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 79, Volume 8 -- March 2004

Issue 80, Volume 8 will be online 1st week of April, 2004.

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


Since January 27th, 1997 when Aphelion first went online.

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The Usual Rant from Aphelion's Senior Editor:

What? An editorial? Again? All right, but I'm gonna need some coffee first. Ahh, that's better. Coffee really is the rocket fuel of the information age. I thought I heard a synapse or two fire up after that first sip. So what is going on in the world? Its an Election year in the US and the mud-slinging is in full throw. Yawn. Same old song and dance that it always is. None of the candidates seems good enough to me, but I do still urge everyone to go on out and vote anyway. Apathy is the surest way of getting stuck with something you didn't want- or even need. Like a constitutional ammendment that makes the morality of one religion or another into the law of the land. Now look, I'm all for morals and family values, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. The US is supposed to be the land of misfits, malcontents, victims of intolerance, rugged individualists, and all other kind of folks who just couldn't fit in back in the old countries. The US is supposed to be the place where people who are persecuted can find sancuary. This is the land where we're all supposed to get along, to value the differences between people rather than despise them for being different. When did we get lost? Just when was it that the great nation that rejected slavery, established racial and sexual equality, literally fought each other to establish civil rights that were meant to apply to everyone- Where did we lose touch with what it really means to be an American?

Better yet, how do we get back on track? How do we regain our greatest strength? Our sheer diversity should be the mortar that binds us all into a great nation of strong and free individuals, not the quicksand that mires us down- to drown in our own filth. And make no mistake, the notion that any perfectly normal person is somehow inferior or degenerate because of their race, gender, country of origin, sexual preference, level of income, degree of education, lifestyle, religious beliefs, or lack of same is the vilest filth imaginable. Oppressing people is un-American, unworthy of any civilized nation. We're supposed to have higher standards than that, people. This is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, not the Land of the Zealot and the Home of the Bigot. Freedom and Justice for All means exactly that, for All- not just for the members of some narrow-minded little cult. And just because someone is different, doesn't automatically make them a threat. That's tribalism, narrow-mindedness, and it gets passed down from generation to generation in family attitudes and predjudices.

But what is it that is so horrible about gay people wanting to have the same rights as straight people when it comes to insurance, inheritance, taxes, divorce, property settlements, and all the other little details of being devoted to a relationship when they wish to make a lifetime commitment to a lover? My parents have been married for 50 years, my sister and her husband lived together for over 25 years before they got married. I defy anyone to tell me that my sister is somehow less moral than my Mother. I made a lifetime commitment over a dozen years ago to a woman I love with all my heart and soul, yet we remain unmarried. I am also unable to cover her on my insurance, unable to claim her on my income taxes even though I am her sole means of support, and if I die without a will she will be hard pressed to make any legal claim on our home and property. How then are we different from any gay couple in the eyes of the law? Except for the minor detail that we aren't gay, I can't see any difference. My relationship with the love of my life ought to be just as repugnant to the Zealot as any gay couple's relationship.

And if a law that restricts the rights of gay people is passed, who much longer will it be before someone proposes a law against any form of co-habitation not sanctioned by some religion or other? And furthermore, just what is it tht gay people have been doing recently that they haven't been doing for the last 50,000 years? What's changed in the last year or two in order to make them a threat to civilization? Or is this all Election-year hype?

No, the US federal government has no right to favor any religion's morality. Neither do the individual state governments, for that matter. That's one small part of why there is supposed to be a separation of church and state in the US in the first place. Freedom for All, not just the elite few. Not just the rich, not just the religious, not just the politically correct, but for everyone. True freedom has to apply equally, even to those who aren't like you, otherwise its not any kind of freedom at all.

So get out and vote, no matter who you choose to vote for. Get involved! Make a choice and let your voice be heard. If you sit back and wait, you'll lose out. Stand up and be counted, no matter what you believe in. Even if you disagree with me, don't sit back and let someone else make your choices for you.

The future is in your hands. Shouldn't you do everything you can to make the future a better place for your own children?


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 Two--

    By Neil McGill
    A strange tale where a fortean detective meets the minority report meets the world of Pratchett meets Tarantino.
    • The Fair Watchmen
      By Kathleen Vesi
      "May 19, 1872óno audience will read what I am about to write. I know truths that only time should reveal. I have met people that no one in my lifetime should ever meet. And while I have given my word never to tell anyone what I have learned, my thoughts are racing! How else can I clear my mind except to write it all down?"
    • Dreamknot
      By Claudio Silvano
      Jonathan leads a simple villager's life: he works timber, he eats and sleeps. He pays his taxes. What more could he ask from life? But Jonathan's life is not as simple as he thinks. What lurks beneath the surface of his contentment? Unaided, he would probably lack the imagination to even pose himself such a question; but life has a way of bringing what is hidden into the light, sometimes kicking and screaming all the way. Chances are, there is a crossroad up ahead, and Jonathan is going to have to choose...

    Short Stories

    • Ballad of the Horny Jay
      By J.A. Howe
      Fox Crampton was delighted to carry The President on his fifty-three foot rocket, but that was before he learned what a difficult passenger she would be.
    • Mary Lou
      By Robert Starr
      Mary Lou was afraid to admit strange men into her home; she knew that death walked in with them.
    • Opium House
      By Edward Cox
      Opium House was no longer a Royal Library, but Mr. Cobbler, the librarian, knew his day would come.
    • American Lenny
      By Frank Byrns
      A super-hero defends his community in a time of crisis.
    • The Ones that Expire
      By Monica Y. Russell
      When evil comes, you face a stark choice: You can expire, or you can make a deal.

    • What Goes Up
      By E.S. Strout
      A young, new age woman strives to excel in a male dominated world.

    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:
      A Hat Full Of Sky

      A review of the newest Young Adult novel of the Discworld by Terry Pratchett.

    • 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.
    • 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

    • 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.

    Read more great stories from the

    Aphelion Archives
    Aphelion Archives


  • Image Copyright (c) 1997 by Laura Butler

    Back Issues
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    Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page

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    My storys and comments.

    A page of my own story links, with comments.
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