Not much of an editorial this issue. It's already a month late and I might not get a chance to do better until issue 100. As most people around Aphelion know, sometimes I seem to fall off the face of the planet for a while. This has been one of those times. This holiday season has been the busiest I've ever had. I'm sorry for the delay, but it was unavoidable.
Issue # 100 of Aphelion Webzine will be online in February '06. It sort of snuck up on us. I guess we have cause to celebrate. How many Internet Zines make it this long? Very few... Very, very few. I wonder who we should send out announcements to, and when? Ralan? Crow's Nest? Who? Who is in charge of minor historic moments? I'll have to Google that, I suppose. I am continually amazed at how Aphelion just keeps plugging along, year after year. And the stories just keep coming in. Writers come and go, and some hang around for a long time. How many writers have we helped on their way to turning Pro? 30 now? 35 maybe? I'm so proud to have been a part of that. You can all be proud of being part of that. It's a group thing, we've done it together, all of us.
As for the Best Of 2005 stories: My delay cost us the extra month, but Iain did send a Best Of Poetry 2005 list. Aphelion had a hugely good year in '05 and we can only hope that '06 will be even better.
There will be a wedding at Casa Vila in May of '06 which might absorb ApheliCon 2. I don't want to double anyone's number of trips to Georgia, so that weekend in mid-May might be a two-in-one affair. Of course, if a lot of people *want* to have a Summer ApheliCon party and the Spring wedding too, then we can work it out. Stay tuned and I'll keep you posted. And please send e-mails to me expressing your opinion on the matter. You're all invited to the wedding and the Aphelicon, in any case. Even if they don't happen at the same time.
OK, time for me to stop yammering and take this one day I've got to lay out the links to the stories and poems. I'll also lay out the Best Of page, update the back issues page, and see about the rest of my chores. I'll probably have to go back into the real world after today, so I might be offline again at unpredictable times. I hate to be away, but all this romance and family stuff is important and fun and meaningful.
Back to work...
I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...
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
Senior Editor Emeritus
Short Story Editor Emeritus
Serialized Stories & Novellettes
Dreams of Starlight
By Saki Channing
"Drink this...it's not poison."
Between her mad scientist father and his overly solicitous friend, Cheska should have known better...but, in the interests of science, she took the beaker of fuming red liquid and drank.
Nightwatch: Tinsel Rime
By N. J. Kailhofer The ghosts of Simon's past revisit him in this Christmas
future. [This story contains Adult themes.]
A new shared universe series: Nightwatch, under the direction of Jeff Williams.
by Bill Wolfe The Silicata were the evolved descendants of artificially intelligent probes sent out by countless spacefaring civilizations. Some were benign. Others were not. Humanity had borrowed Silicata technology as a shortcut to the stars, but now had to contend with an enemy that came in a million different sizes and shapes. On a mission to establish a base to study and exploit new Silicata forms, Darus has learned a terrible secret ... and he must carry his burden alone across a barren world.
A Gathering Storm by Nick Capo Ahern, a mercenary commander, and his friend, the mage Ranulf, march with Duke Aidan's army against the forces of the Empire to take back a captured fortress. Dark secrets and the threat of darker magic may make their task even more dangerous than it had to be.
by I.D. Weis A gun-for-hire walks the streets of a city where drugs and violence rule. He's a killer, and death and destruction don't bother him much any more. Learning that his city is turning into something out of a Bosch painting of Hell, on the other hand ...
(Contains disturbing scenes)
by Colin Harvey Jake was a loser, or at least he felt like one. Divorced, in a brain-melting job at an insurance adjuster, nearly broke (thanks to the divorce). He shouldn't have had a chance with Sylvie, the sexy exchange student, but he had to try. Too bad the gift he bought for her in the junk shop contained stolen magic.
(Contains coarse language)
by Joe Vadalma King Knight Black of Retslu was in big trouble. The treasury was empty, and the country was a mess in just about every way possible; the odds of a coup seemed distressingly high. But then Queen Jennifer suggested that a war would be the ideal distraction -- and hadn't the Neergians used Weapons of Magical Destruction more than once in the past? What if they were preparing to do so again? A fairy tale, of sorts.
by Michelle O'Neill Morgan Stranton didn't look forward to the job -- transporting a dangerous, literally man-eating alien to Earth to stand trial for its crimes. But she needed the money if she wanted to keep her ship, and anyway, the Hydracore was just a smart, nasty animal, nothing she couldn't handle. Sentient, definitely, communicating by pheromones and maybe a little telepathy; but the species had never even learned to use tools ...
Song of the Universe
by Jason Maxwell Mother was the ultimate artificial intelligence. With FTL communications links, she watched over and controlled routine processes in every part of the solar system where humanity had carved out a place to live. But beyond the heliopause, where the winds from the sun diminish to the point where she could not even detect them, she heard -- a voice?
It'll All End Sobbing in the Dark
by Lee Alon In a cottage in the woods, a Court Services team condenses information from trials around the world and sends out reports, some via Projection -- artificially mediated telepathy -- some in writing. They live at the center of a web of information, but at the same time, they are isolated; the superflu that is devastating the world seems very far away. But not far enough.
(Contains coarse language)
The End Place
By Arnold Emmanuel
Crease didn't know how he'd ended up there, but The End Place seemed to be
ultimate resort, with gorgeous women eager to pamper him, and the best food
he'd ever tasted. If only his girlfriend had treated him this well, he never
would have had to ... teach her. Funny how the one other guest he'd met seemed
Give That Man a Hand, Ladies and Gentlemen
By JA Howe Satan, Prince of Darkness (etc., etc.) couldn't believe it when Ty Corn, the
dirtiest ball player of all time, not only insulted Satan's team, but refused
to join it and (presumably) improve it. When T. C. weaseled his way out of
Hell (thanks to fine print in his contract!) and started up his own team, it
was time to call in the lawyers -- of which Hell had a plentiful supply.
Poetry and Filk Music
Best Of 2005:
In selecting what I view as the best of this year's poetry, I have been bound by a couple of self-imposed rules:
1) The Editorial Mafia are barred
2) I have excluded several very good pieces which I sought out from the authors, rather than receiving as submissions - I figure I'm biased.
3) I have limited the selections to one per author - if someone has been prolific this year, I've tried to pick what I think is their "best" piece.
4) All choices are mine, they are subjective, and feel free to argue with them. This is what the lettercol is for :)
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.
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.
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.
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
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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
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