Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Contributing Editor


Water for Antiques
by Robert N. Stephenson

by Sierra July

Skipper Jeremiah Dudd
by Mark Ayling

If You Could Choose One Day
by Simon Kewin

It’s the Martian Way
by Bob Sojka

Know, Oh Emperor
by L. Joseph Shosty

Abernathy’s Snowflake
by Aaron Polson

Lost and First Men
by David Barber

by Mark Bilsborough

These Undiminished
by Conor Powers-Smith

by George Sandison


Inside Death Valley
by Eric M. Jones

Is Global Warming Good?
by John McCormick




Shorter Stories

Comic Strips





To Talk of Many Things

SINCE THIS MAGAZINE WAS RESURRECTED a little over one year ago, one of our primary criterion for fiction has been “hard” science fiction. I believed there was a lack of these kinds of tales—good writing with a nod to the wondrous visions that fueled the pulp magazines of the ’60s and ’70s—and that “Perihelion” could successfully fill that void. The increasing popularity of this website over the months seems to indicate that my judgment was correct.

But exactly what do we mean by “hard” science fiction? There are apparently as many definitions as there are readers. Many take the word “hard” literally, insisting that stories in this vein incorporate robots, spaceships, and other kinds of futuristic hardware. Certainly subject matter that we welcome. We like to expand the definition, however. My personal explanation of “hard” science fiction is “honking good stories” served up with a strong dose of real science. The story must be compelling and the science must be integral to the story.

Sadly, I find that too many stories passing themselves off as science fiction these days are little more than character sketches, or vignettes, with the emphasis on artistic, nearly poetic, writing. The tendency for these stories to wander off into the realm of purple prose is often too great. Take an alien, or a human from thousands of years in the future, place that character in a simple setting, preparing for a ceremony, or in peril, and describe the scenario with a writing style that almost eclipses fine art, and you have a formidable exercise for discussion in creative writing class or workshops. But is it a publishable story? Some would say yes.

I prefer an intriguing first act, followed by an absorbing second act, leading to a satisfying third act. I want something to happen, preferably the protagonist being changed in some way, not necessarily for the good, or happily ever after. Above all, I want the impact on the characters to be driven by science. The change can come from something as simple as first contact with an extraterrestrial species, to something as complex as World War III. A lab experiment gone wrong is always great fiction fodder, as are accidents in space.

I’m also hugely fond of humor. Granted, humor is hard to pull off. Why so many markets appear to eschew funny science fiction is way beyond my understanding. I’ve never equated gloomy with the genre. This might have something to do with a mistaken notion that funny isn’t quality? Really? I’ve actually seen some markets discourage comedy. To them all I can reply is get off your high horse; you go to the toilet the same as the rest of us peons.

With this in mind, every issue of “Perihelion” we try to serve up the gamut of “hard” science fiction. This month we offer “honking good stories” dealing with alien cultures, clones, mad science, robots, and humor, plenty of gasping-for-air, fall-off-your-chair, rollicking humor.


Awards season is in the air and every magazine’s fancy turns to thoughts of trophies, real or virtual. The venerable Preditors & Editors website (that is how they spell it) recently hosted their annual Critters Workshop P&E Poll. We thank all of our readers who took time out to navigate the slightly labyrinthine site to cast a vote for us. How did we do? In the category of Best Fiction Magazine, “Perihelion” took second place. In the category of Best Magazine Editor, Sam Bellotto Jr. (that’s me) took third place. In the category of Best Magazine Cover, Denny E. Marshall took third place for his 12-Mar-2013 cover illustration. Marshall also took fourth place for his 12-Oct-2013 cover in the Art category. It’s notable that in the same category, John Waltrip took sixth place for his hilarious “Gort & Robby” comic strips. Congratulations to everyone who placed in the top-ten from “Perihelion.”

There’s another poll coming up from the folks who publish “Locus Online,” the Internet based component of “Locus Magazine,” publishing news briefs related to the science fiction, fantasy and horror publishing world, along with original reviews and feature articles, and excerpts of articles that appeared in the print edition.

See the display ad at the top of the sidebar on the right of this page? Click on it and it will hyperlink you over to the poll page. You do not have to be a subscriber to “Locus Magazine” to vote. Also, we seem to have been overlooked, a questionably understandable error on their part. We vow this will never happen again. Write-in votes are accommodated, so please take a few minutes, hop over to the “Locus Online” poll, and swamp them with votes for “Perihelion.” That’ll fix them.


Change is in the wind. We don’t mean the gentler breezes of the upcoming vernal equinox. You may have noticed improvements in the look and feel of the “Perihelion” website. Most notably, our masthead, which has undergone a bit of a remake. The “O” in the title has been replaced by a graphic of the Sun. In fact, we are going to be featuring a different image every month. We’ll still keep the original “planet being devoured by the blob” for one issue per year. But expect to see a range of science fiction icons, including: the Moon, a crater, a reptilian eye, a space station, and much more.

This parade of images had been our idea from the very beginning. Unfortunately, the graphic designer who originally produced our masthead went into witness protection or something and we have been unable to contact him.

The new designs have been contributed by Liviu Matei, an English teacher and admitted “huge science fiction” fan, living and working in Eastern Europe. Adds Matei, “I’m born, raised and still living in Sibiu, Romania. I have studied at the Letters University and I am now teaching English as First Foreign Language to children from first to eighth grade. I’ve loved science fiction as back as I can remember being able to read. My design/illustrator career started out as a hobby and then, later on, turned into my full-time job after my full-time job.”

Matei has a gorgeous cover illustration scheduled for the 12-Apr-2014 issue. We hope to see much more of his work in the future.


Back in 1966, the science fiction community was treated to a groundbreaking space faring TV series with, for once, intelligent scripts and good production values. Gene Roddenberry launched “Star Trek” to boldly go on a five year mission to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations. Unfortunately, we only got to see the first three years of that mission.

Much later, the U.S.S. Enterprise resurfaced with a new crew in “The Next Generation.” That spin-off spun off “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager,” and “Enterprise.” But none of those series shed any light on what may have occurred during Capt. Kirk’s final two years of exploration. Several movies were made, continuing the canon so to speak, but the crew had already returned to Earth and these were all new missions.

We now have the answer. A dedicated team of film and TV professionals led by Vic Mignogna, “Star Trek” afficionados to the extreme, are expertly continuing the original series, right where it left off with the episode “Turnabout Intruder,” on star trekthe web. Their goal is to produce those final two seasons. They already have two new episodes in the can. They are freely available on their website, and they are pretty damn good!

The production team have skillfully reproduced the original sets, sound effects, and musical score, right down to the last Jefferies tube. The women wear short skirts and big hair. The automatic doors whoosh. The helm twinkles and tinkles with colored lights. Capt. Kirk is portrayed by Vic Mignogna, a prolific voice actor for over two hundred cartoon series. He is a perfect inheritor of the classic role. Todd Haberkorn dons the ears as Mr. Spock. Larry Nemecek plays Dr. McCoy. Chris Doohan, that’s right, the son of James Doohan, portrays Mr. Scott, and does a remarkable imitation of his father’s iconic accent. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Grant Imahara (one of TV’s “Mythbusters”) as Sulu, Wyatt Lenhart as Chekov, and Kim Stinger as Uhura.

In the first full episode, “Pilgrim of Eternity,” guest star Michael Forest reprises his role as Apollo from the original series episode “Who Mourns For Adonais?” The second episode, “Lolani,” features Lou Ferrigno as a green-skinned Orion slave trader.

According to Steve Crandall of StupidCat, a web development company involved with the “Star Trek Continues” project, “we cannot make money with our production in any way—we honor the copyright and its owners and we are careful to never cross that line. That’s how we are able to keep doing what we are doing. We are big fans of the original show and we do this as a labor of love.”

Which is great news for the rest of us. We get to see this new series for free. The first two episode, plus short subjects and trailers, can be viewed on YouTube and Vimeo and at the Star Trek Continues website.

Sam Bellotto Jr.

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