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 64, Volume 6 -- November 2002

Issue 65, Volume 6 will be online 1st week of December.

"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


Be forewarned, the Senior Editor is back!

Hello and welcome!

If you've been reading the Lettercol (and if you haven't- shame on you) you already know that my computer is finally (mostly) repaired and I have returned to the fabulous universe of the online community that is Aphelion- Oh, and the rest of the internet too, of course. I want to thank everyone on the staff for keeping Aphelion going while I was offline. Iain did some nice editorials, Cary laid out the index pages, and everyone pitched in to cover my absence very well. Give them a hand, folks!

Not that my computer is back 100%, mind you- I have only one word processor re-installed instead of the four I was used to using. None of the files stored with those processors were recovered, so every submission ever sent to me is gone if it was an attachment in a word processor format. This also means that I no longer have a couple of novels of my own that I'd been puttering around with from time to time. To top things off, I messed up my e-mailer profile the day I got my computer back, so all the e-mail I recieved since '97 and before mid-October, is locked away from me. I can get at it with some effort, but there's an awful lot of code and gibberish that makes the result nearly unreadable. The net effect is that I must ask you not to expect me to be able to refer to old e-mails until I figure out how to un-do whatever it was I did wrong. Thankfully, everything that had been made into HTML files was stored online in the website. Also, I have been told that it may be possible for me to network my old 386 with this P-90 dinosaur that I currently use and recover some more files from the damaged hard drive. It is a small possibility, vanishingly small, but I do intend to try it when I get far enough ahead of my billsto buy the necessary network cards and whatnot. Wish me luck.

Now I don't really have anything to rant about, but that's never stopped me before. Let's see... The October of terror is over with the capture of the DC snipers (in spite of CNN's valiant effort to keep them informed of every move the police were making to uncover their identity), the monsters of Enron have recieved a slap on the wrist, the stock market has stumbled so badly that my retirement 401k has lost a whole heap of cash, Osama is still in hiding (or dead and no one has found the body), and little Georgie has vowed to finish the job his Daddy chickened out of a decade ago on Saddam Insane. Sounds like old times, eh? So what's that got to do with speculative fiction?

Its all grist for our mill, you see. What happens in our day-to-day world prompts the fiction of the future. There are whole new technologies that can be mined for story ideas popping up all around us every day. Military stuff, space stuff, archaeological stuff, crime stuff- Writers can make use of it all. Whatever it takes to get over the barrier of the "Dreaded White Page" that Iain wrote about in last issue's editorial. All these things, and more, contribute to sparking off stories, giving writers some message to impart, a tale to tell, an adventure to relate. Not only do we need to research what we write about, we also need to keep up with current events. You never can tell where your next story is going to come from. Stock your mind with everything you can. It'll come in handy, more often than not.

Now that everyone can stop walking in zig-zag patterns to avoid snipers, will we see that in someone's new story as a casual detail of futuristic city life? Probably. (Oh dear, I could swear I just heard some Fantasy writers shrieking "what about us?" Well, there are lots of elves in different mythologies that don't fit in with the way Poppa Tolkien wrote his. Read more varities of mythologies from wide ranging countries. Irish elves are different from Amerind elves, for instance. And there are monsters that have never been used in D&D manuals. There are other sources of information, you know.) My point is: feed your mind. A well stocked imagination is any writer's best tool. It doesn't matter if you write Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Poetry, Filk, or Martian Haiku. Everything and anything can wind up being useful, can contribute to a better telling of whatever tale you create. So watch CNN, the History Channel, TLC, Discovery, PBS, read the paper, go to the library- whatever. Feed your mind!

We now return you to your regularly scheduled fiction...

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

Serialized Stories & Novellettes

  • The Questors Part One
    By Frederick Rustam
    In their first day at Questor Institute, Kevin and Marylou strike up a friendship, compare their respective performances in the unusual aptitude test they took, and learn from its Rector what their radical new tech school is all about.

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

  • Anomalies
    By Indrapramit Das
    In a war without end, a soldier fights without hope of victory, until...
  • Book of the Living
    By McCamy Taylor
    Rusty, Knight of Death, has a mission to perform. A "Sister Death" story.
  • Firebreak
    By Chris Upson
    The trouble with reality is, it is all in your mind.
  • Gone
    By Najla Ann Al-Doori
    The Crudarkans wanted Prasm for their own expanding settlements. If they were in any way to survive, the Prasmians had to abandon their home world.
  • Alger-9
    By Eric Karlsson
    Here is an interesting variation on a theme by Daniel Keyes.
  • Kraigen's Secret
    By Ben Jonjak
    Kraigen knew the battle was on... He'd managed to live this long by putting the pieces together before anybody else. He could see what was coming.
  • A Fair Deal
    By Anthony Addis
    Lal was a stilt fisherman and he had been falsely convicted of theft. How was he going to support his family after they cut off his hand?

  • Time Loves A Hero
    By John Shanahan
    The Eternal Champion was eternally sick and tired of fighting the Forces of Chaos. So when the Powers that Be materialize him in the Mare Inebrium, he's just a little cranky.
    A Mare Inebrium Story

Read the updated Submissions Guidelines
Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page

Poetry and Filk Music

A Challenge to Aphelion's poets and writers of Doggerel! December is nearly upon us, and I feel the need to spread some holiday cheer! Send me musings on the alien S'ant ak Lause, send me tales of the perils of drinking too much warm milk and eating too many cookies in a single night, send me musings on the TRUE meaning of Channukah, but mostly, send me holiday poems! The best (or worst!) will grace these pages in December. Hoist your glasses of eggnog, and get writing! - Iain

The Mare Inebrium

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.
The Mare Inebrium Starter Kit.
--Updated 4/22/2002--

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!

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!

A Timeline of Bethdish: Updated 4/11/2002


  • 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
    The collected wisdom of Bubba
    WARNING: Contains Language.

    Aphelion proudly presents the installments of Double Wide all on one page of links. We wanted to make sure that the wit and wisdom of Bubba wasn't lost for new readers, so we made a mini-archive list of just the Double Wide features.
  • Dan Hollifield reviews:
    "Accidental Encounter"

    A novel by Noel Carroll
    Unwilling participants in a double-edged nightmare.
  • The Listening Room
    by Rob Wynne
    Rob Wynne bangs his head against Phoenix's "Into the Fire"

  • 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!

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 © 1997-2002 by Dan L. Hollifield