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

Issue 145, Volume 14 -- July 2010


This will probably be a really short editorial. I wanted to get so much done this month, in between returning from LibertyCon and leaving for our family reunion. I failed to get it all done before our original deadline, but since this issue was so late I was able to accomplish everything I wished. LibertyCon was loads of fun, as usual. The week afterwards was full of yard work and house work as well as running around getting shopping done before it was time to go to our family reunion. The family reunion was a blast! Smaller crowd than last year, but that's understandable given how spread out our family has become over the years. It was a fun day of talking, watching the kids play, eating a huge home cooked covered dish lunch brought by some of the best cooks in the Southeastern US. The cool breeze off of the nearby lake was a very welcome addition to the party. Tennessee in the Summertime can be hot, humid, and uncomfortable. But a nice breeze falling from the tops of the Smoky Mountains. across a beautiful lake made the day's heat much more bearable. Altogether too soon, the family began drifting away, back to their various home towns. We spent the rest of the evening at the hotel with my parents and siblings. After an eventful drive home (several bouts of heavy rain, and drivers in North Carolina must be the most aggressive and crazy I've ever seen) We arrived back at my Mom and Dad's to pick up our dogs. I helped Mom out with updates to her computer while Lyn wandered around the farm with Dad. Several hours after the first arrived, we loaded up the dogs and drove the final four miles back to our little house. It's good to be back home again, however much fun taking little trips can be.

Also in the week between LibertyCon and the family reunion was something truly special for Lyn and I. The 14th of July was our wedding anniversary, so we were selfish and spent the day wrapped up in each other. We started our 5th year together. There has been no decrease in the romance. The rest of the week was mostly running errands or trying to work out in the yard. Taking the trash to the landfill, grocery shopping, getting our hair cut, picking up Lyn's new glasses, etc. Oh yeah, I got some small amount of yard work done. The place looks better than it has in a year. There's so much more that I still have left to do, however. I can't get it all done because it is just too hot outside. I can only manage an hour or so of heavy work in the mornings before coming back in and having to take a shower to cool back off. By lunchtime, I can barely stand to walk to the mailbox and back into the house I go, thankful for the air conditioning.

Think about that for a moment. Ask anyone who knows me personally- I can't take much time in low AC surroundings. I'm shivering in supermarket frozen food aisles. I wear long-sleeved shirts to restaurants. I've worked for decades in a factory that only has AC for the offices, lunchroom, and locker rooms. Out on the production line, the temperature is usually ten or more degrees hotter than being outside in the direct sunlight. I've gotten used to hotter environments. I can function in temperatures that leave most people gasping for breath and soaked with sweat. AC set below seventy degrees tends to make me terribly uncomfortable, shivering, and leads to random muscle cramps. That said, I've been the one to keep the household AC turned on all the time this Summer. True, I have the AC set to seventy eight degrees, but at times that isn't low enough to keep me from breaking out in a sweat whenever I'm not in close proximity to the window unit. I used to just have all the windows open and the attic fan on. This year, that isn't good enough.

Going back to work after two weeks of vacation was educational, to say the least. I promptly rediscovered all the reasons why I hate my job. I also rediscovered all the reasons why I love my co-workers. I don't know how many more years I can put up with the factory. The work is harder than ever, and I'm not getting any younger. The environment is either deadly hot or numbingly cold, depending on the season. Half the workforce has been laid off, but the production line is running faster than ever. The factory has become an Old Folks Home now that every worker under 40-something has been laid off. Those of us who are left are required to do the work of three to five people now. While I'm grateful to still have a regular income, I do tend to resent the added workload. Questions plague me. Is my weekly paycheck really worth the extra wear and tear on my body? Am I to reach retirement age just in time to suffer through my twilight years a a broken-down, worn out old man rather than being able to enjoy them in good health? Who is buying all the insulation we're making now? Where is all this product going? The housing construction bubble has burst- I know that. So why are we making record amounts of fiberglass insulation day after day? More and more it is being driven home to me that I need to make some sort of change. I need to take my life in a different direction. I need to buckle down and finally get serious about my writing and develop a more enjoyable source of income. Well, no time like the present! I am going to start devoting more time to writing. I've proved that I can do it. Now I have to start selling it and give up the factory work, before it kills me. :)

I wanted to write a convention report on LibertyCon. The detailed Con Report is over in our Features Section. It gives a small taste of what LibertyCon is like. Hopefully enough to encourage readers who live close enough to want to start attending the Con, themselves. The short form is:

  1. The hotel staff are wonderful.
  2. The hotel was in far better repair and was much cleaner than last year.
  3. The convention staff are wonderful people and they work really hard.
  4. The guest writers and artists are outstanding, entertaining beyond expectations, and easy to strike up a conversation with.
  5. The people attending the con are just like family.
  6. We all had a real good time!

I also wanted to write a book review of Cherie Priest's new novel "Boneshaker" and have gotten that done in the extra time. I took the book on our trip to the reunion so that I could finish it during our evening at the hotel after the party was over. It has been a difficult book to put down, I'll tell you that right now. Cherie has had major success with it, and well deserved success at that. As I understand, she is working on more stories set in the same universe, if not exactly sequels. She's good, her writing is addictive, and when you finish one of her books you want to run out to look for more of her work. And that's as specific as I wish to get in this editorial. I'm saving the details for the review. As for my reviews, regular Aphelion readers know that I don't post spoilers- I just relate how I enjoyed the writing, give info on where you can get a copy, etc. The detailed review is also over in our Features Section.

All right, that is just about all I have time to write today. There is so much more to get done around the house. Plus, I want to get some writing done too. I'm really serious about devoting more time to writing and sending finished stories out to publishers. I have the steampunk novel to finish, an 8000 word steampunk short story to write for an anthology in the UK to which I've been invited to submit. There is also yet another anthology in negotiations that one of the pro writers I know from LibertyCon has invited me to submit a short story. As an aside to Aphelion fans, I've also been getting flashes of inspiration for a new Mare Inebrium story. But that is still very much in the early stages. So far I have two or three scenes floating around in my head, but I don't have a story to place them within just yet. Rest assured that I'll keep the Mare story percolating on my mental back burners as I work on other projects.

So, enjoy the new issue while I'm busy. I'll catch up with you, later on.


Serials & Long Fiction

Vivian and the Dust
By Ken Kraus
Vivian, a young trainee addicted to snorting mind-altering dust, is arrested for smuggling a rare ore from Titanís North Pole. The station doctor intervenes to help with her cure, but she soon learns that all her troubles lead to the station morgue where the hidden corpse of his lover appears to be regenerating.

Short Stories

The Navigator
By Mark Ward
He had been a farmer, until the spider plague drove him from his land. Now a stranger wanted him to set sail on a mad voyage to the deepest waters known to man.

My Salieri Complex
By Marina Julia Neary
Kemp had grown up sickly, an outcast, but had become a star among the students at University College in Victorian London. Then Griffin arrived, and made him seem almost ordinary -- Griffin and his strange, secret project.

The Way of Children
By Kristen Lee Knapp
The war was not going well. The sorcery used by the invading Azbeki army, fueled by the lives of children, was too powerful. Mutan had to make a choice...

The Weaver of Gossamer Webs
By jaimie l. elliott
The mender had been given an impossible task: heal the fractured mind of the vicious Tyrant, or die.

Homer and The Goddess
By Cary Semar
The poet and storyteller Homer had a few things to learn about the importance of pleasing his audience. For example, dismissing the existence of the Gods was a Very Bad Idea.

The Sound of Apples
By Koos Kombuis
Desmond awoke with the extremely uncomfortable feeling that everything was spinning -- not just the room, but the very earth beneath his feet. And that was just the beginning...

Terra Incognita
By E.S. Strout
They were trying to bend time as a way around the impossibility of moving faster than light. The side effects were...interesting.

Shift / Change
By Roland Allnach
The new guy working the night shift at the morgue called himself John Smith. His reasons for being there were a little complicated -- and related to the obscene side business run by the other employees. *** Contains adult situations ***

A World of Good
By Kevin Gordon
The Large Hadron Collider had unleashed something that turned Europe into a firestorm that was consuming the world's oxygen far faster than natural processes could restore it. For the rest of the world, all that was left was survival, one day at a time.

The Edge of Tomorrow
By Bruce Memblatt
The heart attack had killed Justin Clarke, for a minute or so. When he came back, his view of reality was ... different.

Sealed Away
By Philip Roberts
Bill was working another long, cold night shift at the courier company when he found the unlabeled package. He didn't think much about it (although it was strangely warm) until it started to whisper to him.

By Roderick D. Turner
Jack's best ideas came to him in dreams. They made him the top man at the small advertising agency. But lately, the dreams had started to overlap with his real world.

How Monsters Are Made
By Jack Pettie
Dr. Waters had been working with Victor for months, trying to ease the effects of the still-secret childhood trauma that had haunted him for most of his life. But today, she would learn more than she ever wanted to know about him.

Jenny Ogiwara and the AntiFems
By Gary W. Feather
Captain Jenny Ogiwara and her band of mercenaries -- the best of Gomez's Gals -- had been sent in to deal with an AntiFem takeover of a mining town on the moon of a gas giant in the Miranda system. As always, the job was harder than the brass expected.

Immortality Bites
By Ray Prew
Living forever was no guarantee of happiness. In fact, Tim Adler found it to be complicated and sad -- at least every time he had to leave a family behind, or watch them die.

In The Icehouse
By Dave Weaver
The ice core samples taken at the Antarctic research station provided vital evidence in the climate change debate. Unfortunately, it contradicted what the science team had been sent to prove. Now John Mathers had a choice to make between truth and survival.

***June 2010 Forum Challenge***

Congratulations to Bill Wolfe, author of the favorite entry in the June 2010 Forum Flash Fiction Challenge. Check out "Only If You're Wrong" and six more tightly-focused tales of obsession here -- after reading and commenting on the short stories, novella, poetry, features and editorial, that is...

***July 2010 Forum Challenge***

Congratulations to Bill Wolfe (again!), author of the favorite entry in the July 2010 Forum Flash Fiction Challenge. Check out "Rank" and four more tales of supersenses (as viewed by a mere mortal) here -- after reading and commenting on the short stories, novella, poetry, features and editorial, AND the June challenge stories, that is... Don't panic. You have almost five weeks to catch up, if you start...right...NOW!

Poetry and Filk Music

Black Leathery Wings
by Richard H Fay

by Mike Berger

by Dave Weaver

Hawking Radiation
by Richard Tornello

Metaphysics 101
by Richard Tornello

Templar Castle
by Robert William Shmigelsky

The Great Escape
by Bruce Whealton

A Modern Day Van Helsing
by Bruce Whealton

Thought For Food
by Richard Tornello

The Three Stages of Wizard vs. Knight
by Robert William Shmigelsky

by Sonnet Mondal

Bones In The Tiles
by Lee Eric

Chainsaws Sharpened Here
by Thomas Reynolds

Evil Thing
by Mike Berger

Nightmares Fell My Fantasy
by Richard H. Fay


Thoughts on Writing #22: Changing Time, Tone, and Type
By Seanan McGuire
In an ongoing series, Seanan McGuire takes apart the engine of writing to find out how it works, and offers her insights into how to put it back together again.

Bad Girls of Manga
By McCamy Taylor
McCamy Taylor takes a look at Gokusen, Tokyo Crazy Paradise, Oresama Sensei, and Yankee-kun to Megane-chan

Aphelion Review: Boneshaker
By Dan Hollifield
Dan dives into Cherie Priest's latest Clockwork Century novel.

Convention Wisdom: Libertycon 23
By Dan Hollifield
Once again, Libertycon touched down in scenic Chattanooga. Our ace reporter Dan Hollifield filed this report...

Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2013 by Dan L. Hollifield