Fiction to Fact Technology Inc.

By P. V. Andrews

sfgenreThe party planner had warned Caroline during the booking process that the ‘Favourite Real Fairy Tale Characters’ was not really a child-friendly package. She suggested one of their other options, a package that used actors rather than the ‘real’ characters created by the recently developed replica technology, but Caroline waved away the recommendation replying, “They’re people from fairy stories, children love reading fairy stories and my daughter never stops reading fairy stories. So, I don’t see the problem.”

The party planner, a nervous young girl, kept trying, “But madam, these people are much more than you know from the books. Our technology brings them to life with a mind of their own, and just like you or I, they can be a little —  er —  unpredictable sometimes and have been known to —”

“Nonsense! Gabby wants all her favourite book characters for her birthday party and so she shall have them. Now, for how many people do the food packages cater? Also, since we’ll be doing the party at home, we’d prefer to supply our own drinks.”

“Certainly, madam. I should mention here —  just in case you missed it in the brochure —- that we strongly discourage serving alcohol —”

“Well, the adults can’t be expected to drink cordial now, can we?” Caroline exclaimed and she laughed loudly. She was feeling extraordinarily pleased with herself, and a little smug at the thought of her daughter’s birthday party that would be, admittedly, over the top extravagant for a six-year-old, but so unique — it would be the talk of the school.

 ***

“Stop it,” Caroline hissed desperately, “This is highly inappropriate,” but Cinderella continued rapping a particularly expletive-ridden song. Her champagne splashed down the front of her dress, which was already covered in a number of stains. Not to be outdone, Snow White climbed up onto the table and lifted her skirts to perform some sort of Irish Jig. Rumpelstiltskin accompanied her with some hand clapping, foot stomping and occasional, ‘Yee Has.’

Rochelle Levanovitch pulled her daughter Lola firmly by the wrist towards the door. Lola was still giggling at Sleeping Beauty who was face down in a platter of gourmet, gluten-free party pies, while Rita Montgomery placed brightly coloured mini macarons strategically in her hair. “I think we’ll be going now, Caroline,” said Rochelle, the displeasure obvious in each enunciated word, “Lola, what do you say?”

“Thank you for having me — what is The Beast doing over there with Megan’s mum?” 

Rochelle turned and gasped, giving Caroline a cold look before hurriedly dragging Lola away from the sight of The Beast snogging Megan’s mum, Erin, in the corner.

Caroline surveyed the disaster, a heavy feeling in her chest. It might be considered a good party if this were a much older crowd — empty wine bottles, raucous singing, and dancing, not to mention The Beast and Erin Sampson getting hot and heavy — but it was a catastrophe for a group of six-year-olds. This party would be the talk of Gabby’s school all right. She overheard Peter Pan telling Sally Chang’s dad a rather bawdy story about a party they had attended last week and sighed wearily. 

Gabby was over with some of the other children sitting spellbound at Mother Goose’s feet and Caroline thought, “Well, at least it’s not a complete fiasco,” that is until she got closer and heard Mother Goose explaining how the watered-down fairy tales the children read today were nothing like the original versions. When she then began to describe in detail some of the differences, Caroline clapped loudly and announced, “Cake time everybody, we’ll sing Happy Birthday and then it’ll be home time.” She started clearing a space amongst the wineglasses and dirty plates, scraping up the larger bits of food from the food-fight Tinkerbell had started when The Fairy Godmother had told her if she didn’t stop flitting around, she’d spray her with industrial strength fly-spray. 

Mother Goose flapped her wings and called to everyone, “It’s photo time now dearies, gather around with young Gabby in front of the cake.” 

As Caroline took a photo, Cinderella threw up with gusto into one of the large bowls of trifle. Thankfully, the bus was due shortly to take the characters back to the company’s headquarters. Caroline had made a frantic phone call about forty-five minutes ago and spoken to a customer service representative from the company ‘Fiction to Fact Technology Inc.’ telling them what was happening. He had been supremely blasé about the whole situation, reminding Caroline that she had signed consent forms and waivers when she booked, absolving the company of responsibility for anything that the characters might do. 

“After all,” he said, “they’ve got minds of their own now, don’t they? We warned you against serving them alcohol.”  He did, however, promise to send the bus to pick them up an hour earlier than originally planned.

Once a rather rowdy and tuneless Happy Birthday had been sung, Caroline ushered Gabby’s friends out with as much dignity as she could manage. 

Erin Samson said irritably, “I thought we had another hour,” as she straightened her clothes. 

Caroline was making an unsuccessful attempt to get all the characters to wait out the front of the house when the bus driver arrived. He did not seem at all surprised to find the characters so drunk and dishevelled and herded them onto the bus with relative ease. Caroline started back towards the party room to begin clean-up, but was intercepted by Gabby, who enveloped her in a huge hug and looked up with an ear-splitting smile, 

“Thanks for a great party, Mum, it was so much fun! Let’s do it next year too.”

rocket crux 2 75

About the Author

P.V. Andrews

pv andrews 200P.V. Andrews lives in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs with her husband, children, and cat.

Past jobs have included karaoke hostess, English teaching in Tokyo and assessing ethics applications for research projects.

She has a master’s degree in bioethics, loves travel and is currently fascinated by CRISPR.

aus25grn

AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

ASFF logo 200

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.

aus25grn

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.

aus25grn

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 275

Big Yellow Taxi
By Ishmael A. Soledad

Heart of Lightness
By Gary Griffith

Hunting in the Dark
By Marcelo Medone

Hydra
By R. E. Diaz

Lunch
By Jenny England

On the Brink
By Ed Errington

The Gods in Their Galleries (Part Two)
By Rick Kennett

Shadows of Icarus
By Stephen R. Brandt

The Letter
By Robin Hillard

The Story of the Match Between Areseth the Magnificent and Noj the Invincible
By William Kitcher

This Time, For Sure
By Rex Caleval

AntipodeanSF July 2021

ISSUE 274

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version:

Kindle version:

AntiSF's Narration Team

sarah pratt 200Sarah Pratt is an avid fiction writer and a Marketing Consultant.

She is currently working on her first novel but loves diving into short stories to bring a little lightness, intrigue or humour to the day.

Her work has appeared in Sponge Magazine and The Commuting Book.

old style mic flat 25

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>

 old style mic flat 25

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>.

old style mic flat 25

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.

old style mic flat 25

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.

angle mic

alistair lloyd 200Alistair Lloyd is a Melbourne based writer and narrator who has been consuming good quality science fiction and fantasy most of his life.

You may find him on Twitter as <@mr_al> and online at <alistairlloyd.com>.

aus25grn

ed erringtonAlthough a writer of the baby boom persuasion, Ed has not boomed for quite a while.

He lives with his wife plus a menagerie of non-domesticated — native Australian animals intropical North Queensland.

His writing within the ‘real’ science fiction context of COVID-19 is intermingled by long night sky vigils — searching for pesky aliens intent on maintaining their social distance to the nth degree.

angle mic

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.

old style mic flat 25

carolyn eccles 100

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) 

old style mic flat 25

geraldine borella 200Geraldine Borella writes adult short stories and stories for children and has been published in anthologies for both. In 2018, one of her children’s short stories placed second in The Buzz Words Short Story Prize and she won an ASA Emerging Writer’s Mentorship. She currently works part-time as a hospital pharmacist and as an online creative writing tutor.

She’s fascinated by stories that expand upon today’s technology, addressing the moral and ethical issues that might arise. Equally, she enjoys the creative freedom that writing for children allows. Right now, she’s writing a young adult novel, reworking a middle grade novel and writing adult short stories when inspiration strikes. She lives with her husband, Tim, in Yungaburra, Far North Queensland and dreams of one day taking a European gap year.

angle mic

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

The Three Laws Of Robotics

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Isaac Asimov

The Contributors

Dan McNeilDan McNeil's short fiction and reviews have appeared in a plethora of publications, including Alienist Manifesto, Antipodean SF, Bewildering Stories, Fantastic Metropolis, Fugitives & Futurists, Ink Magazine, Laura Hird’s Showcase, Mad Hatter’s Review, Outsider Ink, Redsine, Sein und Werden, The Short Review, Whispers of Wickedness and Word Riot.

Dan's website is at <www.dan-mcneil.com>; he can also be found on Twitter as @TheMcVariations, and Instagram as <@thedanmcneil>.

pv andrews 200P.V. Andrews lives in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs with her husband, children, and cat.

Past jobs have included karaoke hostess, English teaching in Tokyo and assessing ethics applications for research projects.

She has a master’s degree in bioethics, loves travel and is currently fascinated by CRISPR.

aus25grn

chris karageorge 200Chris Karageorge is a lover, brother, son, neighbour and a keen observer of all things in sight. 

He reads, writes and cooks in his spare time and dreams of coffee darker than a moonless night. 

He is from Melbourne, Victoria and can be found walking his pug Monty during the weekends.

aus25grn

Len BaglowDreams of worlds that might be, and the clash that brings them into existence.

In past lives he was a policy advocate in Canberra and an environmental activist in Queensland.

In awe of such great Australian SF authors as Glenda Larke, Garth Nix, Trudi Canarvan and Kate Forsythe, he dares to dabble in the arcane art.

aus25grn

kyosuke higuchi 200Kyosuke Higuchi writes science fiction, speculative fiction, and literary essays. His debut novel, Kōzōsōshi [Structure Elements], won the fifth Hayakawa SF Contest in 2017. 

His short fiction has appeared in Syosetsu Subaru, S-F Magazine, and Bungei, among others. 

His latest book is a collection of essays entitled Subete namonaki mirai (2020). 

Kyosuke lives with his wife and young daughter in Nagoya, Japan. Find him on Twitter at <https://twitter.com/rrr_kgknk>.

william kerr 200William Kerr is a self-professed science fiction enthusiast. He was born and raised in Tasmania but now calls Canberra home.

His personal preference is hard science fiction and dystopian-style stories which definitely influenced his first published piece ‘The Burning’.

He is looking forward to publishing more flash fiction and is hoping to become a regular contributor.

aus25grn

Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas.

His translations have appeared in venues such as Clarkesworld, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and World Literature Today.

col hellmuthCol Hellmuth lives a quiet, uncomplicated life, off-grid in the Daintree rainforest of Far North Queensland.

He has scratched out a living in a variety of different jobs (and locations) over the years; these days he scratches out words in various sequences, and dreams of a day when he might be able to convert some of these ramblings into food.

When he is not writing or enslaved at work he is usually found bumming around his local beach dodging crocs in his kayak or jamming on the blues-harp.

He doesn't have any fancy letters after his name, or a pet cat, but does read a lot.

aus25grn

kim rose profile pic 200Kim Rose has been a professional ghost writer for five years, specialising in paranormal and sci fi romance. She has her own self-published romance series which is her answer to the restrictions of the current market, pushing the idea of what happily ever after really means.

Kim is also an accomplished photographer and model, creating a wide variety of digital art. 

She lives in Central NSW on a large property where she runs Crescent Moon Lodge Animal Refuge, supporting the animal rescue effort. 

You can follow Kimrg666 on these pages: 

The New Recruit (Tales from the MadHouse Book 1) eBook: Rose, Kim: Amazon.com.au: Kindle Store

<https://www.deviantart.com/kalikapsychosis>

Kim Rose (@kimrg6_6_6) • Instagram photos and videos

Crescent Moon Lodge Animal Refuge - Home | Facebook

<https://www.facebook.com/Kimrg666-Artist-112433517156278>

<https://www.patreon.com/kimrg666>

aus25grn

ProfilePic 2Natalie has tried everything from Air Traffic Control to Zoology, but writing has been the one constant across all the years.

She had her first publication in Antipodean SF and can still remember the heady excitement of that first acceptance.

She is eternally grateful for that first flush of encouragement, and is proud to be one of the regular contributors.

aus25grn

kevinjphyland 200Old enough to just remember the first manned Moon landing, Kevin was so impressed he made science his life.

Retired now from teaching he amuses himself by reading, writing, following his love of weather and correcting people on the internet.

He’s been writing since his teens and hopes he will one day get it right.

He can be found on twitter @KevinPhyland where he goes by the handle of CaptainZero and his work is around the place if you search using google or use the antisf.com.au archive.

aus25grn

rick kennett 200I'm a life-long resident of Melbourne, Australia, where I work in the transport industry. I like to explore graveyards, an odd hobby I call necrotourism, although I believe the correct word is taphophile.

I've been writing since 1979 and have had SF and ghost stories in many magazines, anthologies and podcasts. In 2008 my story "The Dark and What It Said" won a Ditmar, and in 2013 my podcast stories "Now Cydonia" and "The Road to Utopia Plain" won two Parsec Awards. I'm presently the podcast reporter for the M.R. James journal Ghosts & Scholars.

"The Gods in their Galleries" is a sequel to my novel "Presumed Dead", available on Amazon.

aus25grn