The Outsiders

By Ed Errington

sfgenreWe are told everything will be fine. That is the last thing we are told. We are ready and waiting with our one overnight bag as instructed. At precisely two am in the morning, the coach collects us.

The driver shepherds us into the coach — ticking off our names. She gives us a rough blanket to hide our faces if necessary. Not that anyone is awake to witness our nocturnal departure.

My mind drifts. I lie under the darkness of the blanket: once again, I remember my birth, the kind strangers who gave me shelter, and the odd daily rituals.

After a few years, I was made to stay in the house. I remember frequent visitors with clean white coats, my rapid mental growth spurts, and the realisation I am different. My mind is so much quicker than my hosts.

Two decades pass. Despite the media and populist politicians labeling us ‘Outsiders,’ we are permitted to move freely in the community. No more harassment and no open discrimination. Alone, yet, not alone, I join with many other so-called misfit-outsiders.

We are assured we are safe because a better use has been found for our mental capabilities. Do you see how I switch smoothly from ‘I’ to ‘we’ to ‘our’? It’s part of our DNA — our built-in social compact.

Back on the coach, we move through the night. I’m not cold — we’re not cold. It’s winter, though the seasons no longer matter to us. I try to think more clearly but the coach’s engine is so noisy. The noise is deliberate of course — an obvious attempt to prevent us from communicating with each other. Some people actually believe we’re capable of telepathy. But they don’t know everything. There is so much ignorance out there.

The tone of the engine changes, the coach slows down. The brakes make that wheezing noise so I know we’re stopping.

A soldier leads us from the coach. The ground feels firm beneath my boots. I gauge the pressure just right. Can’t see much, but the grass smells good. I sense there may be others just like me milling around — waiting for what happens next.

We follow someone with a torch. Lots of black shapes surround us now — more military — they are stark figures against a white, pre-dawn backdrop. They would not look out of place in an Ingmar Bergman movie.

Then we’re told to walk and walk we do — for hours. It’ll soon be dawn surely? I can make out lights — some bright — some red, others yellow, a few blue ones — all so brilliant! My bag is very light so my arms feel — no pressure — no constraints. A few others find their bags weighty.

With nods and winks here and there, I find myself among true friends — beings like me. We are not the first, but will we be the last to come here? I am, we are here together. Can you sense the oneness? There are about thirty of us and we’re being ushered forward, as the rose-dawn light creeps across the brightening sky.

Closer and I see a large, opening, straight into a vast hill. The sunlight’s much brighter now. We are being herded in a single file towards the hill’s entrance. Two military types are nudging those at the front forward into the hill.

Soon it will be my turn. Nervous? Of course, I’m nervous. Who wouldn’t be? And what did they mean by the ‘common good?’ Three more steps and I will be inside the hill.

My mind drifts back to Invasion Day and the Outsiders. The media refer to it as a simple ‘Landing Day’ — much the same as any other day. But since that time, many scientists, intellectuals, teachers, health workers, and other professionals have disappeared. These were followed rapidly by anyone too old, or too ill to work.

The community believes the Outsiders’ lies about us. But in the last week, there has been a supposed change of heart. It seems the Outsiders wish to talk to us — arrive at a solution. As a bargaining chip, they promise no further disappearances. So, we allow their coaches to bring us to this assembly point out in the bush. The focus, they say, will be on a brighter, harmonious future for everyone. They claim the early-hours pick up is to allow discussions to be held in secret.

Bring an overnight bag they said — because you’ll be staying a few days. This bag is just a gimmicky prop — used to allay any suspicion I might have about the possibility of my own disappearance. But this could well be the end they have devised for us.

So why didn’t I simply avoid the event? Hold that thought before the hill swallows me. I’m reaching into my bag. Forgive me, I have to smile. Ask me what’s inside the bag and my answer is — nothing. You won’t find any spare clothes in there. Not one morsel of food, no towel, or anything else I was told to bring. The Outsiders should know that cyborgs like us, like you and me — have no need for quasi-human trappings. We are tired of pretending to be what we are not.

But wait — it’s much quieter inside the hill now; this is the quiet before the proverbial storm. A few of my friends are inside to announce our arrival. Soon this hill and its insidious infrastructure designed to eliminate us — will reverberate — not to our screams — but to those of our human jailers — waiting inside to ambush us. Understand — we cyborgs are not going away. It is mentally inferior humanity that exists only on the outside. Enjoy what time you have as we embed ourselves everlastingly inside this planet of soft-flesh primates. Know this also — the meek will not be inheriting the Earth — not this time round.

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About The Author

Ed Errington

ed-erringtonDr. Ed Errington has writing interests that range from futures planning in professional work settings, to playwriting for radio & television, to online speculative prose. His work has been performed on New Zealand National Radio and Ed was shortlisted in a novel-writing competition for first time novelists in the UK.

Freud would classify Ed as an anal-expulsive, creative-type — in turn, Ed would describe Freud as an anal retentive-type who, given his posthumous state, might well keep his postulations to himself.

In the true spirit of Douglas Adams, Ed often contemplates the meaning of life, the universe, and (almost) everything. But instead of arriving at the aggregated answer, 42, Ed believes that life’s REAL meaning is better focused on a particularly good cup of coffee and some serious relaxation — preferably in a tropical setting — lulled by the sounds of a swishing, gentle, warm sea.


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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

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 241

A Fairy Tale
by Susan Cornford

Fat Of The Land
by Bob Carlton

Freckle Face
by Kris Ashton

Getting To Know You
by George Nikolopoulos

Poem For Fa And Jed Who Sailed The Ocean Red
by Chris Kelso

Salvage Rights
by Kevin J. Phyland

by Martin Lochman

The Way Things Went
by A. Katherine Black

Whats App
by Edwina Harvey

by Matthew Harrison

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AntiSF's Narration Team


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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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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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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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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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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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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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 <>

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SF News

SF News

Get Roger Ley's Novel "Chronscape" Free

AntiSF contributor Roger Ley tells us that his novel "Chronoscape" is free for a limited time at Amazon this weekend, July 14 and July 15. Get it now!

Lillicat Releases "A Betrayal and Other Stories" by Brian Biswas

Lillicat Publications has relased AntiSF contributor Brian Biswas's new story collection "A Betrayal And Other Stories", now available at Smashwords and Amazon. <Find Out More>

Meerkat To Publish Eugen M. Bacon's "A Woman's Choice"

Meerkat Press has acquired AntiSF contributor Eugen M. Bacon's literary speculative novel "A Woman's Choice" for publication in 2019. Go Eugen! <Read More>


Aussie Awards News

2018 Aurealis Awards Open

2018 Aurealis Awards overseers the Continuum Foundation (ConFound) announces that the 2018 Aurealis Awards are now open for entries.

The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for speculative fiction, are for works created by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.

Full guidelines and FAQ can be found on the Aurealis Awards website: <>


Upcoming Aussie Cons

Oz Comic-Con Brisbane — Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Merivale St and Glenelg St, South Brisbane, 22/09/2018 - 30/09/2018.

Conflux 14 - The Unconventional Hero — Vibe Hotel, 1 Rogan Street, Canberra Airport ACT 2609. 29/09/2018 - 01/10/2018. More Information: <https//>. AntipodeanSF will be at Conflux 14!

Oz Comic-Con Sydney — ICC Sydney, 14 Darling Dr, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia, 29-30/09/2018

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