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Freefall or The Melonpool Chronicles! Check back
every day for laughs from Aphelion's featured cartoonists!
Be forewarned, the Senior Editor is back!
Hello and welcome!
If you've been reading the Lettercol (and if you haven't- shame on you) you already know that my computer is finally (mostly) repaired and I have returned to the fabulous universe of the online community that is Aphelion- Oh, and the rest of the internet too, of course. I want to thank everyone on the staff for keeping Aphelion going while I was offline. Iain did some nice editorials, Cary laid out the index pages, and everyone pitched in to cover my absence very well. Give them a hand, folks!
Not that my computer is back 100%, mind you- I have only one word processor re-installed instead of the four I was used to using. None of the files stored with those processors were recovered, so every submission ever sent to me is gone if it was an attachment in a word processor format. This also means that I no longer have a couple of novels of my own that I'd been puttering around with from time to time. To top things off, I messed up my e-mailer profile the day I got my computer back, so all the e-mail I recieved since '97 and before mid-October, is locked away from me. I can get at it with some effort, but there's an awful lot of code and gibberish that makes the result nearly unreadable. The net effect is that I must ask you not to expect me to be able to refer to old e-mails until I figure out how to un-do whatever it was I did wrong. Thankfully, everything that had been made into HTML files was stored online in the website. Also, I have been told that it may be possible for me to network my old 386 with this P-90 dinosaur that I currently use and recover some more files from the damaged hard drive. It is a small possibility, vanishingly small, but I do intend to try it when I get far enough ahead of my billsto buy the necessary network cards and whatnot. Wish me luck.
Now I don't really have anything to rant about, but that's never stopped me before. Let's see... The October of terror is over with the capture of the DC snipers (in spite of CNN's valiant effort to keep them informed of every move the police were making to uncover their identity), the monsters of Enron have recieved a slap on the wrist, the stock market has stumbled so badly that my retirement 401k has lost a whole heap of cash, Osama is still in hiding (or dead and no one has found the body), and little Georgie has vowed to finish the job his Daddy chickened out of a decade ago on Saddam Insane. Sounds like old times, eh? So what's that got to do with speculative fiction?
Its all grist for our mill, you see. What happens in our day-to-day world prompts the fiction of the future. There are whole new technologies that can be mined for story ideas popping up all around us every day. Military stuff, space stuff, archaeological stuff, crime stuff- Writers can make use of it all. Whatever it takes to get over the barrier of the "Dreaded White Page" that Iain wrote about in last issue's editorial. All these things, and more, contribute to sparking off stories, giving writers some message to impart, a tale to tell, an adventure to relate. Not only do we need to research what we write about, we also need to keep up with current events. You never can tell where your next story is going to come from. Stock your mind with everything you can. It'll come in handy, more often than not.
Now that everyone can stop walking in zig-zag patterns to avoid snipers, will we see that in someone's new story as a casual detail of futuristic city life? Probably. (Oh dear, I could swear I just heard some Fantasy writers shrieking "what about us?" Well, there are lots of elves in different mythologies that don't fit in with the way Poppa Tolkien wrote his. Read more varities of mythologies from wide ranging countries. Irish elves are different from Amerind elves, for instance. And there are monsters that have never been used in D&D manuals. There are other sources of information, you know.) My point is: feed your mind. A well stocked imagination is any writer's best tool. It doesn't matter if you write Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Poetry, Filk, or Martian Haiku. Everything and anything can wind up being useful, can contribute to a better telling of whatever tale you create. So watch CNN, the History Channel, TLC, Discovery, PBS, read the paper, go to the library- whatever. Feed your mind!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled fiction...
Thanks for your time,
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
Serialized Stories & Novellettes
The Questors Part One
By Frederick Rustam
In their first day at Questor Institute, Kevin and Marylou strike
up a friendship, compare their respective performances in the
unusual aptitude test they took, and learn from its Rector
what their radical new tech school is all about.
By Indrapramit Das
In a war without end, a soldier fights without hope of victory, until...
Book of the Living
By McCamy Taylor
Rusty, Knight of Death, has a mission to perform. A "Sister Death" story.
By Chris Upson The trouble with reality is, it is all in your mind.
By Najla Ann Al-Doori
The Crudarkans wanted Prasm for their own expanding settlements. If they
were in any way to survive, the Prasmians had to abandon their home world.
By Eric Karlsson
Here is an interesting variation on a theme by Daniel Keyes.
By Ben Jonjak
Kraigen knew the battle was on... He'd managed to live this long by putting
the pieces together before anybody else. He could see what was coming.
A Fair Deal
By Anthony Addis
Lal was a stilt fisherman and he had been falsely convicted of theft. How
was he going to support his family after they cut off his hand?
Time Loves A Hero
By John Shanahan
The Eternal Champion was eternally sick and tired of fighting the Forces of Chaos. So when the Powers that Be materialize him in the Mare Inebrium, he's just a little cranky.
A Mare Inebrium Story
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
By Mark Stanley, and Steve Troop Did he say daily? Yep, Aphelion is proud to feature two
of the funniest comic strips on the Internet, Mark Stanley's
"Freefall" and Steve Troop's "The Melonpool Chronicles". Bookmark
this page, you don't want to miss a single installment!
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.
Dan Hollifield reviews: "Accidental Encounter"
A novel by Noel Carroll Unwilling participants in a double-edged nightmare.
by Rob Wynne Rob Wynne bangs his head against Phoenix's "Into the
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 --2\16\2001-- Information about a new 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 --2\12\2001-- 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 specian 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
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
If you would like to receive notices from Aphelion when this
page is updated, please join our new, revised, automatic mailing
list. To subscribe:
Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the
following in the body of the message:
subscribe aphelion <email address>
As always, this mailing list will only be used to notify you of
new issues and will never be given out to anyone else... 'cause I
hate spam as much as you do!
Instead of the back issues the banner below now takes you to
the Archives-where all our past stories are available for you to
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 or
story title. Hopefully this will ease the task of finding a
favorite story. We may start a page of our past cover art, if there
is a call for it. Thanks for your readership for without you,
nothing we do has any meaning.