Aphelion Issue 233, Volume 22
October 2018
 
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I think I need to build a boat. The rain just keeps on pouring down, the creeks and rivers are rising, and most days in July my yard looked like a lake...

LibertyCon 31 was a big hit. Almost everything about the event and the venue was supurb. There were a few downers, mostly due to hotel management imposing additional rules which weren't part of the hotel chain's normal requirements. It was as if the local hotel management were going out of their way to let us know that while they wanted our money, our actual presence was somewhat less than welcome. However, that attitude didn't carry over onto the hotel's staff--THEY went out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. It's really a shame that the management didn't want us there because the convention center facilities were absolutely wonderful. All the con-goers loved the convention center itself. But all is not lost. The Con Committie announced that LibertyCon has signed a five-year contract with The Read House hotel. Read House is one of the oldest, fanciest, hotels in the entire state of Tennessee, having originally been built before the US Civil War. It burned down during the war years, but was rebuilt even bigger and better shortly afterward. I've seen a few photos of the hotel and it's easy to believe that it has hosted the upper crust of society for 15 decades or so. The place is georgous! Everyone is looking forward to 2019's LibertyCon. In fact, every available con membership sold in less than six hours the day they went online. 750 memberships, sold out, in five and a fraction hours! Room reservations will be available sometime in September, and I expect a regular "land rush" on them as well.


At LibertyCon, I met a pair of new writers and helped them along a bit with a project they are working upon together. My first time personally mentoring, in fact.Although I've been here at Aphelion for lo these many years, I haven't directly worked with individual writers in person before. It started off innocently enough with the lady I knew introducing me to the lady I han't yet met. They wanted my opinion on a bit of dialog, and advice on some historical research. One thing led to another and we fell into a bit of improv on the dialog, with me taking the part of one of the characters. Just role-playing, really. I thought it would be more difficult to do by acting than I've found it to be in text chats, but evidently I can manage both. The younger lady was furiously scribbling my ad libs for the scene we workd on. By the time we parted ways that evening, I had developed two new students. One of them I had known for several years, the other I met for the first time, and they are going to be turning out a fantastic Historical/Paramormal novel you'll want to add to your libraries just as soon as they finish--if that's a genre you enjoy, of course.

Two weeks later, Lyn and I went over to East Tennessee for our family reunion. That was also wonderful, yet bittersweet. Only my mom and one of her brothers are left from their generation of the family--we lost Aunt Gerry a few months ago, and her absence was felt by all. However, the younger generations were well represented by grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Plans are already underway for next year's reunion.

Now, this next bit is difficult for me to write. So I'll just dive in and hope I get my point across. Unfortunately, our long drives to and from Tennessee were marred by witnessing several tragic traffic accidents. The worst of which was a five-car pile-up in the Northbound lane as we were heading South in North Carolina. Evidently, the roads between Greenville SC and Ashville NC are every bit as dangerous as Atlanta's own 285 loop. Too many people driving too close together at too high a speed has always been a recipe for disaster. My heart goes out to each and every family affected by the accidents we saw.

Stay safe, dear readers, wherever you are on this planet, take care of yourselves. Lives are all too easy to bring to a sudden end. They're altogether too short to begin with, so protect yours and your loved one's as much as you possibly can. Every day, every moment, is a gift. That's one reason why we call it "the present." Make the most of every moment you have. Fate can snatch everything away from you without any warning whatsoever.

All right, it's about time I shut up and let y'all get to reading the seventh issue of Aphelion of 2018! Enjoy!

Dan


ON THE COVER

Title: VLT image of the cometary globule CG4

Photo Credit: ESO