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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 123, Volume 12 -- July 2008

Editorial

Well, well, well... This is a special month for us. As was pointed out to me by someone on the Niven List, July marks Earth orbital aphelion. We're as far out as we're going to get this year. Which is a good thing, when you stop to think about it. 'Cause if we were at perihelion and it was still Summertime around here, I've got a pretty good idea that concrete would start melting. Atlanta would be one big puddle of hissing and bubbling liquid goo, boiling away in the Summer sunlight. If everyone East of the Mississippi went out and bought half a dozen garden hoses, we could hook 'em all together and help drain off some of the flood water that's afflicting the Northeast. Just pipe it down here into these parched mud puddles that used to be lakes. And if it worked, the Georgia General Assembly wouldn't have to go ahead with their plans to redraw the state lines so that they can start stealing water from Tennessee.

Have you heard about that? It seems that convincing people to conserve water didn't work out the way that the state government wanted. We conserved water all right. But the state and local water utilities lost money on the deal. So they raised the rates. And with the drought conditions, our congress critters found their lake shore homes and boat docks were further and further away from the water every day. Their solution, dig up some old paperwork from the 1800s or so that showed the state lines as being much further North than they presently exist. So much further North that some sizable watershed lakes in Tennessee would then be in Georgia, which would allow the state government to start stealing it.

Naturally, the people who live in Tennessee are just a little bit upset at those plans. Is this legal? Probably not, but these are the people who make up laws to suit themselves. Then they've got the nerve to tell everyone that it is in the "public interest" to insure that their lake shore homes and their golf courses have enough water to keep from drying up and blowing away. And if the legislators pick the right advertising firms to spread their brainwashing, they'll be able to get away with it.

But if we don't get a break from the drought soon, the brain washing will have to be done by Dry Cleaners.

It really doesn't matter if you believe that the Sun is heating up or that pollution is ramping up the greenhouse effect. Personally, I believe that it's both, but you should form your own opinions. It'd be really nice to cut down on the pollution. Clean skys are better to live under, in my opinion. But I don't hate humans enough to believe that they are the sole cause of all the evils in the world. Nature doesn't need any help from mankind when it comes to wreaking havoc with the weather. Earth went through all sorts of changes all by itself - long before humans were introduced into the equations. We're just tiny little creatures, but we have huge egos. We're not all that powerful, but we can sure screw things up all out of proportion to our size. If we work together, we can change the world. Again. But maybe for the better this time, 'eh?

Meanwhile, the cockroaches and fire ants are going ahead with their plans to exterminate the puny humans that have oh so recently begun to become a nuisance to the insectoid masters of Earth...

See? A writer can turn anything into a potential story idea. All it takes is that little twist into a new direction, and the simplest of comments can become the basis for the plot of a story. I bet you thought I was just going off on some political rant. But once again I've tried to surprise you with some real content about writing. My message is this; look at the world around you, think up new directions for things to go, then write your story. You can turn anything into a story, anything at all. There's inspiration everywhere you look.

And now for something completely different; Chattanooga, Tennessee's LibertyCon is coming up the weekend of the 11th through the 13th of July. Lyn and I will be there. I've been asked to be on a discussion panel on the subject of Internet and Small Press Publishing. It ought to be loads of fun. The whole convention is usually loads of fun. The very next weekend, we'll be going back to Tennessee for a family reunion on the 19th. That ought to be fun, too. Be on the lookout for a huge family gathering at Cove Lake State Park in Caryville, Tennessee. You'll know it's us. We'll be loud, happy, and totally crazy. Bill Wolfe ought to be able to hear us party from his home. We'll only be about an hour's drive away from him. I'm hoping to get a chance to talk with my cousin Steven about what he's working on for NASA, as well as catching up with other family members that I haven't seen in a long time.

Well, it's high time I shut up and let you get to reading. Enjoy!

Dan

Serials & Long Fiction

Room 26
By JJ Beazley
Fiona has always known that she was adopted, but on her eighteenth birthday she learns why she was adopted by her natural parents. best friends and how a series of strange events in a castle turned hotel in Wales have altered the course of her life.

Short Stories

Forty Pieces of Lead
By Joel Doonan
Three Feathers knew that Fancy Town was no place for an Indian. In fact, during the day, it was barely a place at all. But at night, its neon-lit streets were home to Cowboys -- and Hollow Men...

Visily's Run: A Tale of the City
By Alexander Veligor
The Elect gave Visily targets to be eliminated, and Visily did whatever he had to do to get the job done: scaling buildings, running across the rooftops, using guns or knives or bombs. And somehow, the city seemed to be better for it.

Irresistible
By A. K. Sykora
They were looking for a way to block the effects of cocaine, but they discovered something completely different -- and potentially far more profitable.

Reflection
By E. S. Strout
Their time machine wasn't a trick at all, but their first target had all been done with mirrors...

Byproducts of a Gifted Imagination
By Jeremiah Martin
A child's imagination is a wonderful thing. But wonder and terror can be more alike than any adult could guess.

Squatters
By Ken Kraus
JC was no saint -- he sold drugs for his cousin to survive and maybe get ahead in the world. Marks, on the other hand, was something else. The question was -- what?

Where Did The Time Go
By Russell Fike
Steven thought that he was just a regular high school kid, with maybe a little talent for science. Then destiny came calling in the form of a pencil and a book.

Tibok's Cure
By Rick McQuiston
The wizard Tibok had a mess on his hands, and he had to clean it up, regardless of what the other members of the Selection might think. Sometimes a project went so wrong that it could not be salvaged...

The Carrier
By Joshua L. Hamilton
The Carrier had crossed galaxies and waited billions of years to fulfil its purpose of delivering all the knowledge of its creators to a new world. At last, the moment had arrived.

Results of Forum Flash Challenge for June 2008

Congratulations to Bill Wolfe, winner of the June 2008 Forum Flash Challenge. Check out "Nightshade" and six more tiny perfect fantasies -- after you read and comment on our other fine features, of course)... And visit the Forum Fun and Games area later this month for the NEXT challenge to your imagination and writing skills.

Poetry and Filk Music

Aftermath
by Megan Arkenberg

Clio
by James Matthew Byers

Equal Weights
by Michaela Sefler

Green Chitinous Domes
by Richard H Fay

Herd On The Street
by Richard Tornello

Horrorku
by Aurelio Rico Lopez III

Hrongar The Barbarian Goes Shopping
by Stuart Sharp

Numb
by Tracy Hantke

Shasta Among The Tombs
by Jonathan Stefanovic

The Robot Animals Come Out Of The Forest At Night
by Theresa Lockhart

The Crab Of Gamma Doradus
by J. Davidson Hero

The Study Of Man's Past
by Holly Day


Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2008 by Dan L. Hollifield