Don't miss a single hillarious issue of Bruno the Bandit,Freefall or The Melonpool Chronicles! Check backevery day for laughs from Aphelion's featured cartoonists!
Iain Muir filling in for the Senior Editor
Noting the lack of rotting vegetables and eggs thrown last month, Muir drags out his soapbox once more...
Dan still being on sabbatical, we, the Editorial Mafia, present the October edition of Aphelion, more or less on time, and in half the time that it took to produce the last one. (Are we good, or are we good? Answers on a postcard, please, twenty words or less.)
A blank page stares back at me from my word processor as I sit and ponder this month's editorial. A blank page is a daunting thing, especially when one feels that there is an audience out there expecting one to sparkle and entertain them. Anyone who has written knows the feeling. I don't care if the muse is a personal friend, who drops by for tea every morning (if she is, send her my way! It's been a while, and I miss her!), at some time in your writing life you will be staring at a blank page, be it electronic or physical, and asking yourself the same question:
What do I write next?
Those are five of the scariest words I know. They're right up there with "I don't know how to tell you this, but..." and "we need to talk." Even more frightening, perhaps, because they arise from an inner compulsion, not from an outside source. We write because of an inner compulsion, a need to express these strange ideas that parade through our subconscious, not because we dream of wealth or fame. Wealth and fame would be nice, but for every Stephen King or Isaac Asimov, there is a legion of Joes (or Joelenes) who sit at a typewriter or word processor and type away because the words have to come out *somehow*, and there is an almost physical pain if they do not. And sometimes the flow stops, and you are left staring at the blank screen, and you realise that you have written yourself into a corner, or that you actually have no idea how our heroine escapes the clutches of the evil Baron, or you realise that the gizmo you were relying on to save the day just isn't going to work. Worst of all are the days when, try as you may, the words just will not come. What to do when the megrims set in and you cannot write?
The best plan, I have found, is to stop trying. Go and do something else. Play games. Watch "Buffy." Talk to the cat. Think about something else, and let your subconscious slip you the note that says "ah, but if you do * this*, it all makes sense!" If need be, leave the project and work on something else. I am about half way through writing a novella - have been for the last year or so. The half that still refuses to write itself is actually plotted in my head. I know who dunnit. I know why, and I know what weapon they used. I know how the hero is going to discover this, and I almost have "the drawing room scene" scripted. I just cannot find the words to show it to the rest of you. The answer? I write poetry. I write short stories. I have a quiet drink in the Mare Inebrium and look at Trixie's legs (yes, Dan, I will get around to sending you "hot legs!" - next month). One of these nights, I will awake at three in the morning, and I will know the words, and they will flow, and if the gods (and Jeff) are willing, I will share them with you. THEN you can throw the rotting fruit and chicken ova!
The Beatles said it best: "let it be." Ecclesiastes tells us that "to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven." If you book them, they WILL come. Relax. Contemplate your navel. Then apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair, and type!
I'd like to thank those of you who have sent e-mails or signedinto the Lettercol for your feedback. Keep those messages coming,folks! Without those messages we will never know what we need toimprove upon. Hope you like the improvements so far!
Dan Hollifield Senior Editor, Publisher
Iain Muir Poetry/Filk Editor
Robert Wynne WebMaven
Cary Semar Short Story Editor
McCamy Taylor Assistant Short Story Editor
Jeffrey Williams Production Editor/Serials Editor
Ralph Benedetto,Jr. Assistant Serials Editor
Roger Bennett Editor Emeritus
Serialized Stories & Novellettes
The Hyde Virus By C. J. Burch In the post-apocalyptic city of San Lou, a meta-human bounty hunter called Angie Dupree is hired to find a bail jumping ogre. She is soon plunged into the center of a battle between those who would destroy the world and those who would enslave it.
Some Quiet Rest By Robert Starr The wind was circling the trailer, shaking the sides like a spoiled child trying to guess at the gift in a wrapped box andbashing itself maniacally against the only window..
One Quiet Desert Night By Cameron Neilson A quiet desert night and a stranger lead to a vigil that can end only ina living death.
Two Little Magic Words By Barbara Blann Six months after she married David, Stephanie knew she had made a mistake. Bythen it was too late, for either of them.
The Foundling By Angeline Hawkes-Craig An 18th century Foundling hospital is the scene of anunpeakable horror and a discovery most foul.
A Challenge to Aphelion's poets and writers of Doggerel! December is nearly upon us, and I feel the need to spread some holiday cheer! Send me musings on the alien S'ant ak Lause, send me tales of the perils of drinking too much warm milk and eating too many cookies in a single night, send me musings on the TRUE meaning of Channukah, but mostly, send me holiday poems! The best (or worst!) will grace these pages in December. Hoist your glasses of eggnog, and get writing! - Iain
Aphelion'sDaily Comics By Mark Stanley, and Steve Troop Did he say daily? Yep, Aphelion is proud to feature twoof the funniest comic strips on the Internet, Mark Stanley's"Freefall" and Steve Troop's "The Melonpool Chronicles". Bookmarkthis page, you don't want to miss a single installment!
DoubleWide by Jim Parnell The collected wisdom of Bubba WARNING: Contains Language. Aphelion proudly presents the installments of Double Wide all onone page of links. We wanted to make sure that the wit and wisdomof Bubba wasn't lost for new readers, so we made a mini-archivelist of just the Double Wide features.
Dan Hollifield reviews: "Accidental Encounter" A novel by Noel Carroll Unwilling participants in a double-edged nightmare.
TheListening Room by Rob Wynne Rob Wynne bangs his head against Phoenix's "Into theFire"
A Challenge toWriters... --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 acollection of narrative hooks composed by Dan Hollifield.
Aphelion LinksPage --6\08\2001-- Click here to see the Links Page. Our fellow E-zines, Astronomy,research material, entertainment, and much, much more!
Aphelion IRC Chat --2\16\2001-- Information about a new feature for Aphelion. IRC Chat is a funway to talk to our readers, writers, staff members, and othernetizens. This link takes you to a basic intro and provides furtherlinks to the IRC software that you can download for free. Look fornew updates as we refine this feature.
Aphelion JAVAChat --2\12\2001-- For a quick look at the JAVA chat client, this link launches anew browser window that takes you to a Log-in form for a JAVA-basedchat in your browser window. No specian programs are needed. Thiswill be a very simple, but passable IRC client, very no-frills.This will also tell you if there's anyone else in the chatroom, bythe way.
Aphelion Banners 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, butmost of them lack only my adding text to make them complete.Unfinished banners can be completed and e-mailed to you within 8days. The banner HTML code-- and image --can be e-mailed onrequest, or can be more simply copied from the "View / PageSource" option in your web browser. Finished images can be copiedfrom the banner artwork page itself. An exchange of links or bannerlinks is always welcome. Link Swap E-mail should be sent to: Dan Hollifield
If you would like to receive notices from Aphelion when thispage is updated, please join our new, revised, automatic mailinglist. To subscribe: Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with thefollowing in the body of the message:
subscribe aphelion <email address>
As always, this mailing list will only be used to notify you ofnew issues and will never be given out to anyone else... 'cause Ihate spam as much as you do!
Instead of the back issues the banner below now takes you tothe Archives-where all our past stories are available for you toread.
I've decided to ditch the back issues in favor of the Archives.The Archives are easier to use and can be indexed by author orstory title. Hopefully this will ease the task of finding afavorite story. We may start a page of our past cover art, if thereis a call for it. Thanks for your readership for without you,nothing we do has any meaning.