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November 2022
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 98, Volume 9 -- November 2005

Issue 99, Volume 9 will be online 1st week of December, 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:

Welcome to another of the slightly delayed issues of Aphelion. We're coming into the really busy part of the year for all the staff and myself. We're stretching the last two issues this year so that the wait for issue 100 will seem a bit less.

That's right: Issue # 100 of Aphelion Webzine will be online in February '06. It sort of snuck up on us. I guess we have cause to celebrate. How many Internet Zines make it this long? Very few... Very, very few. I wonder who we should send out announcements to, and when? Ralan? Crow's Nest? Who? Who is in charge of minor historic moments? I'll have to Google that, I suppose. I am continually amazed at how Aphelion just keeps plugging along, year after year. And the stories just keep coming in. Writers come and go, and some hang around for a long time. How many writers have we helped on their way to turning Pro? 30 now? 35 maybe? I'm so proud to have been a part of that. You can all be proud of being part of that. It's a group thing, we've done it together, all of us.

It's a bit late to hold a contest or anything- But I'm sure there's a slot or two left in the February line-up if someone would like to have a story in that issue. I've thought of one myself, but I don't know if there's time. I'm busy now on several different projects, and another new story on top of that might be a bit much. But I'm going to try and pull that rabbit out of my hat. Wish me luck.

Work is proceeding on the Tom Darby novel Pt.3. The plot is coming together, but the bad guys are still a bit vague. The set is coming along nicely, though the set dressing is a bit skimpy at the moment. More reading, more research, so much to do and no place to hide... There were some clues in the dialog I wrote that have been very useful in pinning down parts of the plot. Obviously, my subconscious has been working overtime associating random facts and images into a blend of my research and my imagination. Right now, I'm painting with broad strokes, but soon it'll be time for the smaller brushes to come into play. More sets have to be built for this story and the work has only just begun. As complications, I still have an article for Ripperoo to finish for Nicolas, mounds of offline stuff to finish as I ready the yard and house for winter, and someone has expressed some slight interest in my old music. Everywhere I look, there's more work to do. (Laughs) But there are compensations. Lyn has been here a month and life is good. We're working together on all the domestic stuff. Having a full partner is a wonderful feeling. So is being allowed, encouraged, and sometimes even nagged a little, to write. This is a good way to live. Thank you, Lyn!

Lyn got lost for a little while yesterday. We were off about fifteen miles from home, at a friend's house. He'd borrowed my truck a while back, and it had broken down. I had to put another starter on it. Simple job, two bolts, three wires, plenty of room to work, out with the old one and in with the new one in less than twenty minutes. After I repaired my truck Lyn and I each had a vehicle to drive back to our house. This would be the first time Lyn had ever driven in this area, she doesn't know the roads yet, and we were on the fringes of all the small towns and the big city. The edge of the boonies, in other words. So she followed the balky old pick-up as I alternately coaxed it up hills and coasted down them. Everything was fine until another truck like mine pulled out into traffic behind me while Lyn was still around a curve and out of sight. I turned right at the next stoplight, the other truck went straight- and Lyn dutifully followed what she believed to be me... Right out of sight as I struggled to pull over and wait for traffic to allow me to turn the truck around. I used up nearly half a tank of gas trying to catch up or find her, then going home in case she did remember the way- or pulled over to use a pay phone somewhere. Neither one of us have cell phones. Within minutes of my getting home, Lyn called from a pay phone at a convenience store about a mile from where we got split up. I rolled the truck out again to go meet her, and we managed to stay together all the way home this time. I was more scared about her being lost than she was. She was just worried about me getting worried. She knew I'd go home to wait for her to call. All she had to do was find a phone. She did, and a happy ending ensued. If this were a story, I could have gone into lots of detail about how balky the truck was, how heavy the afternoon weekday traffic was when we got near town, how the sun was blindingly glaring down on the car windshield making it difficult for Lyn to tell one pick-up truck from another. So many bits and pieces of this incident would go quite well as details fleshing out a story. And the same basic set of events can be reworked into different plots and twists, but it's all just a day in the life, to start off with. Like any story. It all starts off with something small, and real, and just a little bit different. Something that makes you think in a different way about something that's otherwise common and everyday. The thing is, you have to look around and take note of these little gems. Life just hands them to you. You're a writer, use them. They're a gift.


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

  • Spaced Out
    By Daniel Sosa
    "In what might be considered a worst case scenario in career change, fabulous Earth celebrity Buck Buckley launches his professional space career as second in command of the Theodorus, whether people like it or not."
  • Distributed Logic
    By Jesse Gordon
    In a world lost to social atrophy, SimpliCITY allowed for unparalleled freedom - but at what cost?
  • The Point of the Pit
    By Matthew Maldonado
    Three men, employees of the looming Company, pick one another's brains for the purpose behind a mysterious payload that swings into their workplace one day.
    • Nightwatch: Tinsel Rime
      By N. J. Kailhofer
      The ghosts of Simon's past revisit him in this Christmas future.
      [This story contains Adult themes.]

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

    Short Stories

    • At an Angle
      by Jeremy Benjamin
      Herb Sadatore was a 'Codarfusla' agent. His job was to assess candidates for cerebral implants that would act as autopilots to prevent them from carrying out antisocial acts -- or punish them for acts already committed. The weird thing was, some people wanted the implants to let them experience an ersatz nirvana without drugs or meditation. And the way his own life was going, he could almost understand why.

    • Mrs. Blumer's Dustbins
      by Ee Pin Pang
      Mrs. Blumer was a firm believer in the value of Standards and Routines. When someone or some thing started tampering with her trash, it drove her crazy -- literally.

    • Testament
      by Elizabeth Markham
      Terrorists had detonated a 'dirty bomb', killing relatively few people quickly - - but condemning thousands more to eventual death from cancer, and rendering the Burn uninhabitable. Sara Moipet was one of the Burnt, and now, 10 years after the incident, she had one last chance to tell her story ...

    • The Goblin
      by Michael Whitney
      Ysidroa was something of a rebel among her people -- always climbing and exploring places where no one else would go. Then one day, she found a strange, twisted metal house, surrounded by fire, and monsters started to emerge, monsters like -- and unlike -- the goblins of legend. She feared that they had come to devour her people -- but the truth was much worse.

    • The Stone Curse
      by Verna McKinnon
      Seda was a witch of considerable power and skill, and, she thought, a good person. She had abused her gifts to take revenge on the woman who had stolen the man she loved, only to find that she could not live with what she had done. Now, with the help of Valda, her teacher, she had to undo the damage she had done -- no matter what the price.

    • Too Late the Hero
      by Gareth D. Jones
      Martin Manner had powers beyond those of mortal men -- flight, incredible strength, a near-telepathic ability to sense people's distress, and more. With great power came the obligation to use that power to help others -- even if nobody seemed to want his help.

    • Uncle ... Uncle!
      by Robert Starr
      Karl Reusmensuen was the wettest of wet blankets. Even his best friends cringed when he came to join them when they were having fun. But Karl had his reasons. Living with his Uncle was -- difficult, in ways that he could never explain. Not if he wanted anyone to believe him.

    • Imprints
      by Roderick Gladwish
      Papic was the most effective interrogator the State had ever had. No one who was strapped into the chair in Papic's interrogation cell held out for long. He told himself that he did it for the State and for his beloved family, protecting them from potential threats. But his current subject wasn't interested in excuses ... only in the imprints of suffering left by Papic's many victims.

  • The Kitten Box
    By Gareth Lyn Powell
    What is the true nature of man? And if you knew that, how would you measure it?
    Willing to bet your life on it?

  • 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 6-28-05

    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