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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 72, Volume 7 -- July 2003

Issue 73, Volume 7 will be online 1st week of August.

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And what do I owe my untimely lapse from sight during last month? A short circut and an e-mail virus. A transformer can go wonky on you at any time. Sort of like vacuum tubes used to do back in the stone age of my youth. Transformer winding is as much an art as a manufacturing process, so any trainee can easily produce flawed work at first. I can accept that and praise how easy it is to replace one yourself, once you've got the replacement part in your hands. It took me fifteen minutes to take the old power supply box out of the computer and then put the new one in. Up and running and online in half an hour.

I installed the new anti-virus software, firewall, spam blocker and such in the revived new computer, and scanned it for viruses. When I was sure it was clean, I had the program make me a clean-boot disc with the anti-virus search and destroy .exe installed. I needed that for the old computer. I'd been using it as a back-up since the new one died. And somehow, I'd been e-mailed a virus.

I hate viruses... A lot... A whole lot.

What makes someone do that? What drives an obviosly intelligent person to write up something that causes so much grief and trouble? This one was aimed at IRC networks, I determined as it was killed out of the old computer. I hereby appologise to anyone who had trouble with their chat networks in late April and June. My computer might have been part of a bot attack on some chat network in those few times I tried to go online during that time. I tried to keep my online time to a minimum. But back to the virus- What I could see of it's actions as I tried to figure out what was happening told me that it wasn't erasing files yet, just transmitting IRC messages, and maybe a few copies of itself using e-mail programs I don't use, like Outlook Express. Its on my computer, but I use something else. Its Address Book is empty, so the virus has to use addresses that it has in memory. In any case, I've got most of the virus killed out of the old computer. All that is left is to hunt down about eight files from the back-up Windows 98 CD and copy them into the old computer. I keep putting that off because its going to take hours to search the files out of the CD. They'll be archived and compressed somewhere in a .cab file, no doubt. I had some experience with that problem when I set up the LAN between the two computers. (Oh, I had disconnected the LAN from the new computer as soon as I figured out that the old one had a virus. The new one had been down for two weeks before the virus struck the old one.) I had to find several files off of the back-up CD to get rid of several error flags that popped up about the old computer not being able to find specific files for the LAN on boot up. It took hours to find them all. So I'm not looking forward to doing it again. But I'll have to. The old computer has the scanner that I need for cover illo pics for the Reviews section. So there aren't any pics in the reviews yet this month. I'll put them in later.

The anti-spam program is wonderful. My e-mails had gone from thirty or forty messages a day, to over a hundred. And the good messages were still onlu a dozen or so a day. Now, it isn't unusual to see my inbox crammed with two hundred to four hundred messages a day. And the good messages are still a dozen or less every day. The Mcafee Spam Killer program is catching 99% of that spam and letting me get to my good messages more easily. It isn't perfect, but it is awfully good. I recommend it.

So the up-shot of all the above is that once my work schedule permitted, I was finally able to get started working on this issue. But I'm left with a five week long loathing for those people who write viruses and unleash them on the public. Going on six weeks now. There are e-mail messages on the old computer that it will be hard to access with the new computer. With our deadline looming, I don't have time to deal with that right now. But my anger did provide material for this editorial.

All of life is grist for the writer's mill. Any random event one experiences can turn up in a story, somewhere. I've been told that that is a mark of good writing, for the author to throw little snippets of reality into the fiction-mix. I suppose that everyone will be looking for computer virus stories from me for a while. LOL!

Thanks for your time,


I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...

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

  • Madak -- Part Five
    By James McCormick
    Jonathon Blake, a divorced ex cop and washed up private eye who hates his job, is shaken from his inertia when his son goes missing in strange circumstances. Having few clues to go on, Blake must first navigates his way through the world of crime and street gangs before he can begin to learn what is going on. With the help of a mysterious Egyptian academic and his strange servant Omar, he pushes forward towards a confrontation for which no one, it turns out, could posssibly be preperared.
  • That Darn Squid God -- Sample Chapters!
    By Nick Pollotta & James Clay
    Stepping from a horse-drawn carriage into the thick mist, Professor Felix Einstein paused on the sidewalk to briefly consult the small glass globe in his hand. Trapped in the middle of the crystalline sphere was a mummified Egyptian tarantula that remained motionless under his hard scrutiny, and the professor relaxed at the sign that there was no evil magic in the immediate vicinity. At least, for the moment.

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

  • Penance
    By James Brian King
    A former scribe of the Inquisition bears witness to a supernatural conflict between good and evil.
  • The Burnt Man
    By Greg Guerin
    How many times can a man be burnt before he becomes characoal?
  • Last Man Standing
    By L.G. Carrillo
    Trevor finds himself far from home in a world left in ruins, perhaps the Last Man Standing after a nuclear exchange involving the U.S., Korea, and China.
  • Rurik the Weasel
    By Cameron Neilson
    Rurik couldn't last a week in the deadlands, they had said, nevertheless here he was facing down a blue-uniformed walking corpse with nothing but a small knife. Timing, he knew, was everything.
  • Miracle of Acastas
    By Colin J. Fenwick
    The first miracle of Jenda Hebrican occurred minutes after his birth. When his hand touched the implant that had replaced his motherís cancerous breast, the gel turned to milk-producing flesh. His mother felt the change and wept as Jenda nursed contentedly.
  • Four's a Crowd
    By E.S. Strout
    When a crew of intrepid space explorers reach the edge of the universe, they are amazed by what they find, but the real surprise awaits them when they return.
  • Turing's Children
    By Radigast
    In the far future the interface between man and machine becomes more and more a gray area.

  • Maybe Next Time
    By J. Brian Jones
    For every hero, there is a dragon. A red dragon.
  • Unsung Heroes
    By Mizu Ash
    He used to send out agents to adjust timelines, but now he's retired and wants to check the impact he had made on the probable histories of the human race.

  • Read the updated (July 3, 2003) Submissions Guidelines
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    A Timeline of Bethdish: Updated 4/11/2002


    • Dan Hollifield reviews:
      "Lost in a Good Book"

      The new Thursday Next novel by Jasper Fforde
      Literatec Tuesday Next fights against the visious deletion of her husband.
    • Dan Hollifield reviews:
      "Releasing the Demons"

      The new horror collection by Sirrus Poe
      Short stories and poems to frighten and tingle
    • 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.
    • 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
      --Repaired 3\25\2003--
      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.

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      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.
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    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.

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