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 91, Volume 9 -- April 2005

Issue 92, Volume 9 will be online 1st week of May, 2005.

"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:

Let's see if this works... OK, I think it does. This issue marks the first wherein this index page is HTM-ed with a new program. If you can't see any difference in this page from how a new issue normally appears, then the new program works just fine. OK, this is another month where I don't really have anything to rant about. I'm upset with NASA for wanting to close down a lot of good programs like Pioneer, Voyager, and the Hubble in order to save chicken-feed amounts of money to re-direct into their Mars initiative. But I'm not angry enough to rant about it. Not yet, anyway. Stay turned for further mood swings on my part. (grin)

Jeff Williams has gifted us with Part Two of his first Nightwatch story for this year. I think reader commentary should run very high on this one. I've read it over Jeff's shoulder while he was working on it and have been very impressed with it. I think that everyone involved with the Nightwatch stories has put in a fantastic amount of work. And the quality of the series shows the love and attention put into it by each and every writer. Jeff Williams and Rob Moriyama have a right to be proud of they way the series has taken off. It is quite absorbing work, to fit one's individual story into the series framework. And the marvels of it all are that every story does fit. That the characters grow and change over the span of the series. That the writers work together to make that meshing of individual interpretations look as seamless as it does. This is a really exciting project and I'm proud to be a part of it.

We've got eight short stories, four poems, a new novella, and the first chapter in a new serial too. That ought to hold you all for another month. LOL! Please do offer the writers the benefit of your commentary on their stories and poems in our Lettercol. Without your comments, the writers don't know what they've gotten right and what they have yet to work on. That is the main business of Aphelion. To help the writers become better thru reader commentary on their works. Most of the writers, myself included, beg for commentary. Signing up to post comments in the Lettercol is easy. Just fill out a short form and provide a valid e-mail address for a temporary password to be sent to you. You can then edit your Lettercol profile to the password of your own choice. Since going to the new Lettercol Boards last year, there have been *no* spambot posts in the Lettercol at all!

Some of the writer visits to the chatroom have fallen off. I hate that, but I can't stay in the chatroom 24/7 and still get any work done. Rob Wynne and Jaimie do tend to hang out there during the day (EST-DST) and I pop in whenever I go to the Lettercol. Please do make it a habit to try and catch someone in the chatroom. Sooner or later, you'll find someone there. A good time will ensue, I'll wager.

I guess I ought to say a few more words about the upcoming Aphelion party. So far the party will be the first weekend of August. Mostly on Saturday the 6th, but guests that can only show up Friday or Sunday will be welcome as well. Anyone interested in attending is asked to e-mail me at ApheliCon 1  or post in the ApheliCon 1 thread in the Lettercol's Administrivia folder. The party/mini-con is open to anyone who wants to travel to Athens, Ga. USA for some fun and food in my back yard. Nothing fancy, just a get-together for anyone who lives close enough or wants to undertake the trek here. It looks like less than 10 people so far. That's not a problem for a backyard party. I will need to know in advance just how many people to plan for. If there are too few to warrant a cook-out, then I know of several local places where enough munchies and meals can be gotten for party guests. I hope to see as many Aphelion readers and writers here as possible. I think that there are about ten Aphelion writers living within four hours (more or less) drive of here. And I guesstimate that there *could* be ten times that many Aphelion readers in the same area. If all of you came, I'd be shocked. Delighted, but shocked. But do rest assured that you are all invited. Directions can be sent to you on request- And I am working on some JPGs of maps of the route from Atlanta to Athens, then out to my place- seven or eight miles North of Athens. I'll put the maps online and post the URLs so that you can download and print them at your leasure. Contributions to the food budget will be welcomed, but there is no plan to charge admission or cover. If necessary, for people who want to stay the whole weekend, there are local hotels and motels in Athens that can fit most budgets. All are near major highways and none worth staying in are more than half an hour's drive from my home. And over half of that time would be traffic delays from hotels in downtown Athens. But realistically, I doubt there will be more people here than I can find bed, couch, or floor space for, in case they have too much to drink. (Please pardon my ranting on this point, but I will not allow you to leave if you've over indulged- even if it means that I choose to sleep on the floor that night. As a good host, I cannot risk your safety if it is within my power to prevent you from accident or arrest for DUI. This is not a point upon which I will accept any debate. You are free to behave as adults will - if you are of age, but I'll find a way to pick-pocket your car keys if you get too lit. Fair warning. You are my friends and my online family. I don't want to lose any of you to any misfortune.)
 Most everyone that has expressed interest so far lives within local driving range. Except for Kate, she said she's going to fly in from California! LOL! If she can manage that, shouldn't you folks who live in the Southeastern US also be thinking about coming to the party? *I'm* excited. This may be my only chance to meet Kate Thornton in person! As well as the others of you who have expressed interest in coming to the party. My worst nightmare would be that ten people confirm that they are coming, three rent hotel/motel rooms, the other seven either don't drink alcohol or plan to drink responsibly, I plan hamburgers, chicken, and salad for ten-- and ten thousand people show up totally un-announced. LOL! Let us work together to give me accurate numbers, shall we?

It looks to be a fun weekend, in any case. Hope to see you here!


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
Robert Moriyama
Short Story Editor
McCamy Taylor
Assistant Short Story Editor
Jeffrey Williams
Production Editor/Serials Editor
Ralph Benedetto, Jr.
Assistant Serials Editor
Roger Bennett
Senior Editor Emeritus
Cary Semar
Short Story Editor Emeritus

Serialized Stories & Novellettes

  • A Thousand Times
    By Robert Buckingham
    "Sometimes, the distance between a coward and a hero can be measured by
    a beam of starlight."

  • Down by the River, Part I
    By J. H. McKay
    Vern wanted nothing more than to be able to live out the rest of his life in quiet seclusion. Then one night he was awakened by a shooting star coming down by the river. What he found the next morning seemed like nothing much, but before he knew it his life, and possibly much else, had been irrevocably altered.
    • Nightwatch: The Kindness of Strangers, Part Two
      By Jeff Williams
      Time is changing. There's a timequake coming, something so drastic that all Simon knows of the future could be changed, and he is the only one who can prevent any further alterations from happening. If only he can find what is causing them...

      A new shared universe series: Nightwatch, under the direction of Jeff Williams.

    Short Stories

    • Sacred Spear
      By John M. Cowan
      The patrol ship Veil was badly damaged and completely outgunned, and her commanding officer was new to the job. But the Apellian cruiser Sacred Spear had just blown away a supply ship and its crew, and only the Veil and her crew could even the score...
    • Six Lights Off Green Scar
      By Gareth Lin Powell
      Once, Sal Dervish had been the wildest of the pilots who played the dangerous game of blind wormhole jumping. Losing his best friends (and one who was more than a friend) to something lurking on a derelict alien ship had broken him. Could he find the nerve to go back?
    • Welcome to Skull Island
      By Bart Meehan
      Stevy was being as contrary as only a small boy accustomed to manipulating his divorced parents could be. Still, Stevy's Dad clung to the hope that this trip to the most amazing theme park in the world would score major points in the ongoing favorite-parent race. After all, Stevy's Mom would never dream of taking the boy to see -- Kong.
    • Six to Go
      By J. E. Deegan
      Being mauled by the biggest tomcat he had ever seen changed Dennis Bonn's life forever. The wounds healed -- but inside, he was different. And every three months, for one night, that difference came out to play -- and hunt -- and feed.
    • The Mansion
      By Joe Vadalma
      All Amber wanted was shelter from the stormy Maine night. The big house looked empty and had to be better than being outside in the middle of a Nor'easter. But the house wasn't empty after all ...
    • The Shores of Night
      By George J. Condon
      A dedicated doctor and nurse play cat burglar to obtain the drugs they need to treat the patients in their care who have been damaged by too much time in space. And that's the least of their problems.

    • The Gray Hole
      By Gareth D. Jones
      Dom Fraser was studying the behavior of particles that somehow escape from what some still call a black hole when he noticed something odd. There was a pattern there, a pattern that couldn't be natural. If only the others would open their eyes and see it!

    • Mind Jump
      By Matthew Scott Baker
      The human body couldn't survive the stress of hyperspace travel. But the human mind could be transferred into something that could. And that's how Sarah and nineteen other volunteers ended up with their minds and bodies separated by hundreds of light years...

    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 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 2004 political scene.

    • Dan Hollifield Reviews:
      The Tower of Morkai

      Book 3 of the Thran Chronicles
      A review of the 3rd Thran novel by 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.
    • 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 (March 2005) 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,
    links to photos of my home, etc.

    Dan L. Hollifield

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    Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2005 by Dan L. Hollifield