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November 2022
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 152, Volume 15 -- May 2011


Dateline Cosham, England...

One of the most wonderful things about this particular vacation has been how much nicer the trip itself seems to have gone. The security screening at the Atlanta airport was surprisingly painless. Baggage check-in and printing out our boarding passes was quick and easy. Navigating through the airport was stress-free. Our seats on the plane were easy to locate and were more roomy than I had envisioned. The flight crew was unfailingly polite and friendly. The one hitch turned out to be that the meals we had ordered when we booked our flight back in January were unavailable. I suppose that next year we'll try upgrading from Coach to Business Class.

We have had a marvelous adventure riding the trains from place to place. We also booked a taxi for one short trip to visit nearby friends. I thought that I would miss my having a car of my own quite a lot more than I actually do. Public Transport is working out well for us, this trip. Of course, Lyn grew up with it, but it is still new to me. Being here does make me wish that the Atlanta MARTA train service would extend a rail line to Athens. A slow train to make the majority of stops at the small towns between Athens and Atlanta, and a faster, express train that would only make a few quick stops along the way. From what I've seen here, England has made that sort of thing work very well.

We went over, by rail, to Guildford to take a Ghost Tour conducted by our friend Philip, as well as to tour the castle there. He also conducted the Jack the Ripper walking tour we went on in London last year. Philip is an amazing fellow. His acting skills help to make his tours even more entertaining. The beauty of the town is quite eye-catching. Philip does make the local history come alive. Even the history of the area's ghosts!

We taxied over to nearby Wickham to visit with Anton and Suzi. That was a lot of fun! Dinner and drinks and good company. What more could anyone ask? We watched the latest episode of Doctor Who, sipped our first-ever Martinis, ate some delicious Chinese food, and Suzi amused us with her ability to play the spoons. That was a real treat. I took the opportunity to film it with our new camcorder, but alas I am turning out to be a very poor film maker. The results were a bit underexposed, jiggled from moment to moment, and I believe that I took entirely too much footage of the carpets. Also, I would be better served by refraining from editorial commentary while the camera is rolling. I'm not quite as witty as the drink made me feel.

I have been learning both new cameras, as well as the other devices we brought along on this vacation. The UK power mains transformer that allows us to use our American electronics in the UK has already paid for itself. Charging the cameras, charging the laptop, running the external hard drive, running my wife's hair care products, etc. Despite the weight of the transformer, I feel that it was money well spent to buy it rather than any of the alternatives. I do still need to learn more about the camcorder and the other camera, but as time passes I am getting better with both.

As for the remainder of the vacation, Our plans are still quite fluid. We have talked about running up to London for a day of playing tourist again, but we might just give it a miss this trip. We shall see how events develop. We will be going over to Bristol later in the week. Both to visit friends and to renew our wedding vows in a small town called Wick. Friends Ali and Lee have been planning this leg of our journey for us. We are looking forward to both the visit and the romantic adventure of re-confirming our love eternal. I did manage to pack the camera tripod, so perhaps those recordings will not be plagued by excessive “shaky-cam” as were my earlier efforts.

And now, my friends, it is high time I stopped babbling ever onwards about our little trip and allow you dear readers to accomplish that for which you came to do. Namely, read this month's issue. Aphelion has a multitude of good things for you in this issue. Not only our regular slate of stories and poetry, but as a special treat pro writer Emilie P. Bush has sent us an excerpt from her second novel. It is a short segment, but quite well worth the read.

For now, farewell dear readers. I'm back off to the pub to down a quick pint and sent this editorial off to the Aphelion staff. Hopefully I will not have delayed the new issue by too much.


Serials & Long Fiction

Barrow Ben
By Christopher Owen
River Girl, a water nymph has been kidnapped by humans, and the forest which depends upon her river is slowly dying. Barrow Ben, the bear, can save her and the forest, but only if he becomes a man and learns the ways of humans. A fantasy tale.

Short Stories

An excerpt from Chapter 17 of "The Gospel According to Verdu"
By Emilie P. Bush
By special arrangement with the author, here is an excerpt from Chapter 17 of the new novel "The Gospel According to Verdu".

By Richard Tornello
The detective came to Artie's door looking for help with a 53-year-old murder case. The funny thing was, the bullets used hadn't been manufactured until almost forty years after the crime.

By Eric Victor Neagu
Meredith was determined to give birth without the aid of a doctor. That seemed to fit well with Michael's need to make some real progress on his novel. But Meredith's pregnancy began to affect her in disturbing ways...

By John T. Bien
Suzi was a teacher by day, a local rock star by night. Her lover and bandmate, Mike, wanted more -- and the seductive agent Kathleen wanted to give it to him. If that wasn't bad enough, Suzi could tell that Kathleen wasn't exactly human.

Fries With That?
By D. Conteur
The diner served traditional greasy-spoon fare to local clientele, and to anyone else who passed through the little outpost on the interstellar trade routes. The war with the Gleeb was already affecting business (what with the threat of expropriation by the government), and it was about to get a lot worse.

Being Simon Galen
By Joseph Thompson
What's in a name? If it's a famous one -- beyond famous, revered by even the most powerful people in the world, maybe quite a bit.

Open All Hours
By Roderick D. Turner
All Reg wanted was caffeine-antidote pills and a few odds and ends that Sandy Absolutely Could Not Live Without Until Morning. At Marco's All Nighter, he found much more.

A Peril in Trophies: A Story of the Crow Witch
By Mike Phillips
The Crow Witch had no problem with the natural cycle of life and death, predator and prey. In fact, she found the mutilated bear carcass quite tasty. But the man who had so horribly desecrated the bear for trophies or saleable parts -- he was a problem, and he had to be dealt with.

The Priest
By Matthew Acheson
Ahmed did not understand why the foreign priest wanted to perform some infidel ceremony in the ancient temple, but the priest's money was good. Of course, Ahmed assumed that the scrawny old man was harmless...

The Friendly Planet
By Dave Weaver
Planet X1920 looked so promising based on information sent back by automated probes that the press had dubbed it 'The Friendly Planet' -- the best candidate for a new home for the population of an increasingly-hostile Earth. The mission of the New Hope was to determine whether 'promising' and 'actually habitable' were, for once, synonymous.

By Joseph Arechavala
The ghost of Hiram Beech had lingered in the old house, held by the longing he felt for his beloved wife, Anna. He would wait for her forever...

***April 2011 Forum Challenge***

Congratulations to Bill Wolfe and J. Davidson Hero, co-winners of the April 2011 Forum Flash Fiction Challenge. Check out Bill's "Meat Me in Saint Louey" and J. Davidson's "Uneasy Lies" and seven more tales of humans sharing bodies with symbionts who wish for better lodgings here, after sampling this month's editorial, poetry, short stories, and long fiction, of course...

Poetry and Filk Music

by Holly R. Appling

Life Over The Hot Spots
by Richard Tornello

Polluted Heart
by Robin B. Lipinski

Souls Adrift
by Richard H. Fay

The Escape
by Stephanie Smith

The Time Traveller's Guide To Jane Austin
by David Barber

Time Traveller
by Harris Tobias

Your Life as a Genetic Holding Pattern
by Bill Wolfe


Thoughts on Writing #29: Outlines
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.

Retrograde: The Resurrection of Frankenstein
By Daniel C. Smith
Daniel Smith recalls Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.

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