Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Shrinking markets

Over the weekend I sent off a story to Red Sun magazine. They replied yesterday "Unfortunately, we must return it to you as we are on indefinite hiatus."

I'm grateful that even though they have closed, they were professional enough to still send a email. A lot of other venues, under similar circumstances, would have simply never replied. I had this happen recently with Perihelion magazine.

This highlights the disturbing shrinkage of respectable markets for short s-f fiction. It looked like a few years ago that the internet was leading to a proliferation of new markets, but I suspect many of them simply can't generate any revenue to cover whatever small overhead they have.

Even with a "4 the LUV" market, the owners must have a real job someplace and I'm sure become strapped for time.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

14th anniversary

Today marks the 14th anniversary of my first short story publication, when Jayme Lynn Blaschke published "Silvern" in Revolution S-F on June 17, 2003.

I attended my first s-f con, ConDFW, the previous February. I met Jayme there. I had just started in write spec fic and asked him if I could submit. He said "sure". I whipped up "Silvern" and emailed it to him.

This was his introduction:

"New writer Lou Antonelli isn't really a new writer at all. A longtime newspaper editor and reporter with multiple awards from Texas Press Association in editorial, column, and feature writing, Antonelli has recently turned his hand to science fiction with impressive results, as evidenced by the following story."

It is still archived at the Revolution SF site. You can it there.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday morning update

It's always nice to get a royalty payment you weren't looking for. It's even nicer when it starts the week off on a Monday morning. Kudos to Michael A. Willis at the Digital Fiction Publishing League for being a great publisher. He reprinted my Sidewise award finalist short story "Great White Ship" in his QuickFic anthology last year.

With the publication of my short story "The World Turned Upside Down" in "Rocket's Red Glare", I've had 107 short stories published since 2003.
This doesn't count any stories I self-published, either on-line or via Amazon.
I have 15 stories right now in various slush piles, and five pending publication.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Latest tally

With the publication of my short story "The World Turned Upside Down" in "Rocket's Red Glare", I've had 107 short stories published since 2003.

This doesn't count any stories I self-published, either on-line or via Amazon.

I have 15 stories right now in various slush piles, and five pending publication.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Anthology series

Superversive Press is planning a series of anthologies later this year, each with a theme tied to a planet. I have agreed to write a story each for Mercury, Venus and Mars. Thanks and a tip of the hat to Jon Del Arroz, David Hallquist and L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

My SoonerCon schedule

SooonerCon in Oklahoma City is only three weeks away, June 23-25. Here is my schedule:

Readings
Alternate History:  4:00 PM Friday – Rice:  Lou Antonelli, Walt Boyes, Jeff Provine, Joy Ward

Using Your Creativity for Fun and Profit - 5:00 PM Friday Ballroom E
Description: Bottom line: You’re in business for yourself. But’s that’s so boring! Inspired project and time management dos and don’ts from the pros on living and working as a creative person who gets stuff done.  Panelists:  Jan S. Gephardt, Lou Antonelli, Ryan Bellgardt, Jerry Bennett, W.J. Hodgson, Peter Pixie.

 Alternate History’s Allure - 1:00 PM Saturday Ballroom E
Description: What appeals most about the alternate history genre? How does a real historic setting with a changed fictional outcome inspire hope, regret, and more? Panelists: Jeff Provine, Lou Antonelli, David Carrico, Peter Pixie, Bradley H. Sinor, Joy Ward.

The Romance of “Out There” - 3:00 PM Saturday Ballroom F
Description: Discuss your favorite works involving exploration “just for the heck of it.” What human traits impel us over the next hill, or to the next star system? Can humanity’s drive to explore be fulfilled on this planet? Panelists:  Curtiss Mays, Lou Antonelli, Tim Frayser, Clifford McMurray, Cary G. Osborne, Mel White

Autographs
4:00 PM Saturday 10 Forward: Lou Antonelli, Deborah Chester, Karl K. Gallagher, Lou Antonelli

How to Create a Universe: 11:00 AM Sunday Theater
Description: World-Building Techniques It’s just as easy to get lost in trivial descriptive details as it is to hurry through and miss the small things that make up a dynamic SF world. Writers share their advice on developing descriptions of customs, settings, cultures, religions, politics, geography and more for cohesive and captivating genre reads.Panelists:  Lee Killough, Lou Antonelli, Deborah Chester, Maureen McHugh, Jody Lynn Nye, Timothy Zahn.

Ethics of AI Are androids slaves (Blade Runner, Star Wars)? 3:00 PM Sunday Pung
Description: Would a self-aware intelligence have the right to personhood (Chappie, Ex Machina)? Is it okay to love an AI (Westworld, Cherry 2000)? Panelists discuss the ethical considerations of artificial intelligence development and creation.  Panelists: Shawn Scarber, Lou Antonelli, Kimber Chessmore, Jackie Kramer, Tim Frayser, Joey Rodman.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Latest publication

I'm proud to announce that my short story "Riders of the Red Shift" will be leading off the first issue of  an new space opera-themed ezine, "Astonishing Frontiers", coming out soon.

This will be my 107th published short story. I think it's the first time since since the debut of Buzzy Mag in 2012 that I have the first story in a new publication.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Now Available: Rocket's Red Glare

The trade paperback edition of the new Rough Edges Press anthology ROCKET'S RED GLARE is now available on Amazon, and ebook editions for all platforms are available at the various on-line retailers.

Publisher James Reasoner said on his blog:

"I just want to say how proud I am of this book and all the authors involved, and how grateful I am to them and to Brad R. Torgersen and Livia J. Washburn for their work on the cover. There are some great stories in ROCKET'S RED GLARE: a major new novella from Brad R. Torgersen, a USAian story by Sarah A. Hoyt, gritty military SF from Nathan E. Meyer, an interstellar epic by Keith West, a superb first contact yarn from Robert E. Vardeman, suspenseful tales set in our solar system by Christopher Chupik and David Hardy, a poignant look at the future on Mars by Lou Antonelli, and stories set on Earth but involving galactic conflict from Martin L. Shoemaker and myself. Classic SF from top-notch authors. You can't go wrong with that."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Internet finally kills somebody





CONROE, Texas – Local law enforcement officials and the Texas Rangers say a man living in a Houston suburb is apparently the first person ever directly killed by social media negativity and hatefulness.

Pallas Mulligan, 34, was found dead in his Conroe home Tuesday after family members and friends expressed concern about his well-being.

Conroe Police Chief Ike Bessell said responding officers found Mulligan’s carbonized remains, intact but approximately one-fourth of their original size, in a burned area of the living room where he had apparently undergone spontaneous combustion.

“The officers who responded to the welfare concern call immediately felt there was a large amount of negative energy present, which was confirmed when an officer’s silver bracelet set off a large electrical discharge,” said Bessell.

The officer had to be treated for second degree burns on her wrist, added Bessell.

Monday night Mulligan posted a tasteless wisecrack on social media in the wake of the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, earlier in the day: “Wow, that show was a real bomb, eh?”

The Texas Rangers report the time stamp on Mulligan’s computer indicated he deleted it 98 seconds later, but not before it was copied, reposted or retweeted 17,541,459 times in 15 minutes.

Mulligan later posted a long apology, which was apparently read 15 times.

David Negley, a forensics expert with the Texas Rangers, said Mulligan’s computer shut down three hours later after it ran out of memory after receiving 465 million death threats.

Personal friends said while talking to Mulligan on their iPhone later that evening it was apparent he was physically deteriorating.

“He had dark rings around his eyes, and he said he felt feverish and burning,” according to Angela Lateek, who was a friend from high school. “I told him he needed to go someplace and calm down, but he said he was scared to go outside.”

Rangers said the last phone call made from Mulligan’s phone was at 11:35 p.m. Monday.

Officers who went to his Conroe home Tuesday morning found his charred remains, but no signs of any trauma, said Chief Bessell.

“We have to assume all that negative energy directed at him by all the hateful people on the internet burned him up like a piece of bacon,” said Bessell.

Mulligan’s remains were taken to a local mortuary; funeral services are pending.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Lou Antonelli

This weekend I did a feature called Ten Things You Didn't Know About Lou Antonelli:

Item No. 1 - Lou is a first generation American. Both his parents were born in Italy and immigrated to the United States after World War II. At the time of his birth his father was here illegally, his mother was a resident alien. Both became naturalized citizens later.

Interesting Lou fact No. 2:
Lou and special make-up creator Tom Savini are second cousins. They share a common great-grandparent.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 3:
Lou once served as an elected school district trustee. He was also once appointed a special judge to preside over a condemnation court (eminent domain) in Dallas County.

Which means he has been both an "Honorable" and a "Judge"in the past.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 4:
Lou was a precocious journalist but a belated s-f writer.

His first news story was published in the local newspaper when he was 12.

His first pro science fiction story, the secret history "A Rocket for the Republic" in Asimov's, was published when he was 48.

His first novel, the alternate history "Another Girl, Another Planet", was published when he was 60.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 5:
Lou's first pro sale, "A Rocket for the Republic" in 2005, was the last story Gardner Dozois bought before he retired from Asimov's Science Fiction after 19 years as editor.

He's not had a story in Asimov's since then.

Interesting note: Lou has always considered Howard Waldrop an inspiration and role model. Howard Waldrop's short story "Lunchbox" (1972) was probably the last story accepted by John W. Campbell at Analog (one can't be entirely sure because Campbell died suddenly).

Howard's not had a story in Analog since then.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 6:
As Managing Editor of The Bowie County Citizens Tribune in New Boston, Texas, Lou took first place in the Texas Press Association Community Service Award in 2006.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 7:
In 1969 when Lou was a 12-year old growing up in Massachusetts, be sent off to an ad in a comic book and bought a set of 100 canceled postage stamps. He later tucked them away in an envelope and forgot about them.

In 1998, when he was 41, he happened to find the envelope with the stamps in them. In going through them, he realized one of them was a George Washington one cent green stamp, pre-cancelled in Cedar Hill, Texas.

At the time he lived at 509 Houston Street, Cedar Hill, Texas - 2000 miles from where he grew up in Massachusetts.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 8:
While at Columbia University, Lou was a member of the staff of the Columbia Daily Spectator, the Columbia College Student Council, and the Office of Student Affairs - the only person to serve in the three main occupants of Ferris Booth Hall - which was torn down in 1996.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 9:
Lou is one of only four people ever to be nominated in a fiction and non-fiction Hugo category in the same year. The other three people are Mike Resnick, Michael Swanwick and John Scalzi.

Interesting Lou Fact No. 10:
Lou has had 106 short stories published in 13 years. His 100th story, "The Yellow Flag" (published in Sci-Phi Journal on August 1, 2016, was written, submitted and accepted in four hours - between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. May 6, 2015.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tired of the scenario

You know, I'm as big a fan of alternate history as anyone, but I am getting really, really tired of these iterations of the "What if the Nazis won World War II?" theme.

It's remarkable Germany got as far as it did, mainly because nobody believed Hitler was as unpredictable and aggressive as he was. The unpreparedness of the Allies was also a big factor,

I remarked - half jokingly - during the panel on Alternate History at Ravencon last month that I'm worried there is so much fictional narrative out there about the Nazis winning that I'm afraid one morning I'm going to wake up and find that somehow the accumulated weight of this "The Nazis won" narrative in the public consciousness will have caused some kind of parallel world shift - and we'll all be stuck in a world where the Nazis really did win!

There needs to be an anthology with the theme "They Still Lost", featuring alternate history stories about World War II where the Nazis still lose, but others things happen. For example:

* Enrico Fermi doesn't leave Italy and Mussolini gets the bomb!

* General Patton doesn't get in the car wreck and persuades Truman to turn on the Russians.

* We never use the bomb on Japan and so we can't get them to surrender.

* Hitler hides in the Alps and conducts guerilla warfare against the Allied Occupation.

* The Japanese in Manchukuo don't surrender, hold off the Soviet Army and then influence the coming Chinese civil war.

Of course, I think some of these ideas have already been explored

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Upcoming publication

Just finished proofing my short story "The World Turned Upside Down" which is in the forthcoming Rough Edges Press anthology "Rocket's Red Glare".

My colleagues in this anthology include Brad Torgersen, Keith West, Martin L. Shoemaker, Nathan E. Meyer, Sarah A. Hoyt, Dave Hardy, Bob Vardeman, Christopher Chupik, and Rough Edges Publisher his own self James Reasoner.

The last Rough Edges Press anthology I participated in. "Tales From the Otherverse" proved to be one of the best alternate history anthologies in recent years, and Bill Crider's story "It Doesn't Matter Any More" won the Sidewise Award for short fiction.

It was after "Tales From the Otherverse" came out I suggested to James that "Rocket's Red Glare:" would make a good title for a space opera anthology with positive stories. He liked the idea, and started on it.

I'm proud to be a part of it.

The Best Mother's Day Gift Ever

My wife and I never had any children, so we resorted to the traditional alternative and adopted a few furry children.

The alpha dog, Sugar, is half black Lab and (probably) half Italian Greyhound. She takes her job very seriously and is very smart; she figured out what the word "burglar" means without us teaching her.

A few years ago, a day or two before Mother's Day, I noted the upcoming event, and asked her, "So what are YOU going to give your mom for Mother's Day?"

I was being a wise-ass, but did I get my comeuppance!

The afternoon of Mothers Day, Patricia was on the couch watching television and the patio door was open.

Suddenly she shouted "Stop Sugar, she's carrying in a dead animal!"

I rushed to the door, and stopped Sugar. She had a freshly killed bird in her mouth, looking very pleased with herself, head held high and tail wagging.

I said, "Omigod, Sugar, I was KIDDING, you don't have to bring mom a present!"

As Patricia noted, by dog standards, this was probably the best present possible - a tasty freshly-killed tender bird for a meal.

I explained to Sugar that humans don't eat raw food, and thanked her for the gift. Then I disposed of it.

It's the thought that counts.

I also told Sugar that, in the future she was exempt from having to get mom a Mother's Day gift.

She never did that before, and she's never done it since. I personally think that, as smart as she is, she pretty much decided "I'll show him!"

There are HUMAN children who don't listen to their parents as much, and who wouldn't go to the trouble she did to get a "present" for mom.

God strike me dead if this isn't a true story. I could never make this up.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Helping the little guy

I haven't updated my short story submissions in a while, and I have a dozen of them ready to be sent on their merry little way.

Anyone out there want to recommend smaller or little - known venues? Don't bother with the obvious ones, like Analog or Asimovs or F&SF. I'm looking for little guys who'd like a little bit of quality speculative fiction. I don't care about money - if I did I'd never started writing in the first place.

I'm always willing to help folks who publish for the love of the genre, so if there is some venue out there I wouldn't think of that might like to read something by Lou Antonelli, post a comment here because I will be sending out stories all weekend.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Latest sale

I'm proud to announce I have signed a contract with Rough Edges Press for the publication of my short story, "The World Turned Upside Down", in its upcoming space opera anthology "Rockets Red Glare".

Back in 2015 I had an alternate history story, "Port Radium" in the Rough Edges Press "Tales From the Otherverse", which had a great deal of critical acclaim, and I expect this anthology will be equally successful.

Thanks go to Publisher James Reasoner for picking up the story

Friday, May 05, 2017

Calling Grendel Briarton

One day, while I was a teenager in Massachusetts, a group of high school students volunteered to help with a beach clean-up. It was an uncommon spill, but not unheard of – illicit drugs had washed up on a beach in the Cape Code National Seashore.

Apparently a boat, while being chased by the Coast Guard, threw its cargo of drugs overboard – which happened in this case to be bales of marijuana. Normally, the bales would have sunk, but because they was wrapped in plastic, they didn’t get water-logged and in fact had the right buoyancy to float – which they did, right onto the beach of the National Seashore.

By the time authorities found the bales, wave action had, however, had broken most of them open, and the marijuana was lying there wet and soggy on the beach. It gave a whole new meaning to the term “sea weed”.

Local public works employees had begun to collect up the soggy weed, but unfortunately local wildlife began to eat it. Marijuana is a plant, after all. Seagulls and terns had swooped in and gobbled it up, and then began to show symptoms of toxicity from eating the plants. As an emergency measure, the authorities asked for warm bodies to collect up the wet weed as soon as possible.

That’s how myself and other members of the National Honor Society found ourselves on a bus on the way to the seashore.

When we got there, we were given buckets and rakes, and told to work as fast as we could. Any thoughts anyone might have had of pocketing any of the weed was eliminated by its poor condition by then – soaked in salt water, with sand and other stuff mixed in.

I could see why the authorities had been concerned about the birds ingesting the marijuana. There were a number of birds staggering and flopping on the sand and in the grass. While we filled our buckets at the edge of the water, there were animal rescue people scooping up the birds for their own protection and taking them to a safe place where they could recuperate.

While I raked I saw a few birds clumsily flap down from the sky, and plop themselves on the beach until one of the animal rescue volunteers could grab them.

I was near a mooring post, however, when a tern swooped down and alighted on it. He looked at me and cocked his head in puzzlement. He seemed quite steady, so I supposed he was late to the party. From the way he sniffed the air I think he was a late arrival and hadn’t gotten there in time to get a snack before the clean-up began.

I looked at him, and he looked at me with what I took to be big eyes of disappointment. I decided my good deed for the day would be to see that he didn’t get left out, so I took a small handful of some relatively dry marijuana, walked over to the post, turned my back and slipped him some.

Unfortunately I didn’t see a rescue person just behind the next dune, but they saw me. She came over, and with some indignation, growled at me: “Do you think it’s funny? We are trying to save these birds, and here you are feeding one what is making them sick!”

“I just have a soft heart,” I pleaded. “It didn’t think it was fair he’d be the only bird left out of the pot party.”

“Besides,” I said as I wiped my hands and the bird flew away, “I wanted to make sure no tern was unstoned.”

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Back from Ravencon

I'm back from Ravencon. The tiredness has unfortunately been replaced by con crud, I'm really run down. I'm taking cold medicine and cough drops and trying to push on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Peddling books

Don't forget, folks, I will be signing and selling copies of my retro-futurist alternate history "Another Girl, Another Planet" at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Dealers Room at Ravencon in Williamsburg, Va.

I only have eleven copies of the book on hand, so there's a possibility I may sell out!

My signing was added at the last minute, so it is NOT in the printed program book.

Here's a little promotion - the cover price is $17.99, but if you walk up and use the secret code phrase, you can have it for $16.

The secret code is "Admiral Heinlein".

Friday, April 14, 2017

President Correia (?)

OK. on Monday I asked the hypothetical question, on my Facebook page - if you could pick an s-f author to be U.S. President, who would it be?

I did not note nominations of authors who are dead, such as Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov or Poul Anderson. I DID count nominees who would be ineligible to serve because they are foreign born.
I have made up a very unofficial tally of the suggestions, and it looks like the winner is...

TRUMPETS!

DRUM ROLL!

THROAT CLEARING...

President...

Larry Correia!

The clear winner with 18 votes.

It was very close for second place. John Ringo had nine votes and Tom Kratman had eight.

A strong fourth place showing goes to an author who would not be considered right-of-center by any definition, David Brin - which shows there is come diversity of political opinion among my Friends.
Dr. Jerry Pournelle received five votes, and Ursula LeGuin - also certainly not a right-winger - received four.

On the basis of these results, then, if we had right vs. left political tickets, it would be Correia and Ringo vs. the Brin/LeGuin ticket.

Other authors who received more than one vote each were:

Michael Z. Williamson, David Weber - 4

Dr. Travis Taylor, Eric Flint, L. L Neil Smith, Elizabeth Moon, David Gerrold - 3

Lois McMaster Bujold, Chuck Gannon, Sarah Hoyt, Brad Torgersen, Chuck Tingle, Vox Day - 2

Authors with one nomination each were John Hemry, Chris Nuttall, Michael Briner, Spider Robinson, Owl Goingback, Laura Anne Gilman, Dave Butler, Phil Foglio, Samuel Delany, Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, C.J. Cherryh, Bruce Sterling, N.K. Jemisin, John Scalzi, Gregory Benford, Thomas Trumpinski, Neil Gaiman, Piers Anthony, Raymond Feist, Adam-Troy Castro, William C. Dietz, Lee Modesitt, Gene Wolfe, William Ledbetter, Kim Stanley Robinson, Allen Steele, Stephen Michael Stirling, Steven Barnes, Liz Hand, and Stephanie Osborn.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kick-off

I had my first public signing event for "Another Girl, Another Planet" Saturday morning at the Red River County Public Library.

Helen Pryor bought the first copy. She is giving it to her granddaughter Chloe, who is an aspiring writer, and I inscribed it to her.

Another purchaser was Donna Hausler. When she told me her name, I had to divulge that in 2015 when I was writing the book, I picked a surname at random from the newspaper as the name of the "Girl" of the title - and that last name is Hausler.

It's actually a fairly common name in Red River County.

Patricia joined me. The library is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. After the library closed we went across the street to Tracy's Cafe and used some of the proceeds for lunch!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Thinking of the master

Today is the anniversary of the death of Isaac Asimov in 1992. I met him in 1984 when I was out on a date in Greenwich Village. The Village Light Opera Company was performing "The Yeoman of the Guard". I did not know he was a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan.

I was sitting in my seat during the performance when I commented to my date, "This guy in front of me looks a lot like Isaac Asimov." Then I took another look and realized it WAS Isaac Asimov.

During the intermission myself as well as some other fans chatted with him in the lobby. A woman walked up and took a photo of us together. Asimov asked "A friend of yours?" I told him I had no idea who she was. Years later the incident gestated into the short story "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?"

In the summer of 1992 I was living in Texas and heard of somewhere that Asimov had died some months earlier. I was surprised I had missed the news initially, but I took a guess as to the reason why, and I was right.

His death came a month before the local spring election date, which is always the first Saturday in May. I was engrossed in a hot and hectic school board election, and wasn't paying attention to outside news at the time.

I won the election, by the way.

Eleven years later I attended my first s-f convention, and 13 years later I had my story "A Rocket for the Republic" published in his namesake publication.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Abyss & Apex reviews "Another Girl, Another Planet"

Good Lord, Lou Antonelli did something I thought was impossible. He made me like an alternative history story,  and usually I hate those.

The story starts and ends with three aluminum crosses under a Martian sky.  In between we are treated to a world where the West and the Eastern Bloc have a space race, instead of an arms race, and the moon is an old colony: Mars is the new frontier.  As with any alternative history piece there are names and events you will recognize, but in new contexts. In this world Asimov and a team make real robots, then androids, and the androids cause that world’s equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis. This gets robots, and androids, exiled to the moon, and then Mars.

Dave Schuster gets sent to Mars as a political appointee. The head of the government there is dead and the second in command dies when he is enroute: he is the Martian government, for now.  Dave finds out that the old governor got less and less done as he got ill, and the second in command did nothing but party. He has his work cut out for him, catching up on the backlog. As Dave tackles the work a number of things do not add up until he sees hidden danger amid the charm of the techie frontier and the threat grows so out-of-control it reminded me of the sort of situation Miles Vorkosigan would get into.  I am not going to spoil the ride by telling you more than the plot touches on the concept of self-aware robots in surprising ways.

Larry Niven blurbed the book.  He loved it, and said it was great ideas, well told. He was right.

---

If you would like to read the review on the web site, go here.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Strange bedfellows

I am proud to announce that, as a result of a long period of reconciliation as well as a practical need on the part of a distinguished author, I am collaborating with David Gerrold on a Star Trek tie-in original novel, "The Tribbles of Texas".

"One venue that has never been visited in the Trek Universe is Texas," says David. "And like so many people, I have always been fascinated by the Texas frontier during the period of Westward expansion."

"I have an outline for a story where the crew of the Enterprise returns to a locale similar to that depicted in 'Spectre of the Gun', but inadvertently transports a continent of tribbles with them," he continued. "The interaction between the crew of the Enterprise and the Melkotians while being overrun by tribbles should be... umm... fascinating."

As a result of the need for authenticity in the setting, David asked if I would sign on as a co-author and I agreed. Although we had significant differences during the late unpleasantness of the Hugo nomination period in 2015, time heals all wounds, and after a substantial cooling off period we have subsequently reconciled - a process aided by the 2016 presidential election, where I commiserated with David on the election of Donald Trump.

"Lou's a fascist, but otherwise a nice guy," said David. "And talented enough to be of some small use in this project. He certainly knows Texas and the region well-enough. I think this will be a mutually beneficial collaboration."

"I think we will get along fine, so long as he keeps his damn wop hair trigger temper in check," he concluded.

I appreciate the chance to do something helpful to both the genre and David personally, and I look forward to working with David on "The Tribbles of Texas".

I am also grateful that Adam-Troy Castro has agreed to act as a mediator and otherwise help facilitate the collaboration.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Letters from Gronow

This was originally posted to my Facebook page, but it bears repeating"

---

Hey Lou -
Just so you'll know, you are in inspiration--literally. I read your book Letters from Gardner last year, and enjoyed it a lot. It inspired me to start a series of stories in the 1632 universe about a young down-timer who becomes enamored of future-style horror fiction as published in a new magazine there in 1634, and starts trying to write stories, with predictable results. (I hasten to say there is no resemblance between my character and any actual writer, living or dead. He is simply an Everyman writer.) Each episode ends in a letter from the publisher/editor to the writer detailing what he did wrong this time. The publisher, who was an already existing character in the series, is named Johann Gronow, and naturally, when the idea for the series hit me, I immediately thought of your book, and presto, the series became Letters from Gronow.  :-)

Episode 1 was just published in the most recent Grantville Gazette, and I just finished writing Episode 5. There will be at least one more, because he hasn't sold a story yet.  :-)
You're an inspiration to us all, in more than one way.  :-)

David Carrico

Friday, March 24, 2017

Feedback

Comments made so far about my story "Watch What Happens" at Fiction on the Web:

"I enjoyed this story very much, nice to get a feel-good story in these troubled times and I'm sure that it will resonate with writers of all genres! Thank you,"


"Thank you for the sweet story with a happy ending. I enjoyed it."


"Totally agree, what's wrong with a feel good story? Well drawn characters and a good idea with the watch and of course our hero being a writer!"


Yep, I totally understand why I'm a minor spec fic writer. Nobody really wants feel good stories with happy endings, right? We all want depressing stories whose world view is as negative as our opinions of ourselves.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jimmy Breslin is dead

Let me tell you a little story about him.

Every year, the Columbia University student newspaper, the Daily Spectator, holds a dinner in late winter to mark the transition to the next set of student editors, for the coming academic year.

It's called the Blue Pencil Dinner, and it usually features a journalism-related guest speaker.

Now the Spectator, mind you, is not affiliated with the journalism school, it is run by the student body. Unless things have changed in recent years, it isn't even officially affiliated with the university.

The Blue Pencil Dinner in 1980 was held on Valentine's Day. It was the last one I ever attended. Two months later I was elected to the student council, and university senate and never wrote for the paper again.

Prior to the Blue Pencil Dinner, the board announced that Jimmy Breslin would be the guest speaker.

I grew up in Massachusetts and Breslin wasn't such a big deal to me. The native New Yorkers thought otherwise.

There was one underclassman, Ken, who was just thrilled that he would get to hear Breslin hold forth. He made no secret he was a great fan of Breslin's.

The night of the Blue Pencil Dinner - held in the rotunda of Low Library, the university's administration building - comes, and Breslin is introduced by the editor-in-chief.

Staggering drunk. And in a bad mood.

It seems Breslin thought he had been invited to speak before the students of the distinguished journalism school - and not the undergraduate student newspaper.

And he made his displeasure quite plain, as he went on a drunken tirade about what a bunch of losers we all were.

And then, to rub it in ever further, he decided to give us a lesson from the podium, as he grabbed the most recent issue of the Spectator and decided to critique it then and there.

Holding the paper aloft, he read the headline and byline of the lead story.

It was by Ken.

He proceeded to rip the story apart, delivering a vicious evaluation that was unfair, inappropriate, and plain damn cruel.

I knew how much Ken admired Breslin, and I took a quick glance across the rotunda to where Ken sat.

Just a glance, mind you - it was too painful a moment. All I can say is that Ken looked stunned.

After Breslin finished eviscerating Ken's story, he moved on to the next, the second lead, and read the headline.

I held my breath. It was by me.

After Breslin read the headline, he continued "By Lou..." He stopped a look of hostile drunken befuddlement crossing his sweaty brow.

"Oh, thank God," I thought. "The drunken bum can't make out my name."

Sure enough, in his inebriated state, he couldn't get past my last name, and that seemed to stop him in his tracks. He stopped the rant and dropped the copy of the newspaper.

He still went on with a load of hateful drivel, but it seemed once he had paused he lost his momentum and he sat down after a few more minutes.

It was a terrible night, and I know for sure some of the students at the dinner were sorely disillusioned with Breslin after that.

I never learned how Ken took it, I never saw him again.

Here I am, a Texas resident 32 years, 37 years after that night, and the news of Breslin's death reminds me of that night.

I don't know what else to say.

The facts speak for themselves.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It always goes downhill


One of the things to proliferate on Facebook recently was when Pat Cadigan - who was in Philadelphia for Susan Casper's Memorial Service on March 11- left to go back home, and someone noted that Cadigan had "gone" people took the worst possible interpretation of the word and thought Pat had died.

Everything on the internet goes negative and downhill. I feel the best way to deal with this constant baloney is with a horse laugh.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Another excuse to read Lou Antonelli fiction

There are just a few days left in the nomination period for the 2017 Hugo Awards. Details of the process can be found on the Worldcon 75 website.

This is just as good excuse as any to read some of that good ol' Lou Antonelli speculative fiction.

Even if you have already submitted nominations, you may update your selections as long as the nomination period continues. But you probably should so in advance of the deadline to avoid any problems in the final hours when the system will be very busy.

You may make changes to your nominations until March 17 at 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time (2:59am Eastern Daylight Time, 06:59 Greenwich Mean Time, 08:59 in Finland, all on 18 March).

Although members of MidAmeriCon II, Worldcon 75 and Worldcon 76 in San José can nominate for the 2017 Hugos, only members of Worldcon 75 will be eligible to vote on the final ballot and choose the winners of the 2017 Hugo Awards. They expect to announce the final ballot in early April, and the awards will be presented on t Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland, in August.

Other than the Hugos, I believe a couple of my stories are eligible for the Sidewise award, but that's a juried award. I have nothing eligible for the Dragon Awards this year, since all I had in 2016 was short fiction. Next year "Another Girl, Another Planet" will be eligible.

"If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love" was a podcast. If there an award for podcast fiction?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Flashback

I was listening to WLIR yesterday morning during breakfast and it played "Tesla Girls" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and I remembered - in a flashback - that the first vision I had of what would become "Another Girl, Another Planet" thirty years later came when I first heard the song.

Those of you who have already read the story know exactly what I am referring to.

Ironically, to make the story work, I had to set it in the year I firsrt heard the song, 1985 - but in an alternate timeline.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Health woes

My apologies to my regular readers for not posting as often as I sometimes do, but I caught a cold two weeks ago and I've been run down and battling it ever since.

I've been trying hard to keep it from settling in my chest and becoming pneumonia - which has happened to me before. I think I've succeeded but it took a lot of work.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The spin rack is STILL coming back


Some of you may recall I have posted in the past about how I like to buy genre mass market paperbacks in Dollar General stores. I started doing this years ago after learning from Tom Doherty that the people who stock the spin racks DO pay attention to what sells.

These discounted paperbacks sell for only one or three dollars - which means the author really isn't getting very much at this point - but I feel they serve as a "gateway" to encourage people to pick up a genre title.

I lived in Mount Pleasant, Texas, from October 2007 until December of last year, and while there I practiced this. By the time I left one of the stores (the city has three Dollar Generals) had s-f and fantasy titles on its own shelf, and used the spin rack for every thing else.

Now that I live in Clarksville, Texas, I am doing the same thing, and I am already seeing the effect. Yesterday I was able to purchase two paperbacks (see photo) because the s-f and fantasy titles seems to be proliferating.

I've bought books I've already read, and books I had no intention of reading, and I've bought some titles more than once (such as the Richard Matheson 2011 collection "Steel and Other Stories") as an encouragement to the stores.

I usually give the books away or donate to the local Friends of the Library fundraiser.

It's my little pet crusade, and for a few bucks I think I'm helping in a very concrete way.

A dilemma

Hmm, I'm conflicted. Should I start on a sequel to "Another Girl, Another Planet" yet? Or keep writing short stories as usual for now?

I like writing short stories, but AGAP seems to be getting a good reception.

To get through writing AGAP, I just pretended in my head it was a very LONG short story (I know, that makes no sense), The original draft had NO chapter breaks.

I wanted to encourage people to read it in one sitting.

I couldn't get that past the editor and publisher, no way

Amazon reviews

So far, the reviews of "Another Girl, Another Planet" at Amazon have been very positive, two four stars and one five star.

Buy this book! It's lots of fun!
Bybrendan f kellyon February 10, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Really fun book. Reminds me a lot of the early Heinlein stories. Part thriller, part mystery, part space opera it was the best read I've had in a long time. The universe it is set in is incredibly compelling (despite a nit pick or two), and it is a TREMENDOUSLY fun read. I was actually late to my doctor appointment because I literally could not put it down. I'm really hopeful there will be a sequel because I really enjoyed it.
I gave it four stars because there are a couple of spots that I found a little unbelievable (in regards to characters not plot). That being said, when Mr. Antonelli is on, he is ON. There are some action sequences that are really great, and some of sad parts are really moving. Well worth the money, definitely a fun, interesting, and compelling read.

Don't be put off by the title. Well worth the read!
ByKen of NJon February 22, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition

So many stories these days are derivative; this one isn't. I don't often give five stars but this novel truly deserves it. It is a unique SciFi mystery with a twist. Well written (a few editing errors but they didn't interfere with immersion), interesting and intriguing, the story presents androids in an interesting light. In tone, the story reminded me of some of the best by Heinlein or Clarke. Give it a try...you won't be sorry.

Different Kind of Cold War
ByRichard C. Kruegeron February 25, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A nicely done, thoroughly enjoyable alternate history adventure, unfolding from a clever premise. Antonelli does a fine job spinning this well-wrought tale. Rather than focus on "the human predicament," he focuses on the characters' common humanity (or perhaps I should say "personhood") to deliver an emotional payoff with lots of impact. It's definitely fun for fans of space opera, "competent engineer" stories, and Golden Age fans, but I think it has broader appeal as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Look what arrived today!


When I came home from work I found the box with my author's copies of "Another Girl, Another Planet" on the porch!

I also got my first five star review for "Another Girl, Another Planet" on Amazon:
-----
Don't be put off by the title. Well worth the read!
February 22, 2017
By Ken of NJ
So many stories these days are derivative; this one isn't. I don't often give five stars but this novel truly deserves it. It is a unique SciFi mystery with a twist. Well written (a few editing errors but they didn't interfere with immersion), interesting and intriguing, the story presents androids in an interesting light. In tone, the story reminded me of some of the best by Heinlein or Clarke. Give it a try...you won't be sorry.

-----

If you want to go buy the book like right this minute, here's a link.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

When the wait is worth it

With as many short stories as I have written, I will submit outside genre fiction, to publications such as The New Yorker, Harper's and - in this case - Tin House.

Now, Tin House is one of the top fiction venues, period, so when I submit a story I am willing to be patient. This week I received a rejection from them for a story I submitted (using Submittable) in Oct. 2015.

You might think waiting 16 months for a reply is unacceptable, but in light of how many submissions they must get and how stiff the competition is, it's completely understandable.

And their reply was very nice:

"Unfortunately, we have decided to pass on this submission.

"Thank you, also, for your patience in waiting to hear back from us. Submittable generally makes managing the many submissions we receive each year much easier, but the staggering number of submissions we received last year means it is still a long process.

"We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future—and responding to it in a more reasonable amount of time."

Two notes here:

First, at least they replied. The New Yorker is so swamped, they simply state if you don't hear from them in six months you can assume you were rejected.

Back when The New Yorker still sent out rejection slips, I received a couple with handwritten notes encouraging me to submit again.

Second, a while back I commented that the number of venues which send me rejections with encouragements to submit again seems to have dropped in the past couple of years.

Referring back to Tin House's comments, the fact remains the top genre venues - folks like Asimov's, Clarkesword, F&SF and such - still drop in those little nuggets of encouragement. They're pros and act professionally.

I got another rejection this week - again, from a Top Tier venue, with the comment - following the mention of what might be considered a spoiler "Points for originality. I'm sorry the story didn't end up working for us."

Any feedback from editors is helpful, even with rejections. At the very least, it lets you know you're on the right track.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

On the road again

My convention schedule for this year - so far - is as follows:

* Ravencon in Williamsburg, Va. April 28-30

* Soonercon in Oklahoma City June 23-25

*Libertycon in Chattanooga June 30-July 2

* Armadillocon in Austin Aug. 4-6

* Dragoncon in Atlanta Sept. 1-4

If you are a friend on Facebook, and we've never met in person, introduce yourself if you are at any of these events!

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Lost Cosmonauts...

I don't know about other writers, but I keep a LOT of books on my shelves for reference. These days, I putter through the oldest of them, looking for nuggets of esoterica and inspiration you can't find on the web - stuff that was written a long time ago and has never been digitized.

According to a story in one of these books, "Strange World" by Frank Edwards, published in 1964, today is the anniversary of a mystery (or cover up) from the Cold War space:

On the morning of February 17, 1961, a giant Soviet booster blasted off from the Russian base at Baikonour near the Aral Sea. A few minutes after take off, tracking stations outside the Soviet Union had detected the launching and were tracking the flight of the lunik capsule.

""This much was routine. Word had leaked out that the next Soviet space effort would be a manned orbit of the moon, and that may well have been the purpose of the shot on February 17, 1961. If it was intended for a moon shot it failed, because it never attained sufficient speed to escape from the earth's gravitational pull. It turned into just another orbital launch—and that in turn developed into a tragedy when the Russians were unable to bring the capsule back from orbit.

"Tracking stations around the globe recorded the voices of a man and a woman who occupied the luckless capsule. For seven days and nights the doomed pair reported at regular intervals to their space bases inside the Soviet Union. Listeners outside Russia were puzzled at this pro-longed flight—and at Russia's strange silence about it. Although it exceeded anything that had been accomplished up to that time, the Soviets never mentioned it.

"Time after time, day and night, the pair in the capsule that was to be their sepulcher radioed down the cryptic message: "Everything satisfactory. We are maintaining the prescribed altitude." The climax to this eerie venture came in the early evening hours of February 24, 1961.

"Tracking stations at Uppsala, Bochum, Turin, and Meudon all recorded the final broadcast from the two ill-starred cosmonauts. After the customary statement that conditions were good and that the capsule was maintaining the prescribed altitude, there was a brief pause. Then the male voice: "We can read the dials. The signals are not clear, however. We see nothing."

"Then followed a silence of about five seconds, after which a woman's voice interjected: "I'll make it and hold tight with my right hand! Only this way can we maintain equilibrium. Look out the peep-hole! Look out the peephole! I have it. . . ."

"A few seconds later the male voice exclaimed: "Here! Here there is something! THERE IS SOMETHING! It's difficult. . . ." After a pause of several seconds, he continued, "If we do not get out, the world will never hear about it. It is difficult. . . ."

"At that point a Soviet transmitter broke in to announce that it was 8 P.M. Moscow time. When the station had ceased transmitting the time, the signals from the Lunik capsule had vanished into the silence of outer space—and they were never resumed."

The Soviet Union never acknowledged this supposed launch. Anyone every hear this story?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A possibility regained?


Back in 2014 I had an invite to be a panelist at LonCon 3. I had been a panelist at the WorldCon in San Antonio the previous year (it was nice to have a WorldCon I could drive to) and I was invited back to Worldcon for the following year.

The folks running LonCon were also very good to me with my panels. I had two, right on target with my author interests - Steampunk and Alternate History.

I've never owned a passport, and my wife and I were looking our first trip ever overseas.

Now, one of the guests for LonCon was Billie Piper, who played Dr. Who's companion Rose Tyler in 2005 and 2006.

When Dr. Who restarted in 2005, I did a double-take at that name - Rose Tyler. See, I live in East Texas, whose regional capital is Tyler - famed for its roses. In fact it's known as The Rose Capital of the World.

So I noticed the name, "Rose Tyler". And looking forward to LonCon, I had a thought. I would carefully pack a genuine Tyler Rose and while at the convention present it to "Rose Tyler".

I thought it was a cute idea.

Well, a few months before the convention, the newspaper where I worked was sold to a corporation, I had two weeks of paid vacation, but the cheap corporate assholes said that - since I was a new employee to them, I had no seniority, and no accrued vacation. They just wiped it out.

I could hardly afford to take a two weeks unpaid leave, so LonCon was off. I told the folks running the convention what happened, and we all felt bad.

I was given the heave-ho the following January, and I've worked at my current newspaper just over two years. When I wrote "Another Girl, Another Planet" last year, I modeled the villain on the SOB who fired me, as motivation.

 Last week I received word I was accepted as a visiting pro at Dragoncon. Yesterday the con, as part of updating its list of pros and guest, said Billie Piper would be there this year.

A-hah! So maybe I could still present Piper with one of those Tyler Roses, after all. Three years late, but better than never.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

What I wrote in 2016

I'm making a note here of the short stories I had published in 2016 for those of you who are planning to nominate for the Nebulas, Hugos or any other similar recognition.

My novel "Another Girl, Another Planet" was published after the start of the year, so it's not eligible this year - although, of course, I strongly recommend you buy it!

Here is the rundown of my nine short stories published in 2016:

1. “Captain of the Clouds” – Aurora Wolf, January 2016

The year started out right with the publication of my alternate history "Captain of the Clouds" on January 1st by the ezine Aurora Wolf.

"The Second Confederacy used unremarkable biplanes to patrol the border, but the greater Texas Republic used helium-filled dirigibles on its side of the Mississippi River—and Billy Greer knew each one by sight.

"The airship on patrol that summer along the Mississippi-Louisiana border in 1936 was the Gov. Ferguson. During the summer Billy and his friends would wait every afternoon to see it float past Natchez.  This afternoon, though, Billy was alone.  Some of his friends had been distracted by a report of a dead cat run over on a nearby street.  Billy took advantage of being alone to do something he’d been wanting to do for a long time."

The POD in this alternate history is that the great Spanish Flu epidemic after World War I carried off a third of the U.S. population as opposed to maybe three percent in real life (one-third off all Americans did get sick, so the one-third figure is not unreasonable if the flue had been universally fatal).

As a result of the great death toll the U.S. falls apart into a number of smaller entities, with both the Confederacy as well as the Republic of Texas rising again.

The "trick" in the story is when you realize who the "Captain of the Clouds" is in our timeline.

INSPIRATION: "Captain of the Clouds" was both a patriotic movie and song title from 1942.

You can read the story online here.



2. “Higher Powers” – Sci-Phi Journal, February 2016

He read the label on the wall:

“Warning: Maximum life support duration for escape pod: 72 hours.”

It was now more than 80 hours since he fell into the pod as the ship decompressed.

Reeves looked around.

“Is there anybody out there?” he said softly.

Running into a black string was the only thing that could have caused such a sudden and catastrophic ship failure. The only reason he was alive was that he was adjacent to an escape pod when the alarm sounded.

It was hard to believe, as fast as the ship was destroyed, that any emergency beacons were deployed. There was no sign anyone else escaped. No com chatter, no signs of other pods.

He was all alone with no hope of rescue.

One of my few forays into space-based stories of any sort, "Higher Powers" was published on Leap Day, Feb. 29. In it, I explain how an alien race might regard the human ritual of prayer.

INSPIRATION: The hymn "This World Is Not My Home" - referenced in the story.

You can read it online here

3. “The Milky Way Dance Hall” – Decision Points anthology. May 2016

Light pollution.

We didn’t have any of it back then.  

Heck, we were lucky to have lights.  I was still in junior high school when the REA ran electricity to the farms in Franklin County.


When I was in high school, there really wasn’t anything for teenagers to do there.  Drive-in movies were popular, but we were much too small to have one.  The nearest was one county over, in Mount Pleasant.

There was absolutely nothing in between the two cities. There weren’t even any farms; the power company held the land for the lignite underneath.  So it was completely black, and boy, did the stars shine at night.


There was this one farm-to-market road than ran through that wilderness, between us and Mount Pleasant.  Late at night, after all the adults thought us teenagers were in bed, a bunch of us would sneak out there.  It was the flattest stretch of road anyone had ever seen--smooth as a glass dance floor. And that’s what we used it for.  

Picked up by Bryan Thomas Schmidt for his YA themed anthology "Decision Points", in keeping with the theme, it tells of a fateful night when a teenager on a date must make a painful decision in the wake of an alien encounter.

INSPIRATION: Personal anecdote told to me by Ralph K. Banks, who is credited in the introduction to the story.

You can buy the book here.

4. “Lone Star, Lost Star” – Fiction on the Web, July 31, 2016

I was standing almost smack dab in the middle of State Line Avenue, looking across the street at the Baptist bookstore - where I had parked - with a six pack of Coors in my hand, when Texas disappeared. 

I am quite familiar with what happened, yes. 

If I hadn't had to wait for a car to pass, I would have already been on the Texas side of the street when it happened. I hold the record for the person who was closest to Texas who didn't disappear with it. 

I was so shocked I almost fell into the abyss, but the enormous thunderclap that accompanied its disappearance as the vacuum collapsed knocked me backwards flat on my ass. I clutched the ground face down as the wind rushed in to fill the empty space. The beer went flying and one can rolled towards the car that had just passed me. 

The driver came to a tire-squealing stop. The car was buffeted as the wind rushed past into the space where Texas had been. I lay as flat as I could and clutched the asphalt. 

After what seemed like forever - but was really only a couple of minutes - the wind subsided. The driver looked shocked as he exited the passenger side. He looked over his roof and then looked at me. 

"What the fuck just happened?" he asked. 

People were streaming out of the shopping plaza on the Arkansas side of the street, including the liquor store I had just left, and rushing to the edge of the vast empty space. 

As we found out later, everything that had been Texas was gone down to a depth of 150 feet below sea level. 

This story was written as a submission for an anthology with the theme "No shit, I was there", but wasn't picked up. Instead it was published by the U.K. based ezine Fiction on the Web.

INSPIRATION: Anthology theme.

You can read it online here.

5. “The Yellow Flag” – Sci-Phi Journal, August 2016

Chris looked around into the darkness. “Something is out there.”

“Grab the camera,” said Pete, as he began to wave a hand-held detector around.


When Chris came back to him, Pete pointed. “Whatever it is, it’s that way. Turn on the camera light.”

The paid began to walk across the tall prairie grass. Pete frowned as the signal grew stronger and louder.

“This is like a reading for an electrical power plant,” he said. “You sure there’s nothing out here?”

“The nearest ranch is over 20 miles away,” said Chris. “This is protected federal prairie land. It took me six months just to get the camping permit.”

“What the fuck is that!!!” Pete shouted.

Chris froze and let the camera fall off his shoulder.

Ahead of them, a dull reddish glowing disc-like object rose into the dark sky.

“Run!” Chris shouted.

They turned, but didn’t get far.

This is the story I wrote, submitted and had accepted in four hours, a record which I think will be hard to break. It offers a plausible - and to some people, obvious - answer to the Fermi Paradox.

This was also my 100th published short story since 2003.

INSPIRATION: Fermi's Paradox.

You can read it online here.

6. “And He Threw His Hands Up in the Air” – Siren’s Call, No. 28 August 2016

Modern civilization started in ancient Mesopotamia about 10,000 BC -- you read that in a history book, didn’t you?  That was about the time agriculture was invented, too, wasn’t it?


Allow me to set the record straight for you -- although no one would believe what I’m about to tell you if you repeated it.  Oh, about 10,000 BC, maybe we could say civilization was restarted,  and agriculture was reintroduced.  I should know--I was there when it stopped in the first place.

In fact I was an eyewitness.

Talk about agriculture --our office park sat in a beautiful green valley; from my observation post I could see corn flowers across the highway, and cattle grazing in a nearby field.

The mutated descendants of those cattle were among the few animals that survived the devastation caused by the war.  They grew gnarled and woolly to survive to survive the nuclear winter; it still pains me to see an American bison, even if only on a nickel.

Another one of my secret histories about Atlantis and ancient civilizations, this short tale explains how the image of The Burning Man is embedded in our subconscious.

INSPIRATION: The Burning Man Festival.

You can download a PDF of the issue here.

7. “Time Like a Rope” – Silver Blade magazine, October 2016

Time is like a rope.  –  Ray Bradbury

This is a story about how I traveled along a loop in the rope of time. It starts with what I was told by the little old lady in Pasadena.

Okay, I know you are hearing that Jan and Dean tune in your head. No, it wasn’t that little old lady. Yes, she was a little old lady, but she was English, and I met her in Pasadena, Texas. It’s a suburb of Houston, where I grew up. I was fresh out of the UT journalism school, on my first newspaper job. They didn’t trust me with any hard news stories back then.


The managing editor called me over to his desk. “We have a local hookup with the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic,” he said. “There’s a woman living here now who is a survivor of the sinking.”

“Wow, how old is she?”

“She’s 82. She was saved in a lifeboat with her English family. She later married a petroleum engineer and moved to Texas. She didn’t like to talk about her experience on the Titanic while her husband was alive—she said it bothered him to hear about it—but she’s widowed now and living alone in Pleasant Estates.“

“That’s a real link to history,” I said.

He handed me a slip of paper. “Here’s her address and phone number. Her name is Nancy Atkins.”

The sinking of the Titanic is one of those events we keep going back to. In this case, I composed a tail biter of a story where the narrator realizes by the end he is just one strand in that rope of time.

INSPIRATION: The Ray Bradbury quote that starts the story.

You can read it online here.

8. "Three Twilight Zone Variations on a High School Reunion" - 3rd Spectral Book of Horror Stories, Oct. 31, 2016

He faced the fountain in the center of the atrium.  "It was sitting right over there that Joyce dumped me." 


The retired teacher knitted her brow.  "Joyce Mann?" 

The author grimaced.  "Sho 'nuff, Mrs. Lennon.  That's the reason I went to college in Texas, rather than staying close to home," he said.  “I wanted a change of scenery.”

She looked at him.  “It must have hurt.”

“A lot,” he said.  “It still does.”

He walked briskly across the atrium.  “And I remember how, when we both stood up, we were both so mad, and she took off in one direction, and I went the opposite way, and when I rounded the corner...”

"Stop!" shouted the teacher.  “There’s scaffolding!” 

The author struck his head on a protruding plank, and fell to the ground unconscious.

An uncommon foray for me into the peripheries of horror, this is really very much a Twilight Zone-type ghost story - the ghosts being teenage angst. Joseph Rubas picked this up for his U.K.-based horror anthology.

INSPIRATION: A real visit I made to my old high school in 2013

You can purchase it here.

9. “If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love” – Gallery of Curiosities podcast, Dec. 26, 2016

Jack was seething.
 

The other nightclub owners always said he was a two-bit.
 

He’d been trying to get some respect from the Dallas mob for 16 years – with no success.
 

“Big Boy” Louie Campari had just dropped in for drink. On the way out, he looked at Jack’s “Teresa Brewer” on the stage.
 

The clone was warbling “A Sweet Old-Fashioned Girl.”
 

Campari sneered.
 

“Couldn’t afford anything better, eh?”
 

Jack watched him walk away, and clutched his fists in barely suppressed anger.
 

The son-of-a-bitch was right. He couldn’t afford someone from the top ranks of entertainment.
 

A Doris Day clone, or a Patti Page clone. Now THAT would be class.
 

He didn’t have the money.

Basically a feghoot played off the title of another spec fic story from a a few years ago that I really got sick of hearing about, I decided to exorcise the original title by writing a flash story to purge it from my brain.

Ironically, it turned out pretty good, and was sold to the Curious Gallery podcast, and so became my first original publication via podcast.

INSPIRATION: Rachel Swirsky's story, "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" - obviously.

It was the second story in a double bill; you can listen to it here. My story starts at 19:30.


Random Sunday thought

I recently shot off a message to a Nebula award winning author. I thought I'd share my thoughts with you:

"Hey there, a thought crossed my mind the other day, thinking about you. We're both children of immigrants to America. Has anyone ever done an anthology with the theme of being a newcomer in the land? What's it's like to be a first generation child? I would imagine in the future the same processes will apply to newcomers as we move into space. I think of an anthology because I write mostly short fiction."

Saturday, February 11, 2017

First review of "Another Girl, Another Planet" has arrived at Amazon:

Buy this book! It's lots of fun!

By brendan f kelly on February 10, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Really fun book. Reminds me a lot of the early Heinlein stories. Part thriller, part mystery, part space opera it was the best read I've had in a long time. The universe it is set in is incredibly compelling (despite a nit pick or two), and it is a TREMENDOUSLY fun read. I was actually late to my doctor appointment because I literally could not put it down. I'm really hopeful there will be a sequel because I really enjoyed it.

I gave it four stars because there are a couple of spots that I found a little unbelievable (in regards to characters not plot). That being said, when Mr. Antonelli is on, he is ON. There are some action sequences that are really great, and some of sad parts are really moving. Well worth the money, definitely a fun, interesting, and compelling read.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

"Burning Churchill"

I banged out a story yesterday about a pair of time traveling art collectors who specialize in stepping in and retrieving works of art that were otherwise recorded in history as being destroyed.

They intercede as an infamous portrait of Winston Churchill is about to be tossed in a bonfire on New Year's Eve 1955. (People in the U.K. have probably heard of the Sutherland portrait).

I came up with what I think is one of the best twist endings I've ever done, as the pair return from whence they came and place the Churchill painting next to another retrieved artwork awaiting restoration.

The story is called "Burning Churchill".

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

2016 publications

I'll note again here, for anyone interested in awards for published short fiction in 2016, here are my stories:

1. “Captain of the Clouds” – Aurora Wolf, January. 2016

2. “Higher Powers” – Sci-Phi Journal, February 2016

3. “The Milky Way Dance Hall” – Decision Points anthology. May 2016

4. “Lone Star, Lost Star” – Fiction on the Web, July 31, 2016

5. “The Yellow Flag” – Sci-Phi Journal, August 2016

6. “And He Threw His Hands Up in the Air” – Siren’s Call, No. 28 August 2016

7. “Time Like a Rope” – Silver Blade magazine, October 2016

8. "Three Twilight Zone Variations on a High School Reunion" - 3rd Spectral Book of Horror Stories, Oct. 31, 2016

9. “If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love” – Gallery of Curiosities podcast, Dec. 26, 2016

Attending Dragoncon

I'm pleased and proud to accept the offer to be an attending professional at Dragoncon this year. This will be my first DragonCon. I've always heard nothing but the most glowing reports, and I know many people who will be there this year. I look forward to it, and I'm more than happy to help.

I have committed to four conventions so far for 2017:

Ravencon in Williamsburg, Va. April 28-30

Soonercon in Oklahoma City June 23-25

Libertycon in Chattanooga June 30-July 2

Dragoncon in Atlanta Sept. 1-4

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Correction

I need to make a correction to a post from Jan. 22. I announced that my original short story "Dry Falls" will be published in a forthcoming Time Travel-themed issue of Scarium, the official online magazine of the Brazilian Science Fiction Readers Club,

Not to get into the details, but the magazine is in fact Somnium, which is the official magazine of the Brazilian Science Fiction Society, the CLFC - Clube de Leitores de Ficção Científica.

This will be my second foreign language translation, the first in Portuguese. It will be translated by Flávio Medeiros Jr.

I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

WORDFIRE PRESS PUBLISHES LOU ANTONELLI ALTERNATE HISTORY NOVEL

[FEB. 1, 2017} - WordFire Press is pleased to announce the release of Lou Antonell’s debut novel, “Another Girl, Another Planet”.

WordFire Press Publisher Kevin J. Anderson said “We were captivated by the premise of Lou’s first novel, and we’re very proud to be his publisher. I think people will find the book fascinating.”

WordFire Press Acquisitions Editor Dave Butler said “We’re excited about this book, which lets a well-known short story writer show his strengths at novel length. He describes "Another Girl, Another Planet" as a "Heinleinian Cold War Punk story of politics, espionage, and murder on the Red Planet.”

Renowned author and Science Fiction Writers of American (SFWA) Grandmaster Larry Niven endorsed “Another Girl, Another Planet”, saying “I loved it. Brilliant idea well-told.”

An accomplished short story author with 104 publications and three collections, Antonelli was a finalist for the Sidewise Award in alternate history in 2013. The Texas-based author describes “Another Girl, Another Planet” as a “retro-futurist alternate history.”

WordFire Press is a mid-sized Colorado-based publisher featuring the works of many bestselling and award-winning authors, including Frank Herbert, Allen Drury, Jody Lynn Nye, Alan Dean Foster, Mike Resnick, Brian Herbert, Tracy Hickman, David Farland, and others.

Monday, January 30, 2017

How it played out

With all the public attention being paid to the start of the new presidential administration, I thought I'd mention how the presidency went in the alternate timeline used in "Another Girl, Another Planet".

The story is set in 1985, and the president is John Anderson. Remember him? He was the moderate Republican who ran for president in 1980 as an independent. He got 6.6 percent of the vote.

In the timeline used in "Another Girl, Another Planet", George Wallace's American Party campaign in 1968 leads to a permanent split between the liberal and conservative wings of the Democrat Party, with the liberals remaining Democrats and the conservatives joining the American Party.(Ronald Reagan, for example, is a member of the American Party, not the Republican Party).

As a result, the Republican Party stays centrist in the moderate middle; it doesn't need to try to draw in southern conservatives to win elections. Richard Nixon is replaced after Watergate by Sen. Mark Hatfield, and Anderson replaces Hatfield.

Also, James Earle Carter remains in the Navy and is, in fact, widely seen as the probable successor of the elderly Admiral Robert Heinlein as the head of the space program.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Latest acceptance




I am proud to announce that my original short story "Dry Falls" will be published in a forthcoming Time Travel-themed issue of Scarium, the official online magazine of the Brazilian Science Fiction Readers Club,

This will be my second foreign language translation, the first in Portuguese. It will be translated by Flávio Medeiros Jr.

I'm looking forward to it.

Here's something of an anachronism

When I started writing and submitting fiction at the end of 2002, there were few, if any, venues that accepted electronic submissions.

That's changed, and today almost all publications require electronic submissions; many use submission portals.

The last time I had to submit a hard copy and include a SASE was last year, for Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. They seem to be the last hold-out.

And they send me back a rejection in my SASE. It was almost nostalgic.

I know authors would much rather tout acceptances than rejections, but I'll give Lady Churchill's credit for doing it the old-fashioned way, and I thought it would be interesting to note it here.

By the way, it IS a quality magazine and you should five them a try, also.

Just do it

For those people who are making a specific effort to read stories from 2016 with an eye towards making nominations for various awards, I link here to my story "The Yellow Flag" which was published by Sci-Phi Journal in August.

This is the story I wrote one afternoon in May 2015. It went from start to acceptance in four hours.

Now I'm not claiming it's the best story I've ever written - because I've written like 140 and with 104 already published - but it's decent, and more importantly I'd like to think it might encourage aspiring writers who despair as they stare at the Cold White Screen of Doom.

You know, it's like the sneaker company slogan "Just do it." Plunk butt in chair, lay hands on keyboard, and see what happens. Unless you hurt yourself typing (highly unlikely) or you write something so turgid your discourage yourself (never be afraid to hit "delete"), then you will have accomplished something.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Another Girl, Another Planet" to be released Feb.1st

Latest word from WordFire Press is that the formal release date for "Another Girl, Another Planet" is Feb. 1. In view of that, here's the prologue again, to whet your appetite:

---

There is a small valley ten kilometers from the joint Mars colony, not visible from the surrounding desert, in the heart of the Melas Chasma in the Valles Marineris. As you approach it you will see three crosses—one a traditional Latin cross, and two Celtic crosses.

One of the Celtic crosses is next to the Latin cross. The other Celtic cross sits off to the side. It’s obviously a small graveyard. And you’re the first person to see this lonely place since I was there in 1985.

You want to know what I know about it?

I know everything. I dug those graves. By hand.

Do you want to know why?

Sit down; I’ll tell you.

---

It's already available via Baen Ebooks. Here's the link.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Agile Writers Conference

It's only 12 days until the Agile Writers Conference, being held at the Holiday Inn at the Richmond Airport.

Agile Writers helps beginning writers create their first-draft novel, memoir, autobiography, or screenplay. I will be giving the seminar on The Importance of Dialogue.

Here is my description:

The spoken word preceded the written word. It is possible to write a story – at least at short lengths – in all dialogue. Man’s first storytellers regaling colleagues around a campfire used dialogue, and when the story was passed along, it became all dialogue – until it was written down after writing was invented.

The skills needed to listen and study dialogue will be reviewed, as well as the best ways to train your listening skills.

Participants will learn:

The difference between dialogue and simply using a transcript.

Things to avoid, such as excessive slang or phonetic spelling; and/or when to use them (sparingly).

Dialogue style to drive the plot, such as by showing social class or background.

When a paraphrase will do better than a direct quote.

How to avoid info dumps (“As you know, Bob.”

How to make dialogue sound realistic.

How to train your dialogue skills (Hint: Sit in on a trial).

The various points of view and how they related to dialogue (First Person, Second Person, Omniscient).

The related subject of internal dialogue, and train of thought.

Tricks you can use with dialogue (such as when the narrator knows less than the reader).

Here is a link so you can sign up.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Scribble, scribble...

I spent the last quarter of 2016 in a very time-consuming household move. The distance - 46 miles - was just long enough to be painful but not long enough to require professionals.

Along the way I got very sick at one point from all the dust that was stirred up, and another time I dropped a piece of furniture on my foot - both cases required a doctor's visit.

It's taken weeks to accomplish the move and unpacking. In the meantime, I got no fiction writing done, and my submissions conveyor belt ground to a halt.

However, things are getting back to normal. I have written a new story, revised an old story, and I wrote 2,500 words today on another new story.

And as of tonight I have 16 stories in various slush piles, so I'm back to my old pace.

I'm looking forward to picking up some new publications in 2017. Since I write for my own enjoyment (and of course the enjoyment of my fans) I'll submit to any publication with a pulse. It's a habit I copied from the late Jay Lake.

Things will get off to a strong start soon with the release of my first novel "Another Girl, Another Planet" from WordFire Press shortly, but I intend to keep up my usual pace with short fiction.

I had nine short stories published last year, starting with "Captain of the Clouds" on Jan. 1 by Aurora Wolf and ending with "If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love" by the Curious Gallery podcast on Dec. 26.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The terrible cover

Here's a funny, true story that could only happen to me:

As many of you know, my real job is as a small town newspaper editor. About ten years ago I was working for a semi-weekly (2x a week) newspaper in Bowie County, Texas.

One of my regular duties was to attend and report on the deliberations of the local school board. Now, there are a number of subjects that a school district deals with which, under Texas law, can be discussed behind closed doors for reasons for privacy. Student discipline and personnel matters are two of the most common reasons for an "executive session".

I was a board meeting when the members had to leave and deliberate in private, which meant myself, members of the public and the school district staff had to wait in the board room and kill time. Knowing from the agenda this was planned, I brought a book I could read while waiting.

I've done this a number of times, and as I have a large number of books at home I had picked an anthology pretty much at random and began to read it, held up in front of my face, while waiting for the school board members to return.

After a few minutes, I became aware that the other people in the room were looking at me with the strangest expressions. It hit me like a flash:

"Oh, crap, what's on the cover of this book?!"

I knew - being a reader of s-f and fantasy - there was a distinct possibility the cover was pretty wild.

I turned the book around, and chuckled. Yes, this is the photo of the cover.

I apologized to the other people and explained that no, I wasn't reading a book on Satanism, but science fiction. And I stashed the book.

I will still sometimes take a book with me to read in similar circumstances - but I always remember to look at the cover!

Not worth the pixels...

A comment or opinion on the Internet is as trustworthy as the reputation of the person who made it.

Which is to say anything posted anonymously or under a pseudonym is probably a lie or bullshit.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

"Nobody ever volunteered for a pogrom"



Here's a riddle:

What do you get if you cross a cesspool with an echo chamber?

File 770.

Mike Glyer, who was rewarded for playing Assassins' Creed with the Sad Puppies in 2015 with two Hugo awards last year, likes to post stuff from the s-f losers at the Uncool Kids table so his perpetual internet lynch mob can mock and disrespect them

So of course he picked up my ruminations about the potential of a blacklist.

The usual idiots and assholes that propagate File 770 held forth as evil people are wont to do under the cover of anonymity.

A few said they didn't believe the people who personally recounted their stories of being told they were no longer welcome at certain publishers after the Trump victory.

They said they wanted names.

Uh-huh. These sons-of-bitches are posting anonymously on File 770 but they want the names of the victims of their little cabal to expose themselves.

Back in 1976 there was a made for TV movie called Victory at Entebbe", about Operation Entebbe, when Israeli commandos freed the hostages on an airliner that had been flown to Entebbe, Uganda.

That was back when Idi Amin was dictator of Uganda. The terrorists had separated the passengers with Israeli passports for - God knows what end. The Israelis moved in and, in a lightning raid on July 4, 1976, freed the hostages. Only three died in the mayhem.

The leader of the Israeli force, Johnathan Netanyahu - the brother of the current prime minister- was among the five Israeli casualties.

In "Victory at Entebbe", Richard Dreyfuss played Jonathan Netanyahu. Helen Hayes played a character meant to portray Dora Bloch.

After the raid, the commandos learned one hostage had not been at the airport. The 74-year old Mrs. Bloch had previously taken ill and was a hospital instead. Of course, after the raid no one ever heard of her again. Reports almost 30 years later said witnesses said she was shot and her body dumped outside Kampala.

In the movie, there is a hostage who expresses feelings of guilt because when the terrorists sorted out the Israelis - and some people who were obviously Jewish - he escaped because he had an American passport and a name not obviously Jewish.

(In the scene where the terrorists are sorting out the Jews, one man objects because he has a Belgian passport, and the terrorist lady mocks him because his name is Moshe Meyer as she shoves him in the room with the others.)

Anyway, Mrs. Bloch comforts the other hostage who later has feelings of guilt, saying how he behaved was perfectly reasonable.

She says "Nobody ever volunteered for a pogrom."

And that pretty much sums of my attitude towards the scumbags at File 770 who want me to name the names of the people who confided in me their tales of blacklisting.

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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