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 48, Volume 5 -- June 2001

Issue 49, Volume 5 will be online 1st week of July.

"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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Freefall! The Melonpool Chronicles


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

Hello and welcome!

I'd like to appologise for the lateness of this issue, which is entirely my fault. This has been the hardest issue of Aphelion that I've ever done-- and I almost didn't get it done at all. Due to last month's severe weather keeping me offline most of the month, a minor bout of food poisoning from a local seafood resturant, and some distressing developments in my personal life-- I almost let myself wallow in depression and find a hole to crawl into and pull shut behind me.


But you helped me keep my head screwed on straight.

You see, I owe you. Each and every one of you. Every reader, every writer, each member of the Aphelion staff-- All of you. And I pay my debts.

Aphelion is more than a mere hobby for me, its an obsession. As Publisher, I feel that I've made a promise to each and every one of you that there will be an issue of Aphelion every month. No matter what's going on in my life, I'm committed to putting out the next issue, and the next, and the next... Come hail or high water.

So here I am on June 6th, finally getting off my butt to fulfill my obligations. "What a long, strange trip its been..."

So what am I going to rant about for this editorial? Well, I can't do anything about the weather, the resturant in question has been advised that they need to tighten up on their food quality or next time they'll see me in court, and my personal problems would bore you to tears... So what's left?

My thoughts keep coming back to the subject of my obligations. From where I stand, that's a curious concept. An un-written, un-spoken promise to people worldwide that remain un-seen to me. A mental contract, so to speak. Now that's heavy. But how do these sorts of things come about? Gradually? Suddenly? Overtly? Covertly? Is it a form of "honor" or is it a type of mental illness? What makes us as human beings feel that we have incurred a debt to others?

Obligations pop up everywhere in our lives. Some of them without our consent, some even without our notice, but there they are. We feel driven to discharge the debt-- (or at least I do and I figure I'm pretty average for a human. Anything I can do, you can learn to do if you want.) As writers, we're obligated to produce the best work that we can. As readers, we're obligated to give the writers an honest chance to entertain us. (As Editors, we're obligated to get off our butts and get the job done. LOL!) Obligations can steal our time away and leave us with nothing left over for ourselves. They can also give us the incentive that we need to keep going, despite the obstacles that our lives put in our way. Like everything else in our all too human lives, our obligations can be either constructive or destructive, hot or cold, positive or negative. Its really up to each of us to make of our own lives the best that we are able. That's an obligation to ourselves!

The life that you are living right now is the only one you're going to have (or remember-- if you believe in reincarnation) so you are obligated to yourself to make it the best one you can possibly have. "To thine own self be true..."

You owe it to yourself to be the best "you" that you can be. Yeah, I know that US Army has a copyright on that "be all that you can be" jazz. But my point is that its a true statement for everyone, everywhere! Life is far too short to waste on half-assed efforts, self pity, or even procrastination. If you've got something that you need to do, do it! Do it now! Do it the best that you are able and take pride in your work, then go on to the next job, the next task, the next obligation. Sure, its a never-ending chain of debts to others, but that's just life. All of us face the same things, all of us have our own problems.

The trick is not to get overwhelmed by the problems. You are not alone. Never have been, never will be. We are all interconnected by obligations to each other. Use them as a source of strength, not as a source of dispair. Its not a chain holding you down, its a lifeline holding us all together for safety.

You are not alone. I'm here for when you need me. And thank you for being there for me when I need you.

Thanks for your time.


Aphelion's "Return of the King" 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."

The contest is now closed and judging is underway. Winners will be printed in the July issue of Aphelion. Due to my health problems, the prize graphics will not be ready on time. I offer my appologies to the contestants. {Dan}

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

Aphelion Special Presentation

  • Starshock --Pt. 1 of 3--
    By Roger Bennett
    A century ago the T'zirian Empire first found the Human colony near its borders. At first there was an uneasy peace, then finally there was war between the two expanding empires. After that there was another uneasy peace between the humans and T'zirians. But as always, peace was a very fragile thing...

  • 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

  • Sound Idea
    By Meghashri Dalvi
    Einstein said he could see farther because he stood on the shoulders of giants. But what if the giant could see what Einstein saw?
  • Kansas
    By McCamy Taylor
    Something tells me that we not are in Oz anymore.

  • Dreamparty Teascape
    By Michael Elmore
    In this first published work by a new writer, time and place are warped when a pay phone liberates the unconscious mind.

  • Darkness on Faldor
    By Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols
    The offworlder's are coming to take our women!

  • Bipartisan
    By Colin Harvey
    Sometimes Love isn't enough. Sometimes too much love can be as dangerous as not enough.

  • The Drink
    By Jay Friess
    Jean was a man without illusions. That is why he was so good at what he did.

  • Dreamers: The Chase
    By Christian R. Bonawandt
    This universe is a mesh network of over-lapping dreams. It's like a maze, and if one passage is cut off, or too many turns are taken, you can get lost.

  • Read the updated Submissions Guidelines
    Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page

    Poetry and Filk Music

  • A Good Troop
    By Teri Wachowiak

  • Request
    By Michael Fantina

  • Past The Door
    By Becky Rankin

  • Rehabilitation
    By David Whippman

  • 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
    Say Good Night Gracie
    WARNING: Contains Language.
    Aphelion reluctantly presents the last regular installment of Double Wide. Jim informs us that he's begun work on a novel and wants to give it his full attention, and he's the kind of guy that can't stand to do less than his best. Please join myself and the Editorial Mafia in suporting his decision to take that next big step as a writer.
  • Dan Hollifield reviews:

    The newest novel by Ian Stewart
    The classic novel "Flatland" revisited for a new age. Multidimentional math made interesting and fun, woven into a classic "quest" story.
  • 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!

  • --6\08\2001-- 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