Aphelion Issue 230, Volume 22
July 2018
 
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Hi there!

Welcome to the annual "Best Of" issue of Aphelion as we once again start another year of publication. We're now working on a dozen years online. That's amazing, especially when you consider the average life of a website to run roughly two years. Now that we're back from our annual Holiday break and everyone has had two months to read the end-of-year double issue, it is time for a quick review of the stories and poetry that the editors picked out as the most outstanding submissions of the last year. Of course, there are also some new stories and poems included in this issue.

As for myself, since there weren't any Mare Inebrium stories submitted in 2008, I've spent a few days rebuilding a pair of old computers that were donated to me. The smallest one will wind up in the living room here at Casa Vila, to be used as a video player of sorts. It'll be hooked up to the TV set just like a conventional DVD player. As a bonus, it'll also act like a Region-Free DVD, being able to play PAL format videos from the UK as well as the NTSC format that is the norm here in the US. All that remains to be done is to add some more RAM to its motherboard, pick up a wireless keyboard and mouse, and attach the necessary converter box to its VGA monitor socket so that the signal can be read by an ordinary TV set.

The other donor computer will wind up in my office, sharing the duties of my desktop computer. By using a different sort of converter box, I'll be able to switch between the two computers back here without the bother of needing to have two monitors, keyboards, and trackballs. With the touch of a button, I'll be able to switch between the two computers. I'm putting in a pair of hard drives, more RAM, and installing a new video card on it. When I was given this one, it was on the condition that I remove and destroy the hard drive, turning it into basically a motherboard and a power supply with a nice case. The donor wanted to prevent anyone from ever being able to reconstruct any data that was left on the drive. Since there were medical records and such on it before, I agreed to destroy the drive rather than simply formatting it. A few quick purchases from e-bay allowed me to gather up everything I need to do the rebuild. As a bonus, hooking it up to my present computer will give me a chance to tidy up all the sprawling yardage of wiring that clutter up the office.

Work on my steampunk story has slowed down, because I'm doing a lot of reading for the necessary research into US history. I'm finding out lots of things about the War of 1812 and the US Civil War eras that I'd never run across in my school years. Thanks to a safety award from work, I was able to go out to a bookstore and pick up a few history books on the eras I'll be using in the story. My work crew went two and a half years without any work-related injuries. The reward for that, besides no one being injured, was a small bonus added to my paycheck last week, and a free steak dinner served up at work one day. As for the story itself, the plot is progressing smoothly, the actual typing is still happening one or two days a week, and it is still a lot of fun being back at writing again after having spent so much time being unable to create. Perhaps 2009 will be a better year than 2007 or 2008.

Well, that's about enough blather from me. You ought to go read the stories and poetry now. I'll be back next month, and hopefully I'll have more interesting things to talk about.

Dan