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Hello and welcome!
Well, the good news is that this is the first issue of Aphelion's Volume 7, so we are six years old now. What a long, strange trip its been. Aphelion has helped several writers and artists go pro since our inception. And now one of our writers, Darl Larsen, has had a film made from a story that Aphelion published in April (Issue #23) of 1999. "The Snell Show" (director/screenwriter Andrew John Black) won the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance Film Festival, Jan. 24, 2003. Please join me in congratulating Darl and Andrew for jobs well done.
Furthermore, the inaugural Annual Wooden Rocket Awards were launched today (1-30-03) to identify online excellence in the science fiction and fantasy genre. I posted their whole press release in the Lettercol along with the link to their website so everyone can check it out and cast their votes for their own favorite e-zines. (Hint: one of these awards would look great in my office- Dan)
There are plenty of serials and novellas on tap for the next few months. However, no one is submitting any poetry. Iain is getting to that hair-pulling stage over the lack of submissions.
Now for the bad news: Mrs. Heinlein died in January. She will be greatly missed. Rather than just rephrase what everyone on the internet has posted about her, here is a link to a very good article in the online version of a Jacksonville, Florida newspaper: Heinlein, widow of sci-fi writer, dies at 86.
Two days after I wrote the above words the Columbia burned up on re-entry. Rob and I were planning to upload this issue that very day, but then the tragedy struck. It is only now, days later, that I have felt able to continue. My deepest sympathies go out to the families, friends, co-workers, and communities of the Columbia crew, as I'm sure yours do also.
Last night I got involved in a discussion on a Message Board on this very subject. Emotions were running high and various side issues were interjected, such as resentment of the repetition of what information there was on CNN and other news agencies, and why this disaster was filling the news when there were other tragedies throughout the world that should also be covered. Also mentioned were questions of why we considered the astronauts to be heroes, why was there not more coverage of the impending war in Iraq, and other side issues. I'd like to copy my post from that discussion here rather that re-work it into a new article:
I'd like to concentrate on the topic of this thread, but I
assure you that I do not ignore the threat of war that looms
over us all, worldwide. But war is not germane to the subject
at hand, except peripherally.
I too am saddened by the loss of Columbia and her crew. And
I am angered by the budget cuts that seem to be the
ultimate cause of the tragedy. If you want to point the finger
of blame, then you have to go all the way back to the Nixon
administration and the first cuts to the funding for the space
To address the CNN coverage of the Columbia disaster, one
has to remember that CNN is on 24/7/365 and is geared
towards people who tune in, watch for a few minutes, then
go back to whatever they were watching before. They aren't
in business to provide anyone with constant, timely updates
of what we as individuals deem important. They can only do
so much with what they have given to them before its time
to show another advert for the latest car sale/computer
sale/newest patent medicine/whatever. News doesn't make
money, commercials do. People *watch* news programs, so
they sell ad time. So when CNN runs out of new news, they
have to repeat the old news, then comment upon it, ad
Unfortunately, this is normal for our culture.
As for the finding of some remains of the crew, I for one was
bloody glad that some were able to be found. Not for any
ghoulish reason, but for the fact that the families will have
something besides an empty casket for the funerals. They will
have some sort of closure.
Those of us who aren't family members, can be granted some
degree of closure too. This is a human thing, and to be
There are tons of other disasters in the world, every minute
of every day. All directly affect differing groups of people to
differing degrees. The American space program has always
been a highly visible (and newsworthy) endeavor. But
Americans have gotten complacent with years and years of
successful missions. The rare disaster tends to draw us all
together to once again pay attention to what should always
be the most thrilling attempt of humankind- To reach for the
stars, to strive to learn about the universe that spawned us,
and to insure that we pitiful blobs of protoplasm continue to
advance towards a greater future.
We, each of us, live out our lives as individuals. Alone within
our own skulls, only forming connections with those other
individuals who share our bloodlines and our deepest
interests. Everyone else on the planet is a stranger. And
those individuals that draw us together, that force us to
think of other people we have never, will never, could never
meet should be honored.
We have spoken of heroes- Both of legend and of inspiration.
Columbia's crew were inspirations to us all, and they have
passed into legend. They *are* heroes, in the finest tradition
that mankind has given birth to. Let us not dishonor them by
confusing their lives and loss with the crass commercialism
that permeates television in our modern, global society. TV is
geared towards the lowest common denominator, but how
else can it reach the most diverse of us all? We are, none of
us, absolutely alike. How else can we all be reached,
together? I abhor the dimwittedness of TV, but am I the
standard that all others should strive to emulate? By no
means. I'm just this guy, you know?
So heap criticism where you feel it should lie, but be aware of
the differences that also lie between us all.
And let us not forget that we all can be heroes, if push
comes to shove. When disaster strikes and we are there, we
can all act to the greater good. If we are not there, we can
damn well *go* there and act- if we determine to do so.
There is no place on this planet that is so far away that we
cannot reach it, in some way, to make a difference.
So if you think that TV is populated by newsghouls,
salesmen, and pablum-- Turn the damn thing off, leave the
house, and go out and make a difference in the lives of your
fellow human beings. Don't just sit there moaning about the
crassness of commercialism, 'cause that isn't going to make it
And nothing will make the pain and loss of heroes go away
either. But one can learn from it and strive to make one's
own little corner of the planet a better place to live in, to
raise children in, to leave a better world for those children to
grow up in.
No hero should pass unmourned. No lesson should go
unlearned. No injustice should go unchallenged. No threat to
life and liberty should go unfought.
Whether it is the terroristic threat of a mad dictator, or the
hunger of a child in some poverty stricken region, or the
tragic death of intrepid explorers of the great unknowns of
the universe-- Each of us as individuals must find what it is
that we abhor and strive against it. To rage against the
darkness and never to admit defeat. To strive towards a time
where each of us can look toward those eternal mysteries of
the universe with real hope of finding answers, of reaching
out to our fellow beings and living together as family.
Together, forever, amen.
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 Four
By Frederick Rustam
Kevin and Marylou learn how the Internet got started, whose it is,
and why it's a People's Medium---even for the Information Elite.
Something to Be Proud Of
By Robert Collins
RenČ needed a moment to appraise the young male bound to a chair in the
cabin. She had never seen a male from outside the Valley. No one had in
almost a decade. This male was a curiosity, an unknown quantity. RenČ
knew she'd have to examine him before she would accept him...
The Spirit of the Forest
By W. D. Wilcox
When a small planet based in magic and superstition is attacked by an
army of robots, William, the Forester, and Tom, a young boy orphaned by
the attackers, find themselves pitted against Lox3, the most
sophisticated computer mind in the galaxy and leader of the entire robot
army. Will Magic win out over Technology?
By Michael J. Martinick
Can technology provide a solution to America's most urgent problem? Read on to find out...
As a member of the Slaver's Guild, Cassia found herself
trapped beneath the glass ceiling. Then she got her
chance to prove herself...
By Kyle Vorwerk & Joshua J. Scott Only one thing could save the dying child; a faerie's
Giorxon And The Slaughterer
By Indrapramit Das
Every world has its tales and fables. Worlds of swords
and sorcery have even more, for the breath of Gods hang
in the very air of such places, and their tears flow
in their rivers.
A Walk in the Park
By Robert Moriyama It started as a relaxing walk in the park. It turned
into something else entirely.
What the Mind has to Offer
By Brian Grisham
Do you remember one teacher who really scared you? She
was nothing compared to Mrs. Harriet.
By Peter Bergman, Jr. It was just a sign on a country road, but it showed the
way to a place of mystery and terror.
Saint Valentine's Day
By McCamy Taylor
Marnie was born and trained to kill; a natural warrior.
When she rebelled, the authorities were determined to
get her back.
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.
Thank You, Grandfather by Heather Munn Heather Munn reflects on the spirit which brought us here today,
and which will take us to new horizons tomorrow.
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 email@example.com 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.