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Freefall, or The Melonpool Chronicles!
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from Aphelion's featured cartoonists!
The Senior Editor's usual drivel about whatever...
Hello again and welcome back for another thrilling
Hmmm, wait a minute- This column was supposed to be about
current issues or topics of interest, but I think I need to make a few
explanations here. Some folks have been getting peturbed every month
when the newest Aphelion isn't the first thing to
go online on the first day of each month. Well, there is a reason why
we don't commit to a first day of the month
publishing schedule and use a first week of the
That reason is called "life"- specifically, life offline.
The REAL WORLD-
which still exists, take my word for it, offers constant obstacles to
online publishing in the amateur realm that Aphelion inhabits. I
suppose that if this were a profit-making Zine then I'd feel obligated
to get a new issue out on the first day of each
month. But there is no money to be made from Aphelion. (Plenty to be
spent to keep the website, but none to be made without making the
readers pay to see the stories.) I pay about $50 per month to keep the
website alive- out of my own pocket -and have to sometimes(!) take time
offline to earn that cash. My other bills have to
be paid as well, naturally, so I do have to keep my day-job. I'm not
griping about Aphelion being a free Zine- in fact I rather prefer it
that way, we can have a better variety of stories than we could if we
had to expect readers to pay for access to the website. If we had to
charge the readers, we'd also have to provide only
the best, pro-quality stories- and none of the ones that would enable
new writers to be able to grow and improve enough to become
pro-quality. I'd much rather that we make a place for writers to learn
and grow than for me to be able to quit my day-job and edit full-time
In short, because all of the Aphelion
staff have lives offline that swipe lots of our spare time, I feel that
the looseness of a week-long deadline enables us to make a better Zine
for you to read. Despite the objections to our not being a
"professional"-seeming publication for not having a specific
publication date each month, Aphelion is a much better, more enjoyable,
more vital Zine than a rigid, unyelding, deadline-oriented magazine
Kinda reminds you of the old arguments about Fandom itself
that were so much fun in the '60s and '70s; "Fandom is a way of
life..." versus "Fandom is just a hobby...", doesn't it? That argument
reflected the dichotomy among fans that were, frankly, obsessed
by the convention scene (and other aspects of fan activity-) as
compared to those fans that led their own personal lives while just
enjoying the work of favorite writers. Multi-interest fans vs
single-interest fans. Would you believe that people often got downright
vehement about how dedicated to fandom each other
were. Sheesh! (My light-grey cat is better than your dark-grey cat, as
it were.) My reply to that would have to be that Aphelion is more than
a hobby, but not the be-all and end-all of our lives.
Aphelion is fun to do, rewarding to do- and for me, necessary
to do... but its not my whole life. Neither should it be yours, gentle
reader. Your lives should be bigger than a Zine, Newsgroup, or
Chatroom- otherwise you're selling yourselves short. When that happens,
its MY loss- as well as your own, and as well as
the rest of the world's loss. Each of you is more than just the sum of
your online spare time, more than just web-geeks with no lives. You're
people, real people that matter- each with your own offline lives that
matter. The Aphelion staff and I are no different.
Aphelion is a real-world publication, with real-world
problems, and real-world delays. The best compromise that I've been
able to come up with is to allow for the real-world to rear it's ugly
head and screw things up for a while. So we don't tie our new issue
uploads to a specific day, but rather aim for a wider range of time to
publish in. Its better for the writers, the staff, and in the end- its
better for the readers too.
Dan L. Hollifield, Senior
In case anyone is curious as to exactly what's been keeping
me so busy, I'm planning a few webpages that show the progress of my
landscaping, interior decoration, and housework. Look for it by the end
of the summer in my personal pages. Its a sort of photographic timeline
of my yardwork and such. I don't know why anyone would want to see it,
but Rob thought that someone might.
I'd like to thank those of you who have sent e-mails or signed the
Guestbook 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!
Senior Editor, Publisher
Short Story Editor
Production Editor/Serials Editor
Threat of Valleor -Part 8-
By Dan L. Hollifield The adventure pauses with this installment and will
Next month "Abducted" will begin in this link.
In Arms We Trust -Part 4 of 5-
By Vasilis Adams Afxentiou It is not because other people are dead that our
affection for them grows faint, it is because we ourself are dying.
Not long ago, Cary Semar posted a request on the Lettercol for more
"hard SF" types of stories,
tales involving space ships and science and gun fights and. . . Well,
what started as a joke among the staff ("Gee, why don't we
just have an all Space Opera issue?") is turning into a
reality, with your help of course.
APHELION'S FIRST EVER THEME ISSUE IS ALMOST HERE!
Well, the submissions are all in, the inbox for the contest is now
closed. Cary Semar is hard at work on the submissions even as we speak.
Best of luck to all of the writers who chose to submit entries. Soon we
will know the judge's decision.
The theme issue itself will be published in July 1999.
This contest is not open to the staff of Aphelion though
their stories may appear in the issue if they
choose to write one and if space is available.
So, those disrupter banks are fully charged, the dogs of
intergalatic war have been loosed from their chains, the Grey Lensmen
are one the case... may the best beings win!
By Linda Kohut This story is dedicated to those who stand guard on the
frontier between reality and chaos.
By Douglas Goodman A tale of loss and redemption in a world where heroes
can be bought and sold in an interstellar black market.
Don't Look Back
By Frances Taira Commonwealth Operative Mike Campbell's first assignment
is to bring Island Colony into the Interplanetary Commonwealth, bring
about democratic elections, and prevent a civil war. The mysterious
prophetess Medea has other ideas.
By David Blalock Assassination is more than motive, method, and
opportunity. Sometimes it's about controlling the bigger picture.
The Hitchhiker By Hans D. Christianson There is always someone better than you.
By McCamy Taylor In Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness,' we learned that
Kurtz's 'intended' is mature, independent minded and highly moral. This
is her story.
The Burden of Grace
By Vasilis Afxentiou The place is the Adriatic. The time is now. But this
story was already old when Moses brought down the laws.
By Mark Stanley and Steve Troop Did he say daily? Yep, Aphelion is proud to feature two
of the funniest comic strips on the Internet, Mark Stanley's "Freefall"
and Steve Troop's "The Melonpool Chronicles". Bookmark this page, you
don't want to miss a single installment!
Aphelion Interview: Kate Thornton
by Jeff Williams Jeff Williams sits down with one of Aphelion's most
popular writers, to discuss her life and work. This is the first in a
series of Interviews we will be bringing you over the next few months.
by Jim Parnell Alternative Radio - What Happens if you Listen Too
Hard, or, I Hear the FNORDS! WARNING: Contains language.
Musings by Kim Holec This month begins a new column by Kim Holec,in which
she discusses books and authors of note, and whatever else is on her
mind. This Month: Lois McMaster Bujold.
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Instead of the back issues the banner below now takes you
to the Archives-where all our past stories are available for you to
I've decided to ditch the back issues in favor of the
Archives. The Archives are easier to use and can be indexed by author
or story title. Hopefully this will ease the task of finding a favorite
story. We may start a page of our past cover art, if there is a call
for it. Thanks for your readership for without you, nothing we do has