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Aphelion Editorial 076

November 2003

by Dan L. Hollifield

The Usual Rant from the Aphelion Senior Editor


Congratulate me, Monday the 3rd was my 46th birthday! November also marks another year paid off on the mortgage. I now own a third of my home. Only another decade to go... Hey! Isn't that when that asteroid was supposed to hit us? Spider Robinson was right, God is an iron. (Feel free to debate that statement in the Lettercol or the Chatroom.) I also have a new Mare Inebrium story in this issue. Redshift Sue Sings the Blues is linked to in the Short Story section. I want to say right here and now that it is not autobiographical in any way. Despite the recent spate of Mare stories depicting me as some kind of benevolent alien emmisary here to save humaniy from itself- I am but a mild mannered internet publisher (see the glasses?) with powers and abilities no different from those of mortal men. The fact that I was born almost as the Russians were launching Sputnik II with the little dog Laika aboard--- Pure coincidence. Likewise the coincidence that my Dad worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Sheerest happenstance. And the coincidence that none of you had ever heard of me before 1997 is so small that it can pass without mention. Events of note on this day in history include:

November 3

Born

  • 1718 - John Montagu Sandwich 
  • 1793 - Steven Austin 
  • 1794 - William Cullen Bryant 
  • 1881 - James Edgar Paullin (Medicine) 
  • 1901 - Andre Malraux 1909 - James Reston 
  • 1915 - Yitzchak Shamir 
  • 1918 - Bob Feller 
  • 1918 - Senator Russell Long of Louisiana 
  • 1921 - Charles Bronson (Charles Buchinsky) 
  • 1933 - Michael Dukakis 
  • 1948 - Tom Shales 
  • 1949 - Larry Holmes 
  • 1953 - Roseanne Barr 
  • 1953 - Kate Capshaw 
  • 1953 - Dennis Miller 
  • 1954 - Adam Ant 
  • 1957 - Dan L. Hollifield

Died

  • 1990 - Mary Martin

Events

  • 1862 - R.J. Gatling patented the rapid fire Gatling gun. 
  • 1903 - Panama declared its independence from Colombia. 
  • 1946 - The new Japanese constitution went into effect. 
  • 1954 - Linus Pauling won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. 
  • 1957 - Sputnick II was launched with a dog, Laika, on board. 
  • 1970 - Herman Badillo was elected the 1st U.S. Representative of Puerto Rican ancestry. 
  • 1970 - Salvadore Allende was inaugurated as President of Chile. 
  • 1977 - The Defense Meritorious Service Medal was authorized for members of the Armed Services of the U.S. who have rendered outstanding non-combatant achievement or service while assigned to the office of the Secretary of Defense, the organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a specified or unified command, or a Defense Agency. 
  • 1978 - Dominica achieved independence. 1979 - Morning Edition, the morning news program on National Public Radio in the U.S., made its debut. 
  • 1984 - Indira Gandhi was cremated. 
  • 1999 - Beverly McLachlin was named the first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. (Female) 
  • 1999 - The Nasdaq composite index closed above 3,000 (3,028.51) for the first time.

News of interest: SF author Larry Niven came close to losing everything but some clothes and the pets in the recent California fires. He said that the fire burned right up to the front and side doors of the house, but the firemen were able to save it. They were aided by Larry's home having a big yard so the burning trees were isolated enough from the house for the firemen to work. A little smoke damage inside, but otherwise undamaged. He's back at home and planning what he should have done with his work- everything is in his computer and would have been vaporware if the house had burned. Off-site back-ups, copies on CD or DVD or even a laptop... There are lots of possibilities. Certainly made me think. I need to update my CD copies.

I e-mailed Kate Thornton a couple of days ago. I found myself thinking about her and e-mailed her on a whim. She replied:


Hi Dan!
What a surprise and great pleasure to hear from you!
I had a small stroke last year and it's been an uphill climb to get the use
of my left side back, but I am up and walking and typing and everything. I
am also back to writing, and have had several mystery stories do rather well
in print anthologies.

But I was just thinking of you recently, too.

And I have a story in the "boiler" - roiling around as I put the touches
on it - another trip on the Linda Rae where men are men and the sheep are
nervous...no, wait, that was a different story.

I will have something ready soon - I was just going to send it in and see if
anyone remembered me. What
a fab surprise to see your email!

I hope you are doing well - I will drop in tomorrow and read the magazine.
I have been away far too long.
You'd think by now I should be able to do something with time - spend the
good stuff slowly and zip through the unpleasant. Unfortunately physical
therapy works in the reverse. Hmmm - there's a story in there somewhere.

So happy to hear from you - love to you all and especially you!

Kate Thornton

I'm sure everyone will want to send their best wishes to Kate and be thankful for her recovery. Rather than post her e-mail address here for even more spam-list harvesting, I would advise you to go to the archives and use the link to her home page that appears at the end of her most recent stories.

Once again, I want to tell you about Aphelion running a two-month December/January issue starting next month with issue #77. There will be new stories, as well as my own choices for the "best of '03" so be forwarned. And don't get a swelled head if I pick one of your stories. Just means that I liked it. Its not like an award or anything. LOL!

Have you heard that the Hubble may be de-orbited and allowed to burn up- before it's replacement is ready? Not only do they want to waste the telescope, they want to waste it before there is anything in orbit to do it's job! Now, I think its criminal to waste something that can still do good work. How hard would it be to move the Hubble to a higher, more stable orbit and get more years of service out of it? (You rocket scientists, there is another Lettercol/Chat topic.) I say, if there is anything in orbit that can be used as-is or for parts, let's utilize it! Surely it would be better in the long run to save something, if only to have an existing framework to hang upgrades upon.

And shouldn't we launch one or more of the remaining US space shuttles to leave in orbit as a working tugboat rather than ground them and let them rust away? Can't we think of a safe way to refuel them in orbit? I know that there are other problems with that idea too, but I hate to see a perfectly good workhorse put out to pasture. Surely there is a way to boost them out to higher and more useful orbits? I know the next generation of surface-to-orbit-to-surface craft is going to be a few years in the future. I just hate wasting things.

What to do in space? What to do with space? Sounds like there are a few stories hiding in those questions. We writers need to explore the possibilities, and by exploring them, subtly influence the course of events toward a better future. Negative and positive, warts and all. What will we do? What mistakes will we make? How can we learn more? What is the best way to use what we have while we develop things that are even better? I've heard it said that science fiction is in decline and fantasy is the growing trend. But somehow I doubt that SF is going to disappear. We writers just need to think of ways to make it new again. Fun and adventure and really wild things. The future is out there waiting for us to arrive. Its yesterday's future that is now. Today's future is, as yet, unwritten. Its our job to write it. Thinking caps on, people! Pick up your pencils and start creating!

Dan

(I'm not a lost time traveler or alien, honest. Really, trust me. I promise...)

(I don't understand it, the glasses work for Clark.)

I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...

THE END


2003 Dan L. Hollifield

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