Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
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Aphelion Editorial 046

April 2001

The Senior Editor's usual drivel about whatever...

by Dan L. Hollifield

Hello and welcome!

Roger Bennett got back in touch with me over this past month and was highly complementary about Aphelion and what we've become. I asked him for a quote for this issue and this was his reply:

"It is sometimes quite interesting and indeed rewarding to see where one's efforts wind up. When I launched my old webzine, THE DRAGON'S LAIR, way back in 1996, this fellow by the name of Holifield sent in a submission. I recognized a good writer; and over the next few issues I realized that he would make a great Editor.

After a severe disappointment involving losing a story to a hardcopy magazine, I decided to close the LAIR. Dan begged me not to; and in the end he offered to keep it going. I agreed, and sent him all the files needed to run a 'zine. A name change took place, and APHELION was born.

Now, several years later, APHELION has matured into one of the oldest and perhaps the best 'zines on the Web. With a lot of innovative changes (including the Mare Inebrium Shared Universe Project) APHELION offeres the reader a true Science Fiction and Fantasy experience; one not to be missed.

To Dan and all his staff, a loud and resounding WELL DONE!!


Roger also said that although his job takes up more and more of his time, he's still writing. As a matter of fact, he came up with a great title as he typed one of his messages to me. I wish I'd thought of it, actually.

For those of you who have been reading my editorials for a while, by now you've figured out that I do a lot of reading on the internet in a wide range of fields. It has a way of paying off- not only with story ideas, but because I get a kick out of learning something. Frankly, it doesn't matter whether its the cutting edge of science or the history of JFK assassination conspiracy theories... I just like reading up on things.

Well, science has finally caught up with one of my personal favorite genres of Sci-fi and Fantasy- the alternate universe story. According to the Astrophysicists, "our universe contains an infinite number of other, similar universes, called O-regions." Cosmiverse- Space News has all the details, but I'll try to condense it here.

It seems that Larry Niven was right and that every choice you make every minute of every day spawns alternate universes. There's a universe born for each possibility. Every time you've stubbed your toe in the dark, another you somewhere else decided to turn the light on and thus missed out on stubbing their toe. On the other hand, if you've ever had a narrow escape from death-- some other you somewhere else wasn't so lucky. Other writers who've explored the field of alternate universes have covered other aspects of this new development in Astrophysics. Each universe has a slightly different history than our own and there ought to be a copy of each of us them all... Except for the inevitable universe where we didn't happen to be born in the first place- there'd be one of those for each of us also. L. Niel Smith, H. Beam Piper, Andre Norton, Keith Laumer, Robert Heinlein-- and many, many more have explored the idea of sideways-in-time stories. Now it looks as if they were each and every one describing a possible version of our reality.

If anything is possible, then everything becomes required.

If these scientists are truly drawing a more accurate picture of the universe we live in, then M.C. Esher doesn't look so strange any longer. And, they add, new alternate universes keep being created as the visible universe expands... Perhaps we writers are scripting out these emerging universes using nothing more powerful than our imagination and creativity. Whatever we create exists, somewhere.

One thing to keep in mind, you are the only copy of you whose life you can live, so the choices you make in your life aren't trivial. So what if a billion other yous are doing everything that you could have chosen to have done? You're still unique, you have no access to any of the yous on other timelines... Except that the article also mentions that these researchers think that it may one day be possible to communicate between these alternate universes. Travel always seems to follow communication... Where could it all end?

Only time will tell. After all, who is to say that the Astrophysicists have got it exactly right this time? Not me. I'm still waiting for Heisenberg to make up his mind.

Thanks for your time.



2001 Dan L. Hollifield

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