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

Issue 120, Volume 12 -- April 2008


By now everyone should have heard that Arthur C. Clarke passed away a couple of weeks ago. Please join me in a toast to his memory and his accomplishments. He was a great writer, scientist, and an amazing mind. Not only did he give us scores of wonderful books, but also his research paper on geosynchronous satellites eventually lead to the establishment of world-wide satellite communications networks. Thank you, Arthur, for everything. You will be missed.

I have many fond memories of Arthur's novels. "Childhood's End" and "Against the Fall of Night" were among the earliest paperbacks that I ever bought during my Elementary School years. By the time I was in High School and in College, I regularly searched the libraries and bookstores for more of his books. Clarke has always been among my top ten favorite writers. While I am saddened by his passing, I am grateful for his 90 years among us. Rest assured, he has been a great influence upon several generations of writers. His work will live on, influencing many more people, for years to come. He set the bar rather high for those of us who follow his path. But that is how it should be - Great writers should always challenge the minds of their readers. Arthur wrote things that made me think. Sometimes in new ways, often insightful ways, but always I was inspired to examine what I thought I knew in a way that enabled me to grow as a person. Every book had something that provoked me to wonderment. There will be one more new book - one he was co-writing with Fred Pohl. It is titled "The Last Theorem" and will be published later this year. I look forward to adding this last Clarke novel to my collection.

If you want biographical details, or a bibliography of Clarke's work, there are scores of web pages that can provide them. A quick Google search will no doubt give you thousands of links to check out. For myself, I choose to celebrate his life and work by rereading my favorites of his books, re-watching the movies "2001" and "2010" and his "Mysterious World" / "Mysterious Universe" TV series.

It is interesting to note that astronomers started detecting an increase of gamma ray bursts throughout the universe right after news of his death became public. It's as if he was being welcomed into the afterlife by an enormous party featuring exploding stars as fireworks! So let us all join in celebration of his life and his works. Remember Arthur C. Clarke in the way that you see fit. A great man has passed, but we can be thankful that he was ours for almost a century. We should be happy that we had him among us, for as long as we did.

Now only Ray Bradbury remains on my list of favorite Science Fiction writers from my childhood... Sometimes it really hurts to be a grown-up. I've had to write far too many of these obituary editorials over the last few years. None of them are easy, and none of them will ever be fun to write. But they are necessary. Sometimes one needs to find a good way to say goodbye to someone. This is my way. You, the Reader, must find a way that works for you.

Now I must return you to your regularly scheduled reading.



By Ben Crowell
A story about the how the human heart remains the same even as global warming irrevocably changes the earth. Oh, and where do those Bugs come from?

Short Stories

By Stephen Patrick
Lieutenant Daniel Barnes and his Angels were the best of the best. Their mission: destroy the lair of the notorious terrorist leader Gideon. But things went to hell before they even landed -- and then they got worse.

Channel Surfing
By E. S. Strout
A scientific breakthrough concealed in an innocuous-seeming package put incredible power at the fingertips of whoever possessed it. Controlling that power was another matter...

Voyages of the Earthship Horus: Alice
By Michael Joseph
The crew of the Horus only wanted to take a shortcut. But along the way, they found a living spaceship in need of a pilot -- and a threat to galactic civilization.

By Coffee Anderson
PeeWee was only two years old, and unlikely to make it to three unless an odd assortment of people scattered around the globe could cure the artificial disease in his blood.

By J. B. Hogan
Some people get a second chance before they make the worst mistake of their lives.

The Kill
By Mark Phillips
To stem the rising tendency to violence, they instituted a cathartic rite of passage that would determine whether a child was fit to join civilized society. Now it was Joey Bailey's turn.

By Andy Echevarria
They had been waiting for a signal from space that would prove, once and for all, that We Are Not Alone. When it arrived, a screw-up left them without the proof they needed. And then people started to die...

They Never Knew
By Richard Tornello
Rick Stevens stumbled on a box of old documents (or rather just missed having it fall on his head). The contents hinted at a secret that had been hidden for more than a century -- but was still worth his life.

Family Values
By Sheri Downing
Violet looked less than half her age, thanks to potions and rituals that had been in her family for generations. Free to use her full powers after two years of restrictions placed on her due to earlier... indiscretions, she had just begun a new campaign to gain wealth and at least the illusion of love when her mother summoned her home.

Ars Poetica
By Lawrence Buentello
Tristine Clover had been designed to be a poet, her DNA customized for that purpose, but tests indicated that her aptitudes lay elsewhere. Of course, no True Artist would accept "reeducation" for a more mundane career without a struggle!

Results of Forum Flash Challenge for March 2008

Congratulations to Bill Wolfe, winner of the March 2008 Challenge. Check out "Between Scareds" and four more snack-sized morsels of True (sort of) Confessions (after you read and comment on our other fine features, of course)... And check the Fun and Games folder of the Forum in April for another impossible mission in the Flash zone!

Poetry and Filk Music

Au Naturale
by Lyn Perry

by Richard H Fay

by Michaela Sefler

Full Moon Pulls At Him
by Heather Kuehl

King Lear By Ganges, The Bard Of Bladbut
by John Grey

Shire Oaks
by Jon Stocks

The Artist
by Don Coonrod

Toys Toys
by Richard Tornello


Matinee Musings: Cloverfield
By Lee Alon
Lee Alon spends an afternoon at the movies, taking in Paramount Pictures' unconventional creature feature.

Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2008 by Dan L. Hollifield