Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Hello and welcome to the April 2020 issue of Aphelion!

Well, a lot can change in a month. As you read this, rest assured that I'm stuck at home just like everyone else. Yesterday started my third week of Shelter In Place. If everything works the way I hope, after next week I can return to work. Some of the people I know personally have contracted the virus, most have not. Some of the people I know online have contracted the virus, but again, most have not. That's not meant to underplay the seriousness of the situation. Because this disease is a deadly serious subject and if you treat it as if it were a joke, the joke may well be on you. Or on someone you love. Please take it seriously. Even though I am just words on a screen to you, and most likely we've never met in person because you are scattered all over the world, rest assured that I do care about you and about everyone you know and love.

Who would have thought that Arthur Dent would be the only character in the entirety of fiction to be correctly dressed for the apocalypse? Pajamas and a dressing gown? Really? I predict that will be a very popular cosplay at conventions in the near future, LOL! You can keep your Mad Max gear, slippers and a robe are the uniform of the day, LOL!

By now, everyone with access to the internet, a TV, newspapers, or a radio has heard just about every possible way to reduce your chances of catching this virus. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it's so simple. Gloves, a simple mask, fanatic hand-washing, and not getting too close to anyone in public? That should be easy enough. Of course it's not perfect, nothing ever is, really. The important part of that is that we have to cooperate with one another to make it effective. Everyone has to take it seriously, everyone has to do it, or it won't work as well.
But that's the kicker, isn't it? Mutual cooperation is so beneficial, and yet so difficult to accomplish in the real world. "What's in it for me?" has become the enemy of health, and in some cases, survival itself. "I've got mine, screw everyone else" is why the shelves in the stores are bare of things that should never have become scarce in the first place. Selfishness, and in some cases, greed, now stands revealed as the handicap it always was. Rest assured, there are actually people out there who will try to make money off of people's fear and people's needs. Simple, everyday things will become more expensive that they warrant, 'cause someone will smell a chance to make money off of it. I've already heard of people driving around, selling toilet paper and paper towels for $5 a roll, door to door. I expected it, but I'm still saddened by that sort of entrepreneurial selfishness. But people are people, complex and simple at the same time. I suppose that's just one element of human nature.

"Look for the helpers," Mister Rogers once said. That was advice his mother gave him once when he was a child. Any time in human history that a disaster has occured, you will find people risking their lives to help others. The flip-side of that coin is also true, you'll also find people trying to turn human suffering to their own advantage. Two questions come to mind. What kind of person do you want to be? A helper or a taker, that choice is yours alone. My other question is slightly more philosophical. What good is money to someone, once they finally have more than they need to live?

Those are harder questions than they seem at first glance. Many people far wiser than I have pondered every possible answer to those two questions.
Now I'll shut up and let you get to reading the new stories. Please do feel free to comment on everything by going to our Forums section and making your thoughts known. The writers will thank you for it. Plus, you'll be helping them become better writers, too.


Title:  An APEX view of star formation in the Orion Nebula

Photo Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2