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November 2022
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 122, Volume 12 -- June 2008


Hello, and welcome to the June 2008 edition of Aphelion!

Sometimes I have to marvel at the way events sometimes seem to frustrate me, then suddenly turn around and present me with exactly what I wanted all along. For example; when I was a young child, not yet even ten years old, my Mom and Dad bought me loads of different sorts of books. Simply because I was one of those children who thought that reading was one of the most fun things ever invented. Whenever we went on a shopping trip to Knoxville, I could pretty much count on two things happening when we went into my favorite department store. First, my sister, brother, and I would be allowed to pick out a treat from the huge candy counter. I always chose a big paper packet of roasted mixed nuts, still warm from the oven, buttered and salted to perfection. Secondly, I was allowed to pick out a new book that they would buy for me. Sometimes, for special occasions, I was allowed to pick out more than one. This is the way that I wound up with 18 or 20 of the books in the Tom Swift Jr. series. Once I saw those wonderful illustrated covers with the marvelous inventions of the young Tom Swift, I was hooked. I read them over and over and over again, for many, many years. Even after growing up and finding myriad other writers that I enjoyed reading, I still had a soft spot for those corny scientific adventures and fantastic inventions - despite the stilted writing style and overuse of exclamation points. I loved those books. I suppose that I always will, no matter how many other, and how much better written, books I will read.

When I was about twelve, we moved away from the Knoxville area. Tom Swift Jr. books weren't stocked in the stores where we moved. However, the school Library had copies of the Tom Swift Sr. books! I discovered an added dimension to the stories that I loved. They followed a continuity. The inventions and adventures of Tom's Father were mentioned frequently in the Tom Juniors. I read all the old one I could get my hands on - falling just as much in love with them as I had the adventures of the younger Tom. When I was in college, I even managed to find a Tom Sr. in a thrift store, and proudly placed it on the shelf next to my treasured Tom Swift Jr. novels.

Then, when I was in my early thirties, disaster struck. My home was burglarized, and all my Tom Swift books were stolen. True, loads of other stuff was stolen too, but this was devastating. I was dumbstruck. Part of my childhood had been savagely ripped away from me. But I couldn't do anything about the loss, so I went on with my life. Eventually, I tried my hand at writing, started collecting rejection slips from publishers, was introduced to the Internet, and lucked into starting up Aphelion. Time flowed onwards, as it always does.

Cue our own Web Maven par excellence, Robert Wynne, aided and abetted by his wonderful Mom. Rob attended an ApheliCon bearing gifts, to wit: some Tom Swift Jr. books that had been kindly donated by Rob's Mom. They were duplicates from her own collection. Even before this, I'd long thought that Rob's Mom was fantastic lady. Now I was convinced that she was a goddess among we mere mortals.

Cue my lovely wife, and the passage of three more years. Last year, whilst I was laid up following the car accident, Lindsey introduced me to the wonders and horrors of e-bay. The wonders? Anything and everything on Earth can be found there, for sale. The horrors? Anything and everything can add up quite quickly to a truly astronomical sum of money, that the victim is quite prepared to sell his soul to possess. Or worse, to work overtime for the extra cash necessary to buy these many and varied trinkets. Out of curiosity, last December I set up a search to find Tom Swift books. I found 25 Tom Swift Sr. novels on CD as e-books, at a very reasonable price. Inevitably, I bought a copy. Months passed, and I was released to go back to work. I worked. In fact, I worked overtime, frequently. I paid off a credit card that had been hanging over my head for several years. I worked more. Finally, I had enough free cash to start replacing those beloved old books. I began bidding on them in April, as they became available on e-bay. Some I won, some went out of my price range, and some I had to buy in large lots as people liquidated their collections. Sometimes I wound up with duplicates, but as of last week I've managed to buy all thirty three Tom Swift Junior novels! There are still eight of them that are in the mail, not yet delivered, but I'm enjoying the accomplishment of now having gotten all of them. Some, I've had a chance to read before now. So I rip through them as soon as the postman drops them off. I haven't spent a fortune to obtain them, but in total I have spent about a week's pay. Lindsey has been very supportive during my temporary fit of aquisitive madness. She thinks that it's lovely that I'm finally able to replace these novels that meant so much to me in my formative years. I'm just overjoyed to finally have not only replacements for the ones that I'd lost, but all the ones that I'd never gotten the chance to read before.

I'm a happy camper. Another dream has been fulfilled. I can concentrate on my next project while I wait on the final deliveries from my buying spree. What's next? Thanks for asking. It seems that my writer's block has finally relented. I'm 10,000+ words into a new story. I'm writing again, researching again, and deep into a new world that's being created as I type. It's a whole new genre for me. One that seems to actually have a market, in fact. Who knows? I might even be able to sell this one! But in any case, I'm having fun being creative again.

At the end of the day, enjoying yourself while doing something that you love... That's priceless! Reading or writing, it's the joy that counts.

But for now, I need to shut up and let you read the new issue,



The Gulf of Eden
Part One
By McCamy Taylor
After three years in exile, Isaac is coming home, but the planet which his warrior race have been deeded is already inhabited, and it is up to him to forge a truce with the strange people that claim this world as their own.

Short Stories

Founding Fathers
By Daniel C. Smith
Cyrus McGreevy loved money, especially the old-fashioned kind he could hold in his hands. He'd do anything to make more -- even save the world.

Mystic Canyon
By T. Richard Williams
The mission to search for life on Titan was a One-Way -- reserved for terminally-ill volunteers like Jake Youngblood. Some people opposed One-Ways because they thought they treated people like Jake as expendable... but Jake didn't care.

Level 49
By Lee Gimenez
Earth needed the resources that Mars could supply, enough so that little things like personal freedom were viewed as luxuries. If you couldn't escape the Draft, your ass belonged to MarsEx... and all you could hope for was to work your way up the Levels, closer to the surface.

Green T
By E. S. Strout
Without the experimental treatment, Mike Norman would die. His parents wanted their son to live -- but they could never have imagined what they thought were side effects.

By Alan Delaney
"Jim" -- a semi-autonomous combat robot -- had been in the field a long time, running Reconnaissance and Extermination missions against the insurgents scattered around the villages and caves, capturing new weapons as old ones were damaged or ran out of ammunition. His Heuristic artificial intelligence let him learn and adapt to new situations, which was fine, as long as Command could send him Orders...

Parallel Lives
By Mary Brunini McArdle
Sarah and Judith were analogs -- different versions of the same person in different worlds, leading lives that were often similar. Sarah was aware of the connection, and sometimes she saw trouble coming for Judith that she had already experienced. The urge to meddle was irresistible...

Soul Searching
By Saki Channing
The modified soul "Yin" had to find a way to rescue her friends before the witch (who preferred to be called the Red Goddess) finished stealing their souls. Luckily, she knew which dry cleaner would be processing them!

By Michele Dutcher
Kriss and Shaeler were tourists of a sort, visiting Earth to experience the superstorm they knew was coming. Kriss wore a borrowed human body, while Shaeler was only in projected form, an insubstantial wraith that bore a remarkable resemblance to the marble satyr at the entrance to the library.

The Last War Dance
By George T. Philibin
When two boys disappeared from their neighborhood in New Cambria City, then returned with a fantastic tale of time travel, aliens, and rescue by an old Native American, almost nobody believed them. But Roger and Mike had been through the same thing when they were young -- and they knew what was coming next.

The Saga of 'Turim: Servant, Soldier
By Jay T. Bucka
'Turim and eight other young members of the Clan of the Cougar were taken by the Varnin, supposedly as hostages to ensure that their Clan would yield to Varnin rule. But the Varnin did not waste the potential it saw in its bondservants, and 'Turim was destined for greater things.

Results of Forum Flash Challenge for May 2008

Congratulations to N. J. Kailhofer, winner of the May 2008 Forum Flash Challenge. Check out "All for Love" and "Old Wounds - the conclusion" -- based in Bill Warren's "Aphelion Project" universe, and continuing Bill Wolfe's "Old Wounds" (winner of the April Challenge) -- after you read and comment on our other fine features, of course)... And visit the Forum Fun and Games area later this month for the NEXT challenge to your imagination and writing skills.

Poetry and Filk Music

A Possibility Within The World of Quantum Multi-Universe Probabilities
by Richard Tornello

By Degree
by Michaela Sefler

Green Grass
by Richard H Fay

by Aurelio Rico Lopez III

Lingering Images of Dead Spacemen
by John Grey

Manic Is The Dark Night
by Michael Lee Johnson

by M Saling

One Evening On A Drive to the Food Store
by Richard Tornello

Osiris Rising
by J. Davidson Hero

Sonnet For An Orc
by Stuart Sharp

by James Matthew Byers

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