A Modest Proposal...
Can we share the Mare Inebrium?
Updated: April 1st, 2018
A long while back, Roger Bennett (Editor of the great Dragon's
Lair Webzine) approached me with an unusual
proposition. He had a story wherein some of the action took place in a
had published two stories of mine (during the early days of
Dragon's Lair) that were set in a spaceport bar that I had created. It
was called the Mare Inebrium, which is very bad Latin for "Sea of
Drunkards", and was the brain-child of myself and a very good friend
& roomate; Jim Parnell. We came up with the idea of a Bar at
the north pole of Earth's moon, where people & aliens of any
species and/or timeframe could interact. Later, after I had begun the
grand odyessy of trying to become a writer (and Jim had finished
college, moved far away, and gotten married), I created a planet called
Bethdish and moved the Mare Inebrium's location there. It was sort of a
poetic gesture, designed to keep the memory of some fun times alive. In
any case, Roger wanted to put his story in the Mare Inebrium because he
had enjoyed reading my stories about the place and thought it the
perfect setting for his own tale. I agreed to allow him to do so and
set about giving him some background material for the description of
the bar and it's staff.
Little did I realize what Roger was about to start.
To make a long story longer; Roger turned out a gem of a
story. I loved it! Here was a chance to read more about one of my
favorite creations, without the work of writing it
myself! Roger sent me the story as a submission for
Aphelion, rather than keeping it for his own Zine. (Polite bugger,
wasn't he?) I accepted it for the December '97 issue. So far, nothing
unusual, but then I was struck by an idea... After taking some aspirin
for the resulting headache, I dashed off a quick e-mail to Roger and
asked him if he thought that other writers might want to do something
similar. Could there be more people that might want to write a
spaceport bar story in a bar already made? Roger thought that there
would be, and named two writers that he thought would be perfect. After
reading the names, I agreed that those two would be marvelous choices.
But would they want to do it? Would anyone want to? Damifino...
And so, this page was born.
Well, I guess that I should get to the point. Absolutely
anything can happen at the Mare Inebrium. If the idea of a place where
Star Trek's Mr. Spock could play chess with DC Comic's Brainiac, where
Sherlock Holmes and Buck Rogers could sit down together and have a
beer, where Tom Swift Jr and H.G. Wells could go to talk shop with Ford
Prefect and Fu Manchu, where your favorite aliens from your own
imagination could interact with your favorite folks from other writer's
works... If that sounds like a place that you could write stories in,
then I've got neat place for you to hang out!
Of course, putting familiar charactors in a new setting isn't
all there is to the Mare Inebrium. You can simply tell a good story,
one that needs a Spaceport Bar as a backdrop. In fact, that's the way I
write my own Mare stories. Of course I throw some familiar faces in at
the far tables of the bar, but they're just window-dressing for the
real story. I've seen folks do some really subtle background characters
in some stories- better than I do, even! I like to see it work out that
way. That means to me that I created something that people can have fun
with, a concept that writers can run with, and a story that the reader
can enjoy even if they haven't read a Mare story before.
I'd suggest reading Larry Niven's "Draco Tavern" series and
his stories"The Fourth Profession" & "For a Foggy Night",
Arthur C. Clarke's "Tales from the White Hart", Spider Robinson's
"Callahan's Bar" & "Lady Sally's House" books, and "Tales from
the Spaceport Bar" edited by George H. Scithers & Darrell
"Tales..." is a collection of stories from many of the
world's best writers, all set in various bars and pubs throughout the
What I'm getting at is that I'm opening the Mare Inebrium to
everyone. All I ask is that you stay true to the spirit and decor of
the place. I have floorplans, outlines of the permanent staff, and the
history of the planet where the Mare is located... all on the starter
kit page. Click here
to read that. The Online version of the Starter Kit was last
updated on 2-7-04, so its current.
You should also read all of the Mare Inebrium stories so far-
if only to keep from contradicting each other as people add more stores
to the Mare's mythos.
To read the Mare Inebrium stories that have been published so
to read the stories.
Click here to read
the Starter Kit.
to submit a Mare Inebrium story or artwork as an attachment .txt, .rtf,
.docx or .doc file for stories (& as
.jpg or .gif for artwork) to an e-mail to me at the Aphelion. Please
send all Mare Inebrium stories to this and only
this address! That will save the other Editors time and make sure that
your submission is read by me
Pet Peeves: Italics, underline, differing
fonts throughout a manuscript, smart quotes--All these things slow me
down when I'm doing the HTML coding for a story. Sometimes it takes
hours to process one short manuscript into a web page because I have to
keep slogging through the original to find out where to put each HTML
code to display on a webpage exactly what the author submitted. That
said, using all those does not mean that your story will be rejected.
All it means is that you submission will take me extra time to process.
If you are familiar with HTML and want to include the right code
mark-up for these things, that's something I consider a blessing. But
NOT a requirement. If you do use HTML codes to indicate any of the
above formatting, please make a note in your submission, somewhere near
the top under your byline, that you've used HTML tags for format
changes. Common HTML tags to use before and after format changes
<i> before italics and </i> at the end of the italic string.
<b> before bold type and </b> after,
<u> before underlined words and </u> after, and so on...
Another thing that slows me down are HUGE, LONG, NEVERENDING list of
previous publication credits. Seriously, just pick out the five or six
that you are most proud of instead of sending me your entire publishing
history. I'd suggest your first publishing credit and the date, then
follow that with "and most recently" and your five most recent
publication credits. But if you don't yet have six publication credits,
don't worry about it. Just mention what you have and it'll be fine. But
I'm not going to wade through a list of pub creds that is longer than
the Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary! I'll pick out the first one
and the last five, and call it a day. Not trying to pick on anyone
here, but I do have a day job too, you know.
here to return to the Aphelion Table of Contents Page.