By Natalie J E Potts

sfgenreShe was perfect. Her gaze held mine as if she could see something more.

“Better power her down,” Randle said as he gathered the storm troopers, dinosaurs and chip packets from the console. He put them in a metal box which had been used to transport equipment worth more than both of us would make in a year. Now it was a glorified bin.

Jackie blinked. Her eyes were still on me.

“They’re going to love her,” I said.

With reluctance I entered the shut-down command. Her eyes closed and her head bent slightly forward.

“Well they’ll only love us if I get this rubbish out ‘a here.” Randle hefted the box and walked over to the door. “Could you give us a hand?”

I pulled his pass from his hip and pressed it against the reader to open the door. I couldn’t use mine, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get out later. When you played with this much finance security got tight.

As I held the door for him, Randle turned so I could re-attach his pass to his pants, in the process he whacked the metal box into the card reader with a loud bang.

“That didn’t sound good,” Randle said.

“It’ll be fine,” I reassured him. Unsure, he tentatively stepped out of the lab and I let the door fall back into place. The swipe panel crackled slightly, but changed to red indicating it had locked. I did a thumbs up through the plate-glass window so Randle could see everything was fine. He smiled with relief. The stakeholders would be down in less than half an hour and a broken lock on the door protecting their investment would not be a good look.

I went back to the console and sat down, my eyes automatically drifting back to Jackie. Her skin was perfect, painted by the best special effects artist to look human. Her hair was real; never coloured, never styled until placed on this head. And her eyes.

I sat up. Her eyes were partly open. I looked over the console. All the switches were turned off as they should be, only her standby power was running.

“Jackie?” I prompted. Her lips started to move. Barely at first, as if she was trying to pucker for a kiss, but with practice they got more animated.

“Babbb boo booo,” she mumbled. Her eyes flickered.

She must be glitching. None of this had surfaced in our tests. Why did it have to happen now? I snapped off the standby power and her head dropped, her eyes finally closed.

There was still plenty of time to do a re-boot before the investor party was due. I left the power off for a moment, best to let her fully drain.

Her eyelids fluttered. That shouldn’t be happening. Her lips started working at the strange mumble again; “Babb boo boo. Babb boo boo. Babby boo boo.”

The air caught in my lungs.

“Baby booy booo.” She said more clearly.

Baby boy blue. I hadn’t heard that phrase in nearly ten years.

“Mum?” I whispered. Jackie fell silent. Her head jerked. Was it a nod?

“Dooo tich tandooh,” the robot whispered. “Doon tich tandle.”

“Don’t teach Randle?” I tried to clarify.

“Doon tuch t’andle,” she said more insistently, rocking slightly with frustration.

“Don’t trust in Randle?” I felt a chill. Where was he going with the box? Was he intercepting the investor party and claiming the glory for himself? I stood up and walked to the door, behind me Jackie got more animated with my mother’s voice.

“Doon tich t’anddle.” The extra volume behind her warning made her words even harder to understand.

I had to stop him! I swiped my pass, again with the crackle, but then the light went green. I pulled viciously on the handle.

I don’t know if my mother found her voice then, or if I heard her on another plane, but as the bolt of electricity stopped my heart I clearly heard her words; don’t touch the handle!

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About The Author

Natalie J.E. Potts

Natalie J. E. Potts has worked in everything from Air Traffic Control to Zoology, but writing has always been a constant. She writes spec fic for adults and young adults and has been published in Australia, the US and UK. She is a member of Melbourne's SuperNOVA writers group and Adelaide's Hiro's Ink writers group and is eternally grateful to them both. For more information see <www.nataliejepotts.com>.


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AntiSF & 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.


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.


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 246

by Botond Teklesz

Hairy Story
By Tim Train

By Martin Lochman

Mary Khan Starts A Union
By Benjamin Muir

Mission 11B
By Justin O'Leary

By John Brantingham

Second Duty
By Zebuline Carter

By JL Cooper

The Day The President Vanished
By Matthew Lee

Two Sons Two Moons
By Carolyn Eccles

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AntipodeanSF December 2018


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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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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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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 <wordsbydavid.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 (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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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) 

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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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SF News

Upcoming Cons

INDIE COMIC CON 2018 8 Dec Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne Free event. <http://www.indiecomiccon.com.au/>.

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: <https://ausdwcon.org/>.

Swancon 2019 — 18/04/2019 - 22/04/2019,  Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges 46-54 Marine Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160. 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>.

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 <https://continuum.org.au>. AntipodeanSF will be at Continuum 15 and celebrating Issue 250 of AntiSF!

Worldcon Dublin 2019 — An Irish Worldcon 15/08/2019 till 19/08/2019, The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD). <More info here>

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

...today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups...So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms...it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

Philip K. Dick