Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page
Oops, We Did It Again


The Real Life Blues

Guest Editorial by Robert Moriyama

Loyal Aphelionites who have been eagerly awaiting the September edition may have noticed that it never...quite...arrived. Instead, after a delay of about a month, you got this super-duper special September / October Double Issue, with more stories, poems, and features than you can shake a stick at. If you have a stick handy, and haven't thought of other ways to use it, that is.

We didn't plan this. We are running a September / October Double Issue for the same reason as we ran the July /August Double Issue -- Real Life raised its ugly head like the Kraken in the "Clash of the Titans" remake (but with much more convincing 3D effects), and a key staff member was sidelined. Again.

Outrageous! cries the Aphelion-deprived reader. Editors and such are not allowed to have Real Lives! And anyway, why should Real Life interfere with our publication of stories and features and poetry that focus mainly on characters and creatures and situations that most would consider to be UNreal?

Let me count the ways...

Computer problems. Over the years one or another of the folks who put Aphelion together have suffered failures of hard drives, video cards, monitors, internet connections, and software meltdowns, resulting in downtime ranging from a few hours to a few weeks. Even when files are salvageable, fixing a computer usually costs money, and we all get money from...wait for it...

"Day jobs". But sometimes the jobs that pay the rent (or mortgage) and put food on the table demand so much time (or overtime) and energy that Aphelion staffers have nothing left for editing, coding, uploading, preparing graphics, etc., etc. Or at least not enough to perform those functions up to the standards that (we think) Aphelion readers expect. And sometimes the day job disappears, or threatens to do so, and the World of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror is overshadowed by worries about Real Life survival. It would be nice if Aphelion staff were independently wealthy, but like most of the readers, we live from paycheck to paycheck. And sometimes paychecks shrink or are interrupted due to...wait for it...

Personal crises. We, the wage-slave Aphelion staff, get sick, sometimes more than our workplace benefits (if any) allow for. And worse, our loved ones get sick, and sometimes they die, leaving possessions to be distributed or disposed of, paperwork by the ream, and enough emotional turmoil to make even the greatest story or poem an Editor could ever hope to read or publish seem like a month-old helium party balloon, limp and pathetic and not...worth...the...effort.

I won't go into the particular combination of circumstances that derailed the planned launch of the September issue. Regular readers of the Forum probably know the details; others should be comforted by the knowledge that this is not something that happens often (in fact, it can only happen a maximum of four times in the lives of a married couple). We have added more material to the stuff (good stuff, some of it exceptional) already prepped for the September issue to make up for the delay, and we plan to Get Back On Schedule with the November edition.

But as Robbie Burns said (more or less), The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley. Wish us luck!

Robert M.