Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
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Flash Writing Challenge
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 21, Volume 3 -- Febuary '99

Issue 22 will be online 1st week of March.

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Happy Birthday Aphelion!

Yes, Aphelion starts its third year with this issue. We've passed beyond the boundaries that I set when Aphelion first came online and now we're breaking new ground. Lots of things have changed over the last year. Life has become weirder than I ever imagined that it could. The rate of that change has brought home to me a realization of how momentous happenings can sneak up on you- and jerk the rug of your personal reality right out from under you. Overnight, everything is different, everything is strange and new. You make adjustments- and wait for the next shockwave to hit.

The only constant is change.

All you can do is try to make things better than they were before.

Hard work, but very rewarding when you can pull it off. I think that the hard work is paying off now- none of the changes killed us, so we have become stronger! (Anyone know how to spell Nietchie? I don't, LOL) I find my mind going back to the everyday upheavals I've seen lately- big changes have come to everyone and left us all scrambling to cope. That's what I think that life is all about- the constant scramble to cope. When the first fish crawled out of the sea and onto a beach somewhere, somewhen- it was trying to cope with changes in its life at sea. Then it had to cope with learning to live on land. This air stuff is a whole lot thinner than water- got to learn a new way to breathe! When our early ancestors climbed out of the trees and began to walk erect they had to cope with new problems- the need for shelter, to feed their young, to communicate with each other, flat feet, fallen arches, and backaches from standing on their own two feet, preditors that couldn't reach them before... all the joys of modern life. But they adapted, they grew, they prospered against incredible odds- and the changes kept coming. Evolution is change, enlightenment is change- the very fabric of life in all its forms is the fact that nothing stays the same for long. You and I don't even expect things to stay the same any more- we've grown up (somewhat), knowing that what we see today may not be here tomorrow. And we know that's a good thing- 'cause something that doesn't change, soon gets left behind. Growth- of any kind -is change... You either cope, or get left behind.
Aphelion has grown into being like some kind of flower bed. It was a little rough-looking at first, but hard work and a little weeding have allowed it to blossom. Not to mention the fertilizer, LOL. I'm just proud to see that Aphelion has become an annual, rather than drying up and blowing away. I can only hope that it continues to be a perennial favorite! LOL!

OK, enough of the gardening puns. Back to the party! We're going to have a couple of special birthday treats in this issue; the announcement of a writing contest, a list of the stories that I've enjoyed reading most since Aphelion's first issue, and more fun stuff! Everyone grab a party hat, the punchbowl is over there- We have Champagne for those of legal age and sparkling cider for the younger set. Help yourself to cake, icecream, and all the other treats. When you're ready, grab a story and enjoy!


Tell us what you think in Aphelion's Lettercol!

I'd like to thank those of you who have sent e-mails or signed the Guestbook 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
Roger Bennett
Editor Emeritus
Robert Wynne
Cary Semar
Short Story Editor
Lee Whiteside
SFTV Schedule Reporter
Martin Delgado-Scott
Serials Editor
Kim Holec
Poetry Editor
Jeffrey Williams
Production Editor

Serialized Stories

  • A Saucerfull of Secrets -Part 3-
    By Dan L. Hollifield
    While Dan is on vacation, we're running a classic Hollifield story never before seen in Aphelion. Threat of Valleor will return in March!
  • Zod -Part 9-
    By Neil McGill
    A side-splitting sci-fi romp through the cosmos. Look out Douglas Adams! McGill may just steal your thunder!

  • On the Corner of Galaxy and Fifth -Conclusion!-
    By Robert Wynne & Jeff Williams
    Everything depends on Hamlet as "Galaxy and Fifth" thunders to it's exciting conclusion.

  • Maya -Part 3-
    By A.D. Jackson
    The mystery of Maya continues...

  • Read more great stories from the Aphelion Archives

    "Ray Guns and Space Ships and Fires...Oh My!"

    Not long ago, Cary Semar posted a request on the Lettercol for more "hard SF" types of stories, tales involving space ships and science and gun fights and. . . Well, what started as a joke among the staff ("Gee, why don't we just have an all Space Opera issue?") is turning into a reality, with your help of course.

    THEME ISSUE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes, by popular demand, we are requesting submissions for an issue of short fiction dedicated entirely to tales of starships, to ditties about intergalactic war, to works about strange discoveries in space--in short, an all Space Opera issue.

    When the stories are published, we will pick what we feel to be the three best pieces submitted (ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of course). Winners will receive a prized featured space in the special issue and will also receive a graphic for their webpage or desktop wallpaper. The graphic will be provided by esteemed publisher Dan Hollifield and by notorious webmaven Robert Wynne.

    Submissions for this special issue should be sent to shorts@aphelion-webzine.com and should be clearly labeled as entries for the Space Opera Contest. (DO NOT submit serials as they will not be affected by the contest.) Stories should be no less than 2500 words and no more than 10,000 words in length. All submissions for the contest must be received by May 20, 1999. Multiple entries will be accepted. Editorial review will be limited to technical issues only (format, length, spelling, punctuation, etc.).

    The theme issue itself will be published in July 1999.

    This contest is not open to the staff of Aphelion though their stories may appear in the issue if they choose to write one and if space is available.

    So charge up those disrupter banks, let loose the dogs of intergalatic war, look out for the Grey Lensmen, and may the best beings win!

    Short Stories

  • Selling a House of Evil on a Buyer's Market
    By C. Adam Scott
    Written by an atheist who thought that comments made while watching "Salem's Lot" would make a good basis for a story.
  • The Truth Will Set You Free
    By McCamy Taylor
    An old secret, an old ghost, and new technology.

  • The Ameribahn
    By Gregory Thompson
    Only the bravest and only the best can conquer "The Ameribahn."

  • If We Shadows Have Offended
    By Liz Martin
    From "down under," an homage to Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

  • Games People Play
    By Tony Ruggiero
    To the gods, we are as frogs to evil boys; they kill us for their sport...

  • Stick Boys
    By Jeff Miller
    It was a cruel, merciless existence. But it was the only life the boys had known.

  • Boots
    By John Gilmore
    A tale of a luckless astronaut and his malfunctioning mechanical cat.

  • Anatomy Lesson
    By Dennis Tallent
    Sometimes its what you don't know that can get you. A Mare Inebrium story.

  • Survivors from the Strippings
    By Frederick Rustam
    Inspired by the Daniel Hanequand painting "The Survivors."

  • The Bluesman
    By Jim Peters
    The Bluesman had the gift of touching souls with his music. A powerful weapon, indeed! A Mare Inebrium story.

  • Loose
    By Vasilis Adams A.
    Lucifer investigates a mysterious decline in business.

  • Dan's Birthday Picks

    Some of my favorites from the previous issues of Aphelion
    These stories aren't necessarily the best that Aphelion has ever published, but they are the ones that I have read over and over again. So many good stories have appeared here that I thought it would be unfair to call these few the "best of..." so I'm just calling them my favorites. I hope you like them as much as I do. I didn't include any of the serialized stories and only one by a staff member, so you can be sure that there was no nepotism involved and that these are a good sample of what we have published to date. The Editorial Mafia made me hold down the number of picks so as to leave room for the rest of this issue's stories- Otherwise, this would just be another way to access the Aphelion Archives. LOL!

  • Waiting in a Stony Place
    By W. Fraser Sandercombe

    Fraser has a way of bringing characters to life on the page so that you actually care about what happens to them when the story is over.
  • A Man Shoots His Own Dogs
    By Bob Blacketer

    Bob's work seems to grab you by the throat and shake you. Strong emotions and convincing backgrounds are his specality.
  • Calling All Stars
    By Frederick Rustam

    Its always a delight to recieve a submission from Frederick- his stories are well thought-out, surprising, and wonderful.
  • Over the Hill
    By Jim Parnell

    A gritty little tale of cyberspace, detectives, and future crime- Jim proves that he's not just a top-flight musician any more.
  • Yesterdays Glory
    By Robert Wynne

    Rob's only Mare Inebrium story to date and the best example of how to add background characters to a Mare story. He even taught me a few things.
  • Language Barrier
    By Kate Thornton

    Kate's shuttle pilots come across as living, breathing people. They're as real as you or I and just as vital.
  • Dan's told you his picks. Which was your favourite? Let us know in the
    Aphelion Survey!

    Poetry and Filk Music

  • One World
    By Dan Hollifield

  • Desire
    By Joseph St. John

  • Cyclic
    By David Blalock

  • Wolf's Bane
    By Rob Wynne and Jeffrey Williams

  • Features

    The Mare Inebrium shared universe project
    I open up my own Spaceport Bar to other writers!
    The Mare Inebrium Shared Universe Project
  • Aphelion's Daily Comics
    By Ian McDonald, Mark Stanley, and Steve Troop
    Did he say daily? Yep, Aphelion is proud to feature three of the funniest comic strips on the Internet, Ian McDonald's "Bruno the Bandit", Mark Stanley's "Freefall", and Steve Troop's "The Melonpool Chronicles". Bookmark this page, you don't want to miss a single installment!

  • Double Wide #3
    by Jim Parnell
    Star Trek: The Vinyl Frontier. Where no man has gone before (uh, at least, not willingly.)WARNING: Contains language.

  • Conventional Wisdom
    by Rob Wynne
    A report on the goings on at Gafilk I

  • Starbase Update SFTV Schedules and News
    Compiled by Lee Whiteside.

  • Dan Hollifield reviews:
    This month- Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny

  • Excentrivial Musings
    The Aphelion Cartoon Page.

  • Mare Inebrium Wallpaper Page
    51 JPGs you can download and convert to Bitmaps for wallpaper. This is a slow-loading page, but well worth it.

  • The Awards Page
    All of the Awards that Aphelion has won.

  • If you would like to receive notices from Aphelion when this page is updated, please join our new, revised, automatic mailing list. To subscribe:
    Send a message to majordomo@america.net with the following in the body of the message:

    subscribe aphelion <email address>

    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!

  • Click here to see the Links Page
  • A Challenge to Writers...
  • Short story submissions; Cary Semar
  • Serialized stories: Martin Delgado-Scott
  • Poetry: Kim Holec
  • Features: Robert Wynne
  • Mare Inebrium Stories: Dan Hollifield
  • Click here to see the Submissions Guidelines Page.
  • Aphelion Explanations and Thanks Where the name "Aphelion" came from and other info.
  • Books Music Enter keywords...

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    Back Issues:

    For a time we will have back issues available for you to read.

    These will be removed when space on the new server gets to be too small. Click on the banner below to go to the Back Issues! Thanks for your readership for without you, nothing we do has any meaning.

    Aphelion Back Issues!
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    Aphelion Webzine is 1997-98 by Dan L. Hollifield