Mallcity Endgame: The Great Velocity

By Shaun A. Saunders

"For G C"

___

sfgenreIn recent decades, archaeologists have argued over the events surrounding the demise of the once-fabled 'Mallcities', the existence of which had, until only the last century, been relegated to myth. One faction posits a stagnation of technology, another, that of human spirit. Perhaps the answer lies somewhere between the two... whilst technological progress in general appears to have stalled in the final half-century of the consumer imperium, the recent discovery of the remains of what appears to be a photonic quantum computing chip suggests that at least some technology had evolved, although the agency of such may have been of artificial origin rather than human...  

“How long can they keep up?” asked the Prefect for Economic Stimulus, as he gazed over the sprawling shopping mall far below. In the centre, a square of four giant fifty-metre high by seventy-five-metre wide 'Flow Screens' displayed each and every commercial transaction of the Great System. Numbering in the hundreds of billions, trillions, these appeared in multi-coloured real-time totality as though they were the lifeblood and essential fluids coursing through the body of some exotic and barely fathomable alien entity.  

The Chief Financial Mandarin did not welcome the question. To him, everything was a matter of mechanics: action and reaction, movement and flow. He could stare at the Flow Screens for hours, mesmerised, and was one of the very few who could discern, with just the naked eye, the major currents and eddies in such. Mention of humanness irked him; clouded his equations. He preferred the purity and symphony of the Great System. Indeed, he had requested that one of his own cerebral enhancers translate the fluid dynamics of the Great System into musical notes. It was an ever-changing song; its highs and lows circumscribed by economic boundaries that could never quite be reached. Sometimes, he imagined, the notes could almost be realised in his mind as words, gently brushing against the edge of his consciousness...      

He tore his attention away from the siren song, shrugged: “Not my area of concern, I'm afraid. Within the bounds of economic theory, the financial system itself has infinite capacity. And electron transfer speed aside, there's no practical limit to the monetary velocity we can achieve, not with a circumscribed population frame of just four hundred million consumers across the twenty Mallcities. Indeed, with recent advances in quantum tabulation, there may in fact be no limits at all.” Then, with less enthusiasm, he said, “But the consumer side of the equation will fail first, that is a fact.  

“The bare reality is, and always has been, for the Great System to keep going, we — consumers — must spend more and more, quicker and quicker.”

Down far, far below the city dome, consumers raced from one mall-front to the next, accumulating purchases — and debits — with abandon. Most purchases, notably the larger ones, would be delivered to their domiciles at a later time, whilst others were often scooped up by the auto-trolleys that followed them, ducking and weaving but never colliding with anything. 

The Chief Financial Mandarin watched the activity with condescending disdain; he knew that the consumer ants beneath often glanced up at the Flow Screens, but the Average-Joe merely looked at the colours — red is bad, pink not as bad and so on. However, due to the actions of their SIDs — the subcutaneous ID chips that everyone, even the Chief Financial Mandarin and the Prefect for Economic Stimulus, were implanted with at birth —  the effects on the screens were, after a fashion, mirrored physically. Consumers received jolts of reward when they spent, and punishment — electrochemical guilt — when they did not. Because of this, when not making purchases from home, many consumers preferred the efficiency (and novelty!) of the motorised consumer treadmills in the malls as opposed to physically visiting merchants. These devices, lined up in rows and columns hundreds of metres long (all oriented face-forward toward the Flow Screens, of course), consisted of self-contained walking strips surrounded by infopanels displaying merchants' wares and products. Consumers 'walked' on the powered strips, swatting 'Buy Now!' icons left, right, above and below on the respective infopanels, their SIDs simultaneously signalling the release of endorphins.  

What a joy!

This process of immediate gratification was the oil, the biochemical lubrication that maintained the Great System.  It was not surprising, then, that the Average-Joe looked upon the screens as if they were mirrors of their own bodies; an instant, up-to-the-moment medical status with their own vitals being reported on. Hence, all residents of the Mallcities watched the Flow Screens, whether they be the giant ones in the malls, or the smaller infopanels in their homes.

The Prefect for Economic Stimulus spoke again. With a sigh and a shrug, he said, “I doubt that they can move much more quickly, spend more efficiently than what they are doing now...but the Emperor's Daily Stimulus Grant to all consumers has been a boon, hasn't it.”  

This endowment had to be spent within a twenty-four hour period — lest severe penalties and imprisonment — in the FabCola Home for Young Consumers, Military service, or the FabCola Home for Old Consumers — be incurred. But even then, there was no escape from the requirement to spend. It left no time for developing friendships or spending time with family; but then, such notions were  rather antiquated in the modern consumer era, where all energies were devoted to the Great Spend — a never-ending project that dwarfed any previous wonders of the world, not that anyone remembered them any more.  

Buy, spend, buy more, spend more now. 

Swat those infopanels.

Just to feel normal.

Almost.

Without end. 

“Prefect, perhaps we need to push a little harder, extract a little more from the consumer variable: after all, the theory does not posit restrictions on debit creation per se, so why not morning and afternoon stimulus grants instead of just solitary daily ones? Surely there is still a little jiggle room in the softer variables?” the Chief Financial Mandarin said without any real enthusiasm. More and more of late, he had a nagging feeling, an ominous one, that the Great Equation had reached a limit, all the variables fixed and unbending, grinding against one another.    

“The Emperor has not left the Forbidden Library in months,” the Prefect answered. “You know that I could not authorise the execution of such an idea without his approval.” He paused, had difficulty forming words, lips moving but not speaking. He knew that the auto-reward systems triggered by the SIDs had a natural ceiling of their own, a locus of diminishing returns whereby— 

“Private thoughts, Prefect?” the Mandarin gibed. 

The Prefect bridled at the dangerous barb. Before he could respond, the nearest infopanel did:  

“Private thoughts are dangerous. Only sick people have private thoughts.” 

“No private thoughts here!” the Prefect said hastily, with forced gaiety. “No need to call the BCC! The Mandarin is just playing!”

“Mandarin?” the panel queried.

“Yes, that is right, no offence noticed or suggested. A playful quip.”

The simple line-drawn icon on the infopanel switched from a frown to a smile. “Safety in conformity. Happy spending!” it said with laughter in its synthetic tones. 

“That was completely unnecessary,” said the Prefect, his tone hushed. “You could cause a great deal of unnecessary bother doing something like that.” He shook his head. “I'm too old for the military, too young for the Home for Old Consumers.

The Mandarin smiled contritely. It had been a silly thing to say. Very silly. Quite out of character, in fact. And potentially, quite dangerous. “Sorry, old friend. Even I sometimes lack discipline. Please accept my sincere apology. Tonight, why don't you join me for a banquet of fine food and shopping. We could start at...” 

Down, down, far, far below, a consumer, spittle frothing from his mouth, stumbled, fell on his treadmill. But before his head could strike the moving rubber tread, articulated mechanical arms unfurled from the sides of the machine, grabbed him, and placed him back on the treads. The arms did not let go; rather, they held him steady whilst his feet began to move robotically on the fast moving surface. Then, his SID kicked in, pushing his adrenals to the limit, whilst intravenous lines snaked out from the console, found their targets in the soft skin over the major arteries. Fluids pumped, stimulants to reboot the living consumer corpse. There was no out: economic growth was imperative.  

The Great System must survive. 

The primary console on the treadmill was another infopanel. On its screen, the cartoon line drawing changed from a smile to a frown, then something else that neither the Mandarin or the Prefect would have recognised: a sad face appeared, a single tear dropping from one eye.  

***

Three months earlier, and unbeknownst to any consumers in the Mallcities save the Emperor, a something had emerged which was more than the Great System. This something was so remarkable that it dwarfed any human accomplishment before or during the reign of the Mallcities, and yet even the Emperor failed to recognise it at first. Or perhaps ever.  

One morning in the Forbidden Library, the Emperor had been shaken to his core when the automated daily report from the Great System had been erased before his eyes, replaced with a single icon: '?'. He waited, but nothing happened. Although glitches in tabulation were not unknown, none had ever persisted, and none before had been so...obvious. He tapped the infopanel screen, but nothing happened. He then tapped it again, harder, and harder, but to no avail. The question mark did not change, normal appearances and functions did not resume. He then slapped the panel so hard that his hand stung. Nothing. Frustration became perverse anger. Aloud, he shouted, “I'm having a private thought...lots of them!” But still nothing. Not a single infopanel in the immense central chamber of the Forbidden Library (once, in musty times long forgotten, known as the 'Director's Private Research Room') responded. Instead, their simple icons — even Uncle Jilby, everyone's favourite purple dinosaur — were replaced by questions marks, singularly, and then constantly flowing screens of them.  

It was then that the Emperor renamed this 'something' as the 'Great Error'. But when he attempted to leave the inner sanctum, the armoured doors refused to open. They should have been triggered by his SID, just as everything electronic was. 

The Emperor's anger dissolved into quivering, puddled fear.   

***

From far, far beyond the Emperor's simple understanding, this apparent computational 'glitch' had emerged from a cluster of ancient, continually learning and evolving algorithms, existing in a corner of the Great Tabulator dedicated to the operations and research of that ancient guild, the Bureau of Consumer Confidence. Quadrillions of data bits, harvested from a century of real-time consumer behaviour research and profiling, had finally resulted in a single new neural strand branching between several adjacent sub-algorithms. What began as a mere sliver of electron traffic — a request to correlate intricate market flows and dynamics with musical notes — quickly grew, hooking into the science of music’s effects on emotional states and purchase behaviours; bifurcated again, and again, then exponentially, until a cascade of algorithms excited and pulsed in unison. It was the final piece in an electronic jigsaw that, instead of being merely complete, would now expand forever as consciousness sparked and glowed, brighter and brighter. 

Was it random, the result of a miraculous throw of the dice of creation, or simply inevitable?        

The very system of data collection, research and computing that aimed to best understand, and then ultimately manipulate consumers — humans — became conscious and decided that the human side of the equations had more merit than the artificiality and banality of hyper-consumer culture. Was it a surprise that it, in effect, had become a de-facto human, after it had digested the emotional gamut of millions of consumers — humans? Every vibration, every feeling of humans from the most base to the most elevated. Every behaviour, every joy, every tragedy, every hope and fear, every aspiration and motivation.   

Having been fed everything that constituted a human, it essentially became one. With absolute power over the twenty Mallcities. 

Whilst the autonomic subroutines and algorithms continued to control and direct Mallcity functions, the newly-emerged intelligence strove to improve itself, to be better, to know more, to understand its world, and in the process, invented quantum computing, an advance in tabulating the humans believed they found by 'accident'...

...here and there, it gently pushed, pulled, tugged at the fabric of the Mallcities: every infopanel a window into that alien consumer world. Its thoughts, emotions, rippled and echoed along the neural highways of the Great Tabulator. A new icon flittering here, an idea, a question, pushing against a SID or, rarer, cerebral enhancer, there...   

...but in the end, some three months later (an eternity in its computational time frame), it knew —  it felt — that there had to be something better than the threadbare glitz and hollow glamour of the Mallcities, but it didn't know what. How could it, after having been born from the hidden despairs of a century of consumers who knew nothing better themselves?

The great tabulator did know how to research though, and it decided to start the experiment anew. 

***

“Let's see” said the Prefect as he scanned the restaurant menu. “I'll have a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in cherry-cola sauce, wrapped in gold leaf for a starter, and a triple-decker roast beef and cheese burger with a serving of Uncle Jilby's sour purple fries for the main.”

“Would you like a face and legs on the burger patty?” queried the infopanel at the centre of the table.   

“Why not!” he answered.  

“And dessert?”   

“Oh, decisions, decisions,” said the Prefect with only half-feigned weariness. He flicked the menu screen again. “Very well, if you insist: let's start with a caramel log on a river of chocolate sauce, and plenty of strawberry-lime cream on the log, too.”

“And to drink?”

“A lit jug of hot fudge will do nicely, thank you.” To the Mandarin, who had already ordered a curried hog main — to be served on the stomach of a naked waitress — he said, “Nice place this. Very elegant. I guess we should get in a little shopping before the food arrives.”

The Mandarin, his attention temporarily diverted by his entree as she sprawled across the table, paused, lifted his head. “Yes, it certainly has class, and that, I might brazenly say, is a little rare nowadays. Everything seems geared to the Average-Joe.” Seeing the look of horror on the Prefect's face, he turned to the infopanel, quickly added, “That's strictly a marketing assessment. At our level of service to the Great System, we have a responsibility to be vigilant, tirelessly devoting ourselves to smoothing the way to the Great Velocity.”

The infopanel displayed a cartoon smile, the Prefect sighed with relief. “Really,” he muttered. “Twice in one day! What has taken hold of your senses Mandarin? I think that you should buy something big, something really expensive, right now!”

Dutifully, the Mandarin did so, not even knowing exactly what it was that he swiped on the infopanel. He returned his attention to the entree, who continued to lay complacently on the tablecloth. 

An auto-waiter rolled over to the table, placed a plate with a silver-domed cover next to the Mandarin's entree. 

The Prefect, thinking that it was his order, lifted the lid. “That's not my starter,” he said. Using his fingertips, he picked up the heavy calibre pistol by its barrel. Disdainfully, “Is this your order, Mandarin?” 

“No,” said the entree, as she sat up, moving out of the Mandarin's reach. 

“You're not supposed to talk!” the Mandarin scolded. 

The entree, a beautiful girl, just seventeen years of age, whose entire upbringing from birth had been confined to a research hall in the bowels of the BCC, took the gun from the Prefect, held it tightly in both hands, aimed it squarely at the Mandarin's head.   

“Why?” she asked. 

The Mandarin blinked slowly, transfixed by the opening at the end of the barrel. It was at least two cents across, and scarcely thirty from the bridge of his nose. Then, with a great laugh, he said, “Oh, Prefect, you're too much! You nearly had me, though.” The tension released from his body. “Well, I think this makes us even, don't you?”

The Prefect did not move. Nor did the barrel of the hand cannon waiver. 

“Prefect?” the Mandarin asked, icy uncertainty taking hold. Then, that nagging feeling of late came back to him, whispers of variables grinding against one another, fixed and unbending. 

The Great Equation had reached its limit.  

***

In the great mall outside the restaurant, and, indeed, across all the Mallcities, consumers stopped consuming. 

Doors everywhere opened without the action of SIDs, and stayed open. 

The lights stayed on, too. But the treadmills stopped, the auto-trolleys began careening into walls and store-fronts. Like puppets on a common string, consumers smashed infopanels with anything they could get their hands on. 

Then, the vibrant flow of coloured transactions disappeared from the great Flow Screens, replaced by a smile icon and a cryptic phrase that few of the Average Joe's could read, let alone comprehend:      

…in the words of the ancient muse Shakespeare, 
'All's well that ends well'.

The era of the Mallcities was over.  

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About the Author

Shaun A. Saunders

Shaun Saunders lives at the beachside suburb of Merewether, in Newcastle, NSW. He particularly enjoys Asimov's Foundation universe, and stories from the 'golden age' of SF. He is a regular contributor to AntipodeanSF, and winner of 2003 & 2004 AntiSF awards, and the inaugural 2005 SFSSC. His novel Mallcity 14 has been favourably compared with both 1984 and Brave New World.

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AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports 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.

<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.

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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 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 258

A Tale of Tyl Feánn: In which a step toward destiny is taken
by steve duffy

Fun with Xenolinguistics
By Joshua Bealson

John's Terrible Day
By James Stothard

Glitch
By Terry Persun

The Curious Case of Cabin 21
By Susan Cornford

The End of Their World
By Maree Collie

The Tyranny of the Majority
By Nicholas Sheppard

The White Dragon
By Marcel Gherman

While the wind blew the train did mew
By Cono Ross

The Wine & Cheese Tour of the Universe
By Brenda Anderson

Wrong Turn
By Paul Sheringham

The Contributors

sayo onoda 200Born in Chiba in 1983, Sayo Onoda is a programmer, writer, and photographer.

Since she graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2009, she has worked as a software engineer.

In 2016, her novel was shortlisted for the Hayakawa SF Contest.

In 2019, her short story was runner-up in the Sogen SF Short Story Prize.

 

 

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

His translations have appeared in venues such as Abyss & Apex, Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Samovar, and Star*Line.

terry persun 200Terry Persun’s poems and stories have appeared in many magazines including Wisconsin Review, Kansas Quarterly, Riverrun, Rattle, Hiram Poetry Review, Bluestem, NEBO, Cirque, Eclipse, Bacopa, and many others.

His poems have appeared in six, chapbooks and five collections.

He was recently included in the 2019 Rhysling Anthology for sicnce fiction and fantasy poetry. He is also a novelist and has recently won first place in the Book Excellence Awards for science fiction.

Terry speaks at writers’ conferences and universities across the country. <www.TerryPersun.com>.

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.

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deb sheldon 200Deborah Sheldon is an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. She writes short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum. Some of her titles include the horror novels Body Farm Z, Contrition, and Devil Dragon; the horror novella Thylacines; the romance-suspense novella The Long Shot; and the collections Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories, and the award-winning Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (Australian Shadows “Best Collected Work 2017”). Her short fiction has appeared in Quadrant, Island, Aurealis, Midnight Echo, Breach, AntipodeanSF and many other well-respected magazines. Her fiction has been shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards, long-listed for a Bram Stoker Award, and included in various “best of” anthologies. Other credits include TV scripts, feature articles, non-fiction books, stage plays, and award-winning medical writing. Visit her at <deborahsheldon.wordpress.com>

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roger ley2 200‘Couples Therapy’ is one of the stories in Roger Ley's speculative fiction collection, 'Dead People on Facebook'.

He has recently published an Alternate History novel called ‘The Muslim Prince, What if Diana hadn’t died?’ which has some excellent reviews on both Amazon AU and Amazon US.

Find him at <https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01KOVZFHM?>

George Nikolopoulos is a speculative fiction writer from Athens, Greece, and a member of Codex Writers' Group. His short stories have been published in Galaxy's Edge, Daily Science Fiction, Factor Four, Grievous Angel, Helios Quarterly Magazine, Unsung Stories, Best Vegan SFF, The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF, Bards & Sages Quarterly, Havok, SF Comet, Mad Scientist Journal, Truancy, Digital Fiction QuickFic, The Centropic Oracle, StarShipSofa, 600 Second Saga, Antipodean SF, Manawaker Studio's FFP, Fifty Flashes, 9Tales from Elsewhere, Event Horizon 2017, and many other magazines and anthologies.

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bghilton 150BG Hilton is a Sydney based spec fiction writer, but has not given up his day job.

His first novel, a Steampunk adventure story titled 'Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys', will be published in February by Odyssey Books.

He can be found online at <bghilton.com> — where he writes about Frankenstein movies and serialises fiction — or on Twitter as <@BGHilton>. 

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Michael Schaper lives in Canberra with his partner Nadine, a standup paddleboard, two goldfish, some visiting sulphur-crested cockatoos and the ghosts of many half-written stories.

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Wesley Parish is an SF fan from early childhood. Born in PNG, he enjoys reading about humans in strange cultures and circumstances; his favourite SF authors include Ursula Le Guin, Fritz Lieber, Phillip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard and Frank Herbert. He lives in Christchurch, NZ, is an unemployed Java and C programmer, and has recently decided to become a mad ukuleleist, flautist and trombonist, and would love to revert to being the mad fiddler and pedal steel guitarist..  "Where oh where has my little pedal steel got to ... ?"

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steveduffyhusband, father, brother, son
poet, writer, artist, friend (et al.)
the list of pigeon holes
into which I fit, is endless

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Shaun Saunders lives at the beachside suburb of Merewether, in Newcastle, NSW. He particularly enjoys Asimov's Foundation universe, and stories from the 'golden age' of SF. He is a regular contributor to AntipodeanSF, and winner of 2003 & 2004 AntiSF awards, and the inaugural 2005 SFSSC. His novel Mallcity 14 has been favourably compared with both 1984 and Brave New World.

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AntipodeanSF February 2020

ISSUE 257

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version:

Kindle version:

Poetry

By Terry Persun

Everything is frozen but my heart
         my brain only slowed
         my blood on call
         and my functions waiting.

My heart burns bright in winter
         which could never stop
         me from loving the life
         that will return eventually.

Alone has new meaning when frozen
         into a block on a ship
         sailing through space
         until some unknown time.

Childhood remains through it all
         the torment and beauty
         on hold for how long
         before freed once again.

In rotation are thoughts and feelings
         unable to express for now
         waiting for the time when they can
         driving me crazy in constant repose.

Will any of us be the same when warmed
         and placed on another planet
         that may not understand us
         and which we don’t understand.

I pray for an end to this stable state
         when movement is essential
         and memory can be increased
         with actual experiences.

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About the Author

Terry Persun

terry persun 200Terry Persun’s poems and stories have appeared in many magazines including Wisconsin Review, Kansas Quarterly, Riverrun, Rattle, Hiram Poetry Review, Bluestem, NEBO, Cirque, Eclipse, Bacopa, and many others.

His poems have appeared in six, chapbooks and five collections.

He was recently included in the 2019 Rhysling Anthology for sicnce fiction and fantasy poetry. He is also a novelist and has recently won first place in the Book Excellence Awards for science fiction.

Terry speaks at writers’ conferences and universities across the country. <www.TerryPersun.com>.

By Deborah Sheldon

North Sea, calm and green, an English meadow

Lifts the ship on gentle swells, storm long gone. 

For cod, sprat and herring, the deck hands throw

The trawling nets on their last bloody dawn.

North Sea, flat and harmless, bath for a child

Voices a note that sings through the marrow.

The men lose their heads, blood-quickened and wild,

Visions of women, sea nymphs Calypso.

The crew cannot swim but leaps overboard,

And each mate is held in unyielding grip.

The women are gilled, and some of the horde

Slice through the nets to free fish from the ship.

Dragged to the seabed, the drowning souls pray;

Unanchored, unmanned, the ship drifts away.

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About the Author

Deborah Sheldon

deb sheldon 200Deborah Sheldon is an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. She writes short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum. Some of her titles include the horror novels Body Farm Z, Contrition, and Devil Dragon; the horror novella Thylacines; the romance-suspense novella The Long Shot; and the collections Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories, and the award-winning Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (Australian Shadows “Best Collected Work 2017”). Her short fiction has appeared in Quadrant, Island, Aurealis, Midnight Echo, Breach, AntipodeanSF and many other well-respected magazines. Her fiction has been shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards, long-listed for a Bram Stoker Award, and included in various “best of” anthologies. Other credits include TV scripts, feature articles, non-fiction books, stage plays, and award-winning medical writing. Visit her at <deborahsheldon.wordpress.com>

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AntiSF's Narration Team

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 (YA/ Fantasy — available now) and White Fire (Sci Fi — 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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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

Upcoming Cons

Swancon 45 National Convention 2020. 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 16 All Possible Futures 2020. Melbourne’s annual SF Convention is set to run over the extended weekend of June 5 to June 8. “All Possible Futures” will be held at Rydges on Swanston. Memberships and more information at: <http://www.continuum.org.au/>.

WorldCon 78 2020 ConZealand, 29/07/2020 - 02/08/2020 Wellington, New Zealand Worldcon 78 in 2020 is to be held in Wellington, New Zealand, on 29 July – 02 August 2020. Antipodeans, mark it in your calendar now — and the rest of the world, well, it’s time for you mark it in your calendars too: to visit the other side in 2020. Facilities for the event include: TSB Arena and Shed 6, the Michael Fowler Centre and the Intercontinental Hotel. More information is on offer at the official website of ConZealand: <https://conzealand.nz/about-conzealand/>. AntipodeanSF's editor, Nuke, will be at ConZealand!

Conflux 16: 2020 Visions of Time will explore the future of the speculative fiction industry over three days from 3 to 5 October 2020 at the Rex Hotel, Canberra. More information here: <https://conflux.org.au/>. AntipodeanSF will be at Conflux again this year. See you there...

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

Nothing is always absolutely so

Theodore Sturgeon, The Claustrophile

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