Star Dream

By Theodore Irvin Silar

sfgenreBobby was tired of his village. Mockery was a local specialty. Bobby was an easy target: he limped. Climbing Giant’s Rock, forget falling off it, had been a feat unmatched in recent memory. A feat nobody remembered while gleefully appraising his ball-playing. Moreover, he was deaf in the right ear from a childhood illness. Then, his screams had aroused pity. A pity nobody remembered when sidling up to his bad ear and whispering obscenities. That trick never seemed to pall.

Self-defense, he knew, was called for. But he could never rubbish them back. Their ways baffled, tongue-tied him.

Though he had grown up amongst them, he could not understand these people. Take the little daughter with the hare-lip. Her easy laughter was like daybreak. Mocking daybreak? Who could dream of it?

Bobby was a fellow who saw things from others’ point of view. Climb down into one of those bitter souls, though, and all you want is to clamber back out. Retorts are moot.

Time to take a walk, he decided. He had his stick. His water bag. He knew the songs. One morning, back to the sun, he set out at a brisk hobble, singing just for the joy of it.

His first line led him down a snaking river to the shore. He’d always wanted to see the ocean, he decided.

It was a rich life, that shore life. Always a fire going. Charred mullet drifting on the breeze. “Help yourself,” the custom. But otherwise people in those parts ignored him. Not of their skin, you might as well be a turkey or a tree or something.

One day, walking the strand, his dangling stick carving a miniature valley behind him, he saw a dolphin jump. Then another. Soon, a mob, dancing and spinning through the air. Straight before him.

“Truth!” he exclaimed. It seemed to inspire them.

At least dolphins talked to him.

The next morning, sun on his left, Bobby set out again.

His second songline led him into the desert. It was a poor life, that desert life. Hard-scrabble. Always more work. Always short-handed. People in those parts were always ordering him about. “Get this,” “Do that,” “Pitch in or you’re out.” He took to hiding in a gully, napping under an old ghost gum. One blood-red dusk, a furious ruckus woke him. It ceased when he sat up. Two rabbits were eyeing him as if to ascertain they’d caught his attention. Then they resumed their rabbit business. Round in circles they ran. Then they stopped, turned, boxed a bit, and ran round again. Culminating when both leaped into the air as if stung by scorpions.

“Truth!” Bobby exclaimed. That was some show those rabbits had given him.

The next morning, sun on his right, Bobby set out once more, singing a new song.

His food long gone, his water-bag three swallows from empty, rounding an escarpment he almost stumbled over an old man singing softly to himself and scratching a claw-shaped stick about in the dirt. At once, the man handed Bobby a pouch of dried berries, unburdened himself of a cool, full water-bag, and returned to work. Planting seeds.

His talk was all grunts and signs. His eyes rolled in their sockets. But he could sing. He knew all the songs of this land. Where ripe berries were. Flowers going to seed. Reservoirs of water in the clefts of trees. He had a mop of luminous, cloud-white hair, wrinkles like fissures, hanging wattles like a lizard.

They sang the same song for leagues, harvesting, planting, all along the way, until their songs diverged, Bobby’s starting to leap and bound, his companion’s flattening out. Bobby watched the back of a good man recede into the plains and dwindle to a speck before he headed into the hills.

He came upon a watering-hole deep in a redolent forest. His birthplace, he decided. A good place to have been born.

He squatted in the sand, throwing stones, watching twilight ripple.

Night fell.

A star came down and sat in the air just above him. Like a shiny Hoverer.

Maybe this was how things went in these parts. Stars come to visit.

“How you going, Star?”

It was not a star, it explained. It came from a star.

Whereupon it sang its sky-route for Bobby.

“I see,” said Bobby, tracing with his finger. “You look like a star but.”

Appearances are deceptive, it explained. It really looked more like a dugong.

They paused a while and listened to frogs. Eventually, Bobby reckoned, it would speak its piece. After the sky river rolled on a bit.

If Bobby were to step through? it began. To the other side of the water?

Bobby stepped through. Into another creation. The world opened up here. Hills glowed like embers. The horizon hissed like simmering tea.

You’ll find friends here, the dugong-star continued. This big rock for instance. He’ll talk. But it’s better to feel his silence speaking instead. Lean your bad ear against him. Listen.

Here Aunty Sun will smile her face upon you. Uncle Moon, too, listens well. See him nod and smile.

And look down here. See? All people here are ants. You could squish them with the little toe of your bad leg.

Back at home, Bobby is free. Suddenly, foibles fly to his tongue. What are you up to sneaking out every night, Grandmother? Counting stars? Were you hunting yesterday, Grandfather? Because a new birdcall was heard out in the bush. A snoring sound. What is that dark spot on mother’s cheek, Father? Paint? Where did all the sweetmeats go, Sister? Or is that round belly pregnant again? One fine web of nose veins, Brother. Was it always so intricate?

Suddenly, he has respect. Everyone smiles. No-one rubbishes him. Maybe it’s all gammon. But it beats the alternative.

Every night, dingoes howl him a greeting and he listens.

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About The Author

Theodore Irvin Silar

ted silar 200Among other pursuits, Theodore Irvin Silar has served variously in the capacities of bricklayer, auto worker, accountant, cab driver, teacher, historian, musician, composer, graphic artist, and writer. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Lehigh University and leads an interesting intellectual life.

  • Amazon Author Page: <>
  • Goodreads Author Page: <>
  • Website and blog:  <>
  • YouTube channel: <>
  • Etsy shop: <>
  • CD Baby Music Store: <>
  • On Spotify: The Ghastly Fops (group)
  • Ted Silar (solo music)
  • Theodore Irvin Silar (classical music)


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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.

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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

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Coffee With God
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Hugh's Friend
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Much Needed Boost
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Painting The Future
by Robin Hillard

The Final Squeeze
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The Fire
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The Prince Scamp — His Wrath
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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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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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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 (available now).

You can read more of her work on her blog Look for her on Facebook <> or Twitter: <@LaurienotLori>

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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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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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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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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 <>

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Upcoming Cons

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INDIE COMIC CON 2018 8 Dec Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne Free event. <>.

Nullus Anxietas VII: The Australian Discworld Convention — will be held in Melbourne on April 12-14, 2019, and is themed on Going Postal. More information: <>.

Continuum 15 Other Worlds (Natcon 58): Continuum 15 is the Australian National SF Convention, to be held in Melbourne on June 7–10. More information and memberships <>. AntipodeanSF will be at Continuum 15 and celebrating Issue 250 of AntiSF!

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SF Quote

The Three Laws Of Robotics

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
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