Aphelion Issue 283, Volume 27
May 2023
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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 155, Volume 15 -- September 2011


Hello, and welcome to another issue of Aphelion Webzine!

Autumn shows signs of moving in, finally. It's as if hurricane Irene decided to bring Fall along with her, packed up in the bag and baggage of wind and rain. This Summer, rapidly drawing to a close in the next two weeks, saw many changes woven into the fabric of my life. The heat was more oppressive than I recall it had ever been. My natural disinclination to use household air conditioning found itself tossed out the airlock. I've always been hesitant about becoming acclimated to AC. Mostly because it would make my job at the factory far more uncomfortable. But this year I bowed to the need to keep the house at livable temperatures. Indeed, as I feared, months of outdoor temperatures near half the boiling point of water did take their toll. Even the night shifts were sweaty, uncomfortable affairs. I came to dread day shifts. They became even more like torture than they had been in the past.

But the past week shows just how rapidly the seasons may change. Fall is approaching; the air conditioner cycles on less often already, dawn arrives later and later, and dusk reveals itself a little earlier each day. The garden is drying up as the growing season comes to a close. Only the tomatoes and peppers seem willing to continue to produce. But even they have begun to slacken their riotous growth.

But the long, hot Summer did prove to contain many blessings. I have been more productive this year than any within recent memory. I've written more stories in less time than ever in my life. I've had stories accepted and rejected by publishers. I planted a vegetable garden, for the first time in over a decade. I went on several vacations, to conventions and even across the Atlantic, to visit friends and in-laws in England. I even started composing music again. One long-term project I began within the last month will produce an audio play of sorts. Eventually, when it's finished, I hope to have a mix of music and narration that I can be proud of having composed. What the future holds, I cannot know. I do know that the work is fun. I also know that it is giving me great pleasure to listen to a completed composition. I believe the hardest part of the work will be the narration. I have, as yet, only a vague outline for the actual story. That scripting will probably be the most difficult writing project I've begun this year.

Speaking of writing projects, “Tales of the Mare Inebrium” was rejected by the first publisher my Mentor and I submitted it to for consideration. Rest assured that the manuscript will be sent out again, to other publishers. Aphelion readers already know what Mare Inebrium stories are like. The mere fact that the series exists proves that there is a readership out there who will enjoy it. My task is simply to whip my stories into shape suitable for publishing, and then find a publisher willing to take a chance on the work.

“The Immersion Book of Steampunk” is now available for pre-order on the Immersion Press website. The general release will be later this month. At one time I had a story in that anthology, but mine got bumped out to make room for three other stories. I still believe the book will be a fantastic read for anyone with an interest in steampunk. Please do check it out. If you like what you see, buy a copy. I believe that you will enjoy the book.

My music pages on SoundCloud have had nearly four hundred listeners in the six weeks of its existence. One set of songs has a “buy a download” link. $9.99 US for 15 songs, or individual tracks can be purchased for ¢99 US. My page on the VibeDeck website also has that set of songs available to buy. Purchases will be handled through PayPal on both websites. I've already upgraded my PayPal account to handle the micro-payments to the account, and income tax paperwork involved to keep everything legal. Well, I've babbled on quite enough for one day. It's time I let you start reading the new issue of Aphelion.

Thanks for your time,


Serials & Long Fiction

Cross Bound
By Julie Travis
Modern day horror tale set in Great Britain. First came the cloud, which blotted out the sky over England for two months. Then the strangers began to arrive. Their plan---to exact revenge against the country that sent them to a watery grave four centuries ago.

Short Stories

Remembering Marchosia
By Jack Dowden
The goddess Marchosia -- ageless, possessing terrifying powers, but not unkillable -- wanted to find a way to bestow godhood on the humans among whom she lived, starting with her egregori (bodyguard and lover) Uriel. But the other gods opposed her plans...

Jane and the Queen
By Rusty Keele
The world had grown accustomed to the presence of lycanthropes -- werewolves -- and had established ways to help them. "Jane" seemed to be just one more newbie at first, but her behavior was unique...

Zombie Charades
By Susan Stec
The plague of zombies had been contained and covered up. Now the military wanted to turn them into weapons...if they could just find a way to train them to go after a specific target instead of eating whatever (or whomever) they could catch!

The Incantations
By Richard Tornello
Josie was a powerful witch, even if her son thought she was a bit senile. When she made a whole subdivision disappear (and reappear in another reality) by accident, it gave her an idea...

Artificial Angels
By Melissa Pryor
The dried blood found in what was believed to be the tomb of Christ had the miraculous ability to heal and encourage growth. The first human test subjects were convicts -- and its effects on them seemed even more divine.

The Turning
By Matthew Acheson
Leonard Barnes had been a low-grade psychic who used his gifts to cheat at cards. Then he was abducted and forced to develop his abilities for more 'noble' ends.

"Beauty," Said The Beast
By Errett Williams
Beauty was prized above all else and was easily obtained by those who could afford it. When the Guides began to offer it for free to the public, one family at a time, most people were thrilled to have the chance. Others suspected that the 'free' treatment came at a terrible cost...

They Found Me
By Robin Lipinski
Among other things, the Large Hadron Collider was intended to prove the existence of the so-called God Particle. What they got was probably not what they had in mind.

Alternative Energy
By Mike Wilson
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This turned out to be especially true of the energy industry.

By Kaye Branch
Stranded 700 years before her own birth year, Jenaya had to learn to understand her new (ancient) world. She found the posters for missing people especially puzzling...

***August 2011 Forum Challenge***

Congratulations to Lester Curtis winner of the August 2011 Forum Flash Fiction Challenge. Check out Lester's "Gandhi" and five more stories of unproven or undersized superheroes here, after sampling this month's editorial, poetry, short stories, and long fiction, of course...

Poetry and Filk Music

by Holly R. Appling

Another Look
by Richard Tornello

As the Vortex Goes Down The Drain
by Richard Tornello

Bob’s Diary: A Modest Proposal
by David Barber

by Robin B. Lipinski

For Celan
by Jean Jones

God Evolved to make Darwin
by Mike Wilson

Juvenile Jackdaws from the Clouds
by Amit Parmessur

Living Dead
by Mike Berger

Wandering Ole Willow
by Richard H. Fay

Yorktown at Jupiter
by John Marshall


Thoughts on Writing #32: Deadlines
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.

Lawyers In Hell: Volume 13 of "Heroes In Hell", Janet and Chris Morris, Ed.
A review by Dan Hollifield
Aphelion's publisher, editor in chief, and steampunk guru gives his thoughts on the latest in the anthology series created by Janet Morris.

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