Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 94, Volume 9 -- July 2005

Issue 95, Volume 9 will be online 1st week of August, 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:

It's that time again, friends. I guess I've just been so busy writing these last few months that I simply hadn't noticed too much that would flip me over into rant mode. The only thing that bothers me this summer is that my off-time and the rain seem to have worked up a secret treaty or something. In June, I only got two chances to mow my little yard. And the first one, I got rained out 15 minutes after I started. The storm blew in after I started mowing. The second time, I got 85% of the yard mown. What boggles my mind is that I still want to push the kudzu back another 10 or 12 feet on all sides- Thus making the yard even bigger, LOL!

So what have I been doing with all that free time I have? Writing. Drawing. Making lists and reading research papers... Reading critiques sent by friends who were reading over my shoulder. Churning all that around in my mind and channeling it into the story I was working on. "Was" is the operative term. I finished that Nightwatch story, then after a week and a half of forced inaction- I started working on another project. I had a great deal of trouble just making myself sit and watch TV, or even to sit and read a book. I had been sitting and typing almost every day for the last eight months- Or more, considering that the story itself took over a year to write. I felt guilty about not writing. LOL!
You, dear Readers, will get to examine the finished work in the August and September issues of Aphelion. And you should be happy to find out that the one I'm presently working on -- [Heavy Sigh] -- is going to be shopped around for sale. Some of my friends have convinced me that I'm ready to stop avoiding rejection slips again. LOL! We'll see. Finish the manuscript first, then I can talk about something besides what I plan to do.

The heavy sigh was because this is a very important story. I've gone back to my long-unfinished very first attempt at a novel. I've already put in 4 days work on finishing the story. Don't be too impressed. All I've done so far is to take the decade-old TRS-80 printout of the finished rough draft (101 pages, in a very tiny font) and start transcribing the final two thirds of the story that had never been typed into a modern computer before. Roughly 65 pages of printout needed to be transcribed when I started. I've still got 19 pages left. So far, the wordcount has been averaging 2000 words for each 5 pages of printout. The finished rough draft ought to run close to 40k words. Once that's done, the real work will begin. Rewrites, merciless edits, illos, maps... I owe it to this story to finish it. After all, this one story is the single reason Aphelion exists. Everything I've done for the last twenty seven years of my life has been because of this story. The original outline was handwritten into three small notepads. I used a typewriter to create the first readable version of this story. Then typed that into a TRS-80 when those were new. Years later, I typed the first 35 or so pages of the TRS-80 printout into a 386 (and later still into a Pentium 1) as web pages for Dragon's Lair and Aphelion. But I stopped working on it when I realized that I wasn't a good enough writer yet to do it justice. I started trying to write short stories in order to learn more, faster. The Mare Inebrium was created. Several writers used Aphelion as a stepping stone to eventually selling their work. In the background, I kept learning. And now, I've finally got the nerve to finish writing it.
It doesn't even matter any more if I manage to sell it. Not really. The only thing that really matters to me right now is that I finally can finish it the way I always wanted. Then move on to the next unfinished bit of work I've been letting grow mold. And the next new project, whatever it might turn out to be. Finishing my second Nightwatch story two weeks ago felt like a graduation. Time to get to work! LOL!

I'm going to re-run this next section over the next few months. It'll be updated whenever I get new information. I am going to add a link to page of map JPEGs that people can copy and print. Kepp checking this section for that update.

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've put the maps online 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

  • To Dust You Shall Return
    By Sean Melican
    The gods have sent a plague among your people. But which of them can bring you to the light?
  • Zea
    By Brian Bigley
    Is there ever anything simple about a contract when you're a three foot tall bounty hunter?
  • The Travel Agent
    By Jay Eckerty
    "Every planet can be rebooted." Sitting in an airport bar, a man listens to a fantastic tale about Phil, a loner whose natural world is transformed. Phil travels halfway around the world to find his answer. But, where does the story end and the real world begin?
    • Nightwatch: The Peacekeeper
      By Robert Moriyama
      Years ago, Simon Litchfield tried and failed to prevent the slaughter of an entire village in Darfur -- and failed himself as well. Now he must revisit the darkest moments of his life in search of clues to a new threat -- with thousands of lives at stake ...

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

    Short Stories

    • Devlin and the Robot Assassin
      By Arnold Emmanuel
      Devlin was young, sexy, and an ace investigator. That made her the perfect choice to track down the missing robot assassin and its last target (also young, sexy and female). Or did it?
    • The Somnambulist
      By Gabriel Llanas
      To sleep, perchance to -- dream? This [/i]must[i] be a dream. It must be. And I really want to wake up now ...
    • World Without End, Amen
      By Derek Davis
      Michael had a vision that showed him the face of God in the mirror of infinity. But God and the Devil were both in the details.
    • Entrechats in Bloody Snow
      By Lee Alon
      This war was even more pointless than most, started more out of boredom than for any 'legitimate' cause. But Major Hoffer would do his best to keep his men alive and carry out his orders -- no matter how strange things got.
    • The Adventures of Prince Woden
      By Joe Vadalma
      Woden and Noise set out to be heroes, and to reap all the benefits thereof -- particularly the romantic benefits. Who would have guessed that a simple thing like dragon hunting could be so complicated?
    • Billy Goes to Werkworth
      By Robert Starr
      The voices in Billy's head had kept him from living a 'normal' life. But he was destined to face something much worse.

    • Donna and the Genie
      By Dennis Goldberg
      The old Indian insisted on sitting in Donna's booth, no matter how she tried to shoo him away, and Brian the waiter was no help at all. But then the Indian offered Donna something irresistible --

    • Pot 62
      By Sohrab Koohpaima
      With pressure from City Hall to solve the disappearance of one Ronald Preston, the last thing Detective Harry Hernandez needed was a phone call from an archaeologist. After all, what possible help could he have to offer?

    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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    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,
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