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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 37, Volume 4 -- July 2000

Issue 38 will be online 1st week of August.

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Since January 27th 1997

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The Senior Editor's usual drivel about whatever...

Hello and welcome!

What's the burning issue this month? Nothing big, really. I was researching some details for a story and encountered some curious coincidences about Mars and the missions launched to explore it. It seems that everyone who sends probes to Mars suffers higher than average losses of contact. No matter who sends 'em up, they crash, they spin off into space- crippled, they just outright vanish with no hint of why. When this series of facts ran into my interest in the Face on Mars and my love of conspiracy tales... Well, the three of them just set up light housekeeping in the back of my mind for a while. After percolating in my subconscious for a while, their synthesis popped up last week during a "Zen" moment at work- when I was simply bored out of my mind and let my imagination roam.

Wouldn't it make a gripping story to suppose that the two recent US Mars probe losses were actually nukes sent by some covert group within the US government to blast the Face on Mars into rubble before public outcry force them to spend money on manned missions? You could develop the story in any of several directions and still wind up with a good tale. Oppressive government, secret societies, covert agencies, the military-industrial complex against the everyman... Wherever your own imagination roams. I was able to use this in one direction on the story I was researching and brought in unique details during the outlining of it.

So what am I getting at? I think that a writer needs to have a lot of interests and input in order to obtain the elements of a rousing good yarn. Be eclectic in your reading, sample lots of different viewpoints, and wonder "what if?" a lot. Listen to the back of your mind from time to time.

By the by, I offer the previous story idea free gratis to any or all, though I might want to try my hand at it myself at a later date. I'm too busy with my real life to take the time necessary to think paranoid enough to write conspiracy stories right now. I've got half a novel that I'd like to finish- 'specially since it’s a Mare Inebrium story that's turning out to have some important loose ends of the mythos tied up within it. Plus, I'm working lots of overtime at the factory still, because I spent too much money on vacation. Well, that's enough blather from me for now.

Thanks for your time.


Tell us what you think in Aphelion's Lettercol!

I'd like to thank those of you who have sent e-mails or signed into the Lettercol 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
Kim Holec
Poetry Editor
Jeffrey Williams
Production Editor/Serials Editor

Serialized Stories & Novelettes

  • WDPS --Part 2--
    By Ray Griffiths
    "The year is 2550 and mankind is in decline. (Well, more in decline than usual.) Edgar Connell, however, is not inclined to be in decline at all. His job is Euro-Security and Euro-Security has sent him to the domed city of Exeter to discover the reasons for its lack of communication and apparent lifelessness. Connell discovers the reasons are chilling."
  • Shayla
    By Alex Young
    Pacelac is a dwarf known throughout his world, feared and admired as one of the greatest warriors of his age. His adventures and mercenary exploits are the stuff of legend. But does this hardened adventurer have what it takes to escort a marked young girl to her new home? And what's with the pink armour?
  • Shiva Jones
    By McCamy Taylor
    "Old City is home to the vagrants, to the poor... and to some of the most powerful magicians in the area. But a mysterious contestant at a 'magic slam' and a series of dark occurrences point to something more sinister moving into the neighbourhood."
  • Who's Sword Is It, Anyway? --Part 1 of 5--
    By Ralph Benedetto, Jr.
    "The College of Ru'aath has turned out the keenest swordsman, the ablest spell casters and the finest musicians of the age. That's probably why Caitlin, Mal and Rivenbark got kicked out."

  • Read more great stories from the Aphelion Archives

    Short Stories

  • The Aldis Mission
    By Ralph Benedetto, Jr.
    Campbell Reese discovers new meanings of justice.
  • The Agreement
    By Terry Bramlett
    Love and commitment bind us together, without regard to tribulation, circumstance or age.

  • Animism
    By George M. Scott
    To believe or not to believe. That is the question Professor Laurie Dickinson must answer if she is to save her life.

  • Go Forth And Multiply
    By Stephen Thompson
    The end of the world was an exciting time for a seven-year-old. It would have been a lot of fun, if his best friend wasn't dying.

  • The Horseman
    By Jolene Lau
    Do you see him? Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream--making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment...that notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams.... --Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.

  • The New Guy
    By Daniel F. Beaupre'
    Here is a tale of one man who refused to accept the inevitable.

  • The Opium of the People
    By J. Alan Erwine
    You can hide, or you can run. For Albert Silverberg, it may already be too late.

  • ReCycled Hero
    By JonJack
    Hell opened up and spat out a hero. A Writer's Challenge II Story.

  • There's No Business Like Snow's Business
    By Craig Cornwell
    Hercules, A mythical Bull and a legendary task, all add up to a very strange case for Snow Spackman, the world's finest wise-cracking detective. You got a problem, who ya gonna call?

  • Subroutine
    By Paul Gibson
    The aliens were everywhere, and the human race was finished. Nevertheless, the 22nd Ohio Resistance Company had one final mission to perform.

  • The End of the Road
    By Iain McWilliam
    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

  • Jamie Reborn
    By Larry Ayres
    You may cling to life to the very end, but if you have faith, you may take a leap into the cold, cold dark.

  • Liar's Bar
    By Iain Muir
    "From the dizzying height of her full 5’2", the waitress looked down at the heap of lace and embroidery on the floor, an earth mother figure in a peasant blouse and gypsy skirts. Hooped gold earrings peered out from under her dark curled hair. She was carrying four two-litre beer steins easily in each hand. She nudged his head with one slippered foot."

    Read the updated Submissions Guidelines
    Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page

    Poetry and Filk Music

  • The Physics Of Love
    By Kate Thornton

  • The Blonde
    By Mike Rasmussen

  • Cut-off
    By Sven Klopping

  • The Roofs of Tara
    By Iain Muir

  • Features

    The Mare Inebrium shared universe project
    I open up my own Spaceport Bar to other writers! An introduction to the project.
    The Mare Inebrium Shared Universe Project
    The Mare Inebrium stories to date.
    A shortcut to the links to all the mare stories.
  • Aphelion's Daily Comics
    By Mark Stanley, and Steve Troop
    Did he say daily? Yep, Aphelion is proud to feature two of the funniest comic strips on the Internet, Mark Stanley's "Freefall" and Steve Troop's "The Melonpool Chronicles". Bookmark this page, you don't want to miss a single instalment!
  • Double Wide
    by Jim Parnell
    One Step Forward, Two Steps Back WARNING: Contains Language.
  • The Listening Room
    by Rob Wynne
    Rob Wynne gives a spin to Bob Kanefsky's new album of parodies, Roundworm
  • The Awards Page
    All of the Awards that Aphelion has won.
  • -01\21\2000 - A Challenge to Writers...
    Not a contest, but a series of ideas to spark off a story.

  • P.S.

    In case anyone is curious as to exactly what's been keeping me so busy, I've planned a few webpages that show the progress of my landscaping, interior decoration, and housework. Look for it in my personal pages at Casa Vila. Its the beginning of a sort of photographic timeline of my yard work and such. I don't know why anyone would want to see it, but Rob thought that someone might, so I worked it up. Expect it to be updated as I get new film developed and scanned. I have two new rolls of film shot for this page and expect to update it within the next few weeks.


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    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<

  • Excentrivial Musings: The Aphelion Cartoon Page.
  • Dan Hollifield reviews: Coming soon, a new review.
  • Short story submissions; Cary Semar
  • Serialized stories: Jeff Williams
  • 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.
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    Back Issues:

    Instead of the back issues the banner below now takes you to the Archives-where all our past stories are available for you to read.

    I've decided to ditch the back issues in favour of the Archives. The Archives are easier to use and can be indexed by author or story title. Hopefully this will ease the task of finding a favorited story. We may start a page of our past cover art, if there is a call for it. Thanks for your readership for without you, nothing we do has any meaning.

    Aphelion Back Issues!
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    Aphelion Webzine is 1997-2000 by Dan L. Hollifield