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

It's that time again, so here we go with the June issue of Aphelion!

P&E Top Ten

First off I'd like to say a little bit about how important that comments and critiques on everyone's stories and poetry are to our writers. One of the main reasons they send their work here is so they can get comments and critiques in our Forums section. This way they find out what went right with a piece and what might benefit from a little more attention. They do hear some of this from the editor they submitted their piece to, but a few words from the readers help do even more. The more comments, the more we learn, so to speak.

So please do drop in to the Forums and tell the writers what you thought of their story. It only takes a few minutes to sign up, it costs you nothing, and your opinions could make all the difference in the world to a writer.

From time to time I am asked to impart lessons I've learned from other writers. Sometimes I do it well, other times I'm way off the mark. This time, it's personal.

When you're writing something that requires an epic scale, you often need to think of something as vast as a solar system as being only a tiny chessboard less than six inches on a side, positioned next to hundreds of other tiny chessboards, yet the one your players occupy is the only one within thousands of yards that holds anything more interesting than one random speck of dust. Think of that for just a moment. Your story's tiny little playground is the only thing within miles of the next playground that holds one iota of interest to your readers.

Think of the largest city you've ever seen. Now pretend that everything that ever happened in the entire history of that city all happened in a few scant seconds on one single street corner. The next interesting plot point in your story happens in a different city, half a world away, and yet still takes only the barest instant to occur. Both scenes are vital to your story, yet they are separated by thousands of real miles and perhaps by a hundred real years. And yet, they might as well be played out on two tiny chessboards situated only a few inches and a few seconds apart.

Just meditate on that for a few moments. The scale of the universe is so much larger than we're used to thinking about that it sometimes takes intense concentration to accept. Space and time are both so vast and so empty that the human impulse to see everything happen at once is overwhelming. In reality, the effect that naturally follows the cause your plot specifies may actually be billions of light years and billions of temporal years distant one from another. Yet to craft the story, we are forced to act as if one thing happens next to another thing, within the barest instant of perception. Never be afraid to think big and to allow sufficient time to pass from one scene and the next.

All we know of the history of all of creation is merely the distance between one flickering candle flame and the next flicker of the same flame. Time is the wind that blows the candle. Space is the distance between one candle and the next in an infinite candelabra.

And please remember that the weekend of the 26 through the 28 Lyn and I will be at LibertyCon in Chattanooga. Hope to see you there!

Now it is hight time that I let you get to reading. And please do comment on the stories and poetry. The writers are depending on you to express your opinions. They'd love to hear what you have to say!


Short Story Editor's Note:
We want to get to know you better, so starting this month, we are offering our first-ever Reader Survey, which you can go to by clicking the new button for it in the NavBar on the left of your screen. The button is the second from the bottom one, just above the Forum.

Throughout or storied history, pun intended, we've never systematically charted what you like or dislike about our magazine and site. We sometimes get to meet you at conventions and occasionally you drop us a line saying what you think, but that really doesn't give us a broad-spectrum look at you, our audience. By and large, writers don't write for themselves--they write for the person who is going to read it, so you are the most important part of this whole magazine experience. Without you, we are really left with nothing but a 17-year archive of fiction, articles, and poetry, so we need to make sure you are happy with what you are reading, seeing, and clicking on.

The survey has 30 questions and only takes about 5 minutes. We realize your time is valuable, but we're asking you to please take the survey, because we want to make sure we are providing you with the best experience we can.

Will you take this survey for us?

Thanks, and we appreciate it.


First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us on the Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine. As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be very useful. Given our different locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room days.

Dan's Music Page This is my promo page here at Aphelion. All the links below, and more information about the albums, are located here.

The Never Bank On A Learning Curve CD on the Create Space website. My first album, with a wide range of styles and genres, covering the past three years of my working with the MAGIX Music Maker programs.

The Second Helping CD on the Create Space website. My second album, with just as wide a range of different musical styles, showing just how much I've learned in the past three years.

Dan's Studio-D Page on the Bandcamp website. Digital downloads of the albums, or each individual song if you prefer it that way. Just click on the album cover thumbnails and you'll see a list of each song on the album. Next to the song titles are links to read the liner notes, or to download the individual song. You can listen to each song for free. There is also a link to download each entire album at one go. I cannot say enough about Bandcamp! This is an amazing website. I have Rob, and many other friends, to thank for finally talking me into checking it out.

Here are some links to pages I have up promoting my music. When my book comes out I'll add those links to the promotion page, too. So far, there are links on that page to the Create Space Preview songs, the Create Space page for each album, the Amazon.com listings, and the link to the digital downloads page.

And here's a link to my Sound Cloud page:

Dan's Sound Cloud Page where all my music has been stored for your free listening pleasure. These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the CDs or on Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having everything collected together in one place.

Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what you hear. And once again, thank you for your time,

Dan all my music has been stored for your free listening pleasure. These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the CDs or on Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having everything collected together in one place.

Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what you hear. And once again, thank you for your time,



Title: 3C 321: Galaxy Fires at Neighboring Galaxy
Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Evans (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), [X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/D.Evans et al.; Optical/UV: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/VLA/CfA/D.Evans et al., STFC/JBO/MERLIN]