Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Flash Writing Challenge
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 73, Volume 7 -- August 2003

Issue 74, Volume 7 will be online 1st week of September.

"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 Usual Rant from the Aphelion Senior Editor:

Spam is on the rise, viruses abound, protect your computer or face having it messed up by some faceless entity! Fire! Fear! Foes! Alert! Man the Baricades! The barbarians are at the gate! Harlan Ellison is suing AOL over information that was transfered through their machinery in an attempt to block plagairism of his work!

OK, relax, its not that bad. I've just been more aware of these things since my recent virus attack a couple of months ago. There's not a day that goes by now that I don't get a alert that some virus or other has been blocked from entering my computer, due to my ISP's anti-virus/anti-spam programs, and the similar programs I now have installed on my main computer. My spam is now up to something close to 450 e-mails a day, with only 3 to 12 non-spam messages a day. My telephone rings every few minutes with telemarketers, whose calls get killed by my answering machine most of the time. Life is rapidly becoming a series of filters that we use to buffer ourselves from the nastier elements of our daily lives in civilization. And Harlan ought to be able to sue AOL to force them to remove the stolen works and provide the names of the offenders to the authorites if the pilfered stories were posted on an AOL website. That sort of thing needs to be stopped, quickly!

But Harlan's swiped stories were posted on Usenet, not AOL. AOL only carried the files from uploaded to destination, like a phone company carrying a call. Should the local phone company be held responsible for a crank call made through it's system? This time, I think Harlan is chasing the wrong game. His lawyers have led him on a persuit of the deepest pockets, not the guilty parties. If Harlan wins this one, every ISP would be open to lawsuits over the content of information that simply passes through it. That's as if New York City were to be sued for allowing the September 11th terrorists to operate an airplane over the city's environs!

If you are fans of Harlan's, please write him a nice e-mail or letter asking him to tell his lawyers to go after the people who stole his work rather than the people who carried the signal. Any lawsuit against AOL should be for hosting stolen works, not hosting e-mail or file transfers. Even if you aren't a fan of Harlan's, a polite note of disagreement with his lawyer's aims wouldn't be wasted effort. Despite his reputation, Harlan Ellison will listen to reasoned, polite arguments. He simply doesn't suffer fools gladly, that's all. I don't have his e-mail address to offer, but I'm sure that there is a public address that one could use. Google it, if necessary. And remember at all times that Harlan is doing this because he wants to end online plagairism of everyone's work, not because he wants to line his pockets. He has always been a "take no bull" sort of guy, and this was a personal affront to him.

If the truth were to be told, I'm not even that big a fan of Harlan, but I admit that he deserves respect as much as any other writer who has placed his work before the public in any medium. AOL needs to be held accountable for plagairism posted on the websites that it hosts, to the extent that AOL needs to provide information to the authorities for legal action when plagairism has been found in one of their hosted websites. AOL is the world's worst ISP when it comes to forcing the removal of plagairised work, and they need their noses thumped hard, I agree. But to pursue them when the guilty party is clearly someone else is not good for anyone online.

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 Six
    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.

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

  • Connections
    By Indrapramit Das
    The shockwave rippled silently through space, debris searing through vacuum as the cargo unit exploded. The luminous orb of the planet peered passively at the unfolding chaos, omnipresent, unmoving, forgotten in the moment. Torpedoes streamed out of the spherical spacecraft like glowing wasps, gently rippling out to shatter the orbital drones.
  • Sole Survivor
    By Brian Powers
    John Latimer, journalist extraordinaire, uncovers a story that can never be told.
  • Sharing Day
    By Brian Pacula
    Try to imagine a society where the medium of exchange is bandwith...
  • What to Change
    By Robert Collins
    If you could go back to the past and correct your mistakes, what would you change?
  • The Killer's Choice
    By John Biggs
    Sometimes the only significance of a man's life consists of one single act.
  • The Legend of Sj÷witz
    By Erica Blaney
    "All water can remember," grandmama explained, "but it has to be taught to remember to remember."
  • A Matter of Time
    By Robert Moriyama
    Al Majius and company have a mad uberwizard and a pack of anti-werewolf fanatics on their backs, but Time is on their side.

Read the updated (July 3, 2003) Submissions Guidelines
Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page

Poetry and Filk Music

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


  • Dan Hollifield Previews:
    "Tru Calling"

    The upcoming FOX sci-fi/fantasy TV series for Fall of 2003
    Aphelion has been chosen to preview a new fall TV series from the FOX Network.
  • Dan Hollifield Reviews:
    "Milky Way Marmalade"

    The new sci-fi/humor novel by Mike DeCerto
    A quest to save the universe just cries out to include Rock and Roll music. Luckily, this one does.
  • NEXT ISSUE: Dan Hollifield Reviews:
    "Thran Reborn: Book One of the Thran Chronicles"

    The first of a new series of novels by Aphelion writer H. David Blalock!

  • 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 an underused 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 special 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@lists.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.

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Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2002 by Dan L. Hollifield