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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 157, Volume 15 -- November 2011

Editorial

Circle the wagons, folks! The Internet is under attack, again. Only this time, there's Big Money involved. The US Congress now has a bill under consideration that will pretty much shut down everything you know and love about the Internet. The bill's sponsors want it passed before the end of the year. PROTECT IP (S. 968)/SOPA (HR. 3261) is set up to institute censorship and website blacklists on the Internet. Cory Doctorow posted this article on on BoingBoing on November 11th: Stop SOPA, Save the Internet

Basically, Hollywood has finally thrown enough bribe money at the US government to try and get a law passed that will allow them, the recording industry, our Government, or indeed any corporation to control, or eliminate, any website that has user generated content. The Money Machine will finally be allowed to demand to be paid for anything they see as copyright infringement, on any website, anywhere. Say goodbye to your wedding videos on YouTube, or even your own web page, unless you have paid to use that favorite song playing in the background. Have some fan fiction that uses any characters that you didn't create? You'll get sued out of existence. Write a negative review? Trash Micro$oft in a comment on a Forum somewhere? Or Apple? Or Facebook? Better be prepared to pay a lawyer for the rest of your life. Don't pay the ransom the Corporations demand? Your ISP will be forced to remove your website. Any link, anywhere, that mentions anything at all that can be interpreted as copyright infringement, can and will be used against you. Any web site that has a comments section will be forced to remove it, out of fear of possible lawsuits. Why? Because the website will be the one getting sued, not the person posting the comment. Sure, I'm over-reacting. But go check out that link and see if you still think so. Cory tells it far better than I can without just quoting his article. Go check it out and then start protesting to your Congress Critters.

Just think of it... No more Internet Forums, no more fan sites, no more websites of any kind that haven't been neutered. No more freedom of speech, anywhere. Just fear of lawsuits, just censorship, nothing that doesn't conform to the law will be allowed. If this bill becomes a law, no website on the planet will be safe. Using a law passed in America, these corporations will be able to reach out across the globe. Any place that can be sued, will be sued. Or blocked from Internet access. Of course, I'm just exaggerating all this for dramatic effect, right? I'm just trying to stir up a big mess in order to generate web traffic that'll bring in some advertising money, right? Look again. Aphelion has no ads, no income of any kind. I've got no need of stirring anything up. Not unless I'm actually afraid that the side effects of this proposed law being passed will reach far further than anyone seems to think. And I believe that this law will lead to censorship of the entire Internet.

But this is all just crazy talk, right? No one would be allowed to cripple the free exchange of ideas online, right? I'm just being paranoid, right?

I hope so. I truly hope so. I'd love to be wrong on this one. But I'm afraid.

Write your congressmen and women. Call them, e-mail them. Protest this bill.

Serials & Long Fiction

*** Held Over By Popular Demand (or lack of long fiction submissions) ***

Nightwatch: Transit
By Jeff Williams
"Faith is not trying to believe something regardless of the evidence; faith is daring something regardless of the consequences." --Sherwood Eddy
In pursuit of a lead on the mysterious Prometheus Group, Simon Litchfield and Stephanie Keel board a train -- but end up going somewhere not on the timetable.

The City of Never
By Roland Allnach
A science fiction retelling of one of the west’s oldest stories. An eccentric genius plans to create his masterpiece, the most beautiful city in the universe. In order to fulfill his dream, he must inject an element of sorrow and loss into the work---and he does not care who gets hurt in the process.

Short Stories

Jerrod and the Undead Bucket List
By Rachel Coles
It took Jerrod a while to understand that he was dead. Once he did, he was actually okay with it -- for the first time in years, he wasn't in pain from the cancer or the worse-than-the-disease treatments. The only problem was that he had no idea what a newly-disembodied spirit was supposed to do.

A Drop In The Well
By Shawn Montgomery
Mike had been running the kitchen at The Wishing Well, a neighborhood bar and grill, for six years when Halloween rolled around, and the stranger walked in. It would be a night to remember -- no matter how much he wished he could forget.

The Legacy
By H. R. Gillette
Alagor was the last man loyal to the old royal house. It was up to him to protect the key to real power in the kingdom from the usurper's followers -- until it could be passed on to a legitimate heir.

Shalahlielle
By John T. Bien
At first, Chris Meade thought the strange girl was a victim. Then he thought she was a bloodthirsty monster. The truth was a lot more complicated.

Buckyball
By E. S. Strout
An experiment combining radioactive gases in a container made of an exotic form of carbon had produced unexpected results -- something so dangerous that they decided to expel it from the universe itself.

Master Apprentice
By Todd Nelsen
Kesil Lundfrick was only an apprentice wizard, and not a particularly powerful one at that. (The fact that his familiar was a mouse was not a matter of choice.) But the death of his Master had made him heir to all the secrets of the Tower.

Thank God It's Not Me...
By Ray Prew
An excerpt from the journals of Frank Curry, one of the last living humans in a world overrun by hordes of ravenous zombies.

The Unboxing
By Mark Ward
It was a momentous day in the Auldsworthy household: Sir Colin had acquired the very latest thing, a Daedalus Pocket Titan, a Computing Engine small enough to fit in an ordinary parlor or foyer!

Things To Do In The Bronze Age
By David Barber
The siege of Ilium looked interesting, so the Warrior, the Knower, the Fox, and the Novice cloaked themselves in human form and ... got involved.

The Value of Records
By Frederick Rustam
The assassin's target was the Emperor Nerang, a tyrant whose grip on his subjects was based on his obsessively detailed collection of records on every detail of their lives. The mission should have been hopeless -- but the assassin found an unexpected ally.

Ramifications
By Nurul Fateha
It was not surprising that he had crashed his Beemer -- after all, he had been texting while driving at 160 kilometers per hour. It was downright shocking that the fellow he had run down seemed unharmed.

***October 2011 Forum Challenge***

Congratulations to I. Verse (you don't want to know what "I." stands for), winner of the October 2011 Forum Flash Fiction Challenge. Check out Mr. Verse's "Fuller Foreclosure" and five more flash stories of murder (by humans only, please) most perfect here, after sampling this month's editorial, poetry, short stories, and long fiction, of course...

Poetry and Filk Music

Addiction
by Mike Berger

Ayuddha
by Jerome Brooke

Cosmic Ship of Dreams
by Richard H. Fay

Hunting Season
by Richard Tornello

The Night’s Mare
by John Marshall

Portraits of Flame
by Tyler McCurry

Renaissance ((Man))
by Robin B. Lipinski

The Human Matchstick
by Amit Parmessur

The Question That Can Never Be Answered
by Jean Jones

Features

Thoughts on Writing #34: Obligations 'R' Us
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.


Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2013 by Dan L. Hollifield