Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Astronaut Dreams
by Joseph Green
and R-M Lillian

Virus Smugglers
by Erin Lale

Clone Music
by Guy T. Martland

Adventure of the Durham Monograph
by Robert Dawson

by Timothy J. Gawne

Too Much to Dream
by Richard Zwicker

Tour de Force
by Richard Wren

by Stephen L. Antczak

Shorter Stories

Free Wi-Fi at the Bordello
by Santiago Belluco

Ambivalence of Memory
by Jamie Lackey

Welcome, Distant Traveler
by Andrew Vrana


Pandemic: Zika
by John McCormick

Descent and Ascent
by Eric M. Jones



Comic Strips




Adventure of the Durham Monograph

By Robert Dawson

CAMBRIDGE’S ANNUAL FLOOD OF TOURISTS had not yet arrived, the undergraduates were cramming for their examinations, and on this bright May morning I seemed to have the Cam all to myself. I poled a college punt quietly toward Grantchester, and thought about some math that might end up in my thesis. A police drone purred overhead.

I looked up to find the stream almost completely blocked by another punt, crosswise to the current. Its sole occupant, a woman in a dark grey burqa, wrestled with her pole, unable to get under way. I tried to slow, but the collision was inevitable. She gave a little yelp as I rammed her boat amidships, toppled toward me still clinging to the pole, and hit the water with an impressive splash.

She surfaced, spluttering, within two meters of me. I reached out and grabbed her wrist, wondering what culturally-sensitive etiquette had to say about this. To my relief, she struggled on board without objection.

“Thanks, mate!” she said, in a firm contralto voice.

“Sorry. Didn’t see you until just before we collided.”

“My fault. These beasts are harder to steer than I realized. And this bloody body bag doesn’t help.” The rhythm was clipped Oxbridge, the lilt of the vowels Caribbean. “Mr. Watson, I believe?”

“Chris Watson, yes. Do I know you?”

“I’m Holmes.”

“What?” I said. “I mean, who?”

“Isabella Holmes-Adler, to be accurate. The great-great-great-granddaughter of Sherlock.”

I’ve always known that I’m descended from John Watson, M.D., sidekick and chronicler of the great detective. But even Dad had never taken the connection very seriously, and Mom could be scathing on the subject. “What do you mean?”

“I said, Sherlock Holmes was my ancestor. Like Watson was yours. Can you actually steer this diabolical thing?”

“Not too badly, for an American.”

“Well, would you be an angel and steer it under that willow over there, before that fuzzbird reappears?”

I guided the punt to the shore, wondering if some of my friends had learned my secret and decided it deserved a practical joke. As soon as we were under the canopy of hanging leaves, “Holmes” started to pull the clinging robe over her head.

My first impression was of long athletic legs and mahogany skin; then a bright yellow bikini over solid muscular curves. Finally she got her head free. She had round African cheeks, but her nose was, yes, the aquiline Holmes beak as immortalized in the Paget photograph. Her scalp had been shaved completely bare, still avant-garde fashion in 2021. Around her neck hung a little pouch on a cord. She folded the wet fabric into an unrecognizable bundle. “All right, Watson, you can move on.”

“What’s all this about?” I pushed off obediently from the bank.

“I need your help.” We glided out through the trailing willow branches into bright sunlight. She lay at full length on the punt cushions, to the casual viewer just one more student catching the sun while her boyfriend showed off his muscles. “Somebody kill me uncle.” Her voice grew tight with anger. “And them a try kill me. But them nah know me here yet.” The West Indian speech, clearly her mother tongue, gave her words an urgent power.

“I’m sorry.” If this was a hoax, I couldn’t see where it was going. I wanted to believe her, would have been happy to play Sir Galahad: but nothing made any sense. “Shouldn’t we go and rescue your punt?”

“Let it drift. Please.” Her clipped British diction was back, as if it had never left. It will buy us time—I hope. With any luck, when the fuzzbird sees it empty, they’ll drag the river for me.”

“Ms. Holmes-Adler?


I felt like a jerk, but I had to say it. “Sherlock Holmes had no children.”

“Sorry, Watson, you wrong.” She shook her head. “Sherlock and my three-greats-grandmother, Irene Adler, had a fling in Paris in the eighteen-nineties. On the steamer back to the States she found out she was pregnant.”

“You’re joking.”

“I’m here.”

“But, you’re, I mean, surely she ...” There are people who don’t believe the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and claim you can say anything in any language if you just try. I challenge them to say anything polite about a stranger’s skin pigmentation in twenty-first century English.

For a full five seconds she let me flounder; then she blinked innocently. “You mean, me black?”

“Uh, I guess so.”

“Congratulations, Watson, you’ve clearly inherited the family powers of observation.” My cheeks burned: I concentrated on keeping the punt on line in the winding river. “Irene Adler and her son emigrated to Antigua in the nineteen-twenties. And he married a local woman.” She laughed. “Scandalized the English émigrés plenty.”

“Why Antigua?”

“They’d got on the wrong side of Al Capone, over a boatload of nonexistent rye whisky. Canada just wasn’t far enough.” She pursed her lips. “You still don’t believe me, do you?”

“Well, it’s not—”

“Did your father ever tell you about the business with the Netherland-Sumatra Company?”

“That story was never written down.”

“Of course not. But you know why the Kaiser’s scientists wanted that particular uranium mine, don’t you?”

Yes—and I’d thought that Dad and I were the only people alive who did. When you have eliminated the impossible ... “Welcome to Cambridge, cousin. But who’s trying to kill you?” I let the wet pole slip through my hands to the river bottom, then pushed it backward. We glided silently between the trees.

“Moriarty’s gang.”

Color me stupid. Who else would it be? “And you came here to look for me. This wasn’t a coincidence. Say, do you know how to pole a punt?”

“Well, yes. But not today, if you don’t mind being a gentleman for just a bit longer.”

“But what do you need me for?”

“I need a mathematician. And—who else would I go to, damn it? Watson, the game’s afoot!” She looked carefully around at the riverbanks, and up at the cloudless sky. We were alone. She took a Swiss Army knife from the pouch around her neck, and started to hack at the burqa with the diminutive scissors and penknife.

“What do you mean?”

“A week ago, I was studying computing at the University of Milan. I got a phone call from Mammy: an explosion had destroyed Uncle Terrance’s house in St. John’s. He died before the firefighters got there.” Her fists clenched.

“I’m sorry. But I still don’t get it.”

“He’d been looking into the Moriarty connection. He was the only one of his generation to take it seriously. His computer had been destroyed, but I was able to hack into one cloud account that he’d stopped using six months before. There was some vague stuff about Cambridge, and this week. And a note that millions of people could die.”

“Jesus! What are they planning to do, start World War III or something?”

“Then I found a bomb wired to the ignition of my Vespa. Time to head out, I say to myself. So I bought a train ticket to London. Somewhere under the Channel I went into the bathroom, cut off my cornrows, shaved my head, and put on that body bag.” She held up the piece of cloth she’d been working on. “This look any better?” She stood up, wrapped it into a knee-length skirt over the swimsuit, and cinched it at her waist.

“Way better. Quite fashionable,” I said. The cling of the wet fabric was a nice touch. “So what do you know about Moriarty, then?”

“Not a lot.” She sat down again, tucking her legs under her. “He was very good at not leaving traces. Apart from what your ancestor recorded, about the only trace of his existence is that astronomy book he wrote.”

The Dynamics of an Asteroid?”

“Exactly. Sounds harmless, but Uncle Terrance thought it was important.”

“Do you want to take a look at it?” I asked.

“You got a copy, then?” It was her turn to gape.

“No, but the University Library’s got a copy of everything published in Britain in the last couple hundred years. Want to check it out? We can be there in an hour.” I let the punt slow.

“Could we go to a secondhand shop somewhere first—and you fix me up, buy me some clothes, nothing too fancy? I had to leave London without my luggage, shaking somebody who was tailing me. Credit card and all, no time to get cash.”

Was it a scam after all? “Do we really need to?” I asked.

“Watson, I am not going to a library dressed like this!”

She had a point: the skirt and bikini top were fine for sightseeing around town, but the University Library is an ancient and dignified institution. “How about the Oxfam shop? Or we could see what’s in the market.”


“Sorry, madam.” The librarian gestured at her screen. “It went missing back in the twentieth century.” She studied the monitor again. “Durham University has one, but they won’t send it on loan. You’d have to go there to see it.”

We thanked her and left. After a few minutes Holmes spoke. “Watson—do you have a phone on you? I want to look up train times for Durham. Mine’s with my luggage. Gone.”

“This still feels like a wild goose chase, Holmes.”

“Uncle Terrance thought it was important.”

“That’s all you’ve got to go on?” I said. ”And I suppose you want me to pay for the train tickets, too?”

She glared at me. “Well, whoever kill he thought it was important too! But me can go on my own. Some way.”

“I’m sorry, Holmes. You’re right.”

Her face lost its anger. “Me can ask a favor?” She turned toward me. “Me can sleep on your floor? And me nah eat nothing since yesterday.”

“You’re in luck, Holmes. I have a sofa. And a fridge.” Two students passed, sharing a joint. It reminded me of something. “So, can you tell me what type of weed they’re smoking from the ash?”

“Stop you stupidness, Watson,” she said. “That’s what mass spectrometers are for.”


Durham University Library keeps its treasures in a miniature castle, with crenellated walls and tall leaded windows. We announced our quest, and were escorted into the inner sanctum. A wide gallery ran around the walls; below was rich with dark wood panels, carved and painted, and above was clean white plaster. At one end of the room was a row of small glass cases, at desk height. In each case was a machine like a chrome toaster with half-a-dozen spidery robot arms, wired to a monitor. The librarian showed us to chairs in front of one machine, and left the room, drawing on white cotton gloves as he went.

In about ten minutes he returned, reverently carrying a small book, bound in green cloth boards and about a centimeter thick. He did not offer to let us touch it, but opened the front of the glass case, positioned the book in front of the machine, and locked it in. He took a small remote control from his pocket and touched it. A spidery silver arm unfolded and opened the book. Another arm, of transparent plastic, caressed the title page flat.

He grinned. “Ever used one of these, ducks? Here’s the remote. Forward, back. Go to page. There’s a camera if you need to look up close—here. You can zoom to fifty times if you need to, for typefaces and things. And the book’s out of copyright, of course, so you can save scans to your tablet if you want. You won’t need to study the watermarks?”

“I don’t think so,” Holmes said.

“Thank God, that needs a whole different machine. Well, I’ll leave you to it then, ducks. Any questions, just ask.” He withdrew but kept within sight.

For an hour we made the machine leaf through the little book. After a while Holmes shook her head. “What do you make of it, Watson?” she whispered.

“I don’t get it. The first chapter is pure genius—it anticipates the modern theory of dynamic systems by fifty years. But by here”—I tapped the glass above the page—“it’s just bullshit. Look at this.”

“I’m looking, Watson. What am I not seeing?”

“Proposition Fifteen, there? It just can’t be true: it contradicts the Period Three Theorem, one of the most famous results in the field. Most of the main results in the book are like that. He’s more or less claiming that all asteroid orbits are periodic and predictable—and that’s just nuts.”

“Where’s the mistake?” she asked.

“That’s the nuttiest part. There isn’t one.”

“There has to be.”

“Not any big one, that is. I’ve seen a few mistakes so far. They’re all really subtle. Just careless notation, informal reasoning. Nineteenth century mathematicians did a lot of that, but generally their instincts were good and they got away with it. But Moriarty was unlucky. Every time he got careless it bit him in the ass.”

“I don’t like this, Watson. “Careless and unlucky are not words anybody ever used about the Professor.”

“What are you saying?”

“Is it possible that he did it on purpose?”

“Sandbagging? To make people underestimate him?”

“I have no idea. But me nah like it.”


The train was rolling southward through the countryside, still an hour from Cambridge. I looked up from my tablet and rubbed my aching temples. “I’m really getting pissed off with this guy. A book this bad could set a field back twenty years.”

“Watson! You got it!”


“Maybe that was the idea?”

“Poincaré was a contemporary of Moriarty,” I sad, thoughtfully. “He made huge strides in orbital mechanics. But the next important developments—chaos theory, stuff like that—weren’t made till the mid-twentieth century.”

“And why do people want to know about asteroid orbits, Watson?” Her tone was innocently curious; the twitch at the corners of her mouth said checkmate in one. But I saw where she was going, and I wasn’t going to concede.

“This was the nineteenth century, Holmes. He wouldn’t have had the hardware to make an asteroid hit the Earth, even if he had the math.

She shook her head. “No, of course not. But if he could stop other people from predicting a collision, and had the information himself ...”

Suddenly I saw. “He could buy up huge quantities of nonperishable foods. Coal futures, did they do that then? Even an asteroid close enough to cause a panic would pay off, though the big money would be in a real disaster that nobody else saw coming. Of course, with nineteenth-century telescopes and no computers, it would be quite a gamble. But cornering a market often pays off anyhow.”

“That’s it! Uncle Terrance’s files had a lot of stuff about futures markets, too. I never knew why.” She fished her pouch out from inside her blouse, and withdrew a tiny thumb drive. “Here. Look for a file called FUTURES. Let’s see, in what years did asteroids come close to Earth?”

I plugged it into my tablet, found asteroid threat data through the train’s Wi-Fi, and plotted them together. She leaned against me, crowding in to watch me work. She had borrowed my soap that morning. Why did it smell so much better on her? I tried to ignore the distraction. Ten minutes later, she pointed at the screen. “There we go, Watson! See the correlation?”

“That doesn’t make any sense. That last event was only thirty years ago. Moriarty must’ve been long dead by then.”

“He must have sold the secret to some criminal organization. And look—we’re seeing the same buying pattern again, just last year.”

I shook my head. “But there isn’t a near-miss coming up soon.”

“Maybe we can’t predict all of them?”

“We know more now than he did. Way more. And we’ve got better telescopes.”

“A three-pipe problem, Watson. Too bad that neither of us smokes.” She was silent for the rest of the journey.


On the platform at Cambridge Station, she grabbed my arm. “Watson! Don’t look, but that man there—he was in the station this morning in Durham!”

Twice is a coincidence, as the spy novels say. The guy probably went there for the day like we did.”

“Me nah know.” She shrugged. “But can you take us home by some way that won’t be easy to follow?”

“Sure thing. We can go—”

“Don’t tell me, just take me there.”

For half an hour we zigzagged along twisty little streets and through the corridors of university buildings, avoiding the open lawns of Parker’s Piece and working slowly closer to the old part of town.

Finally she spoke again. “I hope you know where we are, because I certainly don’t. But I know how Moriarty’s plan could be kept alive.”


“Suppose they got at the telescope data?”

“Could they do that?”

“I think so. There aren’t very many laboratories doing serious asteroid tracking, are there?”

I remembered something I’d heard recently at tea break. “They’re in for a heck of a surprise, then.”


“There’s a new orbiting telescope dedicated to tracking asteroids. Once it starts up next month, it’ll be broadcasting its observations to labs all over the world.”

“But what will it transmit? Suppose somebody patched its software, telling the computer to edit out certain things?”

“Well, if they haven’t done it yet, they’ve missed the bus. It’s already up there.”

“It could be done remotely. You’d just need a powerful transmitter and the password. You’d want a really directional antenna, too, if you wanted to keep it secret.”

“How big would the antenna have to be?”

“Well, one easy way would be to use a radio telescope dish in reverse.”

“Lord’s Bridge!”

“Bless you!”

“Lord’s Bridge, I said. It’s an old radio observatory just outside of Cambridge. A lot of decommissioned equipment. Some junk, some still works, and I don’t think it’s that hard to get time on it. And you did say your uncle thought something was about to happen around here.”

“Can you get me to a computer? If they’ve got a website I can probably hack into it and find out who’s scheduled.”

“Sure thing. We’re almost back at my college.”

We crossed the court and went up the narrow staircase to my room. I unlocked the heavy oak door. Holmes glanced in. “Don’t touch anything till I tell you it’s okay.”

“How come?”

“Somebody been here. I left a pink thumb drive on your desk. And it nah there.”

“Was the data valuable?”

“Two gigabytes of random numbers. Bait.” She walked carefully over to my sofa. Her swimsuit, skirt, and a few other clothes from the Oxfam shop were still there, in a neatly folded pile. She inspected them carefully, slipping a ruler gingerly between items, before picking them up. Then she looked round the room. “May I borrow that laser pointer?”

“Sure thing.”

“I think it’s safe, there’s undisturbed dust on it.” She popped it and a few more items into an empty daypack without asking further permission, and shook her head at a couple others. “Is there a computer I could use?”

I reached for my laptop. She stopped me. “It’s not likely to be booby-trapped, but I don’t have time to check it for Trojans. I need one that’s likely to be clean.”

“My tablet?”

She pulled a face. “Not much power.”

“How about the one in my office at the Newton Institute?”

“How many cores?”


She pursed her lips and nodded. “Come let’s go.”

It was after eight o’clock in the evening when we got there. We bought sandwiches, coffee, and apples from vending machines, and went to the office I shared with two other graduate students. Both of them had gone home; we had the room to ourselves. Holmes turned the computer on and got to work. I found myself a book and tried, without much success, to concentrate on it.

Two hours later, she looked up. “I think you’re right, Watson. Somebody named Carl Leamington has booked a dish that used to be part of something called the One Mile Array for twelve hours, starting at nine o’clock tonight.” She pointed to a satellite photograph. “This one, I think. Anyhow, Leamington’s not connected with the Department of Astronomy, he’s not a student anywhere in the European Union, and he’s never published a paper anywhere. I want to go see what’s going on.”


“Of course. It’s only about eight kilometers.” She picked up the daypack she’d borrowed and pulled something out. “And put on this. That T-shirt way too visible.” This was a woman’s black knit top from the Oxfam shop, carrying a trace of the previous owner’s cheap perfume.

“You could have told me, Holmes,” I said. “I’ve got a perfectly good hoodie back in college.” I pulled it over my head.


We jogged down Grange Road under the last rays of the setting sun, and took the bridlepath to Grantchester, then the footbridge across the M-11 motorway. The endless lines of traffic were like strings of rubies and diamonds in the dusk.

“You really think there’s anything to this?” I asked.

“Me nah know. But we need to find out.” We went on by starlight, on gravel farm tracks. After a while, Holmes pointed. On our left was an abandoned stretch of railway line. There were still rails there, but spaced too widely for any train.

“We’re getting close, Watson,” Holmes whispered. She turned off into the tall weeds beside the rails, moving silently between whatever cover was available. Ahead of us, big dishes pointed at the sky from rail-mounted carriages, fifteen meters above the ground. On one of the dishes, a flicker of red light could be seen. I tapped Holmes’ arm and pointed.

“See um,” she whispered.

“What are we going to do?” I asked.

“For now, just watch.”

A long ladder led up to the dish; looking at it gave me a feeling of vertigo. There were two men up there, both using red LED headlamps. In the bowl, a tripod of struts allowed equipment to be mounted at the focus; one of them had climbed one strut and was making some change in the equipment there. I could almost make out their words. I could hear my heart pounding, and my mouth was as dry and sticky as flypaper.

We crawled forward, through thistles, burdocks, and stinging nettles. At least poison ivy was not a risk here. My knee caught on something that clanked onto the gravel.

“Hell was that?” said an Australian voice. There was a flash, a sharp dry crack! and a crash as something scattered railbed gravel near me. We flattened ourselves among the weeds. One headlight turned white, and pointed in our direction. More gunshots followed. I counted the shots. Gravel from the thirteenth bullet stung my cheek: handguns had progressed from the cowboy movies of my childhood.

The light went back to red. “You go find out who’s down there,” said another voice, Deep South. “I’ll cover you from here.”

I turned to Holmes. “I’ll phone the police!” I whispered.

“By the time they get here, we’ll be dead and the evidence will be destroyed. See that building over there?” She pointed at a low dark rectangle. “That must be the control shack. When I give the word, run over there and set the elevation of that dish—it should be number two—to minimum. Ready?”

“Uh, okay.”

Up on the dish, an emerald firefly began to dance on the struts. Both headlamps turned towards it for a moment: then first one, then the other, turned back toward us. One of the men raised his pistol: I could see his headlamp glint off the metal. Holmes’ laser leapt, wiggling and wobbling like a living thing, to the darkness below the light. It must have found his eye: he cursed, and put his hand to his face. A staccato stream of bullets swept past us from left to right. Holmes gave a stifled gasp of pain.

“Holmes! You okay?”

“Me alright,” she whispered through clenched teeth. “Leg’s grazed. When I get the other one, go!”

The vicious green hornet probed the shadows below the other man’s headlamp. With a target to aim for, he got off a couple of terrifyingly close shots, but after a few seconds he too swore and stopped shooting.

Go!” whispered Holmes.

I sprinted for the control shack, zig-zagging, weeds catching at my legs. Once I tripped on a rail and almost fell. A few wild shots hit the gravel, none very near me. After an age of exposed terror, I reached the shelter of the solid brick walls.

The door was unlocked, but the inside was pitch-dark and smelled faintly of mildew and decay. I felt for the light switch, and thought better of it. Even dazzled, the two gunmen could hardly miss a lit window. By the dim light of my cellphone screen, I surveyed the controls.

A key, attached by string to a wooden block, was inserted in a lock like a car ignition. I put the phone close and looked—it was turned to “ON.” There were five identical clusters of dish controls. In each cluster was an ancient Bakelite knob, with a Dymo tape label below it. The “DISH 2 ALT” knob was centered, its ridge pointing toward the top of the panel. I turned it counterclockwise as hard as I could.

For a moment it seemed that nothing was happening. Then I heard a deep grumble of heavy, geared-down motors. I cautiously looked out the window. The pistols flashed and cracked again. I threw myself to the floor just in time; on the next shot there was a high-pitched crash, and glass sprayed the hut. Then I heard the harsh scrape of the ladder on the edge of the dish, followed a few seconds later by a hollow metallic clatter as it hit the gravel below.

Inexorably, the dish kept tilting. The men were crawling away from the edge now, grasping the lowest strut for support as the surface under them grew steeper and steeper. Soon they were perched precariously on the strut, as if on a sapling growing out from the face of a cliff.

“Stop it, mate!” yelled the Australian. “For God’s sake, stop the bloody motor!”

“Drop your guns!” I called back. Two objects clattered in the gravel. Careful to offer no target, I stopped the motion of the dish, and phoned the police, so shaken that I almost dialed 911 instead of 999.

Had they really thrown down their guns? Their only guns? I’d have to risk it. Moving as quickly and quietly as I could, I ran back to Holmes.

“Holmes! Are you alright?” I whispered.

“Me nah know.”

I could see almost nothing, so did the best first-aid assessment I could manage by feel. Her forehead was clammy, her calf wet and sticky. Rusty odor of blood. A hole, the size of my fingertip, in her jeans. In her leg. I wanted to pull my hand away, but made myself go on. Blood was still flowing, but not spurting, no artery hit. I pulled off the black top, folded it into a pad, and pressed it against her calf. She moaned, but I kept the pressure up, whispering encouragement. I glanced towards the dish, pointed almost toward the northern horizon now. The two men were still there, formless shadows against the sky.

After a little while Holmes spoke. “Watson?”

“I’m here, Holmes.”

“It been fun. Didn’t want it to end like this.”

“Stop your stupidness, Holmes,” I whispered. She laughed weakly. “You’re going to be fine. You’re just in shock, and you’ve lost a little bit of blood. There’s an ambulance on the way. Listen!”

And, sure enough, we could hear faint sirens in the distance, police and ambulance in duet, growing louder with each moment. Treetops in the distance lit up with flickering red and blue light. The sirens stopped. I heard slamming doors, running feet, and an amplified voice announcing that there was a marksman with an infrared scope, so please don’t try anything foolish, gentlemen!

A portable searchlight blazed from the ground. Instantly the vast dark night shrank to the searchlight, the dish, and two men balancing on the strut. For a moment they froze. Then, with a convulsive movement, one man pushed the other off. His scream lasted perhaps a second and a half, and ended in a horrible soft thud. A moment later, the remaining man stepped off the strut into empty air.

He was silent all the way down.


Holmes made a complete recovery, though she needed several units of blood, and bears a round puckered scar on her calf to this day. She was able to persuade the Cambridgeshire police to turn the transmitter over to certain authorities after they had taken fingerprints.

As we had supposed, the patch would have instructed the space telescope to edit all Earth-threatening asteroids out of its images. In an additional twist, it would also have added fictitious objects, false alarms to cause panic and discredit the whole asteroid-tracking program.

One previously unidentified asteroid, specifically identified in the code, was on course to collide with Earth in 2038. The consequences would have been catastrophic, but within a year an international space mission was launched to intercept it. Eight nuclear explosions later, it is on a new and harmless orbit.

The newsblogs tried to call the asteroid “Moriarty,” but that name had already been given to a harmless main-belt object back in the twentieth century, and asteroid names cannot be changed or reused. “Holmes” is likewise unavailable. At my request, my ancestor’s name is not being considered. END

Robert Dawson teaches mathematics at a Nova Scotian university. He has had stories published in “AE,” “Nature Futures,” and elsewhere. He is a frequent contributor to “Perihelion,” and an alumnus of Sage Hill and Viable Paradise writing workshops.


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