Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 46, Volume 5 -- April 2001

Issue 47, Volume 5 will be online 1st week of May.

"And if you believe that- you'll buy this watch..."
Saint Robere Guilams

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Since January 27th 1997

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

Hello and welcome!

Roger Bennett got back in touch with me over this past month and was highly complementary about Aphelion and what we've become. I asked him for a quote for this issue and this was his reply:

"It is sometimes quite interesting and indeed rewarding to see where one's efforts wind up. When I launched my old webzine, THE DRAGON'S LAIR, way back in 1996, this fellow by the name of Holifield sent in a submission. I recognized a good writer; and over the next few issues I realized that he would make a great Editor.

After a severe disappointment involving loosing a story to a hardcopy magazine, I decided to close the LAIR. Dan begged me not to; and in the end he offered to keep it going. I agreed, and sent him all the files needed to run a 'zine. A name change took place, and APHELION was born.

Now, several years later, APHELION has matured into one of the oldest and perhaps the best 'zines on the Web. With a lot of innovative changes (including the Mare Inebrium Shared Universe Project) APHELION offeres the reader a true Science Fiction and Fantasy experience; one not to be missed.

To Dan and all his staff, a loud and resounding WELL DONE!!


Roger also said that although his job takes up more and more of his time, he's still writing. As a matter of fact, he came up with a great title as he typed one of his messages to me. I wish I'd thought of it, actually.

For those of you who have been reading my editorials for a while, by now you've figured out that I do a lot of reading on the internet in a wide range of fields. It has a way of paying off- not only with story ideas, but because I get a kick out of learning something. Frankly, it doesn't matter whether its the cutting edge of science or the history of JFK assassination conspiracy theories... I just like reading up on things.

Well, science has finally caught up with one of my personal favorite genres of Sci-fi and Fantasy- the alternate universe story. According to the Astrophysicists, "our universe contains an infinite number of other, similar universes, called O-regions." Cosmiverse- Space News has all the details, but I'll try to condense it here.

It seems that Larry Niven was right and that every choice you make every minute of every day spawns alternate universes. There's a universe born for each possibility. Every time you've stubbed your toe in the dark, another you somewhere else decided to turn the light on and thus missed out on stubbing their toe. On the other hand, if you've ever had a narrow escape from death-- some other you somewhere else wasn't so lucky. Other writers who've explored the field of alternate universes have covered other aspects of this new development in Astrophysics. Each universe has a slightly different history than our own and there ought to be a copy of each of us them all... Except for the inevitable universe where we didn't happen to be born in the first place- there'd be one of those for each of us also. L. Niel Smith, H. Beam Piper, Andre Norton, Keith Laumer, Robert Heinlein-- and many, many more have explored the idea of sideways-in-time stories. Now it looks as if they were each and every one describing a possible version of our reality.

If anything is possible, then everything becomes required.

If these scientists are truly drawing a more accurate picture of the universe we live in, then M.C. Esher doesn't look so strange any longer. And, they add, new alternate universes keep being created as the visible universe expands... Perhaps we writers are scripting out these emerging universes using nothing more powerful than our imagination and creativity. Whatever we create exists, somewhere.

One thing to keep in mind, you are the only copy of you whose life you can live, so the choices you make in your life aren't trivial. So what if a billion other yous are doing everything that you could have chosen to have done? You're still unique, you have no access to any of the yous on other timelines... Except that the article also mentions that these researchers think that it may one day be possible to communicate between these alternate universes. Travel always seems to follow communication... Where could it all end?

Only time will tell. After all, who is to say that the Astrophysicists have got it exactly right this time? Not me. I'm still waiting for Heisenberg to make up his mind.

Thanks for your time.


Announcing Aphelion's Next Writing Contest!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Aphelion is sponsoring another short story contest. This one's theme: the Return of the King. Not Tolkien's king. I speak of the once and future king, King Arthur of Britain. When Mallory closed his famous epic, he left the door open for a sequel with these lines:

"Yet som men say in many partys of Inglonde that kynge Arthure ys not ded, but had by the wyll of oure Lorde Jesu into another place, and men say he shall com agayne."

Mallory is not likely to come again, so it is up to us. The contest rules are simple. Write a story of no more than 5000 words about King Arthur's return. You pick the time, place and manner of his return. The story can be science fiction, high fantasy or anything in between. One entry per person. Submissions must be received by May 15, 2001 and should include the words "Return of the king contest submission" in the header. Winners will be printed in the July issue of Aphelion.

Contest entries should be e-mailed to "Return of the king contest submission" no later than midnight (EST) May 15, 2001.

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
Kim Holec
Poetry/Filk Editor
Robert Wynne
Cary Semar
Short Story Editor
McCamy Taylor
Asssistant Short Story Editor
Jeffrey Williams
Production Editor/Serials Editor
Ralph Benedetto, Jr.
Asssistant Serials Editor
Roger Bennett
Editor Emeritus

Serialized Stories & Novellettes

  • Eternity Wasted
    By Guy Hasson
    Prof. Arthur Bates discovers how one can live a billion-trillion times the age of the universe. But his technology has a built-in catch... (This technology may only be a century or two away!)

  • Aphelion Special Presentation

  • Illegal Aliens

    By Nick Pollotta and Phil Foglio
    When a spaceship lands in Central Park, its a shame that the first humans to gain entry happened to be a street gang...
    A sample chapter of the soon to be re-issued Sci-fi/Humor novel.

  • Read more great stories from the
    Aphelion Archives
    Aphelion Back Issues

    Or Take

    - 8\8\2000 - A Challenge to Writers...
    Not a contest, but a series of ideas to spark off a story.

    Short Stories

  • Resurrecting Jack
    By Vincent L. Scarsella
    Jack had been dead only three months when Gail decided to resurrect him.
  • Eve
    By John A. Gilmore
    In the dawn of time the story of our race began, not with a man and a woman, but with a question. We are still searching for the answer.

  • Billy Bass
    By Robert Thurston
    This novelty item is popular all over the world. Queen Elizabeth has one and she loves it.

  • Raw Terra
    By Nick Pollotta
    On Titan, a steam locomotive is towing a tankcar full of Yum, to clean up the industrial sewer known as Underdunk. Someone is desperately trying to stop it.

  • Treasure of the Mosaic King
    By Frederick Rustam
    Clever galactic archaeology students must outwit their elders to solve the mystery of the mysterious mosaic busts. The late King Yoy, however, has more than one trick up his sleeve.

  • Hitman
    By Mark Stanley
    When systems advance in complexity, they eventually cross the threshhold of vulnerability. The human organism crossed that threshhold long ago.

  • Hunt for the Chuma-Kaa
    By Peter Bergman, Jr.
    Even on distant planets under strange suns, humans find it difficult to abandon the habit of ascribing human motives to alien races.

  • Why There is no Thunder When it Snows
    By Lance Hawvermale
    There are some crimes that not even god can forgive.

  • The Maltese Fiction
    By McCamy Taylor
    Her beauty was stunning, she could have had her pick of almost any male in the Mare Inebrium. But Sydney RueVerte had come to the Mare searching for someone in particular. And no one was going to be allowed to get in her way!

  • Read the updated Submissions Guidelines
    Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page

    Poetry and Filk Music

  • Flamestrike
    By Phillip Allcock

  • Slowing the Speed of Light
    By Kate Thornton

  • Cherries for Will
    By Eric Whollem

  • Look Now!
    By Mark McLaughlin

  • The Mare Inebrium

    Links Updated -- 9-10-00 --
    Each of the three links below have changed. Please take note and adjust your Bookmarks if necessary. The first link below gives you the introduction to the Mare Inebrium, the banner link now gives you access to all of the Mare stories, and the third link now gives you acess to the Mare Inebrium Online Starter kit. The online Starter Kit will be updated as often as Mare writers make necessary.

    The Mare Inebrium shared universe project
    I open up my own Spaceport Bar to other writers!
    This link takes you to the full introduction to the project.

    Tales of the Mare Inebrium
    All the Mare Inebrium Stories to date.

    The banner above links to
    all the Mare Inebrium Stories on one page!

    The Mare Inebrium Starter Kit.
    --Updated 12/10/2000--

    This is a link to all the background information for the Mare Inebrium stories so far.
    This is a must read for all Mare Inebrium writers and fans!


  • 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 installment!

  • Double Wide
    by Jim Parnell
    "Interview with the Jasper"
    WARNING: Contains Language.

  • Dan Hollifield reviews:
    "Wizard Sword"
    -- The new novel by William Hill
    A classic fantasy with a unique take on some of the familiar elements of the genre.
  • The Listening Room
    by Rob Wynne
    Rob Wynne bangs his head against Phoenix's "Into the Fire"

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

  • A Challenge to Writers...
    Not a contest, but a series of ideas to spark off a story. Challenge 1 is the paintings of Daniel Hannaquand, Challenge 2 is a collection of narrative hooks composed by Dan Hollifield.
  • Aphelion Links Page
    Click here to see the Links Page. Our fellow E-zines, Astronomy, research material, entertainment, and much, much more!

  • Aphelion IRC Chat
    Information about a new feature for Aphelion. IRC Chat is a fun way to talk to our readers, writers, staff members, and other netizens. This link takes you to a basic intro and provides further links to the IRC software that you can download for free. Look for new updates as we refine this feature.
  • Aphelion JAVA Chat
    For a quick look at the JAVA chat client, this link launches a new browser window that takes you to a Log-in form for a JAVA-based chat in your browser window. No specian programs are needed. This will be a very simple, but passable IRC client, very no-frills. This will also tell you if there's anyone else in the chatroom, by the way.

  • Aphelion Banners
    And banner artwork for links.

    If you want to link to Aphelion and want more than a text link, then this page is for you. Some of these banners are finished, but most of them lack only my adding text to make them complete. Unfinished banners can be completed and e-mailed to you within 8 days. The banner HTML code-- and image --can be e-mailed on request, or can be more simply copied from the "View / Page Source" option in your web browser. Finished images can be copied from the banner artwork page itself. An exchange of links or banner links is always welcome.
    Link Swap E-mail should be sent to: Dan Hollifield

  • 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!

  • --7\21\2000-- Click here to see the Links Page
  • Link Swap E-mail: Dan Hollifield

  • Excentrivial Musings: Dan Hollifield's Original Cartoon Page. Not updated in a long time.
  • Dan Hollifield reviews: The reviews index page.
  • Review Inqueries E-mail: Dan Hollifield
  • Review Query FAQ: All the info you need to mail a book or CD to Aphelion for 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.

  • 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 favor 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 favorite 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!
    You can e-mail the Senior Editor by clicking here.
    Sideways to the Mare Inebrium!

    Sideways to the Mare Inebrium, homepage of Aphelion's Editor: Dan L. Hollifield

    Click HERE to vote for this page as a Starting Point Hot Site.

    Aphelion Webzine is 1997-2000 by Dan L. Hollifield