Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ancient artifact

Over 20 years ago I served a three-year elected term as a member of the local school board. I was rummaging through a box in storage a few days ago when I found this badge, and pulled it out. My wife had never seen it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The day the Force left me

With the upcoming premier of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", I probably need to tell my most significant Star Wars story. It's... unfortunate.

It was December 1976 and at my college paper, the Features Editor grabbed me.

"I have a press kit for a movie coming out next summer," he said. "It's science fiction, so I thought you'd want it."

Alarms bells went off in my head. The saying is, the more a studio is worried about a movie, the more in advance it sends out the press kit. The fact that a movie coming out in the summer of 1977 was sending out a press kit before the end of 1976 didn't bode well, or so I thought.

"Sure," I said. "I'll take a look at it."

It was thick and featured a lot of information, as well as a lot of publicity photos. It looked weird, like nothing I had seen before.

"Probably gonna flop," I thought.

It was right before Christmas Break, so after scanning it I tossed it on the dresser in my dorm room, left town - and forgot about it.

I went through the entire Spring 1977 semester and never gave it a thought. I stayed on campus over the summer, and it was in June that I bumped into a friend of mine who was also on campus. He knew I liked s-f, and he told me he had just seen this great movie that had just opened.

As he gushed on about it, I realized it was the movie whose press kit had been sitting in my room gathering dust for months. I went to my room and dug it out.

"Here, I think you'll like this!"

He was very grateful.

A week or two later, I realized what a smash hit "Star Wars" had become. A few months later I heard that the original press kit - the one I had given away - had already become a collector's item, especially since it included movie stills from scenes that ultimately didn't make it to the screen.

When I saw the movie, I realized that was true - that press kit came out before the final editing was done.

It's been 38 years, and I have to say that I don't think about it often, I'm a firm believer in living in the present.

The last time I heard, complete versions of that press kit were selling and auctioning for thousands of dollars - and are very rare.

My friend graduated and went on to med school in Upstate New York, and from what I know, is a physician in California. Completely lost touch with him.

I'd like to think he kept the press kit all these years; in any case, I'd rather not know. You just can't look back.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Irony in the inbox

You know how Amazon will send you emails of recommended purchases? I found one of these in my inbox this morning...

"We thought you might be interested in these items," it says, and then lists 13 different works, NINE of which are by the same author.

"The Man Who Folded Himself" by David Gerrold, Robert J. Sawyer, Geoffrey Klempner.

"When HARLIE Was One" David Gerrold.

"The Voyage of the Star Wolf" by David Gerrold.

"The Strange Disappearance And Equally Strange Reappearance Of David Gerrold" by David Gerrold.

"The Trouble with Tribbles: The Story Behind Star Trek's Most Popular Episode" by David Gerrold.

"The Martian Child (Original Novelette)" by David Gerrold.

"Starhunt: A Star Wolf Novel" by David Gerrold.

"The Middle of Nowhere: Second Edition (Star Wolf Book 3)" by by David Gerrold.

"Deathbeast" by David Gerrold.

I wonder how this came to pass..

Friday, October 02, 2015

Package from Romania

I haven't been very diligent in posting on this blog since coming back from world con in August. Frankly, the whole time from April until August was miserable; with myself and all the other Sad Puppy authors on the constant attack from the SF literary establishment. If there was one lesson I have learned, it is that trying to please everybody — and sometimes anybody — is impossible. So I've decided pretty much do my own thing. Despite all the collections and publications I've had over the years, this is still only an avocation for me. I enjoy my day job and I'd go nuts on the boredom if I ever tried to stay home and write full-time.

Although my short story "On a Spiritual Plain" may not perhaps have been the best story published in 2014, and maybe it wasn't deserving of a Hugo award, but it really wasn't the absolute piece of shit that all the critics claimed it was. Once the literati lynch mob was in full howl, there was no possibility of it being evaluated fairly. As the results of the Hugo voting showed, the establishment wanted the non-PC authors taught a lesson.

During the witch hunt against the sad puppies self-appointed members of the PC cadre would visit this blog to collect incriminating information. That's another reason I've not been particularly keen on posting here; anything I say can and will be distorted, misinterpreted and used against me by some people who apparently have no gainful employment except as character assassins.

However, there were glimmers of fairness in various places, and a few months ago I was surprised to get a contract from the Romanian SF magazine CPSF for the reprint of "On a Spiritual Plain". Apparently that they didn't get the memo from the American SF literati about what a bunch of rotten authors the Sad Puppy nominees were.

The magazine was published last month with the translated version of my story. This is the first time I've had a foreign reprint. After months and months of being called every name in the book, it was a nice ego boost.

It took a full week to get my payment wired from Bucharest here to my credit union in East Texas; I'm sure the delay was all in my end. The bank CEO actually told me they had never received a wire transfer from overseas before. The nice part is that I got almost as much money for the reprint as for the original publication.

And today -ta da – I got my author's copies in the mail. The package supposedly left Bucharest September 10, so took a while to get here.

This finally gave me the opportunity to see the black and white interior art that accompanied my story, and it was wonderful. All in all, this was a great experience, and I can see why as authors gain experience and publications they enjoy foreign reprints. I know I've talked to Joe Lansdale about his Italian reprints and Howard Waldrop in his reprints in Finland, and now I've had the same thing happen to me.

It's neat.

Latest reviews

"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

“Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act. This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read. Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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