Saturday night was a hoot, and I told him so in person Sunday morning. I'm reminded how inbred s-fi circles tend to be (like, refer to previous paragraph) because I got the same double-take from him as I've gotten from some other writers when I mention I've been published in Asimov's. I mean, he didn't say anything, but it was obvious he was thinking "Huh? I've never heard of you?"
I got sort of the same thing from Larry Niven, who was the GOH at last year's FenCon, when I told him I had a story accepted for Asimov's. His comeback was, "Well, I bet you hope that isn;t the only story you sell!"
I had just sold "Dybbuk" to Andromeda, which I proceeded to tell some, but some fan butted in and I don't think he ever heard my reply. Oh, well.
Mike Resnik was also a guest at FenCon this year, and I didn't attend any panels he was on and I never met him. But when I go to a Con I go to lean. not to kiss up to authors.
I'm such a newbie in the s-f field I don't know many people well enough to socialize with. Howard's probably my best bud and he lives in Austin. But Howard's just an overall decent human being.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Flown Home

Gordon returned "The Witch of Waxahachie." He said he likd the spirit of the story, but it didn't work for him overall. I'll send it to Sheila next.

Sheila also sent back "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" this week. She also had good things to say. It'll go to Gordon next.

I had a first today. Zoetrope sent back "The Silver Dollar Saucer" without any kind of cover letter at all.

My summer cold has returned, and I've had a few days this week where it's been real hard to work. I'm probably getting run down because of the extra work having to cover for the employee out on sick leave. What can you do?

Thursday I was so shaky I almost fell over a number of times, and at one point I used a walking stick to get in and out of may car. No way I can take a sick day, with one person already out sick.

The speculative literatur foundation had a traveling grand application due the 30th, but it's all I have been able to do tom keep up with my normal work, so I had to let that slide

Other things are also piling up to sap my strength and time. Solace has figured out to how to escape from the yard, but I didn't have the time to fix the fence Friday. There are days I can't do any yard work because I leave before dark and come home after dark.

I bought some t-posts to fix the bottom of the fence, but I don't have a sldegehammer - I'll have to borrow one from a neighbor. In the meantime he is staying in a kennel indoors and being taken for walks.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Wacky Times

Sorry - if anybody is REALLY reading this blog - that I haven't posted in a while, but things have been real hairy on the job. People who've worked at the newspaper for years say they can't remember the last time there was a workman's comp accident, and then we had TWO in two days.

The first was on Wednesday, the 21th - the day after my last posting. An employee in the press side of the operation crushed a finger in a piece of equipment. She didn't lose it, but she's on leave until further notice.

Although this was unfortunate, it didn't affect the news departmenr directly, but the next day - Thursday - our reporter tripped and fell on an uneven spot on the sidewalk while working on a story at a local school. She suffered a double compound fracture of her left upper arm. Poor thing! She's out for the duration.

Obviously, when your news department has three people, losing one of them causes a loft of shuffling around. Myself and the other person are coping - but it's hectic. At the time of the accident, the sports editor (the third person in the department) was on vacation, but she came back - otherwise I would have been stuck running things single-handed.

I can't believe I was still able to go to FenCon, but there was only one event happening on the weekend, and it was a 5K run, so the sports editor covered it.

I was able to drive to Dallas Saturday morning and attended the Con until about 3 p.n. Sunday. Since my wife grew up in Dallas, I was able to save money by staying at my mother-in-law's home Saturday night.

I was unhappy that neither Joe Lansdale nor Jayme Blaschke - who were originally scheduled as guest - couldn't make it. I still picked up a lot of useful information, though, and visited with a few people.

I'll try to post more about FenCon later, but I just thought to take a minute to get SOMETHING posted.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Witch has flown

Well, dropped "The Witch of Waxahachie' in the mail to GVG at F&SF today. Story came in at 6,371 words. I chatted briefly on the phone with Howard last night. I mentioned I felt good about the story and that I felt it was well written, because it dropped in word count as I finished it.
It's counter-intuitive to non-writers, but "real" writers know that after a point the longer you write the SHORTER a story should get, as you tweak and tighten it up.
Howard reminded me of Lew Shiner's Law, which is that a good story should drop down a category before it's finished, i.e. a novelette should turn into a novella, a novella should turn into a short story.
I've had the idea for the story that became "Witch" for years, but the biggest reason I never got around to starting it was that I thought it would take a whole book to write.
When I actually kicked the writing (on Sept. 8) I worried that I would have trouble bringing it in as a short story. Licked that problem, too.
I took the time to write a cover letter to Gordon - which I hardly ever do. But I wanted to explain that I might develop this into a series.
This is the first story I've finished in three months. The only story I finished up and sent off all summer - because of the job change, subsequent long commute, and then move - was "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes., which went to Sheila June 17.
Gardner once said the key to really establishing yourself as an up and coming writer is to produce a tightly written series of stories in a year in two set in an interesting universe of your creation. It seems to have worked for Charlie Stross.
When I first heard this advice, I despaired of finding my own formula, but with "Witch" I may have the key. The cast of characters - Penny Pennoyer, Larry Anglen, Doc Melancon, Brad Vavra, Deputy Joe and Sgt. Lucy - seem to be a bunch I can go to again and again.
The possibilities of developing ongoing series are there due to the setup of the "mirror worlds". The fact it's not straight fantasy (science, specifically the Super Collider, were needed to set up the connection between the two worlds) gives me more flexibility.
The tension and potential of having duplicated characters is obvious. Patricia said the scene where the two Sgt. Lucys have a dog fight between themselves was one of the things she remembers the most from the story.
And it was by having Sgt. Lucy be the only character from our world who actually meets her counterpart from the magical world in "Witch" gives me time and thought to the next logical development, which is: What will happen when the two Penny Pennoyers meet? (I already made a reference at the end of "Witch" to telling my 'two cents worth' when the two Pennys collide).
I also like the fact that it is obvious even from the limited references in "Witch' that our world's Penny Pennoyer is the bad one, and - counter-intuitively - the "Witch of Waxahachie" is a good character.
Patricia read the final manuscript last night, caught one typo. Like I said, dropped it in the mail today.
I also sent Stan Schmidt "Business as Usual" - my little take on zombies, feminism and rampant capitalism.
Howard is still finishing up his stories for CapClave. They made him sing for his supper as GOH by writing two novelettes which will be printed in the program.
I 'fessed up to Howard that I can't make the convention. I can't afford the time in the new job or the cost of airfare due to the fuel prices. I need to stay loser to home for the time being.
However, things for me are going to work out pretty good - my mom is coming to visit me thew middle two weeks of October, anyway.
Howard thought things sounded like they worked out.
He though the story for "Witch" sounded great, and he said it's one of the best story titles he ever heard (don't underestimate the value of a snappy title in the making of a story - I had the title first for "Rocket" and Dybbuk" before I had the stories). It's a common ploy among sci-fi writers.
I think I'm gonna forge ahead and do a story that follows right up behind "Witch' called "The Wizard of Boz". Let's see how long I can play this hand.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

More about "Witch"

I hardly ever post twice in the same day, but a thought occured to me - while I was minding the sauce on the stove:

I'm especially proud that "The Witch of Waxahachie" is the first story I've ever done with a dog as a character in it - and not some Swanwickian talking dog - just a normal old police pooch.

AND the dog isn't in the story for cutness or color - she's in there for some important plot twists. There's two places in the story where the dog's role is crucial; first, because she can't keep herself from getting into a fight with her doppelgager from an alterate dimension; and two, because she can't tell a falsehood when her mind is read.

Saturday Night at the Movies

Got the auto-response from Strange Horizons for "Finger Lakes". I was beginning to wonder.

Did the first read-through Thursday night with spouse on "Witch". Making some changes before running off the copy to proof.

Tonight it's either "Alice in Wonderland" or "The Borrowers" on DVD. Or both.

Special treat - to celebrate the completion of story, I'm making a lasagna. I'm using real tomato sauce and Barilla lasagna noodles.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Swapping Tales, writing new ones

Ellen returned "Twilight on the Finger Lakes" - said it was 'intriguing' but didn't bite. I sent her "The League of Dead Nations" and sent "Twilight" to Strange Horizons (at least I think I did - I haven't got an auto-reply. Hmmm).

"Twilight" was forwarded; it still had the old address on it. Considering Ellen's letter was dated Sept. 5 and I got it on Sept. 14 - that's not too bad for a forwarded large envelope.

Did some major work on "The Witch of Waxahachie" last night. Between the new writing and the trimming, it didn't grow in length. I'm wondering whether it will come in as a short story, i.e. 7,000 words or less.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Got Them...

The package with my bulk order of ten copies of the September Asimov's came in the mail today. It took about three weeks for them to arrive, but Dell shipped them second class. This gives a few more to send to old friends and cronies.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Off again

Finally got off high center and started up a new story. Wrote about 6100 words on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's called "The Witch of Waxahachie" and is unusual in that it completely straddles the science fiction and fantasy genres. Think Randall Garrett's "Lord Darcy".

Took a break over the weekend - I was really hung up on the ending, but the light clicked and I'm ready for the home stretch.

Tangent has posted its review of Andromeda Spaceways. These are the dudes who gave "Rocket" a mostly negative review. They seemed to have actually liked "Dybbuk" more:

"This issue of ASIM opens with the fun little tale “The Cast Iron Dybbuk” by Lou Antonelli. Miners come across a very ancient artifact, and Bad Things happen when they accidentally crack it open. The story is a little heavy on exposition. I would have liked to have seen a bit more about how things were discovered rather than just having a character come in and tell me what was discovered. That said, the concept behind the story and the humorous note it ends on are enough to pull it through, starting another issue of ASIM off right."

I like that expression, "Bad Things happen".

"Dybbuk" has turned out to be a more important story for me than I would have thought. Of course, the timing - while completely accidental - helped prevent the appearance that "Rocket" was a fluke (quite remarkable a coincidence, that the two stories should run at essentially the same time, because the publication schedules of Andromeda and Asimov's are so different that "Dybbuk" was WRITTEN after "Rocket" was accepted."

Also, "Dybbuk" is written in the third person, which shows than I can write more than the first-person narrative that is "Rocket" (although I'll stick to my guns forever that it was told using the right format, sometimes a monologue story verges on being a 'trick'.) Dybbuk shows that I can write more than the monologue 'trick'.

Watched the DVD of the 1946 MGM musical "Till the Clouds Roll By" with the wife Saturday night. I've been humming Kern show tunes the rest of the weekend. Sunday we rearranged the bedroom furniture.

Just call me Mr. Domestic.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Symmetry

I mentioned in my previous post that it's been three years since I started writing science fiction in any organized way.
In that same timespan, I've also worked at three different newspapers, as I've tried to work my way up to more pay and better conditions.
I first began writing when I was working for the Malakoff News in Henderson County, Texas.
That's where I was when I had my first story published, "Silvern", which was at RevolutionSF in June 2003.
That August I took a job with the Winnsboro News and moved to Wood County.
I had whipped up a first draft of "Rocket" while still in Henderson County. I finished it up and it was the first story I sent off from Winnsboro, in Oct. 2003.
Ironically, the last issue of Asimov's I got in the mail in Winnsboro, the September 2005 issue, was the one with "Rocket".
So I had my first publication right before I left one town, and my first pro publication before I left the other.
I haven't got my Oct./Nov. issue of Asimov's; probably won't for weeks. since now since it had to be forwarded. I turned in an on-line change of address to Dell Magazines, but they said the first issue where the change will kick in will be December.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Some thoughts and tales on the third anniversary...

of my starting to write science fiction in any kind of serious fashion. It's probably a good time to reflect.
Of course, I read tons of science fiction when I was a kid. Remember the old joke, "What was the Golden Age of science fiction?"
The answer: 12.
I took a class in science fiction when I was in high school; the enlightened English Department offered it as an elective. So the first science fiction I ever actually wrote was in that class.
I got good marks; I seemed to have a knack for it.
I didn't approach writing again until I was almost 30. I think I was prodded by the impending demise of Robert Heinlein; his health was obviously declining. This news made me think about the subject; and I actually thought to do some writing. I still have one complete story I did back then, about two men huddling in a cave talking abut how civilization imploded by the turn of the century because people simply went crazy from the fast pace and out of control technology of modern life. I certainly wasn't a cyberpunk. The story is clumsy, and my inadequacies of the power of prophecy are evident (I had the Berlin Wall falling ten years too late. and I had the Christian Right taking over the White House eight years too early). Some day I may post the story on-line, as a historic artifact.
Heinlein died in May 1988. I bought "To Sail Beyond the Sunset” and had the bizarre 'talking book' incident that summer (I need to post that story later).
I took two weeks of vacation in August 1988 and lugged a TRS-80 Model II to a cabin in Cuchara, Colorado, and started to work on an alternate history story. I came to the conclusion I didn't have the chops to make a real go at writing. I still have the computer though, and the eight-inch disks in storage. If I could get the power-source on the computer, I may be able to save what I wrote back then.
The cyberpunks turned me off to the genre, anyway, during the '80s. I bought three books during the decade - James Hogan's "Inherit the Stars", L. Neil Smith's "The Gallatin Divergence", and a reprint of Heinlein's "Time for the Stars".
Otherwise, the only science fiction I read during the decade was in Omni. I bought a subscription from a strange boy who appeared at my office one day when I was all alone during an ice storm, and who didn't leave any footprints when he left (another bizarre story I'll have to tell later).
I did like a lot of the stuff I read there; I was very impressed with "His Powder'd Wig, His Crown of Thorns" by Marc Laidlaw. I also really liked "Wild, Wild Horse". Little did I know that years later I'd get to know the author hisself, Howard Waldrop.
There was a lot of good stuff in the magazine; who could have know that in 2004 I would sit on a panel at a convention with Ellen Datlow.
My interest finally petered out completely. I don't think I read any science fiction in the '90s at all; nothing that I can recall.
So how did I get back into the groove? Well, from 1995 to 2001 I was completely preoccupied as the owner and operator of a small community newspaper; a project that ultimately failed. By the start of 2002 I was looking for a real job and starting to pay attention to the world again.
Ginnie Heinlein died in January 2002. That caught my attention. Then George Alec Effinger died in April. Hmmm, got my attention again.
One day, while killing time on the internet, I was puttering around and reading about the Green Lantern. I saw that Alfred Bester wrote the Green Lantern Oath. Boing! Bester was my favorite author when I was young. I also learned that Bester had been a magazine editor. Hey, a journalist who wrote science fiction!
That spring, "Minority Report" came out. My wife likes Tom Cruise, and so we saw it. I thought at first - from preliminary reports - the movie was based on "The Demolished Man" by Bester. Of course, it was based on the Phillip K. Dick story.
Well, the little dings kept adding up. I guess ideas were percolating in my mind. And then the AC broke down right before Labor Day.
We were living in a guesthouse adjacent to a lake in East Texas. My boss at the time let us live there as part of my employment package. The window unit died right before a very hot weekend, and there was no way to get it replaced until after the holiday.
My wife couldn't take the heat, so she fled back to her mother's place in Dallas.
I stayed behind, and found a temporary solution by "borrowing" a window unit from the office (which was a big hassle taking it out and putting it in and taking it out again and putting it back, but it worked for a few days.)
Meanwhile, I was alone. So late one night, I sat down at the computer and I thought: Hokay, you're 45. Howsabout a mid-life assessment? Have I done everything I wanted to do in my life?
Get married? Check, did that in 1999.
Run my own newspaper? Check, like I already noted (although in the end that proved to be a big mistake. You know, watch out for what you wish for....)
A few other things not worth mentioning.
Hey! I never got around to really writing science fiction? Hmm.. well I got some time to kill.
I did a search and found a web site, SpeculativeVisions.com, which lets you self-post stories and get feedback. So I stayed up until 4 a.m. and banged out a 2,000 word story, and then posted it.
Checked back the next day to see how badly the other folks ripped me apart. Compliments all around. Not a bad job, they said.
Then it hit me. After All those years of writing for newspapers. my writing had improved. I wasn't up to speed in the '80s, but now maybe I could make a go at it.
I began a process of serious research on the web to ascertain the state of the genre. It involved a lot of self-education. By September, I submitted my first story.
So here we are three years later. I've had 20 stories published, including my pro debut in Asimov's.
Yesterday I sat down, collected up my notes, and wrote up on a crumbling old Big Chief tablet - which I had originally bought for this use in the 80's - all my story ideas just waiting to be written up. I came up with 53.
I better get to work.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What I've Read Recently

I've read three stories in the past week:

"The Red Queen's Race" by Isaac Asimov.

"Rammer' by Larry Niven.

"Burning Day" by Glenn Grant.

Which were published in 1948, 1971, and 2004, respectively.

I read "Red Queen" and "Burning Day" both while babysitting a computer that was being fixed. I read "Rammer" while waiting out a school board executive session.

I'd never read "Red Queen" before. It's in an anthology I bought a couple of weeks ago, "The Future I", edited by Asimov.

"Burning Day" is in the current Year's Best (Hartwell version) It's not in the Dozois flavor.

"Rammer' is in a Niven collection, "Playgrounds of the Mind".

Quick impressions:

"Red Queen" - Typically Asimovian brilliance; I've always like the guy. Probably seemed more original when it was published.

"Burning" - Hmmm. Very well written. I never thought I'd see cyberpunk sound so old-fashioned.

"Rammer" - Good bridge between the New Wave and the Cyberpunks. Again, well written. I start to lose sympathy for the characters, though, when they get too far out - both in time and space.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Copied from the Asimo's Board

In case anyone is interested, I have an officious web site now. It originally belonged to a newspaper I owned and operated (which explains the unusual URL). I've kept the web site and finally tore out all the journalism stuff and put up all my own sci-fi news.

I've got some stories archived there, and I've even put up a piece of original fiction.

I was wondering whether anyone else would like to have stories there? It could be another on-line fiction venue (don't even ask me about money).

The Sentinel is a noteworthy name in science fiction; that happened to be the name of the newspaper, so I've called the web site Sentinel Science Fiction.

Stop by and visit:

http://www.cedarhillsentinel.com/

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Changing of the Sentinel

The conversion is complete at the web site which originally belonged to a newspaper I once ran. The newspaper went belly up in 2001, but the web site has chugged along. However, I have little time or interest for it, and as our last paid advertiser dropped off, I thought it was time to convert it to my personal web site.

Ironically, the newspaper was called the Sentinel - but "The Sentinel" was also the name of the Arthur C. Clarke story that became "2001: A Space Odyssey". So I'm calling it Sentinel Science Fiction. That's actually a pretty good name for a sci-fi site.

Most science fiction authors have web sites, both for self-promotion and to allow people to find them.

Since I already have the web site (and a fairly good deal on the hosting) I'll keep it for myself.

People may wonder, though, about the URL: www.cedarhillsentinel.com. I guess that will become a little back story.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

New at RevSF

RevolutionSF has just published my story "Dialogue". That makes six stories published in 3 1/2 months:
Print:
"A Rocket for the Republic" - September 2005 Asimov's.
"The Cast Iron Dybbuk" - June/July Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine.
"The Honor of the Blue Devil Patrol" - June/July Beyond Centauri.
E-zines:
"Big Girl" - May/June Ultraverse.
"The Hideaway" - June/July Alienskin.
"Dialogue" - August 23 RevolutionSF.
BUT now I have nothing in the pipeline.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Good reading

You know, it seems strange to me, but I found myself doing the same thing with my story in Andromeda Spaceways that I did with Asimov's. I've read the story at least a couple of times in the magazine. I did the same thing with "Rocket" - which struck me as strange. I mean, I know how the story ends.

Still, it somehow seems different when it's in print in a real magazine. Somehow I actually enjoy the story and forget for a moment that I write it. It still seems fun.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Bulging Mailbox

I got the original manuscript back from Dell magazines in the mail today, along with a couple of author's copies. They were mailed August 3 but I didn't get them until today because they had to be forwarded.

They also included a sheet on how to buy extra author's copies, but I had already contacted the Dell circulation department directly and got a price from them. In fact, the order left in today's outgoing mail.

Actually, when I say I got the manuscript back, I mean the manuscript they worked off after Gardner and I finished with the story. The ending was changed, and after the Great One and the Meager Scribbler were in agreement, he had me e-mail the final version to the office in New York.

It has the final corrections in green ink (Sheila Williams is the only person I know who uses green ink). BTW, as a newspaper editor myself, I have to comment that Sheila is an EXCELLENT copy editor. She caught every small mistake that got by Gardner and myself.

I asked my wife if I should tape the manuscript to a piece of our bedroom furniture - because that's what paid for it.

Oh, and I also got my five copies of Andromeda Spaceways in the mail today. They had to travel all the way from Australia and get forwarded, but they found me. Neat little magazine. Each magazine was mailed in a separate postage paid Aussie envelope. I guess they had to do it that way. Between the envelope from Dell and the Andromedas, the mailbox was full.

Changing subjects completely, the wife and I were shopping at Casa del Wally last night, and I picked up a DVD in the dollar bin: "The Phantom Empire" with Gene Autry.

It's a 1935 serial that combines the the Western Singing Cowboy genre with a '30s sci-fi sensibility and a lost underground kingdom.

It was great. I'd heard about it before. It probably contributed a lot to Flash Gordon, which debuted the following year.

It doesn't make a lick of sense, but it's a hoot. Even my wife said it was fun.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Extra copies

I just dropped a check in the mail to Dell Magazines for ten extra copies of the issue. My subscribers' copy has gotten pretty beaten-up.

I bought the last two copies of the issue at a Hastings in Mount Pleasant, Texas, August 5. Otherwise, there isn't a book store that stocks the mag within 75 miles of me.

I mailed the two copies to my old retired scoutmaster in Arizona, and a former boss of mine.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back On-Line

Well, the DSL modem arrived yesterday. We got the new hardware hooked up and running today, so I'm back on-line. I sent off four stories via e-mail.

Can't make ArmaDilloCon in Austin this weekend, I have a conflict with work.

Comments continue to come in almost uniformly positive about "Rocket". The reviewer at Tangent gave it thumbs down, though. He didn't;t like the dialect (annoying), the plot (unoriginal) and the ending (predictable). Otherwise, everything has been positive. The most common word used in many comments and reviews has been "fun" - which is what I wanted.

Re-read Andy Duncan's "Lincoln in Frogmore" over the weekend. The voice in that story contributed a lot to the feel of the voice in "Rocket". "Lincoln" ran in the Fall 2001 double issue of Asimov's.

After I mentioned at the Asimov's discussion board that the ending of "Rocket" kinda had a tribute to Jack Finney's "Quit Zoomin' Your Hands Through the Air", I think a few people went and reread that story - which also makes me happy.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Off-Line

Moved into a new home August 5, but don't have an internet connection yet (DSL modem was shipped to the wrong location by UPS). That's why I haven't been posting lately.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

From the Asimov's discussion board

OK, here are some comments from the Asimov's discussion board from the thread about the September issue:

By Randy Beck on Sunday, July 24, 2005 - 11:15 am:
Has nobody mentioned the new issue yet?
I only read one story so far. I'm usually way behind, and I was going to wait until I cleared my plate but I saw Lou Antonelli's Bradburyesque Asimov's debut and thought I'd give it a shot.
Congratulations, Lou. I'll have to congratulate you even more if you ever beat this one. It's very, very, very good.

By R.Wilder on Sunday, July 24, 2005 - 06:34 pm:
Sept. is a great issue. "A Rocket for the Republic" is a ripper, a fine tall-tale that put a smile on my face. It's got a good narrative voice, a simple but clever plot and I wished I'd thought of it. A nifty "Asimov's" debut, and the best Lou Antonelli yet.

(I posted a picture of Snoopy from Peanuts dancing here.)

By Steven Utley on Friday, July 29, 2005 - 04:56 pm:
Give in to the moment, Lou -- don't hold back.

By Gardner Dozois on Friday, July 29, 2005 - 05:11 pm:
I'd like to see film footage of Lou himself actually doing the Happy Snoopy Dance. That would be worth seeing.

By Lou Antonelli on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 12:35 am:
If "Rocket" wins a Hugo or Nebula, I will put on a black rubber ball dog nose and do the Happy Snoopy Dance in front of the audience.
It'll never happen - but you can hold me to it if it DOES happen.

By Gardner Dozois on Saturday, July 30, 2005 - 09:43 am:
Oh, hold you to it we will, believe me!

By Bill G on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 09:49 pm:

Today I received the September issue. I see it has a theme -- "Generations." That's the title of Pohl's story and Williams's editorial. The TOC features three or four generations. Pohl is one of the last survivors of the GI generation that fought WWII. Aldiss and Silverberg are members of the Silent generation that started writing in the '50s. Then there are Baby Boomers, who currently dominate SF, William Barton, Lou Antonelli and Robert Reed, among others. Not sure if there are any Gen-Xers in the issue.

By R.Wilder on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 10:17 pm:
Lou's new nickname could be The Dominator.

By Marian on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 10:32 pm:
Just read your story, Lou, and am now joining the chorus of your admirers.

By Tom Purdom on Monday, August 01, 2005 - 11:58 pm:
I liked every story in the issue. I think it's worth noting that most of the stories are clearly "core science fiction", and the two exceptions are alternate history stories, which means they belong to a category that has become part of the science fiction tradition. Fred Pohl's story could even be considered "hard" SF, since it confronts some basic ideas about physics.

By Bill G on Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - 10:55 am:
Good story, Lou. Made me laugh.

By Rick Hauptmann on Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - 03:28 pm:
Well, the September issue finally made it to eastern New Mexico today. For the first time this year, the cover came through in perfect condition.
Your story is excellent, Lou. Good job.

By Jerry Wright on Tuesday, August 02, 2005 - 04:39 pm:

I too have the September Issue. Lou, I believe your story will be collected and anthologized. Sorry. Learn to live with it.

Sentinalia

Sorry about the mistake below. This is a cheap free blog, and I can't undo mistake. I hit return instead of tab.

Uhh, I have a web site, but it has a strange background. It goes with a newspaper i used to run. The paper went out of business in 2001, but the web site has been cranking along on its own. I am planning to shut down the news side of the web site later this year and convert it to exclusively my science fiction home - although the URl won't make any sense unless you know the background.

But the contract with the ISp is grandfathered, so I want to keep it. Anyway, I use the web site to tout my achievements, and here is a copy of the news release I published there:

The Lou Antonelli science fiction short story "A Rocket for the Republic" has been published by Asimov's Science Fiction magazine and is in bookstores now.
Asimov's is the second largest science fiction magazine in the world, with a circulation of almost 30,000 in English-speaking countries.
The story is featured in the September 2005 issue. The reviews have been outstanding:
"Texan tall tale, or sci-fi fabulism? A fun first-person narrative about the first space expedition Â? way back in the thirties. The eighteen thirties, that is." - L. Blunt Jackson "Bluejack", the Internet Review of Science Fiction.
"A Rocket for the Republic" is a ripper, a fine tall-tale that put a smile on my face. It's got a good narrative voice, a simple but clever plot and I wished I'd thought of it. A nifty "Asimov's" debut, and the best Lou Antonelli yet." - R. Wilder
"Astonishingly good" - Randy Beck.

The url is: http://www.cedarhillsentinel.com/

Sentinalia

Lou's News and Views

Friday, July 29, 2005

All the latest

Well, my postings have really fallen by the wayside because of the press of job duties, as well as the recent trips I have already mentioned.
Time to get caught up.
As I already pointed out, July presented some interesting challenges because of my having to spend three weekends in a row out of town.
As I mentioned, I spent the first weekend away on a job-related trip. The next I traveled to Tulsa for Conestoga.
Last weekend I attended a Turkey City workshop in Austin. This was the first workshop held A.S. (After Sterling). Bruce left last year to take a position as an creative genius in residence at a school of design in Pasadena, Ca. It's not like a tenured college professor position; he may return to Austin some day.
But in the meanwhile the Central Texas sci-fi and fantasy denizen have to live without him. The last Turkey City he hosted was last Oct. 30. I remember it well; that was the first writer's workshop I ever attended (not the first Turkey City, the first ever. Period).
Last April the North East Texas Writers Organization held a workshop in my hometown in Winnsboro, which I attended. One of the guests there was Dorothy Leblanc from Louisiana, who - as it turned out - was a member of the panel on Writer's Block I moderated at Conestoga.
So now a seasoned pro with TWO writer's workshops under my belt, I prepared to travel to Austin to my SECOND Turkey City, which was hosted by Lawrence Person. From what I know, he hosted it for many years, and then Bruce took it over, and now it's back in Lawrence.s hands.
The guests this time were Ted Chiang and Richard Butner. The other participants, in addition to Ted and Richard and Lawrence and I were Chris Nakashima-Brown, Howard Waldrop, Mikal Trimm, Steve Wilson, Ryan McReynolds, Stina Leicht, Jessica Reisman and Don Webb.
The workshop kicked off at 9 a.m., so to get there I left home at 4 a.m. I got a little turned around right before I got there and had to call Lawrence. I thought I lost because I found myself in Round Rock, but Lawrence is actually in the city of Round Rock, although he has an Austin address.
We all read each other's stories in the morning, broke for lunch at noon - which, to save time, Lawrence had delivered - and critiqued each other until 7:30 p.m.
Ted Chiang is obviously a gifted writer. The story he brought was an Arabian Nights knock-off. It reminded of what Kipling wrote in "The Conundrum of the Workshops", when he has the Devil say, "It's pretty, but is it art?"
I wasn't the only person who found the tale convoluted to the point that it was hard to follow.
I admitted to the other I have an essential lack of sympathy for stories with Arab settings after what the happy heathens have done to us. I don't think this went over well, but I don't care. Stories set in Germany didn't get much sympathy while the Nazis were galumphing. At this point I'm in the "Nuke 'em till they glow, then shoot them in the dark" kind of attitude.
Chris brought a story that was a ripping cyber-punk yarn (I never thought I'd find a story that would link "ripping yarn" and cyberpunk.
Howard's tale was a dark reworking of the story of Hansel and Gretel. Mikal whipped up a well-written and ambitious story about virtual communicating with the dead. Richard's tale was obtuse to the point I don't think anyone really got it.
Steve's story was a smart and funny take on reincarnation. Ryan's story was another ambitious story about how the unperfected with deal with eugenics in the future. Stina wrote a neat little perfect piece of fantasy. Jessica did a world-class piece of sci-fi world building. Don did a very good story about brain scrambling. Lawrence story's was a hoot which fulfilled the obligatory Chthulu requirement at every workshop.
Overall, top notch stuff. My story? Ah-hah, this is my blog. I don't have to say. Overall, though, when I think about the amount of work I invested in the story, I'm very happy with the feedback. I can probably expand it into three different stories later.
One thing I found fascinating was the range of technology among the participants. Chiang sat there and actually used a lap-top in his lap the whole time. He just leaned back from the table and kept tapping behind the screen on his lap. Never touched a piece of paper.
Meanwhile, I'm sitting next to Howard, who uses a fountain pen to make his notes.
As the workshop ended, I worked my previously-plotted plan, and placed a call to Gardner Dozois at home. I happened to recall it was his birthday. Thankfully, I actually got him on the phone, and after my best wishes, had the assembled members of the workshop sing him "Happy Birthday" as they stood around the table. I later passed the phone to Ted and Howard, and afterwards Lawrence talked to him.
By the time this folderol was all over, I was feeling very woozy. I obviously didn't get much sleep the night before, and all that starchy pizza at lunch wasn't good for my diabetes. A few goofy misstatements in conversations convinced me I would need to stay in Austin overnight.
Lawrence jumped in and was nice enough to offer his domicile - although I would have to sleep on the floor, and hit the hay after the party was over. No problem.
The party started at 8:30 and ran until past midnight. Ted knocked off about 12:30 and I think the last of us were Lawrence, Mikal, a young fellow named Patterson, and myself.
I crashed about 1:30 and slept like a log with a comforter underneath, a sheet and pillow Lawrence provided. Years ago when I was a boy scout I learned how to sleep on the ground, and I've never had a problem with that.
I got up before the others and hit the road before 9 a.m. I was back home by 3:30 p.m.
When chatting with Gardner, he said he's gotten his copy of the September Asimov's in the mail, with "A Rocket for the Republic". I was waiting all week for my copy, finally got it Thursday. Needless to say, I'm happy.
The wife and I are moving to a new home at the end of next week. I've been commuting 70 miles one-way to work each day since June 1st. This will cut my trip down to 8 miles. With the long commute and weekend trips, the Turkey City story was the only thing I've written in the past two months, but that should improve once I get settled in to the new home place.

The time I stepped on Brian Aldiss

Word has come that the great British science fiction author Brian Aldiss has passed away at the age of 92. After such a long and distingui...