Aphelion Issue 283, Volume 27
May 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 154, Volume 15 -- August 2011


Now some of this can be told, except for a few little details that needs must be left out to protect the innocent.

As some readers already know, months ago I was given the chance to re-write my Mare Inebrium stories in order to submit them to a publisher. I therefore removed each and every one of my Mare stories from Aphelion's archives. In place of the stories, I posted a generic "removed for possible publication" pages with the file names of the original links.

If you've been reading the Mare series, you already know that my stories are a very small fraction of the whole. In fact, only a dozen out of the 70 or more stories presently in the series are by me. Everyone else's work is still there, still available, and no plans to change that are in the pipeline at the moment.

So if you have yet to sample the delights that are contained within the Mare series, by all means, please do so as soon as you possibly can. Each story is meant to be read as a stand-alone tale. Although there are some stories that are linked by a common theme, or were inspired by earlier tales, each can be enjoyed by itself. You don't need to know the continuity, you don't need to know all the little details, and you don't even need to know if I assisted any in the writing. All you need to know is that the stories are set in a bar, the bar is in a spaceport town on an alien world, and that anything that can happen there, will eventually happen there. Just read them and enjoy them.

Fast forward from months ago... Here is how the events eventuated. As usual, I was bemoaning the fact that my stories generate less commentary on the Forums than anyone else's stories do. This time, I was bemoaning on Facebook, rather than on Aphelion. A friend, who happens to be an established pro writer, decided to take a look at my latest effort and give me an honest critique. Because I asked for it. Be careful what you wish for, right? I did not receive the sort of critique I was expecting. True, they did tell me that I was in sore need of an editor to rein in my literary excesses and grammatical errors. That much I already knew, having been edited before and realizing that such help did indeed make my stories far better. What knocked me for a loop was that my friend had read the story, e-mailed their publisher, and told them that "you have got to read this" Then they e-mailed me and told me what they'd done. They also offered to mentor me and edit the stories with an eye towards submitting an anthology to their publisher. I was given some instructions as how the publisher preferred submissions to be formatted, a list of grammatical errors that I'd made in that one story, and thus needed to look for in other stories, and a demand that I get to work re-writing the old stories, NOW!

Not only did I start rewriting, I also started writing and outlining new stories for the series. Within a month, I had four brand new stories, started a fifth new story, and outlined eight other new stories. I had reformatted nine of the old stories, and rewritten three of those. I developed a routine and stuck to it. More time passed, more work on the older stories got done. Then, one afternoon I got another e-mail from my friend. "I've got all my other work out of the way, my desk is cleared, and now I can concentrate on editing what you've got so far. Send me everything you've gotten finished, and we'll start putting together a manuscript to send to the publisher." Within an hour, I'd sent the requested files back to my friend. Sure, I was nervous. Being edited isn't easy on a writer's ego, but I was determined to do my best work. Two hours later I got another e-mail from my friend.

"Reformat the file down to your absolute best stories. Between 100,000 and 80,000 words. The publisher wants to read them before we do any editing." So I removed some of the later stories, cut the file from 128,000 words to 80,000, and sent the results back to my Mentor. 30 minutes later, my manuscript was on the publisher's desk. That was two weeks ago. I'm as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

During that two weeks, Lyn & I went to LibertyCon, where I was told that I was listed in the Con Program as a Guest Writer. I was on a pair of panel discussions, one on steampunk as a speaker. The other, on e-publishing and small press publishing, as a moderator. My Mentor was there at the Con, also. We had a long talk about the manuscript. Everything looks fine, but it is now up to the publisher to decide if my work is worth their investment to publish.

But that's not all my news. Some readers will remember that last year I sold a steampunk story to an anthology that will soon be published in the UK. Unfortunately, my story seems to have been bumped out of the anthology to make room for several shorter stories by established pro writers. Yeah, I'm disappointed, but I understand the business decision that was made. Those Big Names will help sell the book far better than my name would have done. Nothing personal, and my story was good enough to have been accepted for the original layout of the book. Matter of fact, I still intend to do what I can to promote the book. It will still be a great book. My story being gone from it doesn't change the quality of the other stories.

But wait, there's more...

There is, somewhere in that place called "Development Hell," a steampunk anthology TV series being shopped around as a proposal to UK TV networks. Notice carefully that word, "proposal." As in, "this ain't a done deal, yet." A writer, whom Aphelion readers would recognize, is the series creator. A Series Bible has been written. A pilot episode has been written, and is in rewrites. A list of possible contributing writers for episodes has been compiled. A Short-List of existing stories the series creator wishes to adapt as screenplays for the series has also been compiled... Guess whose name and which story is on both those lists? Pardon my blushes.

Does that mean that my steampunk story is going to show up on TV? I can only say that it is a possibility. If the series goes into production, then yes it is indeed possible. Only time will tell. Lots of TV shows are proposed every year. Few of those proposed actually get green-lit to go into production. Few of those which actually get so far as having pilot episodes filmed actually wind up on the air. And a tiny percentage of those which wind up having their pilot episodes broadcast actually wind up in full-scale series production. It is too early to forecast anything at all, but the odds are somewhat slightly better than those of my winning the Mega-Millions lottery.

Will my anthology of Mare Inebrium stories wind up on bookstore shelves? Will my steampunk story wind up on your TV screens? Will Babette and Bobby ever realize their true love for one another despite the social differences between their families? Will the next Green Hornet movie actually be worth watching? Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts and minds of men? Stay tuned. Same Bat time, same Bat station...

Until September, Dear Readers! But for now, enjoy the awesome goodness of another issue of Aphelion!


Serials & Long Fiction

Chatterton Reef
By McCamy Taylor
The descendants of the human race left dry land behind long ago, choosing to live in the oceans with varying types and degrees of genetic modifications. But the one thing they took with them was the instinct for war.

Whispers From The North
By Matthew Acheson
A gothic horror tale about the lengths some will go for love.

Revelations Man
By S. H. Hughes
A science fiction tale about an alien invasion of the Earth -- based upon the Book of Revelations.

Short Stories

By T. Richard Williams
From their home in the Oort Cloud, four people would fold space to travel far beyond the Confederation. Two of them would be passengers, uploaded into and sharing bodies with volunteer hosts.

By Kurt Heinrich Hyatt
Mining the impossibly rare, impossibly precious heartstones on Dust Ball was risky business, so much so that good pilots were hard to come by. That's why ex-Terran Ranger Ernspiker was "volunteered" for the job when he literally fell into trouble on New Seattle.

By K. Bruce Justice
Timothy had always been...different. When his father saw just how different he was, he took him to Mother Gayle to hide in plain sight among the other special people in the traveling circus.

Chump Change
By Kate Thornton
The good ship Linda Rae had carried some peculiar cargo in its long and varied career. But going all the way to Toshiba to deliver a single coin was a first...

By Robyn Green
Eric found the strange, pale girl in the little cave only a hundred yards from his back yard. Obviously, she needed help -- but for some reason, nobody else thought so.

A Loss of Humanity
By Dan Devine
Fallin and his followers would do anything to stop the foreigners from corrupting their people by forever changing their way of life. Of course, one man's corruption is another man's gift of 'civilization'...

By Philip Roberts
Working the front security desk at the hospital wasn't Lloyd's job of choice, and that was before he met Frank Reynolds. Frank was there to protect an apparently dead man from the creatures that had made put him in the hospital morgue.

Tunguska Retro
By E. S. Strout
Karen Mosby and her team of geologists hoped to learn what had happened over Tunguska in 1908 by studying traces left in the Siberian soil and rocks. The story that emerged from their findings and from old eyewitness accounts was ... not what they expected.

The Toll
By H. R. Gillette
Glori had been her lord's best assassin until she rebelled and fled to the forest. Since then, she had defeated everyone he sent to kill her. But she had paid a price for survival, one that she might never live down.

Offer Her The World
By Kent Rosenberger
You know you're socially inept when despite being the richest man in the solar system, you can't find a woman to marry you -- and you take dating advice from your bartender robot.

***July 2011 Forum Challenge***

Congratulations to George T. Philibin (a.k.a. Megawatts), winner of the July 2011 Forum Flash Fiction Challenge. Check out George's "Nobody Understands" and seven more tales of characters trying to control the monsters within here, after sampling this month's editorial, poetry, short stories, and long fiction, of course...

Poetry and Filk Music

Disbelieveability-Jump Drive
by Richard Tornello

Fires Of Heaven
by Robert William Shmigelsky

A Gory Doll
by Amit Parmessur

Last Thoughts of a Cosmic Fighter Pilot
by Richard H. Fay

Out Of Africa
by David Barber

Song Of Ulysses
by Clinton Van Inman

Teacher of Learn
by Robin B. Lipinski

To Thine Own Self... (Warning And Advice)
by Jean Jones

Why Sunny Days Scare Me
by Thomas Reynolds


Thoughts on Writing #31: This Is Not A Race
By Seanan McGuire
In an ongoing series, Seanan McGuire takes apart the engine of writing to find out how it works, and offers her insights into how to put it back together again.

Retrograde: It Was The End Of The World As We Knew It, But Charleton Heston Felt Fine
By Daniel C. Smith
Daniel Smith fondly remembers two 1970s science-fiction film classes, Omega Man and Soylent Green

Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2013 by Dan L. Hollifield