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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 134, Volume 13 -- July 2009

Editorial

Hello, and welcome to another new issue of Aphelion!

There are loads of new stories, features, and poetry on tap this month. I'm sure you'll find some new favorites as you read through all the tales in this new issue. Everyone has been working hard on these, so please go visit our Forums and leave some comments when you've finished reading. The writers will thank you for that.

I got an e-mail from Nate Kailhofer recently. He's finished the first draft of the Aphelion Explorer series bible and is sending a copy of it off to Bill Warren for his consideration. We'll be putting that online in the next issue or two. Nate has been hard at work on this, and everything looks wonderful so far. I'm looking forward to having more stories in this series start arriving on Aphelion's pages. If I'm really lucky, there will be a side effect to any new Aphelion Explorer stories; new Mare Inebrium and Nightwatch stories! I've really missed seeing those populating my in box. Actually, I've been itching to write another Nightwatch story. One of the unresolved plot threads from "Fly By Wire" has been gnawing at the back of my mind for several months now. Even though I have no idea what Bob and Jeff are working up as far as their outline for a new season of Nightwatch stories, I may start an outline of my idea just so that I don't forget any neat tidbits that have popped up so far. If nothing else, I could pass it to the Nightwatch editors for use as a back-up in case one of the scheduled tales gets delayed. But to get back to the matter at hand, if you have any ideas for an Aphelion Explorer story, start scribbling them down. The time for them will soon be at hand!

As for myself, I've had little time for writing during June. Instead, I've been doing a little remodeling and minor construction work here at home- among other homeowner-type chores. I'm not even close to being finished with all the things I want to do here, but each job I complete gives me a feeling of accomplishment. For example, our new bathroom floor looks great as well as having been a learning experience for me. I'm glad that I had the chance to refresh my skills in this reconstruction effort, even though the job turned out to be a little easier than I'd first thought it would. Now that the bathroom is done, I need to turn my hand towards screening in our front porch. After that, I've been thinking strongly about building and screening in a porch for our back door. The back porch is still in the drafting stage, though. I don't want to start it before deciding what I really want to see every time I open the back door.

In other news, Lyn and I will be attending LibertyCon 22 in Chattanooga, Tennessee over the weekend of July 10th through the 12th. That's going to be lots of fun, as per usual for a LibertyCon. We're looking forward to seeing lots of our LC friends again, as well as making new friends there. Lyn and I are finishing up the final details on our costumes and have already started packing our suitcases. Once we get home, we'll only have a few days to get ready for another trip to Tennessee- This time, for a family reunion up near Knoxville on the weekend of July 18th. If it weren't for our pets here at home, we'd just find something else to do in Tennessee during the week in between trips. As it stands, the only thing we aren't going to enjoy is the long hours of driving back and forth. Still, once we get where we're going we'll be having lots of fun!

Speaking of fun, don't forget that we'll be throwing a party on August 22nd! ApheliCon 4 is almost upon us. Any Aphelion readers and writers within driving distance of Athens, Georgia will be welcome to attend. Also invited are any of the steampunk groups who live close enough to consider showing up. Even though this isn't any sort of formal convention, Lyn and I hope to see plenty of people showing up. We've had several folks express interest in attending, so please come to the party if you can. I'll soon be posting a page with maps and directions. In fact, I already have one page with the best route from the Atlanta area online at this link. Please send me an e-mail if you have any special dietary needs or allergies that would affect the menu that Lyn and I are working up. For that matter, an e-mail telling us you plan on attending would be welcome as well. We do need to know how many guests for whom we need to buy food and drinks. Please feel free to bring something yourselves, if you wish, although that isn't required. Come on and visit a while! It'll be great fun!

Well, that about wraps it up for me for this issue. Time for me to shut up and let you get to reading this new issue. Enjoy!

Dan

Serials & Long Fiction

A Shadow in the Hills
By Glenn Hackney
A dark fantasy tale about Humans, Trows and Trolls.

Short Stories

Wood, Mud, Blood
By Mark Ward
The wizard Edmund Farrier had been sent to investigate trouble in the North Country -- an escalating battle between the king's soldiers and an army of ludkin -- magically animated wooden men...

Shadow of the Dragon
By Kyra Dune
Micayta was an unlikely dragon hunter -- fighting monsters was not something expected of former barmaids. But she and her brother had their own reasons for seeking out one dragon in particular.

Buried In Tomorrow
By Alex P. Perdian
For hundreds of thousands of years, the living Earth had watched while humans rose from a few scattered tribes to a horde numbering in the billions, threatening the existence of every other species on the planet. Now it was time to do something about it.

Darkside
By James Michael White
The missile base on the dark side of the Moon was falling apart -- or rather its people were. One by one, they were dying -- by accident (maybe), suicide (maybe), or murder.

Once Upon Some Time
By Richard Tornello
Harlan Ellison once said that all gods are mad. But what if some of them are just not very bright?

Z2R-4
By E. S. Strout
The sudden discovery of an Earth-like planet around Zeta 2 Reticuli caused a sensation. And everything the manned expedition found there raised more questions than they answered.

A Chance Encounter
By Byard Clemmons
The Royal Mail, Mining Division, carried supplies and cargo to the furthest colonies in the Solar System, thrilling in principle, but boring (months on end alone except for the ship's artificial intelligence) in practice. Of course, hearing voices out of empty space that then started coming from inside the ship livened things up considerably.

The Everlasting Sorrow of Silence
By Michael C. Keith
He knew that it was not unheard of for the dead to visit the living -- rare, but not unheard of. Still, he was not prepared for his mother's arrival at his back door after two years in the grave.

Pet Adoption
By John Winn
Jeremy, a sleek and strong orange tabby, awakens in a place that he doesn't recognize, with slimy green creatures instead of his two-legged family. Whatever they want with him, they are in for trouble...

He Waits
By S. P. Nicolee
Her one true love had moved away years before -- and now she had learned that he was dead. Her children were grown, and her mother was dying -- so going to join her love seemed like the thing to do.

***June 2009 Forum Challenge***

Congratulations to Sepp Rosario, winner* of the "Steampunk" Forum Flash Challenge. Check out Sepp's entry "Contents Under Pressure" and five more tales of steam-powered fun -- after you have read and commented on our other stories, novellas, poetry, and features, of course. (All entries will also be available (shortly, if not immediately) via the Flash Index in the Fun and Games section of the Forum, provided by Nate Kailhofer, Flash Editor and Challenge Master.)

(*Mark Edgemon's "...But That's Another Story" registered more votes, but Mark felt that an unknown number of those votes *might* have been entered by friends who knew which story was his. He insisted on withdrawing his story from contention. It should be noted that Mark and Sepp had approximately equal vote tallies before the (to Mark) unlikely rush of votes for his piece. Both authors deserve our congratulations for crafting such well-received stories.)

Poetry and Filk Music

Café Place San Michael
by Jon Stocks

Chameleon Boy
by J. B. Hogan

Contagion
by Dave Weaver

Direction
by John Grey

Electric Blue Sparks
by Richard H. Fay

Memento Mori
by J. Davidson Hero

SciFaiku
by William Landis

Solved
by Robert Laughlin

Why They Don't Make Contact
by Richard Tornello

Versailles & Washington Conference Redux
by Richard Tornello

Features

Thoughts on Writing #11: Suffer For Your Art
By Seanan McGuire
In an ongoing series, Seanan McGuire takes apart the engine of writing to find out how it works, and offers her insights into how to put it back together again.

The Good, The Bad And the Lovely
By McCamy Taylor
McCamy Taylor takes a closer look at the art of manga and anime.

From the Balcony: Ice Age 3 - Dawn of the Dinosaurs 3D
Review by Mark Edgemon
Mark Edgemon takes in the latest installment of this animated movie series.


Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2010 by Dan L. Hollifield