Aphelion Issue 214, Volume 21
February 2017
 
Editorial    
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Poetry
Features
Series
Archives
Submission Guidelines
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Flash Writing Challenge
Forum
   
P&E Top Ten Hello, and welcome to the first issue of Aphelion's 20th year!

There are a lot of goodies on tap for you all--not only this month, but all year long. There will also be some surprises, too. Not just blasts from the past, but a look into the possible future as well. So settle back in a good comfy chair and let me show you a trick or two. Hopefully, the novelty won't quickly wear off. I also hope you find it entertaining as well.

Of course, within this issue you'll find the usual selection of fantastic stories and poetry by our treasure trove of amateur, semi-pro, and pro writers. You'll also find our yearly celebration of the past "Best Of" works from our amazing authors, and as promised, just a little bit extra, compared to most other Birthday issues. We've gone that extra mile to provide tantalizing treats for your amusement and edification. For instance, we have managed to score an excerpt from one of our professional writer friends most recent novel. We're sure you will want to rush over to Amazon or B&N and check out not only this new novel series, but all the rest of her works as well. Her name is Stephanie Osborn, she is a former NASA scientist with multiple degrees and a resume' so heavy with adventure, excitement, and really wild things that if someone were to type it all up in one word processor file and hit the Print button, the resulting manuscript would be so massive that it would quite likely suffer an immediate gravitational collapse and become black hole large enough to change the orbit of planets circling nearby stars. Hyperbole perhaps, but with a large grain of accuracy nonetheless. So when you're finished giggling at my witticisms, we'll move on to the main event of this editorial.

To wit: Have you ever wondered what the future might possibly hold? I know I sometimes do. And while my pontificating prognostications have infrequently graced this august editorial space, I yet have wisdom enough to know that I really have no idea what is going to happen next. But, I have a pretty good idea what is coming next, at least for Aphelion. But before I get to the "main event," as it were, I have a couple of announcements to make. And they aren't happy ones, at least not to myself and the Aphelion Staff. Aphelion is soon going to be taking applications for at least one, most likely two, of our editorial staff.

Nate Kailhofer has been associated with Aphelion for a decade or more, and has served in various editorial positions for almost that long. But the time has come for him to re-dedicate his energy to his own writing. So he has come to the difficult decision that he will have to step down as Aphelion's Flash Fiction Editor and Mastermind of our monthly Flash Contests in our Forums. Yeah, it's the end of an era here, folks. Nate has been one of the best editors to ever grace Aphelion's staff. I've learned a lot from him, myself. Whoever steps into his shoes better be Paul Bunion-sized! It's going to be a difficult example for anyone else to live up to. Now, there are blessings here for Aphelion, because Nate is determined to remain a contributing member of the Forums. But he needs to make time to write his own stories, at last. We may be losing the best Flash Fiction Editor we've ever known, but we are sure to gain another resident pro writer in the near future. If you're one of the people who takes your Flash Fic seriously, and have the bent to teach, now is the time to convince Nate you are willing and able to carry on his legacy. Naturally, Aphelion writers are preferred, because they already understand the way we work. But the job is open, and we need a worthy successor to step up and do the heroic deeds the job entails. Applicants need only to go to the Aphelion Facebook page and indicate their willingness to join our motley crew. And may the best applicant win.

Kate Stewart, our newest editor, recently discovered that there is some off-line embuggerance that is about to go down in her own life that could prevent her from having any time to spare to remain our Short Story Editor. She doesn't want to leave, and she isn't happy about having to leave, but this is something that is going to keep her from having the necessary free time to stay with us. Kate is a fiercely good editor, and a good fit for the crazy that is the Aphelion Staff. We are all saddened that she will be leaving. Her work has been exemplary, her dedication has been without peer, and her absence will be difficult to adjust to enduring. Once again, if you have what it takes to do the hardest job Aphelion has, meet us on the Facebook page and make yourself known. Better do it quick, too. I can say nothing more because I wish to protect Kate's privacy.

Now that I have made that  pair of sad announcements, I'm at a loss as to how to segue' into the special surprise feature of this editorial. Perhaps a bit of background will suffice. A few months ago, the idea was discussed in Aphelion online staff meetings that perhaps we should step up our game a bit in light of emerging technology and fashion. It was proposed that we add interviews with some of our writers, the ones that seemed most likely to be willing victims, as either audio or video files to the Features section. Yes, we have done the rare text interview, usually conducted VIA e-mail, but this was mooted about in response to Webcasts and Podcasts that're now becoming the "new norm" for websites. The staff decreed, with no dissent save mine own, that I had the perfect voice for audio Podcasts and video Webcasts. My ego was all for it, until I reminded the drunken sot that we also were possessed by the absolutely perfect face for radio... And looked like Aqualung's hobo cousin who'd just fallen off a train moving West at 78 MPH, onto coarse gravel. My ego was a bit taken aback by my irrefutable logic, yet proceeded to temp my better nature with sugarplums of exceptional sweetness, saying "you already do those writing panels at conventions and no one has had to be taken away in an ambulance yet," and "people in those audiences laugh at your jokes," and even worse "you know you REALLY want to do it..." Suffice it to say, I finally was seduced by the Dark Side-- Wait one, George Lucas just filed an injunction... OK, my Lawyer replied "Common Usage, Slang, Oxford Dictionary, Memes, NEGATIVE PUBLICITY," and George told us to go do something anatomically impossible, but he hung up the phone!

So, this is now a thing. A video editorial, for which you will be the first victims-- Um, the first to experience something unique in the annals of... whoever keeps annals online, as it were. Yes the following video is a mere proof of concept, which will hopefully lead up to something actually worthy of your time and attention. I decided on this because there weren't any willing victims, um, writers or staff members leaping at the chance to be the test subjects, um, participants in this grand experiment. It'll last about an hour, all told. Well, I am a bit long-winded, as you well know. And so, with much ado about nothing, I present to you, Aphelion's Next Step into the 21st Century:




Mare Inebrium Anthology

BOILERPLATE:

First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us on the Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine. As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be very useful. Given our different locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room days.

My first collection of Mare Inebrium spaceport bar short stories was published in February by Dark Oak Press. It is available in both Kindle an Nook e-book formats, paperback, and hardback. I also that three albums of instrumental music out through the Create Space self-publishing website. If you like, you can click on the photo or the link below to fin all the info you would need to purchase my book in your preferred format, or an e-book of Flash of Aphelion, buy a CD of my music, or listen to tracks off of the albums on my Bandcamp website. Enjoy!

Dan's Promo Page

Dan



_______________
ON THE COVER

Title:
The Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392) HUBBLE OPENS EYE.

Photo Credit: NASA, Andrew Fruchter and the ERO Team [Sylvia Baggett (STScI), Richard Hook (ST-ECF), Zoltan Levay (STScI].