Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bears repeating


I will be at the DFW Writers Conference next weekend, teaching a class on science fiction on Saturday and short story telling on Sunday. Here's a reap from their web site:

Every want to write a short story? Or wonder if shorts are viable in literature? From Aesop’s fables to the modern fables of O. Henry, as well as modern masters of the literary form such as Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and Joyce Carol Oates, short does not equal simple or forgettable. We have invited short story and science-fiction author Lou Antonelli this year to talk about the short stories. In his class The Short and the Short Of It, Lou will discuss why short stories are popular as literature. He will also explain what it takes to write a tight, memorable short story, and how to hook an editor as well as the reader.

But we can’t leave Lou with just doing short stories. In The Future As We Know It Lou will diving into the world of the unknown. The Italians call it Science Fantasy. The German term translates as Future Fiction. In English-speaking nations we call it Science Fiction. What does Cyberpunk, Space Opera and Hard Science Fiction mean? What is the difference between Steampunk, Alternate History and Secret History? From the visions of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells to the images of Rod Serling and George Lucas, Lou will explore about the various facets of these related sub-genres, and what it takes to write in them.

A life-long science fiction reader, Lou Antonelli turned his hand to writing fiction in middle age; his first story was published in 2003 when he was 46. Since then he has had 76 short stories published in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, in venues such as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Jim Baen’s Universe, Dark Recesses, Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), and Daily Science Fiction, among many others. He has received eleven honorable mentions in annual anthology The Year’s Best Science Fiction published by St. Martin’s Press for 2010, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2004. In September 2005 his steampunk short story, “A Rocket for the Republic”, was published in Asimov’s and placed third in the annual Reader’s Poll.  His collections include “Fantastic Texas” published in 2009 and “Texas & Other Planets” published in 2010.  A collection of collaborative short stories co-authored with Oregon-based author Edward Morris, “Music for Four Hands”, was published in 2011.

He is a professional journalist and the managing editor of The Daily Tribune in Mount Pleasant, Texas. A Massachusetts native, he moved to Texas in 1985 and is married to Dallas native Patricia (Randolph) Antonelli. They have two adopted furbaby children, Millie and Sugar Antonelli. You can read more from Lou Antonelli at http://louantonelli.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Lost Wizard


Two of the organizations I belong to - American Mensa and the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) - both call their membership periodicals "Bulletin". This past week I got the Mensa Bulletin in the mail, and the cover is by an artist who works mostly in s-f and fantasy, Craig Paton, for the cover story on Nikola Tesla.

This is a great illustration and I think the Mensa Bulletin and Paton hit it out of the ballpark with this one. Congratulations all around!

Standout?

Back starting around April 14, I noticed site visits appearing in the blog stats from someplace I had never seen before. I went and checked and saw that an author who goes by Vox Day added a link on his web site.

Vox Day's real name is Theodore Beale. He ran as the dissident candidate for the Science Fiction Writers of America presidency this year. He's not PC and seems to delight in sticking his thumb in the eye of the PC Nazis that run the outfit. Although he's been very antagonistic, quite frankly, playing nice with these PC types accrues no benefit. Snobs think if you're nice you're stupid, and if you're a nice Christian you're double-plus stupid. Beale seems to have a special animus for the outgoing SFWA presdent John Scalzi, and that has provided a lot of the sideshow.

Of course, Beale has as much chance of winning the SFWA post than president of Zimbabwe (actually, probably more - there's been small reforms in Zimbabwe). I checked out how these God-hating snobs treated dissent last year, and promptly went off and did my own thing. I pay my dues to SFWA so I can claim the professional status, but there is no place at the table in the group if you believe in God or America.

His blog is called Vox Populi, and in a post on April 14, "The Ideology War in Science Fiction", he wrote:

"I've put a list of standout authors on the right sidebar.  Authors like Sarah and Orson Scott Card, genre writers who have been willing, in some manner of speaking, to stand up against the fascists of science fiction and tell them, no, you don't own science fiction, you don't own fantasy, you are interlopers and intellectual parasites, and you have polluted the very literature you claimed to love.  I encourage those fans of the genre who are of the right themselves to support those writers who don't insult you, who don't despise you, who don't hate you for your religious faith or your political beliefs."

I'm honored that he includes me in his list of Standout Authors, along with Card, Hoyt, Larry Correia, Tom Kratman, John C. Wright, Jerry Pournelle, Michael Flynn, Kerry Nietz, and Mike Williamson.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taking stock

A typical fiction slush pile
Right now, I have ten stories sitting in various piles, and two stories waiting to be published. My last short story was finished a month ago; since then I have been working on a rewrite of the book based on my short story "The Witch of Waxahachie".

I'm looking forward to teaching a couple of classes at the DFW Writers Conference May 4-5.

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Riders of the Red Shift"

Just got word that Bruce Bethke and Stupefyng Stories has accepted my short story "Riders of the Red Shift". Ironic, in light of the previous post - because this is the story I wrote for the anthology that Rick Klaw rejected.

Stupefying Stories published my flash "The Relic" in December, but "Riders" is a regular short story, just under 4,000 words. Depending on when it is published, it will be be my fifth or sixth story this year, and my 80th or 81st overall.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lone Star Con

I was surprised to find an email in my inbox yesterday inviting me to be a programming participant at Lone Star Con, the World Con later this year. Of course, you would think with the World Con in Texas, I be a participant, but you have to remember that s-f in Texas is run by the Austin cadre and they hate me because I'm not PC: I actually believe in God and the U.S., and I don't believe Obama is the Messiah.

The political correctness in the science fiction literary community is brutal, barbaric and blood-curdling. I hadn't been surprised that I didn't get an invite to participate in programming, and I wasn't going to go as a fan. I pretty much forgot about the con already.

I don't know why I got an invite now; there's always a possibility they actually want to have that proverbial "big tent" and let everybody in. Anyway, I filled out the questionnaire; I'm always willing to help.

We'll see whether I actually get on the programming. When Rick Klaw planned the anthology that's being published in conjunction with the con, he didn't send me an invite and started accepting stories before his own deadline - which is how I accidentally found out it was in the works. He claimed he had sent me an invite (bullshit) and then sent me an invite (Hey, call me Afterthought Antonelli). Then I submitted to him. He rejected my story pretty fast.

Klaw had the lineup of the anthology planned in advance; he even asked people who don't write short fiction - like Stina Leicht - to submit something so he could accept it. But Liecht is a pagan, and I'm a Christian, and in this heathen, Godless country, we know who's got the whip hand. Back to the Catacombs!

So we'll see if this invite to participate was sincere, or just an excuse like Klaw pranked me with.

I do have a few friends in the s-f community, so if I go I do have some people to hang out with if I go. Also, San Antonio is a lovely city, I haven't been there in years.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thinking of West


West, Texas, is over 1,800 miles from Boston, Massachusetts, but the small central Texas town and the large East Coast city have been drawn together by tragedy.

West (which is not in West Texas) is on I-35 between Dallas and Austin, between Dallas and Waco. It is in the northernmost town in the county where Waco is located. It is one of those small Texas cities that was settled by Eastern Europeans; in this case mostly Czechs. There's a travel stop on the highway called The Czech Stop. People often traveling between Dallas and Austin or San Antonio often leave laden with kolaches.

They have a small weekly newspaper, the West News. Twelve years ago, when I ran my own small weekly newspaper, that was where I published it. I would drive down the interstate, drop off the original pages, and go to a Czech restaurant on Main Street and have lunch. By the time I was done the bundles of paper would be ready to be picked up.

I closed up my newspaper Labor Day 2001; the money just wasn't there. The last check I wrote to pay the West paper to print my paper bounced (which pretty much confirmed the paper's financial unprofitability) but I rustled some a few last dollars and drove down there one last time and made it good. Business failures can be messy things, and this was no exception, but I was happy that, in at least one example I made someone unhappy.

I'm sorry to hear what happened last night. Strange how two places so dissimilar can be united in tragedy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Since Thursday

At age 56, I guess I'm officially an Old Man now. I've had my first major bathroom accident.

I stepped out of the shower Thursday and slipped on the tile floor. I fell back and against the toilet so hard the back of it slammed into the wall behind it, and the water tank cracked open, spilling water across the bathroom.

For a moment, I didn't realize what happened but I thought  I'd been hurt badly. When I heard the rushing sound, I thought "Oh, shit, is that the sound your soul makes when it leaves the body! Poor Patricia is going to find me dead on the floor!" Then I felt the water rushing past me and realized what had happened. I crawled on my hands and knees and turned the water valve off, and then threw all the towels - and my robe - on the floor to absorb the water.

Thanks to the toilet taking the force of the fall. I came out okay. If I were older, I probably would have broken my hip.

Obviously, I got to work late, and Friday morning I didn't leave home until noon because of waiting for and on the plumber who replaced the toilet. He was supposed to be here at 9 but showed up at 10:45.

The good news on the fiction front is that I finished and emailed off my latest collection. At about 90,000 words, with 28 stories and introductions, "The Clock Struck None" alternate and secret history reprint collection is off to Ian Strock at Fantastic Books.

The photo is a set-up that caught my eye on my bookshelf. I just had to move the old mechanical alarm clock slightly to pose it in front of my two previous collections. I thought it was a nice tableau to celebrate the completion of the collection.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Progress on collection

Worked my way through making the corrections submitted by my proofreader for "The Clock Struck None" last night. He worked for me as a reporter at a weekly newspaper over 20 years ago, but left the journalism grind and, to the best of my knowledge, has worked ever since as a technical writer. He's a fan and volunteered to read "Texas & Other Planets", also.

The largest part of the work left to be done is collating the introductions I write with the stories, then dropping Scott Cupp's foreword and the Table of Contents at the beginning. It all should be ready to go back to Ian Strock at Fantastic Books by the end of the week.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

"The Clock Struck None" latest

Well, I have finished the introductions to the 27 stories being reprinted in my collection "The Clock Struck None" which is being published by Fantastic Books later this year. They came to over 4,500 words all together.

Now to go over the corrections and put everything together--the foreword by Scott Cupp, my stories and the intros.

More on "Raygun Chronicles"


I spent a little time this weekend proofing the galleys of "The Silver Dollar Saucer" that is being reprinted in the Raygun Chronicles anthology later this year. I'm especially happy to be included in this anthology. I always liked the story, and it's nice to be in a this anthology since I was blackballed from the anthology being published later this year in conjunction with LoneStarCon (that little cadre hates me because I admit to being a Christian).

The Raygun Chronicles publisher, Every Day Publishing, issued a news release last week, and I'll help give it a little boost by cutting and pasting it here,

---

Demand for Classic Space Opera Confirmed By Kickstarter Success

Raygun Chronicles anthology to be released at OryCon in November 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRLog (Press Release) - Apr. 4, 2013 - VANCOUVER, CANADA -
In the golden age of science fiction, readers embraced space opera for its heroes and villains as much as for its gadgets and adventure-driven plots. “Space opera is the subgenre which first nurtured my love of science fiction,” says Bryan Thomas Schmidt, the editor behind Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera for a New Age. “From Star Trek to Star Wars and beyond, it inspired a passion for storytelling and adventure that’s been with me ever since.”

As demonstrated by the support readers showed for the Raygun Chronicles Kickstarter campaign, not only in terms of funding but also in terms of social media support, it’s clear that science fiction fans are interested in seeing more golden-age-style pulp adventure fiction, and they’re willing to invest money up front to make it happen.

When Schmidt originally approached Every Day Publishing to propose the project, Camille Gooderham Campbell and Jordan Ellinger knew at once that it would open doors for them. “Crowdfunding gives us a chance to work with top authors and pay competitive rates which we couldn't otherwise afford,” says Gooderham Campbell. "It's also a practical demonstration that there is a market for this book, that readers want this anthology," adds Ellinger.

For a small press, partnering with an experienced, well-connected editor like Schmidt has proved crucial in connecting with talent that would otherwise be outside their sphere. Top authors writing new tales for the anthology are Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Seanan McGuire, Allen Steele, Brenda Cooper, Robin Wayne Bailey and Sarah A. Hoyt, while coveted reprints from A.C. Crispin and Mike Resnick are already in and ready to go. Filling out the collection are many of the best reprints from Ray Gun Revival magazine’s six-year run. Award-winning illustrator Paul Pederson has already delivered spectacular full-colour cover art.

“Crowdfunding has risen in popularity with good reason,” Schmidt says. Raygun Chronicles represents his second crowdfunded anthology effort to date – the first, Beyond The Sun, will be released by Fairwood Press in October 2013. “It provides fans with a chance to support and preorder the projects that they’d most like to see come to fruition, and talent a chance to put out projects which might not have the box office appeal initially to big publishing but for which we have a passion we know is shared by a large audience.”

With 24 contemporary space opera stories sharing a classic pulp feel, Raygun Chronicles is scheduled for launch at OryCon, Oregon’s leading science fiction convention, which will take place on November 8-10, 2013. Schmidt, Cooper, and others plan to attend to sign books and meet fans, and Gooderham Campbell and Ellinger will be there from Every Day Publishing to host the launch party and give away prizes.

For more information from the editor —
please contact Bryan Thomas Schmidt at bryan@bryanthomasschmidt.net or visit his website at http://bryanthomasschmidt.net/.

For more information from Every Day Publishing —
please visit http://everydaypublishing.ca/raygunchronicles/ for full details about the Raygun Chronicles anthology and publisher contact information.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

"Custodes"

"Custodes" supposes Archimedes invented the electric motor, and a few hundred years later the Neronian persecution of Christians was broadcast as reality TV.

"Custodes" is Latin for "Cops".

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

"The Return of Alfred Bester"


When I posted on March 28 that I had no pending publications, I forgot that Roberto Mendes at International Speculative Fiction had accepted "The Return of Alfred Bester". He published it Monday (no, it wasn't an April Fool's joke).

That's my 79th story published since June 2003. Have a read, it's short and fun.

Then I received word last night that my alternate history story "Custodes" will be published by The Fifth Dimension in September. The Fifth Dimension, edited by J. J Alan Erwine, is published by Sams Dot Publishing.

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...