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 78, Volume 8 -- February 2004

Happy Birthday, Aphelion!

Issue 79, Volume 8 will be online 1st week of March, 2004.

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

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The Usual Rant from the Aphelion Senior Editor:

What a long strange trip its been. Here we are- starting Aphelion's seventh year. Has it really been that long? I guess it has. My how time flies when you're running yourself ragged to keep up, LOL! No- its all been fun, really.

We've got a great line up of stories for you, scads of reviews of new books coming out, and lots of updates to our regular features. So grab a party hat and help yourself to some punch! Let's celebrate! Happy Birthday, Aphelion! Balloons! Where are the balloons? There's a slice of birthday cake for everyone.

And you thought I was going to rant about NASA being gutted by the Bush Space plan, didn't you? I'll just say that BS seems a fitting title for it. I can't help thinking that China's space program has a lot to do with the decision for the US to return to the Moon and then jump to Mars. There's a lot of people in China. Suppose they started sending large numbers of colonists out there? Why then, there'd be a Moon base gap and a Mars base gap and they might even try to claim the whole thing for themselves- And where would that leave the US? Stuck here on Earth trying to recycle everything that's been left behind... Ah, you read SF, you know how the plot goes from here on. We all know that music, the same tired old song and dance. Its time to change the beat. Sure, lets go set up some Lunar bases. Lets make them grow into cities. The same for Mars colonies, the sooner we start builting them the better. I imagine that Mars would be welcoming industries that put a lot of smoke in the air- to help with some needed global warming there. Lets do it just as soon as we figure out how.

What will we need? Some heavy-lift boosters, some new spaceship designs, a couple of space stations, a few million people to do the work, a few billion dollars, something to get the public interested... And what else? I don't know yet, but at least its a place to start.

Can we actually make it work? Sure, but we humans might be forced to grow up a little more first. Right now, we're still too interested in fighting among ourselves over trivia. "Whose God is holier than whose? Who has the correct skin color? Who stole a chicken from us ten thousand years ago- so its been war to the knife ever since? Who is sleeping with whom? Who is foreign and exotic and so has been stealing our women/men/mates/oil/earwax/whatever? Who has more money? Power? Followers? A bigger limo?"


How long is it going to be before we're ready to get out of the Day-Care center that is planet Earth? Actually, I was hoping to have been an asteroid miner by this time. I was born at the beginning of the Space Age. Am I doomed to outlive it? Only time will tell. Most of us can only influence world events by keeping our governments in line, by participating, by voting out the rascals, and voting in whoever we think will support our views. But we can't just keep sitting back and waiting. If we want the world to change, we're the ones who are going to have to do the work necessary to make that change. You want to go to Mars? Raise your voice and be heard! Get active, get involved, make it happen! The future's that way! I can only show you the door. I can't make you walk through it. But when you do make it through the door, we are going to PARTY!


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

  • Strange Deaths to Follow
    --Part One--

    By Neil McGill
    A strange tale where a fortean detective meets the minority report meets the world of Pratchett meets Tarantino.
    • Hypnagogique
      By C. Francis Higgins
      "Three friends find the spirits of the Old South rest fitfully in the deepest recesses of the Bayou..."
    • Closure
      By Indrapramit Das
      His life in Calcutta destroyed forever, Alexander turns to the past before starting a new life. To the hills of Scotland, an antique sword, an amateur Satanic cult and forgotten feelings. (Note: This novella is a continuation of 'Demon Son.')
    • Life in the Fast Lane
      By Mike Morris
      I was one of a long line of middle-class academic achievers, which marked me as a troublemaker right away. These days, America was an efficiently run insane asylum. It was just a question of everything getting bigger and better and faster, something that the USA was superbly suited for. Scams, sleaze and squalor led the way. After the spectacular political rise of a well-known TV celebrity and his cabinet of talk show hosts, things started to go downhill rapidly.

    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

    • Close Encounters of the Enraged Kind
      By Lee Alon
      On Madison and Ashland the light turned red. Behind his beat up old Volvo he could see a large car edging up to the rear bumper. He was with Robin and hating the world for yet another fucked up day.
    • A Futuristic Tale
      By J. L. Navarro
      Dr. David Cervantes was all alone in the world in the year 2549. He was 283 years old.
    • Let My People Go
      By George Condon
      According to Legend, Moses was the adopted son of an Egyptian princess. More likely, he was just an ambitious shepherd. Or perhaps, he was an insurance investigator, like Alex Dorian..
    • Keep The Change
      By Kieran Fox
      The Gifted Autistics Institution of America, a.k.a. GAIA, was part asylum, part training facility, and part research lab. But most of all, it was a corporate investment.
    • The Eye of Time
      By Brian C. Petroziello
      If you take that path up the hill, you came to a set of stairs cut into the rock. Just below the arch there's a little ledge. When an Indian boy was on the verge of becoming a man, he would sleep on the ledge during a night when the moon was full. He would have visions. Sometimes of his future, some time of his past. The visions would guide his life, or save it.
    • Obsession Macabre
      By Al McDonald
      He loved the beautiful Karen but he dared not speak to her. When he found out she wanted him too, it was too late. Or was it too late?

    • The Gentle Art of Salesmanship
      By Shaun A. Saunders
      When Ray arrived in heaven, he was not content with mere perfection; he set about making it better.

  • The Chocolate Conspiracy
    By Bob Downing
    The alien was determined to save our race from annihilation. Perhaps it was because he saw some hidden worth; perhaps it was because he valued all sentient life; perhaps it was his high ideals. Or perhaps it was simply because he liked Martha Jeffries' chocolate cake.

  • 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 2/7/2004--

    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 12/16/2003


    • The Pollwatchers!
      by Cary Semar
      Aphelion's Cary Semar turns his eye towards the political scene in this new feature!

    • Dan Hollifield Reviews:
      The Evil Side of Lanaia Lee
      - Enter If You Dare

      Poetry by Lanaia Lee.
      Thoughtful, evocatave, and sometimes spooky poetry.
    • Dan Hollifield Reviews:
      After the Fall

      The new Horror novel by Monica Y. Russell
      A lyrical, elegant, yet disturbing vision.
    • Dan Hollifield Reviews:
      The Burning House:

      Book Two of the Thran Chronicles by H. David Blalock
      An excellent sequel, even better than the first book.
    • 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.

    My storys and comments.

    A page of my own story links, with comments.
    Along with some MIDI files, MP3s of music,
    links to some of my artwork,
    links to photos of my home, etc.

    Dan L. Hollifield

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

    Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2003 by Dan L. Hollifield