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

Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 99, Volume 9 -- January 2006

Issue 100, Volume 10 will be online 1st week of February, 2006.

"And if you believe that- you'll buy this watch..."
Saint Robere Guilams


Since January 27th, 1997 when Aphelion first went online.

Shortcut Links
Editorial Novels Serials Shorts Poetry Features Lettercol Aphelion Links
Mare Inebrium Stories Mare Starter Kit Review Query FAQ Nightwatch Story Archive Aphelion Instant Java Chat Exchange Links With Aphelion Aphelion Submissions Guidelines

Top 100 Award Vote for this page in the eZines Database The eZines Database Top 5 Pick!

Aphelion is proud to be associated with:

The best way to promote your website! America.Net Web Hosting Services


The Usual Rant from Aphelion's Senior Editor:

Not much of an editorial this issue. It's already a month late and I might not get a chance to do better until issue 100. As most people around Aphelion know, sometimes I seem to fall off the face of the planet for a while. This has been one of those times. This holiday season has been the busiest I've ever had. I'm sorry for the delay, but it was unavoidable.

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.

As for the Best Of 2005 stories: My delay cost us the extra month, but Iain did send a Best Of Poetry 2005 list. Aphelion had a hugely good year in '05 and we can only hope that '06 will be even better.

There will be a wedding at Casa Vila in May of '06 which might absorb ApheliCon 2. I don't want to double anyone's number of trips to Georgia, so that weekend in mid-May might be a two-in-one affair. Of course, if a lot of people *want* to have a Summer ApheliCon party and the Spring wedding too, then we can work it out. Stay tuned and I'll keep you posted. And please send e-mails to me expressing your opinion on the matter. You're all invited to the wedding and the Aphelicon, in any case. Even if they don't happen at the same time.

OK, time for me to stop yammering and take this one day I've got to lay out the links to the stories and poems. I'll also lay out the Best Of page, update the back issues page, and see about the rest of my chores. I'll probably have to go back into the real world after today, so I might be offline again at unpredictable times. I hate to be away, but all this romance and family stuff is important and fun and meaningful.

Back to work...


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

  • Dreams of Starlight
    By Saki Channing
    "Drink this...it's not poison."
    Between her mad scientist father and his overly solicitous friend, Cheska should have known better...but, in the interests of science, she took the beaker of fuming red liquid and drank.
  • 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

  • The Burden
    by Bill Wolfe
    The Silicata were the evolved descendants of artificially intelligent probes sent out by countless spacefaring civilizations. Some were benign. Others were not. Humanity had borrowed Silicata technology as a shortcut to the stars, but now had to contend with an enemy that came in a million different sizes and shapes. On a mission to establish a base to study and exploit new Silicata forms, Darus has learned a terrible secret ... and he must carry his burden alone across a barren world.

  • A Gathering Storm
    by Nick Capo
    Ahern, a mercenary commander, and his friend, the mage Ranulf, march with Duke Aidan's army against the forces of the Empire to take back a captured fortress. Dark secrets and the threat of darker magic may make their task even more dangerous than it had to be.

  • Quintessence
    by I.D. Weis
    A gun-for-hire walks the streets of a city where drugs and violence rule. He's a killer, and death and destruction don't bother him much any more. Learning that his city is turning into something out of a Bosch painting of Hell, on the other hand ...
    (Contains disturbing scenes)

  • Stolen Magic
    by Colin Harvey
    Jake was a loser, or at least he felt like one. Divorced, in a brain-melting job at an insurance adjuster, nearly broke (thanks to the divorce). He shouldn't have had a chance with Sylvie, the sexy exchange student, but he had to try. Too bad the gift he bought for her in the junk shop contained stolen magic.
    (Contains coarse language)

  • First Strike
    by Joe Vadalma
    King Knight Black of Retslu was in big trouble. The treasury was empty, and the country was a mess in just about every way possible; the odds of a coup seemed distressingly high. But then Queen Jennifer suggested that a war would be the ideal distraction -- and hadn't the Neergians used Weapons of Magical Destruction more than once in the past? What if they were preparing to do so again? A fairy tale, of sorts.

  • Earthly Prey
    by Michelle O'Neill
    Morgan Stranton didn't look forward to the job -- transporting a dangerous, literally man-eating alien to Earth to stand trial for its crimes. But she needed the money if she wanted to keep her ship, and anyway, the Hydracore was just a smart, nasty animal, nothing she couldn't handle. Sentient, definitely, communicating by pheromones and maybe a little telepathy; but the species had never even learned to use tools ...

  • Song of the Universe
    by Jason Maxwell
    Mother was the ultimate artificial intelligence. With FTL communications links, she watched over and controlled routine processes in every part of the solar system where humanity had carved out a place to live. But beyond the heliopause, where the winds from the sun diminish to the point where she could not even detect them, she heard -- a voice?

  • It'll All End Sobbing in the Dark
    by Lee Alon
    In a cottage in the woods, a Court Services team condenses information from trials around the world and sends out reports, some via Projection -- artificially mediated telepathy -- some in writing. They live at the center of a web of information, but at the same time, they are isolated; the superflu that is devastating the world seems very far away. But not far enough.
    (Contains coarse language)

  • The End Place
    By Arnold Emmanuel
    Crease didn't know how he'd ended up there, but The End Place seemed to be ultimate resort, with gorgeous women eager to pamper him, and the best food he'd ever tasted. If only his girlfriend had treated him this well, he never would have had to ... teach her. Funny how the one other guest he'd met seemed so nervous.
  • Give That Man a Hand, Ladies and Gentlemen
    By JA Howe
    Satan, Prince of Darkness (etc., etc.) couldn't believe it when Ty Corn, the dirtiest ball player of all time, not only insulted Satan's team, but refused to join it and (presumably) improve it. When T. C. weaseled his way out of Hell (thanks to fine print in his contract!) and started up his own team, it was time to call in the lawyers -- of which Hell had a plentiful supply.

Poetry and Filk Music

Best Of 2005:

In selecting what I view as the best of this year's poetry, I have been bound by a couple of self-imposed rules:
1) The Editorial Mafia are barred
2) I have excluded several very good pieces which I sought out from the authors, rather than receiving as submissions - I figure I'm biased.
3) I have limited the selections to one per author - if someone has been prolific this year, I've tried to pick what I think is their "best" piece.
4) All choices are mine, they are subjective, and feel free to argue with them. This is what the lettercol is for :)
5) It's good to be the editor.

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
    --- Page ---

  • Aphelion Back Issues Page

    Read the updated (March 2005) Submissions Guidelines
    Aphelion Submissions Guidelines Page

    If you would like to receive notices from Aphelion when this page is updated, please join our new, revised, automatic mailing list. To subscribe:
    Send a message to majordomo@lists.america.net with the following in the body of the message:

    subscribe aphelion <email address>

    As always, this mailing list will only be used to notify you of new issues and will never be given out to anyone else... 'cause I hate spam as much as you do!

    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

    Click HERE to vote for this page as a Starting Point Hot Site.

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