Breathing Space

By Tim Cadman

sfgenreMeena Racz was — as usual — doing piecework at the table in the living area of her and her husband’s tiny habitation module on the small planetoid of Colony 37J. Their living quarters were not much bigger than her single room apartment back home and she could never go outside without suiting up. Besides, there was nothing much to see anyway, except for a few stars and the satellites orbiting overhead.

Ever since Ogdan had left for his six-day roster at the algae farm she had been thinking about how she was going to raise enough money to get back to Earth before she went insane.

Ogdan had no intention of returning. He was too lazy to cope anywhere else but here. Work at the farm was easy, boring and monotonous, and he seemed to like it that way. He was just as hopeless with his chores around the module, never fixing anything and leaving jobs undone.

Her reverie was broken by the strident and alarmed voice of the house computer.

“Emergency! Emergency! Oxygen supplies are critical and will shortly be exhausted! Please leave this module and seek immediate help! Get into your vacuum suit at once!”

It took almost five minutes to get suited up. Meena noticed the oxygen levels in the tanks were low — less than two hours. Another task Ogdan had neglected. She would have to get to their nearest neighbours, a good hour’s walk. She felt her pulse racing, and it became cold and clammy inside the cumbersome suit. She forced herself to breathe slowly, and knowing she had no option, started the long trek. The landscape crawled by, a monotonous collection of space dust, small craters and junk. She had never felt so terrified — and alone — in her life.

It was with enormous relief that Meena saw light a couple of hundred metres away, but when she arrived, no one was home and the portal was locked. She was stranded.

She made it halfway back before her oxygen ran out, and after a frantic minute of struggle to breathe, she collapsed.


Meena woke back in her own module. An anxious, handsome man sat by her bed. He coughed politely and somewhat awkwardly offered his hand. “Hi. I’m sorry to have met you under such circumstances. I’m Colony Services Officer Patrick O’Byrne. You were down on my schedule for a visit to see if everything was okay. It’s lucky I came along when I did. You were almost a goner. I brought you back here but your module was without oxygen. I changed the filters for you. Who do you get to service them? They were leaking all your air outside!”

Meena looked up at Patrick. He was watching her with an unnerving intensity. He was much more handsome than Ogdan. Slowly, cautiously, she reached for his hand and held it. She didn’t say anything. Then he held her, and she clung fiercely to him, great wracking sobs heaving through her body...


Next day, when Ogdan returned, Meena didn’t say a word about her brush with death.

The following morning, before her husband was up, she put the old filters back into the oxygen supply, fixed the house communicator so it would short out if used, emptied the tanks on his work suit (leaving less than an hour’s air), made his breakfast, put on her old suit — now fully functional, thanks to Patrick — and shook him awake.

“Good morning, sweetie. Here’s some nice breakfast for you. I’m off to the neighbour’s. I hope you don’t mind. A message came in this morning. There’s a workshop on how to do macramé with old optical fibre. I won’t be long. If you need me, you know where to call.”

She kissed him, and without a backward glance, closed her faceplate, cycled through the vacuum chamber, and strode off to her assignation with Patrick.

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About The Author

Tim Cadman

tim cadmanDr Timothy Cadman specialises in the governance of sustainable development, environmental politics and policy, climate change, natural resource management including forestry, responsible investment and institutional performance. The first volume of his ‘CliFi’ trilogy, The Changes: Refuge, was published in late 2017.




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by Ishmael A. Soledad

Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden
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Hollywood Product
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Jerry Cornelius (The English Assassin)
by Roger Ley

by Imogen Cassidy

Old City
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Silver Lining
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A Necessary Intervention
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Star Dream
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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, 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 <>.

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She is the author of The Butterfly Stone (available now).

You can read more of her work on her blog Look for her on Facebook <> 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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SF News

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Roger Ley's story in this issue "Pilgrimage"  has gained an Honourable Mention in the Writers of the Future competition.

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