Having a cold is no fun, but I guess that if that's all I've got to complain about then I must be doing pretty well, all things considered. I've been under the weather for a couple of weeks now, but I'm starting to feel much better. I hope that by the time the Thanksgiving holidays are over and I go back to work that I'll be 100% again. I've managed to battle the germ back to just general aches and a stuffy nose. I can cope with that.
Those of you who know me well will have spotted the anomaly in the previous paragraph. I can just hear the wheels spinning now... "Wait a minute - He works rotating shifts... He doesn't *get* holidays off. What gives?" Well, it seems that there's this slump in the housing industry here in the US. People were building new houses like madmen all year. Then in September, they slowed down for the coming Winter months. The company that I work for is somewhat overstocked with insulation at the moment. They're cutting back a little on making new insulation in order to try and get the present inventory cleared out of the warehouses. So the company has shut down all of its factories during the Thanksgiving holidays, and will do so again during the Christmas holidays. What does that mean? It means that I - and several thousands of co-workers - will be getting two extra vacation weeks this year. All expenses un-paid, of course.
So if you've been putting off buying new fiberglass insulation to add to what's already in your attics and floors, now is a good time to rush out and buy some! You'll be making your homes more energy efficient, and putting me back to work at the same time. Both are good things, in the long run. Your heating bills will be lower this winter, and your cooling bills lower next summer. Plus you'll be making sure that I can afford all the little extras in life, like electricty, running water, house payments, and- Oh, things like internet access... 8^)
OK, now that we've all had a good laugh, you can stop worrying. Aphelion is not going to vanish because I miss two paychecks between now and New Years. I was only kidding about that. Nor am I about to get tossed out of Casa Vila. The November house payment was made weeks ago. The December house payment is already in the bank waiting to be paid out. And the January house payment will get built up over the next seven weeks. I'm in no financial danger yet, nor will I be unless the housing market falls into a bottomless pit. And if nothing bad happens between now and Income Tax time, Lyn and I will have an additional safety belt in the form of a hefty IRS return on my 2006 taxes.
So what am I going to do with my time off? Well, Lyn has been after me to work on another story for Aphelion, and to finish the manuscript for the novel I started last year. With her to inspire me to greater efforts than I'd have made by myself, maybe I can even sell this one. It's a brave new world out there. I'm going to see if I can carve myself a slice of it!
I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...
I'd like to thank those of you who have sent e-mails or signed
into the Lettercol for your feedback. Keep those messages coming,
folks! Without those messages we will never know what we need to
improve upon. Hope you like the improvements so far!
Senior Editor, Publisher
Short Story Editor
Assistant Short Story Editor
Production Editor/Serials Editor
Assistant Serials Editor
Senior Editor Emeritus
Short Story Editor Emeritus
Serialized Stories & Novellettes
Nightwatch: Sed Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?
By Bill Wolfe The Nightwatch Institute may not be perfect, but they do try to keep an eye out for all manner of threats. By-and-large, they do a fair job of making sure that the world you know when you go to sleep is still there when you wake up. But if they're watching out for us, who's watching them?
A new shared universe series: Nightwatch, under the direction of Jeff Williams.
The Tomato Revolution
by Brian Lowis In Jack's world, the King controlled everything, but the eating habits of his subjects most of all. For the upper classes, only chicken, cow, pig, lamb, and goat could be eaten. For the rest, only oats and wheat. Vegetables (and tomatoes) were forbidden ...
Neuropol by Philip Hamm The Neuropolice had discovered that teacher Jason Runner had been tampering with the officially-sanctioned knowledge base that formed the only means of contact for most of the population. He had inserted interpretations of history contrary to government positions into the lessons streamed to his students. The truth would not set him free, however.
The Dying Days of Summer
by Terry Gibbons Life on Mars wasn't quite Hell, but it came close. Cut off from contact with Earth, the scattered settlements had become bitter rivals, with raids and outright fighting all too common. Then Alex Braxxian, his sister Anna, and the infamous Aaron Thorne stumbled on a wrecked -- but maybe salvageable -- ship.
(This story has previously appeared in Planet Magazine.)
The Best Laid Plans
by Natalie J E Potts When their buddy invented a time machine small enough to hold in your hand, Brett and Cameron figured they had the means to commit the perfect crime. Of course, perfection is an elusive thing ...
Guaranteed Analysis: An Eventuality Tale
by Brad Andrews Horatio-17 was a lush garden world, considered a prime candidate for terraforming. But first, the Infantry had to deal with the garden itself, which tended to tear intruders to pieces.
by Meghashri Dalvi Her experiments with the Time Machine had stranded her in the prehistoric past, among people she considered savages. But she found that everything she thought she knew about them was wrong, and began using her knowledge of medicine to aid the tribe that adopted her. There was a problem with this, of course. Every action that she took could be one that changed the future beyond recognition -- couldn't it?
Handel's House of Horror
by Craig Cornwell Handel was a detective with an unusual clientele. The back door to his office led to anywhere and anywhen, and the people who came through it had special needs. Take Raven Van Helsing, for example, who wanted someone to help her to destroy a nest of vampires. All those hours of watching Britney: Vampire Hunter would not go to waste...
A Matter of Pride
by Robert Moriyama Al Majius is asked to investigate when the Alpha Male of a nation of lion people seems to have failed in one of his primary duties: passing his genes on to as many females as possible. It's a case where the scents make no sense to anyone, and Al and Githros must figure out who's lion to whom.
by Jim Parnell The collected wisdom of Bubba WARNING: Contains Language.
Aphelion proudly presents the installments of Double Wide all on
one page of links. We wanted to make sure that the wit and wisdom
of Bubba wasn't lost for new readers, so we made a mini-archive
list of just the Double Wide features.
And banner artwork for links. If you want to link to Aphelion and want more than a text link,
then this page is for you. Some of these banners are finished, but
most of them lack only my adding text to make them complete.
Unfinished banners can be completed and e-mailed to you within 8
days. The banner HTML code-- and image --can be e-mailed on
request, or can be more simply copied from the "View / Page
Source" option in your web browser. Finished images can be copied
from the banner artwork page itself. An exchange of links or banner
links is always welcome. Link Swap E-mail should be sent to: Dan Hollifield
A Challenge to
Writers... --8\8\2000-- Not a contest, but a series of ideas to spark off a story.
Challenge 1 is the paintings of Daniel Hannaquand, Challenge 2 is a
collection of narrative hooks composed by Dan Hollifield.
Click here to see the Links Page. Our fellow E-zines, Astronomy,
research material, entertainment, and much, much more!
Aphelion IRC Chat --7\31\2003-- Information about an underused feature for Aphelion. IRC Chat is a fun
way to talk to our readers, writers, staff members, and other
netizens. This link takes you to a basic intro and provides further
links to the IRC software that you can download for free. Look for
new updates as we refine this feature.
Chat --Repaired 3\25\2003-- For a quick look at the JAVA chat client, this link launches a
new browser window that takes you to a Log-in form for a JAVA-based
chat in your browser window. No special programs are needed. This
will be a very simple, but passable IRC client, very no-frills.
This will also tell you if there's anyone else in the chatroom, by
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Send a message to email@example.com with the
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As always, this mailing list will only be used to notify you of
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