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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 84, Volume 8 -- August 2004

Issue 85, Volume 8 will be online 1st week of September, 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:

Well! If you wanted to get an introduction to Cons, this would be the best kind of one to start with. It wasn't packed wall to wall with people, everyone was gratious and friendly. I had a wonderful time.

Tennessee Fandom made me feel like family at a reunion. The Con Committee ran a great convention. There were a couple of boggles in scheduling of a few things, but I was told that that's normal. I met many interesting people and spent most of the time between the panel discussions I wanted to attend in some wonderful conversations. (Next time, I'll take several cassette recorders and tape all the panel discussions so I can hear the ones I missed attending.) Much ale was hoisted, many friends were made, wonderful things happened, good food inhaled... I even got to dance a little at one of the Saturday night parties. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are every bit the gentlemen that I'd heard. They are quite approachable, and politely accepted fans engaging them in conversations. In fact, the first time I spoke with them Larry gently corrected my pronunciation of a word I'd *read* but never heard anyone *say* before. (That's OK, Larry laughed at the joke anyway. Then he repeated it for Jerry. ) And Jerry gently chided me for not visiting his website when he had lots of things there to help the aspiring writer. We spoke again briefly several times during the weekend. I wanted to sit down and have an intelligent discussion with them, but I was deathly afraid of them being the only ones in the discussion possing intelligence. LOL! (I had one sad-fan-boy moment when I spoke to Larry once and suddenly went entirely blank-minded. I blamed it on the beer, of course, and excused myself quickly. Larry grinned as if he understood, and then went on.) Larry seems a bit shy, actually. Jerry isn't shy at all, but it became obvious to me that he wasn't willing to tolerate things that wasted his time.

I went to a couple of book signings as well and am now the proud owner of three autographed paperbacks by Larry & Jerry. (Moat, Hand, and Fallen Angels) This is my 3rd copy of Fallen Angels- I'm not loaning it out any more!

On the first day of the con I met Niven List member Steve Sloan in an autograph line. He was standing in front of me and the back of his t-shirt had his name printed on it. He and his Father were getting Niven & Pournelle autographs also. We spoke again whenever our paths crossed, but I'm sorry to say that we never got the chance to sit down and chat. I also missed any other Niven Listers who attended. I thought there were three or four of us that were going. Oh well, there will be more Cons in the future. I spent Friday night in conversation with half a dozen people talking SF stories and drinking too much. Several dozen more people wandered in and out ofthe conversation. The upshot of all of this was that the Friday night Dance didn't happen because of me. I kept the DJ busy talking unil the wee hours of Saturday morning. It turns out that Charles used to be the editor of a semi-pro zine and when it first started up he had wanted to use the name Aphelion for it. He was a bit irked when he found out that we have had it registered forever. He was the first of three people who recognized the Aphelion logo on the t-shirt I wore the first day of the Con. Saturday, I spent most of the time attending panel discussions, walking through the Art show and the Huxters rooms admiring all the things people were selling. As evening drew close, I rejoined the group from the previous night's discussion, plus some more, and we spent another night brainstorming stories and chatting about e-zines VS small-press print zines. We did break up in time for the DJ to host the dance that night. I actually got to dance a bit later on, though the conversations didn't stop. Sunday morning I wondered into writer Michael Williamson's room to admire the swords and knives he was selling. He has some beautiful swords. We spoke for about half an hour on a variety of subjects. Very nice fellow, quite fun to talk with.

I'm sad to report that on Sunday the local people who were the regular customers of the hotel's resturant and banquet room finally triggered my fear of crowds. I had a panic attack, and left two hours before the con was scheduled to end. But on the positive side of things, my phobia left me alone when it was just the con-goers I was dealing with. Fifteen minutes after I fled the Con, I got stuck in a huge traffic jam caused by a wreck blocking the whole road. The traffic was backed up for over five miles, and several other wrecks happen as people tried to use the emergency lane and the shoulder of the road to get around the jam. There were well over 2000 people in what became a four-hour parking lot. Here I'd left the Con because of a hundred extra people, and I was trapped with twenty times that many out on the highway. I got out and mingled, leaving the CB radio in my pick-up running so that everyone near me could find out what was going on up ahead. I pushed the panic down and coped. The lesson I learned? I *can* override my fears, but I've still got to work on it.

All-in-all, I had the time of my life. If you don't normally go to cons but would like to start, I recommend going to a small to medium sized one like LibertyCon to see what they're all about, in microcosm so to speak.


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

  • For the Love of Chicken
    By D. D. H. Lee
    In the perfect future there will be no war, there will be no plagues, and everyone will have the perfect job and a happy excuse to live. So who would dare to do anything against this glorious future of prosperity? Marty Grinwell would, as he and his friends explore the evil past of mankind to find out the greatest secret neglected and reviled by the modern world: the ability to cook.
    • Frankenstein, Inc.
      By N. J. Kailhofer
      A Rogan is a servant, engineered to do all your work while you sit back and relax, safe with the knowledge that it is only truly happy when serving a human. Buy a Rogan today and forget your troubles as your happy pal goes about doing all your chores--if it doesn't kill you.
    • Nightwatch: Rogue Harvest
      By Ralph Benedetto, Jr.
      "The thing about bureaucracy," Tom Weldon said as the ambulance stopped in front of a sign reading Good Hope Evangelical Hospital, "is that, if you know what you're doing, it's easy to manipulate." A Chinese man far from home is speaking riddles, and Simon, Stephanie, and Tom journey to Nigeria to discover the reason why.

      A new shared universe series: Nightwatch, under the direction of Jeff Williams.
    • Red Dwarf
      By Ebbe Roe Smith
      Murder follows a theatrical troupe. Private Detective Red Tide must thread his way between half-mad Artistes, sycophantic Aliens, avaricious Media-types, and the disgusting, over-grown slugs known as "Actors." Worst of all, he might actually have to see a play.

    Short Stories

    • A Path Of Ramble And Mist
      By Jaimie L. Elliot
      When Jeremy opened his door to find a mysterious robed figure, a mailed warrior, and a woman dressed like Xena waiting, he knew it was going to be an unusual day.
    • Icezoid
      By Bob Downing
      Return with us now to the thrilling days known as the "Golden Age" of science fiction with this tale that evokes the SF of the 1930's
    • A Matter of Urgency
      By Robert Moriyama
      The mad super-wizard Morgenstern has made Al Majius famous by burning his name into a school parking lot. So far, the downside of fame -- swarms of paparazzi and reporters -- hasn't been balanced by corresponding hordes of prospective clients. Business has been slow ... but that's the least of Al's problems.
    • Absolution
      By Jim Rudnick
      Miguel was a pick-pocket who had committed a terrible sin. Only the priest could save him from damnation.
    • Our Timid Friend
      By Robert Starr
      We learn as children that if you break the rules too often, sooner or later, something is going to happen.
  • Just Another Day at the Office
    By N. J. Kailhofer
    The alarm came from the R&D Department. It was always the R&D Department that cause the most trouble...

  • Poetry and Filk Music

  • Louwe, Louwe
    By Dan L. Hollifield

  • 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 7-19-2004

    All the Nightwatch Stories to date.

    The Nightwatch Archives

    The Nightwatch Series Bible


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

    • 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 Back Issues Page

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

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    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,
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    Dan L. Hollifield

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    Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2004 by Dan L. Hollifield