Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Peace Bug
by Stephen L. Antczak

Shipping Error
by Robert Dawson

In the Garden With the Little Eaters
by L Chan

Species of Revenge
by Lance J. Mushung

To Live if it Kills Me
by Andrew Darlington

Freddy Norberg’s Fantastic Flight
by Finry

Death Egg
by Kim Daniels

by Sean Monaghan

Shorter Stories

Love in the Time of Alien Invasion
by Samuel Marzioli

They Call Me Wizard
by Robert Lowell Russell

Reverse Logic
by Sierra July


Let’s Fry Chicken Little
by Carol Kean

UFOs and Rockets
by Preston Dennett



Comic Strips





Waiting for the Last Frontier

STILL RED. THE DAMNED INTERNET indicator light is glowing red as a Christmas tree bulb. It’s been frustratingly red since ten a.m. this morning. I don’t feel at all festive about it.

In case you are not aware, “Perihelion” is largely based in Rochester, NY. I live here. My office is here. The computers and other equipment that I use to produce the magazine are here. My webhost provider, Pair Networks, of whom I cannot praise highly enough, is located in Pittsburgh, PA, I think. They keep their servers deep within the bowels of a huge mountain, so I am told, safe from even an alien invasion.

My Internet Service Provider, however, is Frontier Communications. In this case, frontier may be the operative word. It is a wonder that I am able to successfully post a new issue of “Perihelion” on the twelfth of each month. Rochester is supposed to be a very bleeding edge, high-tech town. But you’d think from the kind of service Frontier provides, I live within a snowball’s throw of the Brown family homestead in Alaska’s Copper River Valley, or in the general vicinity of legendary wild man Mick Dodge who calls the Hoh Rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula his home.

To its credit, Pair Networks has had less than three (that I am aware of) outages of less than five minutes each over the past two years. With Frontier, these outages are like a Bit-O-Honey. They last all day and seem to occur on a weekly basis.

“When you get your service back,” advises the tech support person with a cheerful Southern accent, “you can contact Customer Service and request a credit for the length of the outage. You shouldn’t have to pay for something you didn’t get.”

Sweet. Will they reimburse me for time lost? Mental anguish trying to figure out alternative ways to access the “Perihelion” website so our readers don’t think we’ve gone belly up? Spreading alarming rumors? Chasing away potential revenue streams? I don’t think so.

The last time this happened, the ever-so-helpful tech support person (this one didn’t have a Southern accent) explained to me with what sounded like a straight face that I was attempting to log on during peak Internet use hours. It was around six p.m. Apparently, Frontier’s cabling that they recycled from discarded Speak & Spell toys recovered from public housing dumpsters wasn’t able to support the demands of commuters tired from a long day at the office and eager to relax by surfing through their favorite porn sites or YouTube videos of Katy Perry belting out one feminist anthem or another.

Wazzat? Frontier can’t keep up with the bandwidth? Well, I wanted to know, what would be a good time for me to deal with my Internet tasks? How about nine p.m.? Should I frontiergo watch TV or read some manuscripts until then? Maybe as a rule I should work on the magazine after midnight? (I mostly do that, anyway.)

The tech support person laughed.

“Not exactly the most convincing sales pitch for your company,” I pointed out. We both had a good laugh. Nothing much else we could do. The tech support person said she would dispatch a repairman to check my lines. Yeah, I thought, let me contact my bookie and put some money down on it.

[That’s a lot of bull, left.]

Miracles do happen, so I’m told. I’ve been an atheist since college. I don’t really like the term “atheist.” How can you be against something that doesn’t exist in the first place? I consider myself non-religious, anti-religious, whatever. But that is a whole other story and gets us away from the question at hand. The point is that within a couple of days, a Frontier truck actually does pull up in front of my house, out jumps a friendly repairman, and he informs me that he checked the wiring and everything looks in good shape. Of course, my Internet service had come back a couple of days before. I repeated to him the advice from the tech support person about keeping my distance during peak usage hours. We both had a good laugh.

Give Frontier high marks for comedy.

Back to today. Damned light is still cherry. Go green already!

The tech support person (the Southern one, who kept referring to me as “Mister Sam,” explaining that it was a Southern thing) returned after a brief investigation into the matter and said that she did see a reported outage in Naples. Naples is a small community south of here, as well as in Italy. Ah! Now I remember. During some of the previous outages, Frontier had played a recorded message when I called revealing that there was an outage condition in Naples and certain sections of Rochester, and they were working on it. No estimate as to when the problem would be fixed. No reason why Naples and parts of Rochester should be irreparably joined at the hip.

“Naples is quite a distance from Rochester,” I could hear the tech support person scratching her head.

“I know. But that is the message I often get,” I replied.

Here’s what I think is going on. In their efforts to boost their bottom line, Frontier, unlike Pair Networks, rents an old shed behind Tony’s Barber Shop in Naples to store two servers running Windows XP to handle the traffic from my part of town. They’re kept on a couple of plastic milk crates. Earlier this morning, a wayward raccoon found its way into the shed as the shed is rarely locked or even closed. While rummaging for a morsel of food, the raccoon bumped into the crates, knocking over the servers. But raccoons are common in Tony’s neck of the woods. He paid the mischievous creature no mind and continued cutting heads. Probably a resident of Naples was unable get on the Internet to determine if that iPhone pix of him passed out in a puddle of his own sick from last night’s party really did get posted to Facebook, and immediately called Frontier.

Then sometime later, I called. I wonder if by now they are inundated with calls? Apparently. I just called again to inquire what in blazes was taking so long and got that famous recording. If the voice on the recording gets royalties, he’s probably relaxing right now in his summer home in the Adirondacks.

Anyhow, it is Sunday. So all of us have to wait until Frontier is able to roust a repairman from bed, who has to shower, shave, grab a quick bite, and mosey on down to Naples, NY, shoo away the raccoon, put the servers back on their milk crates, ensure the hardware still functions, and report back in. We could be looking at Monday morning. I bet Frontier doesn't want to pay overtime. When and if, then, whoever you are, please lock the shed doors. At least run a plastic zip tie through the door handles.

Damned freaking red light is laughing at me. I think I’ll go binge watch a bunch of “Deadliest Catch” episodes.

At approximately 2:14 p.m. GMT, Monday, “Perihelion’s” Internet connection was restored. Evidently the paper clips and Scotch tape worked. But for how long?

Sam Bellotto Jr.













benday About Our Coverthumb Hardy Fowler is a concept artist and illustrator working in New Orleans. The core idea of this illustration was to show a powerful piece of military machinery contrasting with a very serene and peaceful setting. The idea evolved into this moment where a mech pilot taking a break from her duties notices that the forest she patrols is actually quite beautiful. This image was sketched and painted with Photoshop.