Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
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Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 86, Volume 8 -- October 2004

Issue 87, Volume 8 will be online 1st week of November, 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:

This is my last chance to convince you that you need to vote in the upcoming election. Should I wax poetic on the duties attached to being a grown-up in the US these days? Nah, you'd just scroll down the page. Should sling mud at one or the other parties? Why should I need to? Can't they do that perfectly well for themselves? My mission is clear here, I just want you to make your voice heard.

The best way to insure that you wind up with a bad government is to do nothing. Casting your vote tips the odds in favor with your point of view, your opinions, your ideals. Not voting just gives control of your life to other people. And they may not share your ideals.

OK, that's about all the time I want to devote to politics.

How about those folks that are flying SSO? They won the X-Prize! How about that? Civilian Areospace is here. We live to see it, folks! I wonder what we'll do next? An Hotel in orbit? One on the Moon? A second generation of inner solar system exploration stories has just opened up. And if we decide on a faster engine for our future ships, the outer solar system will be just as ripe for good storytelling. Just because some of the classic "Explore the Solar System" stories turned out to be based on information that turned out to be incorrect, doesn't mean that new stories witten with science accurate to our times should be neglected.

Something that I've always thought is that we writers need to give the readers something more than mere entertainment. If you can educate, please do so. If you can inspire, more power to you. If you can make the reader want to learn more, then I bow to you.

Just as the heroes and heroines of those early SF stories helped readers decide to take up the sciences, we, half a century later have the chance to influence the next generation of scientists, dreamers, artists, musicians, and heroes. Reading is the key to unlock the powers of the universe. Good writing is the key to unlocking the powers of reading and imagination. We writers have an awesome responsibility. We can shape the minds that build our world with the heroes and villians we create- to struggle out our petty dramas and dash some illumination upon the human condition like a lighthouse in the darkness, casting its beam out upon the crashing seas. We owe our readers our best work. Who knows what new reality may spring from our words?


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

  • The Last Abbott
    By Jon Wesick
    Thousands of years in the future a group of monks guards the nuclear waste left behind after modern civilization collapsed. One day Brother Wigner discovers a library hidden in one of the tunnels. The young monk and two companions set out on a quest to discover the books' meaning.
  • Teacher's Pet
    By Robert Southern
    When high school science teacher Thomas Jefferson led a group of kids on a historic excursion into the Rocky Mountain forests, he never imagined he would have to fight them for anything more than his principles.
  • Nightwatch: Cardenio
    By Kate Thornton
    A lost Shakespearean play, a lost research station, and Stephanie Keel's lost past all converge in the steamy jungles of Amazonia. Simon Litchfield's khakis keep their impeccable crease as he, Tom Weldon, and Stephanie do battle over an incredible and ancient secret.

    A new shared universe series: Nightwatch, under the direction of Jeff Williams.
  • Under the Bridge
    By George T. Philibin
    After three kids disappear near a city park, the two other boys with them but who didn't go along now live in a nightmare. What happened to the three? That question is somewhat answered years later when the two boys, now college kids, stumble into their nightmare once again when they find something relating to the three kids who are still missing!

Short Stories

  • Evil Eyes
    By Tom Arbino
    Never trust a cat with evil eyes.
  • Hell and Back
    By Joshua Scribner
    Willie Tantel was smart enough for college, but he didn't have the kind of patience it took to stick with something for several years. Like so many kids his age, he had wanted it all and wanted it fast.
  • Old Business
    By Robert Starr
    He knew what he had to say to be free, but somehow he could never bring himself to say it.
  • Elsewhere
    By Fred Zachau
    After thirty years of quiet desperation, a man encounters an old girl friend and faces a rendezvous with a mysterious train.
  • After Creation
    By J.L. Navarro
    You could describe this story as "Aldous Huxley meets J.L. Navarro."
  • Subway Seductress
    By Joe Vadalma
    After the bars close, the city dies. An atmosphere of hopelessness and despair pervades. Only the evil and destitute are on the streets; the homeless, junkies, muggers, killers, and worn-out prostitutes.

  • Chopper
    By Lee Alon
    It was supposed to be a holiday for Lenny's mom, but there was an unexpected side trip to a world of violence.

  • We All Have Our Jobs To Do
    By Katherine Sanger
    Here's a short tale with a very surprising ending.

  • The Customer is Always Right
    By Bill Wolfe
    All things come to they who wait- Even if they wait forever.

  • Poetry and Filk Music

  • The Creature
    By Ron Bruno

  • 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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    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