Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Baby Wars
by Eric Del Carlo

by Kurt Heinrich Hyatt

Genocide in Three Acts
by Jenny Duptsi

Memory Farm
by Richard Wren

Schrödinger’s Suicide
by Daniel Roy

Chandler’s Hollow
by Sean Patrick Hazlett

Test Case
by Kris Ashton

Pink Adventure 87
by Gregor Hartmann

Shorter Stories

by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Dropping Payload
by Mord McGhee

Breaking the 3 Laws
by Trevor Doyle


Sex and a Sensawunda
by Ann Gimpel

Sunshine 2: the Sequel
by Eric M. Jones



Comic Strips





When the Sun Don’t Shine

RUBE GOLDBERG HAS NOTHING on me. I was awakened rather abruptly this morning by my dog clamping his jaws down firmly on my nose. Disrupted breathing will do it every time. My eyes popped open and beheld the atomic clock on top of the dresser which proclaimed 9:36 a.m. My first reaction was, despite the discomfort, gratitude for the dog allowing me to sleep an hour later. Then I realized that daylight saving time had kicked in yet again and the dog had permitted me no such thing. Most of my clocks do the biannual time-shift dance automatically, but I still have a couple of antiques that I must adjust manually. I got out of bed and reset those museum pieces before I’d forget. Years ago I had depended upon one of those older models and missed an important appointment.

It becomes annoying.

So this time of year, and again come November, I will raise the same question I have asked countless times since I learned to tell time: why in blazes don’t we adopt one time system and stick with it year-round, 24/7, in all seasons, come rain or come shine? It has nothing to do with inconvenience anymore; plainly, it seems reasonable.

My neighbor informs me it is “traditional,” and that “you can’t mess with tradition.” So was burning witches, once upon a time.

The concept of daylight saving time goes back as far as the ancient Romans. Archaeologists point out that they had water clocks which were adjustable, increasing the length of the hour (ora) during the summer, when there was more sunshine than dark. Rome may not have been built in a day, but it was clearly built in the daylight.

True daylight saving time wasn’t seriously embraced for another millennium-and-one-half.

Benjamin Franklin, it is rumored, presented a form of daylight saving time as a way to economize on candles. Benjamin Franklin also famously declared that the turkey be America’s national bird. Which only goes to show that not all of his ideas were revolutionary.

According to an article in Wikipedia: “Modern daylight saving time was first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and led him to value after-hours daylight. In 1895, he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift, and after considerable interest was expressed in Christchurch, New Zealand, he followed up with an 1898 paper.”

In the U.S., daylight saving time was enacted into law in 1918. Reasons for this are all over the map. Generally, it appears that Congress was pressured by retail interests to do so because it would increase the amount of daylight available to daylightconsumers, keeping stores open later, stuffing their cash registers. Curiously, a poster sponsored by United Cigar Stores hailed the passage with the caption “Get your hoe ready” beneath the image of Uncle Sam holding a farming tool. Obviously, this was intended to perpetuate the myth that daylight saving time was a blessing for farmers. One wonders why anybody would think so.

I grew up in the asphalt jungle of Syracuse, N.Y. Our esteemed Book Critic grew up on a farm, somewhere in Iowa, wherever the heck that is. According to Carol Kean: “Farmers are not to blame for the annual annoyance of daylight saving time. The inverse is true. Farmers had lobbied vociferously against the lost hour of morning light. Dairy farmers in particular know that cows do not adjust well to schedule shifts. Farmers never asked for daylight saving time. So who should we demonize? William Willett presented the idea to Parliament in 1907, but it was Germany, not England, that first implemented this ridiculous practice. On entering World War I, the U.S. adopted daylight saving time, supposedly to conserve energy. How did farmers become the scapegoats? They protested it so vehemently, it seems people came to associate the idea of daylight saving time with loud-mouthed farmers, and the idea that farmers wanted it somehow stuck. Blame herd mentality or whatever quirk of humanity causes people to pick the wrong scapegoats.”

Farmers still don’t like it. After all, unless you get your animal husbandry information from “Silly Symphony” cartoons, chickens and cows don’t care what the clock says. They operate by the sun. The cock crows at dawn, be it five a.m., seven a.m., or nine a.m.

It has been often posited that daylight saving time saves energy. People stay outdoors a lot later, barbecuing, walking the dog, or relaxing in the hammock. They don’t go indoors and turn on the lights, TVs, and computers until after dark. Studies have shown that there is some energy savings here, but most of it is wiped out on the other end. Lighter evenings mean darker mornings. More energy must be consumed to get the day started before the sun comes up. By the time summer is well-entrenched and each day has close to fourteen hours of daylight, that extra hour is moot.

Furthermore, according to environmental economist Hendrik Wolff, of the University of Washington, in a recent “National Geographic” article: "When you give Americans more light at the end of the day, they really do want to get out of the house. And they go to ballparks, or to the mall and other places, but they don’t walk there. Daylight saving reliably increases the amount of driving that Americans do, and gasoline consumption tracks up with daylight saving."

And if adults have more time in the sun after work, kids have to go to school in the dark. By the time dawn catches up with the school bus, summer vacation has begun. The energy cost of dealing with one’s progeny during the morning hours is not cheap.

Daylight saving time can also be hazardous to your health. At the very least it disturbs peoples’ circadian rhythms, resulting in a kind of jet lag experienced by millions for a few days up to a week surrounding the clock change event. This is translated into a loss of efficiency at the workplace, costing the business community millions of dollars. There have also been a few studies pointing to an increase of up to ten percent in the number of heart attacks that occur when the clocks spring forward.

In the “New England Journal of Medicine,” October 30, 2008, it was reported that a Stockholm-based study showed that: “The incidence of acute myocardial infarction was significantly increased for the first three weekdays after the transition to daylight saving time in the spring.” The study concluded that the most plausible explanation for these findings is the adverse effect of sleep deprivation on cardiovascular health. This adverse effect included the predominance of sympathetic activity and an increase in proinflammatory cytokine levels.

Other research has shown that any heart attack risk declines completely when the clocks return to standard time in the fall. I know that I am always greatly relieved when summer is over.

So why the tenacious grip on daylight saving, a concept that has surely come and gone? A survey of 1,000 adults conducted in March, 2013, by Rasmussen Reports revealed that only thirty-seven percent of those polled believe daylight saving time is of any benefit. Forty-five percent don’t think the clock-changing ritual is worth it. Nineteen percent aren’t sure.

Apparently it comes down to money. What else would you expect? Citing “National Geographic” findings: “Daylight saving time has been stretched from six months to seven months to now eight months in part because several industries have been huge supporters. In the mid-1980s, for example, the golf industry estimated that an extra month of daylight saving was worth $200 to $400 million. The U.S. barbecue industry pegged their increased profits at $150 million for that same additional month.”

Smells like sheer lunacy to me. By the time the late spring/summer season is in full swing, the Earth has naturally tilted in favor of daylight. With standard time, you’d still get plenty of daylight in the evening for whatever outdoor activities you have planned. Long weekends are generally favored in the warmer months. Most vacations are taken between June and August. How much more daylight can anybody want? Rigid work hours are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Sun worshippers should be able to juggle their schedules—beginning work at six or seven a.m., and quitting at three p.m. or four in the afternoon.

I’m not much of a daylight person myself. I relish my long afternoon naps and I do my best editing and writing after midnight, when it is quiet, when the phone doesn’t ring, when my dog is blissfully dreaming about whatever it is that dogs dream about. I’d be satisfied if we’d pick one time scheme and stick with it. Ideally, I’d choose standard time. Saving daylight is like declaring mosquitoes an endangered species.

Sam Bellotto Jr.












About Our Cover


Jesse Jennings is an illustrator from Oregon. He often does freelance work
for tabletop gaming manuals and has worked on the movies “Coraline” and
“Paranorman.” Jesse also has a crippling addiction to Nintendo games and Lego.
Follow Jesse’s drawing blog, Chiefasaur. This month’s cover was drawn in ArtFlow on a Galaxy Note 8 with touch-ups in Photoshop.