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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 80, Volume 8 -- April 2004

Issue 81, Volume 8 will be online 1st week of May, 2004.

"And if you believe that- you'll buy this watch..."
Saint Robere Guilams




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Editorial

The Usual Rant from Aphelion's Senior Editor:


For the last three weeks, I have been killing kudzu. I freely confess it, I used a machette and I burned the corpses afterward. Report me to PETP People for the Ethical Treatment of Plants if you wish. I'm down on Kudzu and I shan't quit ripping them until I do get buckled. I'd kill them all if I could- Every last ropy, fertalizer-sucking, tree-strangling, leafy green, DamnearusTriffidus one of them! I'm Mad I tell you, Mad!!!!!

They never understood me at the University...

It seems that I've spent half my life in a never-ending battle for Truth, Justice... Oh wait, that's copyrighted, Uh- never-ending battle to reclaim arible land from the demon-plant: Kudzu. I grew up on a farm. When most kids my age were just beginning to be trusted to mow the lawn, I was out in a field somewhere driving around on a tractor equipped with a Bush-Hog mower, cutting a six-foot wide swath through overgrown weeds. Or in the case of a field overgrown by Kudzu, the tractor would have a scrape-blade attachment to push it up into safely burnable piles. Then the roots would have to be pulled up. It takes a really hot fire to burn the roots. Over the last 40 years or so, I've helped to turn over a thousand acres of Northeast Georgia from useless, overgrown wastelands into productive fields of wheat, oats, corn, and soybeans. But Kudzu keps trying to come back in those fields. It can be controled, but it cannot be exterminated.

What's all this memory-lane stuff got to do with writing fiction? Well now, let's look at that. I'll Google "Kudzu" and see what comes up. Ah. perfect!

I quote from The Amazing Story of Kudzu website:
Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876
at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the
100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government
constructed a beautiful garden filled with plants from their
country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of
kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners
who used the plant for ornamental purposes.

Florida nursery operators, Charles and Lillie Pleas,
discovered that animals would eat the plant and promoted
its use for forage in the 1920s. Their Glen Arden Nursery
in Chipley sold kudzu plants through the mail. A historical
marker there proudly proclaims "Kudzu Developed Here."

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Soil
Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control.
Hundreds of young men were given work planting kudzu
through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were
paid as much as eight dollars an acre as incentive to plant
fields of the vines in the 1940s. 

In short, it was an alien organism, introduced into a region that allowed it to thrive unchecked for many decades. Sounds almost like "The Andromeda Strain" or "Day of the Triffids" when you put it all clinical like that. There's story material in that, as you can plainly see. SF, Fantasy, Horror- You could write something in almost any genre with an idea like that. In one of my stories there is a carnivorous plant that looks like a field of moss surrounding a patch of thorny vines. When the unwary gets too close to the vines, the vines become animated and seek to trap the victim. I had a nightmare about this plant, and then used it in the story. For the purposes of this editorial I animized the Kudzu plant into a fiendish antagonist that I'd been battling for decades. It really turns out that I think of it as just another nusance weed that takes lots of hard labor to remove. But an active imagination has it's uses.

Story ideas and plot points are to be found everywhere the writer looks. It takes our unique viewpoints to be able to see the possibilities that surround us. Try to see different points of view about the things that are around you. Look at things all around you using your imagination and you'll see some amazing things that you never thought of before. Ideas for stories are everywhere.

Stretch your imagination, flex those mental muscles, excersize your mind.

Dan

I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...



Tell us what you think in Aphelion's Lettercol!

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!

Aphelion Staff:

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

  • Strange Deaths to Follow
    --Part Three--

    By Neil McGill
    A strange tale where a fortean detective meets the minority report meets the world of Pratchett meets Tarantino.
    • Flight of the Starhawk
      ByTony Ragas
      As a teenager, Josh had wanted to fly to the stars. As an adult, he ended up with an oilfield job and a portfolio of hopeless dreams stashed away on his PC's hard drive. Alcoholism and depression ate away at him and drove him to spend lonely nights pondering his existence. Then he met an alien on the riverbank one night. An alien with a machine that created objects out of raw matter and energy. Even complex objects like components for starships!






    Short Stories

    • Helen Damnation
      By Robert Moriyama
      In the Port Armstrong lunar colony, criminals beware: Helen Damnation McKay has no patience for sinners.
    • Reconstruction
      By Cameron Neilson
      A man is awakened from stasis in the far future.
    • The Search For Krazy Kat
      By Frederick Rustam
      Datamaster Eldon Roath of the starship TerrInforma2 had a knack for intellectual mysteries and a talent for locating rare books.
    • **Removed by author request**

      **********
    • A Journey Too Far
      By Donald Sullivan
      A star traveller returns after a thousand year journey to become the last man on earth.
    • Cry of Triumph
      By N.J. Kailhofer
      An ambitious scientist, a thickheaded newspaper reporter, and a nature-loving genius struggle with the nature of time and a recalcitrant outboard motor.
  • Shadow Game
    By Sharon Partington
    Two supernatural beings play with the destinies of mortals.




  • Poetry and Filk Music


  • Toppled Angel
    By John Grey



  • The Mare Inebrium


    The Mare Inebrium
    Shared Universe Project...

    I open up my own Spaceport Bar to other writers!
    This link takes you to the full introduction to the project.
    The Mare Inebrium Starter Kit.
    --Updated 2/7/2004--

    This is a link to all the background information for the Mare Inebrium stories so far.
    This is a must read for all Mare Inebrium writers and fans!


    Tales of the Mare Inebrium
    All the Mare Inebrium Stories to date.

    The banner above links to
    all the Mare Inebrium Stories on one page!

    A Timeline of Bethdish: Updated 12/16/2003




    Features

    • The Pollwatchers!
      by Cary Semar
      Aphelion's Cary Semar turns his eye towards the political scene in this new feature!

    • Dan Hollifield Reviews:
      A Hat Full Of Sky

      A review of the newest Young Adult novel of the Discworld by Terry Pratchett.


    • Double Wide
      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.
    • 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, 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

    • 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.
    • Aphelion Links Page
      --3\01\2003--
      Click here to see the Links Page. Our fellow E-zines, Astronomy, research material, entertainment, and much, much more!


    • Aphelion IRC Chat
      --7\31\2003--
      Information about an underused 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.
    • Aphelion JAVA Chat
      --Repaired 3\25\2003--
      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 special 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 the way.


    Read more great stories from the


    Aphelion Archives
    Archives
    Aphelion Archives

    Or


  • Image Copyright (c) 1997 by Laura Butler

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    Read the updated (July 3, 2003) Submissions Guidelines
    Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page




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