APPARENTLY WE HAVE MORE lives than the average feral cat. Originally founded way back in the turbulent 1960s, “Perihelion” ran into catastrophic production difficulties after its seventh print issue. Namely, production and distribution costs. No way, back then, could I come up with the publication monies out of pocket. So I had to put everything on hold for several decades.
As I described in our initial online “resurrection” issue of November, 2012, the Internet gave me the resources and tools I needed to bring “Perihelion” back to life. It was well-received. It didn't take long to build up a following. Thousands of page views per day. Many of the top up-and-coming writers sent us quality manuscripts. We had no trouble filling our pages with quality fiction and articles.
Things went along swimmingly until early last summer. I'm convinced aliens had something to do with it. I don't know how or why. I contracted a serious staph infection of my arthritic right knee which required emergency surgery and a month-long stay in a rehabilitation facility.
When I was released and returned home, all of my electronics had been fried. Some suggest I'd had an electrical surge while I was in rehab. That is entirely possible. My computer systems were unusable. I had no Internet access. My software applications were rift with bugs. I am convinced the culprit was not of this Earth. The magazine had inadvertently stumbled onto some secrets that the extraterrestrials did not want disclosed.
In short, I could not put together another issue of “Perihelion” that would be reliable, readable, nor recognizable – the three Rs. It was apparent that I needed to find, as quickly as possible, an alternative to what I had been using to put up the magazine on the Internet.
Everything I tried came with a Herculean learning curve, or was simply too complicated for me to adapt to within any reasonable time frame, however.
I spent way too many hours pondering the enigmatic workings of template-based systems like Weebly or WordPress. The concept of producing “Perihelion” as a downloadable PDF file for subscription consumption was appealing. But other colleagues were dead against it. Not only was that similar to producing a real, print-format magazine, a dynamic with which I am very comfortable, but offered an immediate monetization pathway – paid subscriptions. For a small fee, readers could have each new issue emailed to them automatically.
We still might attempt that route in addition to a free online offering. There is no big hurry anymore. We can take our time and get it right. Further, a subscription-based PDF issue would be in addition to the free online version.
Google's Blogger pages offered the best and quickest solution to getting “Perihelion” back up and running. Best I can describe it, Blogger is a hybrid of HTML, template, and menu-driven formats. Those of you who maintain your own Blogs on Google know what I mean. Blogger is relatively easy to use and almost intuitive. With an afternoon of research on the Internet, you can discover methods of accomplishing nearly everything with Blogger. The format also supports Cascading Style Sheets, an advanced website development dynamic which I have come to know and love.
In truth, it took me less than a week of trial and error, research and learning, and I had “Perihelion” back up. Thanks are due to my science advisor John McCormick for pointing Blogger out to me. You need to buy his books, after you make a small contribution to “Perihelion.”
However, Blogger has its limitations. It does not parse HTML at all well. It is extremely time-consuming and difficult to popularize. This issue that you are reading right now was developed using the KompoZer HTML editor from the Mozilla people, famous for the Firefox browser. It functions very similarly to the way Dreamweaver did. I like it. We are also using FileZilla Pro, Open Office Writer, and Gimp. Many thanks to the helpful folks at Pair Network, our web hosting service, for getting other kinks worked out. Months ago, we switched from the Frontier ISP to Spectrum. Despite all of its inflated ads, Spectrum appears to be just as “evil” as the other guys, but that is another story. The former Time Warner Cable service functions adequately, which is all that matters.
However, we still aren't thoroughly satisfied. We are exploring other options for formatting and presenting the magazine. I am also still recuperating from my injuries. I need to take things slower and get them right. So I am deliberately taking a long break while I tweak my systems, both cybernetic and physical. I don't need any additional pressure. I am setting a return date of September, 2018. That is about seven months from now. Ought to give me plenty of time. Feel free to contact me editor-at-perihelionsf-dot-com if you want to chat about something. I am more than happy to answer inquiries from readers. See you in September!
Please Send Us Some Money!
Now that we are back, we don't want to disappear again. We are sure you don't want that, either. The best way to keep us around this time is to contribute a few dollars to our health and well-being. Any amount from two to ten dollars to our PayPal account, sam-at-crossdown-dot-com, would go quite a way toward giving us longevity and a very high quality of life. If you really missed the magazine while we were on our backs, this is the perfect way to show us that you want us around permanently with no more outages or disasters. Click on the picture of the alien bug in the right hand sidebar. Do it now! Or click the link just above in this paragraph.
Looking Down the Road
Perhaps the biggest change in our pages is a near elimination of the monthly issue. Blogger, as well as most competitive Internet publishing packages, provide nearly infinite room. There is no need to take on the stresses of having to fill a whole new issue every thirty days. We can swap out or add new material at will. This means that readers can check our pages as often as they like to see if we've posted anything new, boosting our daily page views which we can turn into advertising incentives. We get revenue to purchase new content for your enjoyment. What they call a win-win situation.
We've promoted Carol Kean to the position of Associate Editor. Carol is extremely active all over the Internet. She is well-known and well-liked throughout the science fiction community. Carol has been writing incisive and popular literary reviews for years, for us and other Internet sites. She is a longtime Vine reviewer on Amazon, whatever that means; it is a good thing. Carol has often stepped in to help us out with editing, manuscript selection whenever the workload got too overwhelming. We are so pleased to give Carol a larger presence in the magazine.
Eric M. Jones moves into the role of Science Editor. He is a genuine scientist. He worked as a medical equipment designer for most of his career. He is the co-founder of “Perihelion.” (Many late nights back in 1967, both of us stoned out of our heads.) He also designs and manufactures equipment for the aerospace industry. Many of his parts have been sold to and are used by NASA.
Lastly, I am a retired career editor/writer. My health is significantly improving. My doctors are impressed. They assure me of a long and productive life, although there is some doubt that I will live out this millennium. But we'll see about that. I'm looking forward to ringing in the New Year 3000 in the pages of “Perihelion.” I will only be 1,054 years old.
Sam Bellotto Jr.
Perihelion Science Fiction is copyright © 2017 by Sam Bellotto Jr. ISSN 2328-675X. All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America. Any reproduction of content by mechanical or electronic means without permission is strictly prohibited. All other copyrights, trademarks, service marks, and logos are the respective property of their holders. For information about submitting to Perihelion Science Fiction, please refer to the submission guidelines. Perihelion Science Fiction welcomes material submitted by any writer and generally responds in one or two months. Please send email to editor at perihelionsf dot com.