Hello, and welcome to the third issue of Aphelion's 20th year!
It's pollen season here in Georgia, LOL! Unless it happens to raining
at any particular moment, everything is dusted a bright yellow-green,
and the normal birdsongs of Spring have been pre-empted by the sneezes
and hacking coughs of the long-suffering natives. I wish I had a nice,
lightweight spacesuit, LOL! At least then, maybe I could breathe.
Then we have that fire in Atlanta that resulted in a bridge collapsing,
one of the main arteries of traffic through downtown Atlanta. Now a
quarter of a million drivers have to reroute their daily commutes to
deal with this situation. As an infrequent traveler through Atlanta, it
has little effect on my day-to-day life. On the other hand, when I do
visit Atlanta, that extra 250,000 drivers would tend to bulk up my
normal challenges for the traffic on the roads I habitually use. In
addition, this situation will continue for the foreseeable future while
"reconstruction" is taking place. That bridge isn't going to be rebuilt
quickly. Three months, at the earliest, a year would be the more
conservative estimate. So I spent some time plotting alternative routes
of my own to by-pass Atlanta completely. It'll be slower, smaller
roads, but possibly quicker than facing the added traffic to the HWY
285 loop around Atlanta. We shall see when it comes time to head out to
LibertyCon in Chattanooga this year.
Which causes me to consider what navigation in space could be like.
We write all these stories with people heading out to all these
far-flung solar systems. Some in our home galaxy, and others in
galaxies really far away. And that's the thing, space is so freaking
huge that flying off to a nearby start is one thing, but who makes the
Rand McNally Atlas of Interstellar Flight? How do you map that sort of
thing? Somehow "just hang a left at Bernard's Star and straight on 'til
Alpha Centauri B just doesn't seem like a sensible set of directions.
And what about clouds of dust, micrometeor punctures, and is there a
Pizza Hut outside of whatever solar system you're heading for? Is there
AAA for Astronauts? Kind of hard to get a tow back from 40 light years
out, don't you think? And just how do you change a tire in deep space?
All seriousness aside, we do seem to treat interstellar travel as if it
were just another trip by a long-haul trucker. I mean, Low Earth Orbit
is just the end of our driveway, right? Leaving the Solar System is
about like getting out of our neighborhood subdivision. Alpha C is the
next little podunk town in the same county. You know, one stoplight, a
grocery store, a gas station, maybe an Intergalactic House of Pancakes
if we're lucky. There's another couple of little towns nearby, so maybe
they have a good taco joint and a Walmart or Tesco, but not a lot else.
We're out in the boonies, to be sure.
Who makes the maps? Who leads the way? Further, once you're out there,
how do you keep from getting lost? I know that there are people looking
for answers to these questions, but most writers gloss over this stuff
to keep the drama flowing. Should we? Probably, yeah. It all goes back
to the basic assumptions in our world building. Rather than boring our
readers with details that aren't exciting, we cut to the chase and
forge on ahead into the plot and action. That's a good thing, really.
Thanks to everyone who has been writing in all the years before we
began, those are the tropes that it's been difficult to write within.
How to tell an exciting story about exploring something nearby have
been mined fairly well. Breaking new ground on that takes a set of
skills not many of us, myself included, are willing to take time to
research and develop, but we do have this "shorthand" that allows us to
jump the boring bits and dive down into the stories we want to tell.
That can be a good thing. I'm here to tell you, those "First Explorer
and Pathfinder" stories haven't been mined completely out. There is
still gold in them thar hills.
But you have to work for it!
Before I get to the video editorial for this month, I have an
announcement to make. Aphelion is still taking applications for a
position on our editorial staff. We need a new Short Story Editor. You
are up to the task, or if you know someone who might want to join us,
feel free to send us a message. We *might* have someone who is willing
to take up the mantle of Flash Fiction Editor. If he enjoyed running
the Flash contest this past month, you readers might be able to
convince him to stay on. You'll have to convince him that you like his
audition contest, and that you want him to keep going. I think he's
done a great job, and I hope he wants to continue. But I'm just a
single voice in this howling wilderness. Y'all need to give him some
support in the Forums. Tell him what you think. It's that eeasy.
The Short Story Editor job is still open however, and we need a worthy
successor to step up and do the heroic deeds the job entails.
Applicants need only to go to the Aphelion Facebook page and indicate
their willingness to join our motley crew. May the best applicant win.
If you can deal with the staff in a Facebook chat, 'cause we're all
crazy and who wouldn't want to be part of that, come see us there. At
the very least, you'll be entertained, LOL!
We are also still looking for writers to do audio interviews with, and
video interviews as well. That would entail using Skype to meet up with
me for a chat. I'll record that, and then splice it into a video to
post on You Tube. The link to those would be embedded on a page in the
Features Section, or on whatever page that seems to be the best fit.
The interviews that are audio only would have some still photos as a
slideshow. The video ones would be a simple screen capture of my
monitor while the chat is running. As I see it, scheduling these would
be the most difficult aspect. This is, after all, a work in progress.
I'll be ironing out the bugs for quite a while.
So, this is still a thing. A third video editorial, for which you will
first victims--Um, the first to experience something unique in the
annals of... whoever keeps annals online, as it were. I'd like to keep
them a fifteen-minute format. You know, something that wouldn't be too
long or too boring for viewers to sit through. I don't know about you,
but as I watched myself on the first video, I kept wishing that I'd
speed things up a bit and stop rambling so much. I also need to work on
the lighting a bit. Everything looks a bit too reddish for my tastes.
I'm still ironing out those bugs as well. And so, with much ado about
nothing, I present to you, Aphelion's next step into the 21st Century:
First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us
on the Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine.
As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be very
useful. Given our different
locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss
production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us
using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room
days back in the 1990s.
My first collection of Mare Inebrium spaceport bar short stories was
published in February of 2015 by Dark Oak Press. It is available in
and Nook e-book formats, paperback, and hardback. I also have three
albums of instrumental music out through the Create Space
self-publishing website. If you like, you can click on the photo or the
link below to find all the info you would need to purchase my book in
format, or an e-book of Flash of Aphelion, buy a CD of my music, or
listen to tracks off the albums on my Bandcamp website. Enjoy!