Back in 1996, having been drug by me kicking and screaming onto the Internet, vila_resthal started submitting some of his fiction to an online fanzine called “The Dragon’s Lair”, which was run by a Baltimore fan named Roger Bennett. Dan really enjoyed the community, and the chance to show his writing to other people and discuss it. Thus, he was extremely disappointed when Roger shuttered the project less than a year later for various personal reasons.
He expressed this disappointment to me, and I said “Well, why don’t you start up your own ‘zine. There’s already a group of writers to draw on, and that way you won’t lose the community that already exists.” After much debate on whether he had the wherewithal to do that, and promising to help him with all the technical details, Dan decided to do just that, and launched Aphelion Webzine in February of 1997. Eventually, we added a lettercolumn/forum to help facilitate discussion between writers about the stories they were putting in, and it grew and prospered. Lots of other fiction webzines have come and gone, but Aphelion has endured for 10 years now.
In conjunction with the 10th anniversary, we’ve been running a lot of “Best of” links with stories from the entire 10 year run, but I wanted to do something more. You see, Aphelion’s look and feel could charitably be described as “vintage”. (It could uncharitably be described as “archaic” and “clunky”). I’d had in mind a major overhaul of the ‘zine’s look and feel for some time now, and even had some preliminary discussions with alymid in 2005 about her possibly helping with the revamp, but then various personal issues ate my brain and I never got around to it. I knew this would be a major project to undertake, and that made it easy to put it off just a little longer.
Well, I finally found my round tuit, and today, with the May issue, the new design was unveiled. And I have to say I’m rather pleased with it, if I do say so myself. I did start with a template from Steve's Templates, but I spent a good month tinkering with it to make it just exactly the way I wanted it.
I’ve probably been remiss in not pimping Aphelion more in this journal over the years. We are not a fan fiction site; we public original SF&F from developing writers who are looking for feedback on their work. We are a fanzine with a community of aspiring writers who are willing to provide feedback on stories and hopefully help writer’s improve. Our biggest goal is to eventually lose our best writers to paying markets, something which has happened often enough to be gratifying.
Filkers may be interested to know that we do run filk lyrics and sfnal poetry, and would love to have submissions from you as well. I’m also looking for “feature” articles (reviews, essays, etc, either on the subject of SF&F or on writing).
So, please, go check it out. Read the stories. Leave comments in the forum. If you have a story you really want folks to read, send it in. We’d love to have your submissions, your feedback, and you readership. Like any fanzine, it’s only as good as the people who make up the community.
There are some things I’ve worked on that I’m really proud of having been a part of. Aphelion is definitely one of them.