The Stories

By Wes Parish

Celebrating Surviving A Storm 200Port Lowell, Mars, 20xx, 21st of the month of Synclastic.

School was cancelled today. The next settlement over the hill from us had suffered even worse from the latest storm, and the teacher had been badly injured when her home had depressurised. She was still alive, though, but badly injured so Mum made us send her a get-well-soon email.

We sat down around the table for brunch, still in our pressure suits, but with the helmets open. Our place wasn't that badly hit, only some parts whittled down by the storm, and those likely to blow if there's any more storms any time soon.

By Luke J. Kendall

Dangerous January 200Zephyn would be a year old tomorrow.

Tiptoeing through the echoing empty places, he left no trace in the dust, built in slow aeons on strange onyx floors. He stirred no wind in the vacuum, as he stretched and turned and twisted between the claws that grasped, the teeth that ripped.

For twelve months he had grown and studied and practised, his senses softly unfurling like a cicada’s wings emerging from their ugly shell, delicate strands stretching out through Time and Space until they encompassed the light-sphere binding all Creation.

By Kerryn Pholi

Festival 200Many years ago, the people of the town agreed upon a festival to boost their spirits before another long and lonely highland winter set in. It would be an autumn harvest festival, celebrating the town’s unique produce: enormous fruits with glossy dark skin and impossibly orange flesh, both sweet and savory at once. The vines would burst upwards every spring and trail over fences, outhouses and chicken coops, sprawling across public gardens, vacant lots, and the cemetery. As the days grew shorter the vines withered away, leaving fruits squatting baldly on the ground like peculiar boulders, or the eggs of some gigantic insect. 

The first festival brought a surprising number of city people to marvel at the curious fruits, and the locals all agreed it was a great success.

By Steven Fritz

Incoming 200“Tell me,” Klaus Sonnenberg asked his friend Ivan Kerensky at breakfast on the last day of Earth, “why you haven’t seemed the least bit upset that this asteroid is going to end us all?”

“Klaus,” Ivan said in an accent that was pure Southern California, “I’m Russian. We know in our soul things will not end well.”

“You’re no more Russian than I am,” Klaus sputtered. “You’re an American. Your father was a surfer from Orange County. Why aren’t you an eternal optimist?”

By Tim Borella

Old Man 200For a while I thought he’d leave me hanging, but eventually his expression softened and he relented, clunking the rim of his enamel mug against mine while he watched me from under those shaggy wizard’s eyebrows.

“Good luck,” he said, his creaky voice catching me by surprise the way it always did.

“Live long and prosper,” I replied, and he rolled his eyes. It was an old joke between us, from an ancient series from simpler times that we’d binged on long ago. The wine was rough, the colour of deoxygenated blood, but it suited the occasion and the setting.

By Meghashri Dalvi

Phone 200I was getting late for the office and this man was still fiddling inside!

Outside the red phone booth, it was hot and sweaty. I tried to knock on the door, but he seemed lost in his own world.

Finally, I decided to take some action and entered the booth.

Boy, was he relieved to see me!

By Kevin J. Phyland

Snapshotsp 200“Man...if you ain’t the worst photographer I’ve ever seen you’ll do till he shows up!”

Phillips chuckles away to himself as he puts on a wide-angle lens.

I look glumly at the rear screen on the digital camera. Somehow I’d missed the rider. And he was coming third at that stage. The Tour de France has riders packed into groups called pelotons, and somehow I’d missed him amidst three other riders as he cycled past.

“Let’s call it a day,” says Phillips after he takes a few crowd shots.

We pack up our gear and head back to the cheap hotel we’d been able to rent when we arrived.

My photography has been dogged by such incidents for as long as I can recall.

By Sarah Anne Ross

Starlight Twilight 200She was made of starlight.

She stood only a few metres before him. Surrounded by old redwood trees, whose branches interlaced and were so thick with foliage that only a few beams of the night’s light trickled down to the soft, mossy ground.

Her eyes were closed, peaceful and serene. Her hair floated lightly down her back, the strands of shimmering diamonds gently tinkling in the cool night breeze. Her radiant, iridescent body shone like a full moon, he couldn’t draw his attention away from her. The surroundings were so gloomy and dreary in comparison to her brilliance.

By George Nikolopoulos

The Curse Of The Ice Dragon 200Every night, I dream of the castle in the snow.

Every night I'm a princess, trapped inside the castle tower. Princes from all across the land set out to rescue me from my evil dragon guardian. 

Many perish along the journey. Some fall off the summits of Mount Agarnathia as they brave the mountain passes during winter storms; others are devoured by the evil hags of Demonwood Forest while the blood moon shines upon their corpses and smiles; still others are slaughtered without mercy by the cruel armies that the Ogre King sets upon them; or they fall prey to their own greed, or ignorance, or envy, as they sail on the deceptively calm waters of Lake Judgement.

By Markus J

The Milk Bar 200‘We’ll be right with you in a second,’ said a female voice from the shop’s darkened backroom as Julius made his way towards the fridge. He shivered as he walked. It was cold in this shop despite the warm weather outside.

‘Hon, can you get that customer?’ continued the voice, ‘I’m back here making the Christmas puddings.’

Milk in hand, Julius walk across the black and white chequered floor leading to the counter where a middle-aged, greying man now stood. Julius noticed his face bore a tired and worried look.

Issue 250 Print Edition

AntipodeanSF Issue 250 is now ready via print on demand.

Please visit <https://lulu.com> and order now!

All profits donated to Australian Science Fiction Foundation fan funds.

Ebook version also now at Smashwords

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AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

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Please visit the ASFF website and consider joining for up-to-date info about Australian SF cons, awards, competitions, and to receive the Foundation's newsletter, Instrumentality, and more.

<https://asff.org.au>

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

AntiSF's Production Crew

nuke conflux 2017 200Ion Newcombe is the editor and publisher of AntipodeanSF, Australia’s longest running online speculative fiction magazine, regularly issued since January 1998, and conceived back around November 2007. He has been a zealous reader and occasional writer of SF since his childhood in the 1960s, and even sold a few stories here and there back in the '90s.

“Nuke”, who it turns out loves editing more than writing, lives in the New South Wales North Coast holiday destination of Nambucca Heads, where he is self-employed in IT training, computer support, desktop publishing, editing, writing, and website implementation. He is also the resident tech-head, skeptic, and board member of community radio station 2NVR, where he produces a number of shows including The AntipodeanSF Radio Show.

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mark web 200Mark Webb's midlife crisis came in the form of attempting to write speculative fiction at a very slow pace. His wife maintains this is a good outcome considering the more expensive and cliched alternatives. Evidence of Mark's attempts to procrastinate in his writing, including general musings and reviews of books he has been reading, can be found at www.markwebb.name.

One of Mark’s very best forms of writing procrastination is to produce the eBook series for AntipodeanSF, which he has been doing since issue 175.

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In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 254

Ben
by Robert W. Caldwell

Black Hole Down
by Rubino del Sur

From Here to There and Back Again
by Phillip Berrie

Slice of Life
by Zebuline Carter

Tempus Fugit
by Kevin J. Phyland

The Break Up
by Lachlan Walter

The Campus
by Jack Beltane

The Most Loyal Servant and The Peas
by PS Cottier

The Robo Diggers
by Maree Collee

The Villainy of Solitute
by Triffooper Solitude

4 Spec-Fic Poems
by Frank Prem

The Contributors

Luke J. KendallLuke J. Kendall failed to drown on five separate occasions on Sydney’s northern beaches. For 30 years he worked in the IT R&D field, very happily married to an adventurous mediaeval scholar 22 years his senior, until her death in December 2014.

He likes really long form fiction — like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, or C. E. Murphy’s urban shaman series.  His own, The Leeth Dossier, is set in our world in a ‘mixtopian’ near future a few decades after magic’s return.  Character-driven by its female lead — who is innocent, loyal, and deadly — it blends hard science with fantasy, psychological horror, humour, and action. 

He has self-published Wild Thing (2015), Harsh Lessons (2016), Shadow Hunt (2017), and Violent Causes (2019), and is working on Lost Girl (2020?). His author web site is <AtoeInTheOceanOfBooks.com>

Dangerous January was written from a writing prompt in Neil Gaiman’s Master Class.

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Sarah Anne RossSarah Anne Ross is a Melbournian born-and-bred, and has a background of events management in the local music scene.

She is now the Treasurer to the #LoveOzYA Committee, and frequents as many book events as possible to celebrate amazing Australian writers.

When she’s not writing or journaling, she’s curled up with an audiobook, her cat, and a cup of tea!

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steven fritz 200Steven Fritz graduated from the University of Maryland, became a Naval Aviator and flew helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft in the US Navy.

After leaving active duty, he earned a Ph.D. in Radiation Biophysics at the University of Kansas and spent several years as a medical school faculty member and senior administrator.

After university he managed a seed stage venture fund and did a stint as an avionics entrepreneur. He’s been infatuated with science fiction since his youth and has been writing SF full time for three years. You can follow Steven on his website at <InigoPress.com> or on Twitter at @StevenLFritz1.

Kerryn writes occasional opinion pieces and very occasional short fiction. Sometimes she gets paid for it, but mostly she doesn’t — although she once won a very satisfying $500 in a ‘so bad it’s good’ flash fiction competition.

Based in Canberra, Kerryn occupies a cubicle and works on figuring out her escape strategy. Along with writing, her other hobbies include practicing her autograph, taking ‘pensive author’ selfies, envying proper novelists, and making up silly bios — like this one.

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Markus J writes about himself:

I reside in a coastal town on the southwest coast of Victoria. I write mostly short stories and poetry and find it perfect way to express myself. I write as a hobby and attend a couple of local writing groups.I  have found with attending these groups that I have learnt so much and have gained valuable knowledge from more experienced writers. This experience has also given me the confidence to pursue my passion more vigorously.

My passion for writing started back during my school years and then it continued on until my early twenties. It was at that point that life building a career and raising a family took all of my energy and time. It was during this period of my life that writing took a back seat. That hiatus lasted for over thirty years.

About nine years ago, when my life took a serious turn, I revisited writing — especially poetry — as a way to release the frustrations that I was feeling at the time. Now that I have reached the middle age of my life, I have that extra time I need to be able to devote myself to writing.

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mconlyMichael Connolly lives in Bowraville NSW, Australia. He has worked as an art teacher, music teacher, printer and illustrator among other things (such as chicken de-beaker), and has a keen interest in science-fiction and the natural sciences. He has illustrated for the magazine Tabula Rasa, which specialises in the horror genre, and is a regular contributor to AntipodeanSF.

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tim borellaTim Borella has never lost his childhood passion for SF and writing in general and has been lucky enough to have worked most of his life as a pilot — in other words, he’s never properly grown up.

He lives in country Far North Queensland, has won awards for songwriting, and has had various other writing achievements, the most recent being an honourable mention in the 2018 international Literary Taxidermy Short Story Competition.

He also has bachelor degrees in science and teaching, and has completed a couple of as-yet unpublished SF novels. He’d dearly love to spend more time writing, but will have to continue juggling for another couple of years until the kids have fully left the nest.

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George Nikolopoulos is a speculative fiction writer from Athens, Greece, and a member of Codex Writers' Group. His short stories have been published in Galaxy's Edge, Daily Science Fiction, Factor Four, Grievous Angel, Helios Quarterly Magazine, Unsung Stories, Best Vegan SFF, The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF, Bards & Sages Quarterly, Havok, SF Comet, Mad Scientist Journal, Truancy, Digital Fiction QuickFic, The Centropic Oracle, StarShipSofa, 600 Second Saga, Antipodean SF, Manawaker Studio's FFP, Fifty Flashes, 9Tales from Elsewhere, Event Horizon 2017, and many other magazines and anthologies.

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Meghashri Dalvi consults in Technical Communication, when she is not writing science fiction or teaching Management. Her stories have appeared in Aphelion, Ascent Aspirations, Anotherealm, Quantummuse, and AntiSF.

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Kevin J. PhylandRetired after 33 years of teaching, Kevin now indulges his passions full-time: weather, reading and writing. His fiction usually embraces darker themes or the new weird, but lately he has gone back to more traditional old school SFF. He has set himself the task of reading every Stephen King novel, in order, and all of the recommended SF reading lists of Locus magazine for the last 35 years <http://www.sfadb.com/Locus_Awards_1983>. His eyes hurt.

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Wesley Parish is an SF fan from early childhood. Born in PNG, he enjoys reading about humans in strange cultures and circumstances; his favourite SF authors include Ursula Le Guin, Fritz Lieber, Phillip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard and Frank Herbert. He lives in Christchurch, NZ, is an unemployed Java and C programmer, and has recently decided to become a mad ukuleleist, flautist and trombonist, and would love to revert to being the mad fiddler and pedal steel guitarist..  "Where oh where has my little pedal steel got to ... ?"

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AntipodeanSF October 2019

ISSUE 253

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version:

Kindle version:

AntiSF's Narration Team

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Carolyn's work spans devising, performance, theatre-in-education and a collaborative visual art practice.

She tours children's works to schools nationally with School Performance Tours, is a member of the Bathurst physical theatre ensemble Lingua Franca and one half of darkroom — a visual arts practice with videographer Sean O'Keeffe.

(Photo by Jeremy Belinfante) 

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mark english 100Mark is an astrophysicist and space scientist who worked on the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. Following this he worked in computer consultancy, engineering, and high energy research (with a stint at the JET Fusion Torus).

All this science hasn't damped his love of fantasy and science fiction. It has, however, ruined his enjoyment of rainbows, colourful flames on romantic log fires, and rings around the moon. He has previously been published in Stupefying Stories Showcase, Everyday Fiction, Escape Pod, Perihelion and also on AntipodeanSF where he is part of the narration team.

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marg essex 200Margaret lives the good life on a small piece of rural New South Wales Australia, with an amazing man, a couple of pets, and several rambunctious wombats.

She feels so lucky to be a part of the AntiSF team.

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timonthy gwyn 100Timothy Gwyn is a professional pilot in Canada, where he flies to remote communities. During a lull in his flying career, he was a radio announcer for three years, and he is also an author.

In addition to short stories at AntipodeanSF and NewMyths.com, his SF novel is available internationally in print and ebook formats. "Avians" draws on his love of alternative aviation to tell the tale of a girl who runs away from home to join a cadre of glider pilots on a world without metal or fossil fuels.

On Twitter, he is @timothygwyn, and his blogs are at <timothygwyn.com>.

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garry dean narratorGarry Dean lives on the Mid Coast of New South Wales Australia, and has been a fan of SF for most of his natural life. Being vision impaired, he makes good use of voice recognition and text to speech in order to write. Many of his stories have appeared in AntipodeanSF over the years, and his love of all things audio led him to join the narration team in 2017.

You can read examples of Garry's fiction on his website <https://garrydean.wordpress.com>

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lauriebell 2 200Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia. She was that girl you found with her nose always buried in a book. She has been writing ever since she was a little girl and first picked up a pen. From books to short stories, radio plays to snippets of ideas and reading them aloud to anyone who will listen.

She is the author of The Butterfly Stone (YA/ Fantasy — available now) and White Fire (Sci Fi — available now)

You can read more of her work on her blog Look for her on Facebook <www.facebook.com/WriterLaurieBell/> or Twitter: <@LaurienotLori>

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pixie willo 100Pixie is a voice actor, cabaret performer & slam poet From the Blue Mountains in NSW.

She enjoys writing short fiction, plays for radio and stage as well as her own brand of weird poetry.

She hosts the 'Off-Beet Poetry Slam' held bi-monthly in Katoomba,

And is a theatre reviewer for 2SER FM in Sydney.

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david whitaker 200David Whitaker is originally from the UK though has travelled around a bit and now resides in India. He has a degree in Journalism, however decided that as he’s always preferred making things up it should ultimately become a resource rather than a profession.

His stories, covering everything from sci-fi to philosophy, have been published across the globe and links to each can be found at <wordsbydavid.com>

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SF News

Upcoming Cons

Conflux 15: What Lies Beneath (2019) will be held in Canberra from Saturday 5 October through to Monday 7 October 2019. Conflux is Canberra’s longest-running spec fiction (sci fi, fantasy & horror) convention including all things speculative and have a strong program for writers of the genre, as well as all the usual panels, discussions, cosplay & social stuff.
Conflux NEWS — well known author John Scalzi will be at Conflux for a Q&A with Cat Sparks. AntipodeanSF will also be at Conflux! Come along and grab a hard copy of Issue 250! More information about Conflux at: <https://conflux.org.au>.

Swancon 45 - National Convention 2020. Swancon is Australia's longest-running science-fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction convention, and is the premiere event in Perth for fans of all forms of speculative media.More information: <https://swancon.com.au/>

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <asff.org.au>.

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50The AntipodeanSF Radio Show delivers audio from the pages of this magazine.

The weekly program features the stories from recently published issues, usually narrated by the authors themselves.

Listen to the latest episode now:

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show is also broadcast on community radio, 2NVR, 105.9FM every Saturday evening at 8:30pm.

You can find every broadcast episode online here: http://antisf.libsyn.com 

SF Quote

Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can't talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful.

Philip K. Dick

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