Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


This is the Hardest Thing I Do All Day
by Alexandra Grunberg

by Fábio Fernandes

Sixteen Tonnes
by Robert Dawson

It’s Not What You Think
by Davyne DeSye

Dreams of Clay
by J. Rohr

Mundane Applications
by Philip Margolies

by Eric Del Carlo

My Parking Space is Near the Door
by Gustavo Bondoni

Shorter Stories

Clothes Make the Man
by Peter Wood

For All Time
by Simon Kewin

You Belong to Me
by Tom Borthwick


More Than “Zarathustra”
by Dennis W. Green

When Words Divine
by John McCormick



Comic Strips





Beer Nuts

CURRENTLY, THE “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC” channel has been televising a documentary series that isn’t about living off the grid, dining on insects and snakes, or earning a living by prospecting for gold. In a strange turn of events, it features scientists, with their clothes on, who are working to make scientific breakthroughs that could improve the human condition all over the planet. Coincidentally, the show is entitled “Breakthrough.” Recent broadcasts have dealt with decoding how the brain works, enhancing the human body with technology, and life extension. The latest episode explored alternative energy sources. While watching it, my ears pricked and I bolted upright when I took notice of a particularly familiar segment.

At Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE, one of the more successful microbreweries in the country, they are converting beermaking waste products into clean water and renewable energy. According to Eric Fitch, president and CEO of Purpose Energy who has been contracted by Dogfish Head, “We know that if we can take this byproduct and convert it to gas, there’s a real business model there. So why don’t we just develop the technology to make it happen?”

Energy from beer? I could hardly contain myself.

In one of our articles this month, John McCormick examines the predictive prowess of science fiction authors. We all know that Arthur C. Clarke has been credited with inventing the telecommunications satellite, which he wrote about in the October, 1945, issue of “Wireless World.” Isaac Asimov invented the three laws of robotics, which have been universally adopted. H.G. Wells prophesized about tanks. Ray Bradbury envisioned earbud microphones in “Fahrenheit 451.”

Well, I just happen to have written a frothy little piece of flash fiction several years ago that predicted energy from beer! I may not have been the very first writer to make the obvious connection. But this is my magazine. So, as they say, grab a cold one, sit back, relax, and enjoy “Beer Nuts.”


UGP–Today the planet Mars laid a real whodunit before NASA scientists that could change everything we know about space travel. According to Curiosity Mission Control, the Rover has discovered a six-pack of empty beer cans, near an outcrop of rock close to the planet’s northern ice cap. Says Dr. Bob Lagerfeld, “the beer is undoubtedly Rheingold, the dry beer.” The question remains what an extinct brand of beer is doing on Mars in the first place?


“It’ll never work. Yer out of yer ever-luvin’ mind, hear, and a certifiable nutcase, to boot. I’m callin’ the men in the white coats now,” half-threatened Dooley Dell as he reached for the black telephone on the edge of the worktable.

Professor Schultz paid Dooley no mind. “Hand me that mirror so I can get a closer look at the fittings.” The Professor was using an outsized monkey wrench on two large-bore pipes he was attaching from the old Volkswagen’s converted engine to its massive exhaust array. “This fuel brew isn’t like ordinary beers, I tell you. It’s a special brew. I’d show you the formula but you wouldn’t understand it anyway. I don’t expect anyone would. You can’t drink it. One small sip and the released gases would explode your guts all over town.”

“Rheingold?” Dooley answered back, pointing to the six-pack also on the worktable.

“That’s for us, numbskull,” said the Professor. “There,” he announced satisfactorily as he wrenched the last two-inch lug nuts into place. “All set.”

“Splain it to me again, Professor,” asked Dooley.

The Professor was becoming a little miffed. “Action. Reaction. Basic physics. My special brew is cooled and loaded into a dozen or so thermos bottles attached to the VW’s engine and piped into the car’s exhaust. The engine shakes the thermoses. I’m sure you’ve shaken up a warm beer yourself and opened it? Same thing only orders of magnitude more powerful. The blast is channeled into the exhaust. Boom! Off we go. Through the skylight. Into the troposphere. Maybe even the stratosphere if we are lucky, although I doubt my formula is that potent.”

The Professor stretched. “We enjoy a leisurely trip through the clouds. Then we parachute safely back to Earth.”


The Professor grabbed Dooley’s shoulders, firmly. “You must come with me, my friend. It’ll be historic. You and I. The first men to rocket into subspace.”

“I ain’t dyin’ up there.”

“No, no. Not a chance. I’ve loaded scuba gear, parachutes, ham sandwiches. The car’s radio works. The body is solid. Piece of cake.”

“Well ... when do we launch?”

The professor wiped his hands, looked up at the cloudless, pure sky, glanced at the clock.

“No time like the present, my friend.” With that, the Professor popped on a hard hat, stuck another onto Dooley’s noggin, and the two voyagers stuffed themselves into the VW, slammed the doors, and began the countdown. The Professor tuned the radio to station WSJB which was playing Kaye Ballard singing “In Other Words” (“Fly Me to the Moon”).

The car jolted like it had been rear-ended by a Mack truck. It teetered. Left. Right. Then it rose. Slowly at first. The radio could barely be heard over the din of the roaring exhaust. The Professor was correct. The car blew through the open skylight like the cork from a popgun. Within seconds, the housing development fell away, becoming increasingly distant, too quickly. A worried expression took over the Professor’s face.

“Out! Now!” the Professor barked. “This ship is accelerating! It’s going way too high, and I can’t stop it! Pull the ripcord when the dial on your altimeter enters the red zone! See you on the ground!”


A crackling fire warmed the nearly deserted Ballantine Bar & Grill. The Professor was seated at his favorite table, close to the window, reading the paper. Dooley was flinging darts at the target on the wall.

“Putting men into space is almost second nature,” the Professor remarked. “To think we might have been there first.”

“Yeah. And not survived,” Dooley chided. “But Mars? How did that six-pack wind up there?”

“Escape velocity,” explained the Professor. “My fuel brew must have been more potent than I thought. Once the car achieved escape velocity, it could easily have rocketed into space. I imagine pieces of it might be anywhere. Any number of planets and moons. Or still traveling beyond the solar system.”

Dooley paused. “You going to let them know?”

Said the Professor with an impish smile, “I never told you but, shortly after our misadventure, I sent a six-pack of my fuel brew to NASA. Anonymously, of course. I figured after the Sputnik crisis they could use some help.”

“You mean ...?” Dooley didn’t have to finish his sentence.

Sam Bellotto Jr.













bendayAbout Our Cover thumbRon Sanders has been a composer, musician, story writer, novelist, poet, and, most recently, dabbler in the visual arts. He creates his compositions entirely with Adobe Photoshop CS2 on a PC laptop. You can view more of Ron’s work at his DeviantArt site.