Hello, and welcome to the beginning of another year of Aphelion Webzine!
We have been bringing our readers the best amateur Sci-Fi & Fantasy fiction for a decade and a half now. That is almost ten times the life of a normal website. I find it amazing that after all this time I can still find topics for an editorial. It isn't easy. Some months I don't have anything in particular that I feel like ranting or raving about. Some months I have far too many things to choose from as a topic. From time to time I've covered such diverse things as politics, humor, history, creative writing, current events, and the lateness of the current issue of Aphelion. In fact, I've covered the late issue topic more often than anything else, especially in the first few years of the zine. Let's face it, Aphelion will almost always be late coming out with a new issue. But it will always be worth waiting for!
In the last fifteen years, we've published thousands of stories and poems, helped over a hundred amateur writers learn how to make their writing better and begin selling their work, published reviews of new works that are hitting the shelves, and outlasted a score of other amateur and professional fiction websites. We've been used in classrooms in schools. We've had articles written about us. We've gained readers in over a hundred countries around the world. Why? Because we love doing it. How? Sheer blind luck, I suppose. That, and being too stubborn to give up. Sounds a lot like getting a manuscript published by the Pros, doesn't it?
I'd like to take a moment to thank the Aphelion staff for all the hard work they've done. Without them, I wouldn't be sitting here typing this. Without them, Aphelion would have long ago vanished into the mists of time. Just think about the work they do. Wading through the slush piles, messaging writers back and forth passing along tips and tricks to better their work, correcting endless typos, deleting spam posts in the Forums, scheduling time in their busy lives to do all this for free. There aren't any adverts, because Aphelion isn't about us making money. There aren't any membership fees or reading fees or any costs to the writers or readers. We have very few rules;
Format your submissions as if you were sending them to a pro publisher. This is so that writers get in the habit of working within the rules set by the pro markets.
Spell-Check! By hand as well as with your word processor.
Adult content must be flagged with a warning label. Aphelion has readers of all ages.
Ask for rewrites rather than give outright rejections. Anyone who believes that their first draft is set in stone isn't willing to admit that they can make mistakes,much less be willing to learn from them.
No overt fanfic, no fair using copyrighted characters or properties in a way that violates those copyrights. Developing your own characters and situations teaches you more about writing, and makes it far easier to sell your work. Naturally, Mare Inebrium stories have their own set of rules about copyrighted characters.
Serialized stories must be finished before we consider them for publication. Too many times in the early days a serial chapter just stopped being sent in for the next issue, long before the story was actually supposed to end.
The editorial staff reserve the right to add their own rules to this list as they find reasonable and right.
And that is about it, really. Be willing to work, be willing to listen to advice, be willing to do rewrites as needed, and be willing to be edited. Even a flaming tower of ego such as myself has to realize that my work is vastly improved by a good editor.
Now, let's move on, shall we?
In celebration of Aphelion's Birthday Month, this is the annual Best Of issue. In addition to new stories and poetry, we have a selection of the best things we published in 2011. So it is a big issue, nearly as big as the two-month Holiday Issue we put out every November. So welcome! Here follows the best stories and poetry from the past year, as well as new stories to begin the new year.
Thank you so very much for joining us,
Now... Ready? Set? Read!