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Aphelion Editorial 064

November 2002

Be forewarned, the Senior Editor is back!

by Dan L. Hollifield


Hello and welcome!

If you've been reading the Lettercol (and if you haven't- shame on you) you already know that my computer is finally (mostly) repaired and I have returned to the fabulous universe of the online community that is Aphelion- Oh, and the rest of the internet too, of course. I want to thank everyone on the staff for keeping Aphelion going while I was offline. Iain did some nice editorials, Cary laid out the index pages, and everyone pitched in to cover my absence very well. Give them a hand, folks!

Not that my computer is back 100%, mind you- I have only one word processor re-installed instead of the four I was used to using. None of the files stored with those processors were recovered, so every submission ever sent to me is gone if it was an attachment in a word processor format. This also means that I no longer have a couple of novels of my own that I'd been puttering around with from time to time. To top things off, I messed up my e-mailer profile the day I got my computer back, so all the e-mail I received since '97 and before mid-October, is locked away from me. I can get at it with some effort, but there's an awful lot of code and gibberish that makes the result nearly unreadable. The net effect is that I must ask you not to expect me to be able to refer to old e-mails until I figure out how to un-do whatever it was I did wrong. Thankfully, everything that had been made into HTML files was stored online in the website. Also, I have been told that it may be possible for me to network my old 386 with this P-90 dinosaur that I currently use and recover some more files from the damaged hard drive. It is a small possibility, vanishingly small, but I do intend to try it when I get far enough ahead of my bills to buy the necessary network cards and whatnot. Wish me luck.

Now I don't really have anything to rant about, but that's never stopped me before. Let's see... The October of terror is over with the capture of the DC snipers (in spite of CNN's valiant effort to keep them informed of every move the police were making to uncover their identity), the monsters of Enron have received a slap on the wrist, the stock market has stumbled so badly that my retirement 401k has lost a whole heap of cash, Osama is still in hiding (or dead and no one has found the body), and little Georgie has vowed to finish the job his Daddy chickened out of a decade ago on Saddam Insane. Sounds like old times, eh? So what's that got to do with speculative fiction?

Its all grist for our mill, you see. What happens in our day-to-day world prompts the fiction of the future. There are whole new technologies that can be mined for story ideas popping up all around us every day. Military stuff, space stuff, archaeological stuff, crime stuff- Writers can make use of it all. Whatever it takes to get over the barrier of the "Dreaded White Page" that Iain wrote about in last issue's editorial. All these things, and more, contribute to sparking off stories, giving writers some message to impart, a tale to tell, an adventure to relate. Not only do we need to research what we write about, we also need to keep up with current events. You never can tell where your next story is going to come from. Stock your mind with everything you can. It'll come in handy, more often than not.

Now that everyone can stop walking in zig-zag patterns to avoid snipers, will we see that in someone's new story as a casual detail of futuristic city life? Probably. (Oh dear, I could swear I just heard some Fantasy writers shrieking "what about us?" Well, there are lots of elves in different mythologies that don't fit in with the way Poppa Tolkien wrote his. Read more varieties of mythologies from wide ranging countries. Irish elves are different from Amerind elves, for instance. And there are monsters that have never been used in D&D manuals. There are other sources of information, you know.) My point is: feed your mind. A well stocked imagination is any writer's best tool. It doesn't matter if you write Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Poetry, Filk, or Martian Haiku. Everything and anything can wind up being useful, can contribute to a better telling of whatever tale you create. So watch CNN, the History Channel, TLC, Discovery, PBS, read the paper, go to the library- whatever. Feed your mind!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled fiction...

Thanks for your time.

Dan

THE END


2002 Dan L. Hollifield

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