Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
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Flash Fiction
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 109, Volume 11 -- April 2007

Issue 110, Volume 11 will be online in May, 2007.

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

Our Lettercol is once again available. The URL has changed, please update your bookmarks. Thank you for your patience. -- Rob


Since January 27th, 1997 when Aphelion first went online.

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The Usual Rant from Aphelion's Senior Editor:

Hello and welcome to the April 2007 edition of Aphelion's 10th Anniversary Party! Aphelion has been online for a solid decade. We hope to be online for many decades to come, too. This should be online on April 1st - in an attempt to get Aphelion back on track for regular monthly issues. March was a killer month for me. I'd worked almost half the month on overtime at my day job, so I was slightly burnt out when it came time to do all the layout for the March issue. The Editorial Mafia consulted on the matter and we decided to take the suggestions made to the Lettercol to heart. To wit: get the zine back on track and try to avoid late issues in the future. This means that anything that isn't ready to go by the 25th of each month will not make it into the following issue.We've either got to be firm on that or resign ourselves to another string of late issues.

OK, that's been said. Now we can get to the normal stuff... Like my regular rant. A bit of explanation first, though: I'm neither a Democrat nor am I a Republican. I think that the whole Left-Right political spectrum is just so much hogwash. I don't see any difference at all between the two major political parties in the US. Both the Demo-gogues and Repugnant-ones exist solely to steal as much of my hard-earned paycheck as they can, while looking down their elitist noses at me as if I were some disgusting slime-mold they found under a particularly dirty rock in a garbage dump. I don't like them, I don't trust them, and I don't support them. Are we clear on that? Good, now to the rant...

I am on several different mailing lists online. The people who post to those lists are Science Fiction writers and rocket scientists, mostly. One thing that was pointed out to me recently is very worrying. With all the debate over whether or not humans are solely responsible for global warming, some serious science is getting shafted. Things that everyone on the planet should want to continue, and indeed, to have more money spent upon. I'm talking about the search for Near Earth Asteroids and comets. The neo-Luddites who want to do away with all heavy industry, force everyone to become vegetarians, and - as a mere side effect - kill off 90% of humanity in order to allow themselves to "get back to nature..." Those folks are throwing up such a sandstorm over Global Warming that the quite serious search for astronomical threats to all life on Earth is in danger of being swept under the proverbial carpet. In their quest to blame the US government (or just George Bush) and the "Military-Industrial Complex" for everything that's wrong with the environment, the budget for finding and neutralizing impact threats to the planet is not only still too small, but may become smaller yet. Global Warming is the fad of the moment, and it is swallowing up all the money that we need to be spending elsewhere. Like keeping all of us alive instead of forcing humanity to go the way of the dinosaur.

I don't know about you, but becoming extinct would tend to ruin my whole day.

The threat of some chunk of rock or ice slamming down to Earth and killing us all is very real. It isn't just something made up in order to sell movie tickets. It's something that will happen, sooner or later. Unless we get a plan to deal with that threat together and a warning system ready to give us enough time to react, mankind is doomed. And so are all the fluffy bunnies, baby seals, dog, cats, and almost all the other animals on the planet that the PETA people value oh so much more than humans. 65 million years ago, the dinosaur killer asteroid impact killed off 90% of all the species living at the time. Not just the dinosaurs, but 90% of all living things. OK, you can argue that the dinosaurs were already dieing out and that the impact just hastened their end, but that still doesn't address the mega-death of the rest of the world's animal populations.

Sort of harsh? Maybe you think I'm over-reacting? Perhaps. But I'd like for there to actually be a world to leave to my kids.

So sure, let's clean up the environment. Let's work to reduce pollution. Those are undeniably good things and work to be proud of doing. But let's not forget that there are soulless dangers out there in the infinite dark that can and will eventually kill us all off. Unless we look for the dangers, and make serious plans to avert them, we're all doomed. A meatless diet is not going to impress a comet. An asteroid isn't going to care if you drive an SUV or ride a bicycle. The next planet-killer rock that looms out of the night isn't going to miraculously skip over the people who want to end the war in Iraq or impeach Bush. Dead is dead, and each and every one of us is under the gun. Your politics doesn't matter. Your diet doesn't matter. Your lifestyle choices don't matter. When, not if, but when the next impact comes, it'll be coming for us all.

So write to your government representatives, let them know that you want them to budget money to find and avert the next disaster from space. Don't think that someone else is going to save you. Don't wait until some amateur astronomer sees the danger headed our way. We need a plan now! We need a warning system now! We need to be looking out into the dark now!

Tomorrow just might be too late.


PS: Start planning to come to ApheliCon 3 on May 12th of 2007! There is a Poll up in the Lettercol where attendees can vote on the menu items for the feast. So far, it looks like my wife and I will both be cooking different types of chilli. I'm sure that there will also be veggies & dips, chips, a salad, and various sorts of beverages. Lyn and I are looking forward to the event. Y'all come!

Please notice that this calendar puts Sundays over on the right hand side of the chart. This is how my work schedule looks: Every row is a workweek/payweek.

May 2007


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
Robert Moriyama
Short Story Editor
McCamy Taylor
Assistant Short Story Editor
Jeffrey Williams
Production Editor/Serials Editor
Ralph Benedetto, Jr.
Assistant Serials Editor
Carl Woollen
Archives Editor
Roger Bennett
Senior Editor Emeritus
Cary Semar
Short Story Editor Emeritus

Serialized Stories & Novellettes

  • On the Corner of Galaxy and Fifth
    Part One of Five
    By Robert Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
    Strange dreams lead to strange company...

    (This story first appeared in Aphelion in 1998,
    and will be reserialized over the next five months.)

    • Nightwatch: Sed Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?
      --Part One-- --Part Two--

      By Bill Wolfe
      Nightwatch isn't the only organization watching the world. The Collective--an organized group of powerful psychics--has been watching them! But when one of their own goes missing, who else but Nightwatch can they turn to for help? Who else, indeed?

      A new shared universe series: Nightwatch, under the direction of Jeff Williams.

    "Best Serials & Novellas Of Our First Decade:"

    This issue featuring stories from 1997 through 1999

    • Best of 1998: Maya
      By A. D. Jackson

    Short Stories

    • Farmageddon
      by Steven Patrick
      Even farm animals aren't beneath the notice of ultimate evil ...

    • How the Irish Saved the World
      by Michael McLaughlin
      On a lighter note -- magic can be in the mind of the beholder. And sometimes, that's more than enough.

    • The Myth of Rain
      by Daniel C. Smith
      Sometime after the end of the world, Sara and her father struggle to survive. Are stories of a gentler world a blessing -- or a hindrance?
    • Too Cold a Trail
      by Sohrab Koohpaima
      Bel and Dorvin were the law in Othgud, the only dwarf troops around -- and the only ones available to investigate a terrible crime. Just when they finishing up a two-day patrol, too!

    • World Without Boats
      by Michael J. Martineck
      Jonathan was content with the world as it was. His job was easy, he had his family waiting for him, and being able to switch off people who annoyed him was downright fun.

    • Harvester, Reaper, Build Me a God
      by Luke E. Richards
      When the giants captured him and dragged him off to their distant home, Thomas thought he was doomed. But the giants made the mistake of taking Kamoor of Aa-Gaeal as well...

    • Jensen's Holler
      by Brian C. Petroziello
      An assistant professor discovers an age-old evil lurking in an isolated Appalachian valley. Folk tales are his business -- but not when they turn out to be true.

    • An Old Joke
      by Gareth Lyn Powell
      The shortest distance between two points is usually a punch line!

    • Ten Years at the Bar
      by Gareth D Jones

      Even in the Mare Inebrium, things can be stranger than they seem...

    "Best Short Stories Of Our First Decade:"

    This issue featuring stories from 2000 through 2002
    • Best of 2002: Rerun
      By Greg Guerin

    Poetry and Filk Music

    "Best Poetry & Filk Of Our First Decade:"

    This issue featuring Submissions from 1999 through 2002.
    There was no poetry section before November of 1998.

    Best Of 1999

    Best Of 2000

    Best Of 2001

    Best Of 2002

    The Mare Inebrium

    "Best Mare Inebrium Stories Of Our First Decade:"

    This issue featuring stories from 2000 through 2003

    • Best of 2000: Homecoming?
      by Jonjack

      "Its not enough to succeed, you have to survive and get home again too."
    • Best of 2000: Stay
      by Jeff Williams
      If I could stay then the night would give you up
      Stay, and the day would keep its trust
      Stay, with the demons you drowned
      Stay, with the spirit I found
      Stay, and the night would be enough.

    • Best of 2000: Rerun
      By Bill Wolfe
      “In the back of every mind, a monster lurks-chained in the mind's dark recesses, kept away from the light of day for all eternity... but chains can break. Corbeatee’s ability to control biological systems was absolute; he was merely very good with mechanical devices. But he was learning fast."
    • Best of 2001: A Study In Alizarin Crimson
      By Dan L. Hollifield
      When Sherlock Holmes is hired to investigate a suspicious man who seems to be planning to burgle the British Museum, the trail of clews leads straight to the mysterious owner of the Mare Inebrium!
    • Best of 2001: A Fish for Orion
      By Lee Foster
      “I hunt everything. Hunt dangerous things, no one else will hunt.” He touched the butt of a bone-handled weapon on his belt. “I hunt great cat-creatures. I hunt giant white, crushing creature. Use skeleton for trophy room. I hunt mutated giant killer quadruped.” He fingered his white furred GEEB polar bear cloak. He leaned close to me and said in a conspiratorial tone, “But I run out of things to hunt. No more great killer beasts. I become building-stick.” Then he smiled his toothsome smile and looked up towards Kazsh-ak Tier...
    • Best of 2001: Sociology Experiment
      by Wishbone
      "I was only trying to get an idea for my thesis on Non-terran sociology...' A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing."
    • Best of 2002: Where Angels Fear to Tread
      by Bill Wolfe

      When a gathering of Gods found that they needed advice, they knew to ask a bartender. They usurped the bodies of a handy group of Abvarnan farmers and marched them purposefully into the Mare Inebrium on the busiest holiday of the Bethdish year. Fortunately for the Devine, Larrye was the one who took Their order...
    • Best of 2002: Sheffield’s Eleventh
      By Jeff Williams
      "No one in this room, indeed, no one in the history of Bethdish has ever broken into the Mare Inebrium Tower and stolen anything of value."
    • Best of 2002: Baby Baby
      By Mizu Ash
      When it comes to interspecies romance, its those little skeletons in the family closet that really make life complicated.
    • Best of 2002: Be The Cat
      By Bill Wolfe
      In City of Lights -when Mr. Grym wanted something, he usually got it. Even if he had to wait. And Mr Grym hated waiting. He hated waiting almost as much as he hated having his desires thwarted. But something at the Mare Inebrium was proving to be an impediment, so Mr. Grym was not happy.
    • Best of 2003: Redshift Sue Sings the Blues
      By Dan L. Hollifield
      "I sat stunned at the first sound of this woman's voice. She was crying out her pain and loss for a lover long gone. Low, husky, somehow seductive, but filled with pain. I took a quick gulp of my drink as she began to sing..."

    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 6-28-05

    All the Nightwatch Stories to date.

    The Nightwatch Archives

    The Nightwatch Series Bible


    • The Pollwatchers!
      by Cary Semar
      Aphelion's Cary Semar turns his eye towards the 2004 political scene.

    • Dan Hollifield Reviews:
      The Tower of Morkai

      Book 3 of the Thran Chronicles
      A review of the 3rd Thran novel by H. David Blalock.

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

    • Aphelion IRC Chat
      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

    Aphelion Archives


  • Image Copyright (c) 1997 by Laura Butler

    Back Issues
    --- Page ---

  • Aphelion Back Issues Page

    Read the updated (March 2005) Submissions Guidelines
    Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page

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    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!

    My storys and comments.

    A page of my own story links, with comments.
    Along with some MIDI files, MP3s of music,
    links to some of my artwork,
    links to photos of my home, etc.

    Dan L. Hollifield

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    Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2007 by Dan L. Hollifield