I had the opportunity to meet Louis Antonelli at a local science fiction convention, and I recently had the honor of interviewing this science fiction, fantasy and alternate history author.


Tamara Wilhite: You’ve found late but great success with science fiction and other genres. What led to this late start?

Louis Antonelli: My first story was published when I was 12 – but it was a newspaper article. My parents were born overseas and English was their second language. I suppose I developed language skills early because I was curious and my parents really couldn’t explain things to me. By the way, next month marks the 50th anniversary of that first newspaper article – an account of a boy scout hike I wrote in longhand and submitted to the local newspaper. I was in the 7th grade.

By the time I was in high school I was making decent money as a newspaper reporter and I’ve been a life-long journalist.

I always enjoyed reading science fiction, and I did write stories “just for grins” over the years, but it never occurred to me to write and submit until I was in my 40s. It was a “bucket list” kind of thing – sometime I always wanted to do but never got around to. By 2002 I was 45 and the Internet was around, so on a whim I wrote a story and posted it on-line. I got good feedback and that started me writing and submitting. By 2003 I had my first story in an ezine, and I was published in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2005.


Tamara Wilhite: You’re a professional journalist managing a small town paper. How does that affect your fiction writing?

Louis Antonelli: My wife and I own the local newspaper. Right now, the main effect is that I don’t have as much time to write as I used to. We bought the paper from people who had owned it for 40 years, and it was rundown and threadbare. I’ve perked things up considerably; we’ve quadrupled our advertising and have more than 120 new subscribers. In a time in the newspaper business when staying even is the new up, that’s pretty good. But after over a year and half of improvements, things seem to be leveling off and I am setting more time asides for genre interests.



Tamara Wilhite: Why do you write so much alternate history?

Louis Antonelli: It seems a logical interest for a journalist. You know the expression, “Journalism is the first rough draft of history.” It’s also a good sub-genre for someone like me, whose scientific knowledge is nil. Heck, I never even passed algebra in high school.


Tamara Wilhite: Wikipedia says you write secret history stories. What exactly is secret history?

Louis Antonelli: That’s when the public story remains the same, but the reader learns what really happened behind the scenes. It’s kind of the convergence of fantasy and alternate history.



Tamara Wilhite: And what stories have you written that count as secret history?

Louis Antonelli: My first professional publication, “A Rocket for the Republic”, was published in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2005. It was the last story accepted by Gardner Dozois before he retired as editor, and finished third in the Asimov’s Readers Poll that year for short stories.

Others include “The Cast Iron Dybbuk” in Andromeda Spaceways, also in 2005; “The Silver Dollar Saucer” in Ray Gun Revival in 2009; “Professor Malakoff’s Amazing Ethereal Telegraph” – Science Fiction Trails 2009; “Meet Me At the Grassy Knoll” – 4 Star Stories 2011; “Cerulean Dream” – Tales of the Talisman 2015; “The Milky Way Dance Hall” – Decision Points 2016 (anthology); plus many more.


Tamara Wilhite: You’ve published more than a hundred short stories. Do you have any collections of just your own work?

Louis Antonelli: Yes, Fantastic Texas (2009), Texas & Other Planets (2010). The Clock Struck None (2014), and In the Shadow of the Cross (2018).


Tamara Wilhite: One of your stories was nominated for the Hugos in 2015. Do you want to talk about that experience?

Louis Antonelli: I suppose. My story, “On a Spiritual Plane”, was a decent story, but whatever its merits were was lost in the Sad Puppies controversy. Larry Correia put forward the first Sad Puppies recommended list in 2013 as a response to the fact that the Hugo awards were being manipulated by left-wing authors and editors to foist their exclusionary political agenda on the genre. After two tries, in 2015 Sad Puppies 3 succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations, and got so many works on the Hugo ballot that the establishment bought enough WorldCon memberships to bury them under the “No Award” designation.

It was four months of Hell for the Sad Puppy finalists– from the announcement of the ballot in April until the WorldCon in August – and essentially a left-wing lynch mob. In the end, the whole fiasco can be considered useful because it made the secret manipulators come out of the closet. Larry Correia has been completely vindicated.


Tamara Wilhite: What are you currently working on?

Louis Antonelli: Well, kind of following up the previous question, since the Sad Puppies in 2015 there’s been a pretty ironclad blacklist in the major science fiction magazine and publishers against anyone who isn’t an intolerant doctrinaire left-wing asshole. Nobody denies it anymore, because such assertions only gets the horse laugh.

The only major book publisher that judges authors impartially is Baen; Analog is the one major magazine that seems to pick stories based on merit and not the author’s politics and lifestyle.

Last spring I started an ezine called Sirius Science Fiction (Sirius, dog star, puppies… get it?) as an outlet for quality fiction judged regardless of the author’s political orientation. We’ve published eight original stories so far – four in April, and after a hiatus, another four in October – and they have been very well received. It’s really kind of sad to see the high quality of the submissions because today of how exclusive and restricted the short fiction market has become.


Tamara Wilhite: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Louis Antonelli: I don’t have any original fiction for myself right now, so go to Sirius Science Fiction and read the great stuff there.

Any donation would be welcome to help me pay the authors. I pay $25 per story, which isn’t much, but shows our appreciation.

The Sirius Science Fiction web site is https://siriussciencefiction.blogspot.com/

Our PayPal address is: [email protected]