Painting The Future

By Robin Hillard

sfgenreI walked into the gallery under a banner that read PAINTING YOUR MEMORY in red letters tipped with gold. A bit pretentious, I thought. I was here because my brother knew one of the artists and wanted me to meet her. I shaped my face into a pleasant smile in case Alec had seen me arrive.

Were I an artist, I wouldn’t be painting from life. I’d fill my canvas with the colour of fantasy, dragons and elves, fairies and unicorns — to carry my viewers into a dream world.

But then, I’m no fan of memory. Especially not my own. Maybe that’s because my memory works both ways, forwards as well as back.

“You mean you can see the future,” Alec corrected me once. He was the only person I told about my weird experience. But even he could not understand.

“It’s not like seeing,” I tried to explain. “It’s like remembering something that happened last week, only it hasn’t happened yet.”

The only difference between future and past was in myself, or rather my right knee. When future memories came, my right knee ached like an old lady’s joint, and it felt as if I were remembering an elderly person’s life. And the only thing worse than dwelling on the past is remembering a future that can’t change. It’s something like the way when my brother was bullied at school he knew the night before what would happen next day.

The years have given Alec confidence. No one can bully him now, and nobody else will be bullied when he is around.

So here I was, at the gallery, and Alec was at my side, pulling me across the floor to a pale young woman in a grey dress. She shrank away from his enthusiastic, “Janey!! Meet my sister! Deborah, this is Jane!”

We stared at each other, searching for something to say. I made some remark about the future of art and Jane answered in kind while Alec jiggled restlessly.

“Art isn’t the future,” he said belligerently. “Come on, Janey, let Deb see your work.”

The first picture was a dark streetscape with broken bodies lying in the dirt.

“That's a bit grim,” I said, trying to move away, but Alec grabbed my arm while Janey explained. “It haunted me — that’s why I had to put it down. I paint from memory.”

I shook myself free, and Alec moved us to the next painting. Red words slashed on a computer screen: I betrayed my people — and they are dead.

He turned to his friend. “That doesn’t have to be true, Janey,” he said.

“It does. You know what I see. It’s in my stars.”

My brother pushed in front of us, blocking the work. “Nothing is in your stars, d’you hear me? Nothing.”

I looked at another painting. Self Portrait: Janey had drawn herself — grey with splashes of red — and a knife sticking out of her breast.

It was horrible. I wanted to leave the gallery, but Alec dragged me back to the first scene.

“What do you think it is?” he asked.

“Some kind of accident?”

“A bomb!”

A bomb in the street! And it did not make the news!

“You didn’t remember the bomb,” I told Janey.

“I changed the memory by painting that,” she said, pointing to the self portrait.

“And I’m changing your work,” Alec said. He pulled out a thick felt pen and scribbled over the knife. A line and a circle. It was a bunch of flowers.

Janey screamed.

She tried to take the pen, but he pushed her away and started drawing on the first picture: changing faces and blocking the puddles of blood with smudges of black ink.

He grabbed the artist and swung her around to me. “Janey — meet my sister, Deborah. Deborah — meet my friend Janey, who thinks she can paint the future. Deborah remembers the future too,” he said. “I've changed the picture." He pointed to the portrait of a girl smiling at her bunch of flowers. "Now, Deborah, can you remember the bomb?"

I shook my head.

"If Deborah doesn’t remember a bomb — it won't be made. So Janey, you don't have to kill yourself.” And my brother wrapped her in his arms.

I could not bring myself to say that, sometimes, I have forgotten bad things in the past — and the future.

rocket crux 2 75

About The Author

Robin Hillard

hillard mystery book 150Robin has taught in Australia, England and Canada and now lives in Toowoomba, also known as the ‘Garden City’ of Queensland, Australia. It is well served with antique shops and these provide the inspiration for the problems that bedevil the customers and staff of Archies Antiques, a series of short mysteries which originally appeared in the ezine Bonzer and were later collected into two ebooks by Cyberworld Publishing. Toowoomba also provided a setting for her cosy mystery novel Ridgeway Murder. Robin enjoys exploring alternative worlds, but sometimes gets so carried away with research she doesn’t get around to writing the story

Find out more at Robin's author page at Cyberworld: <>


Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version: 

Kindle version: 

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.


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

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.


The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

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

Get Dimension 6


Get Dimension 6 Speculative Fiction

From Coeur De Lion Publishing

Here at AntiSF
Download D6 Now!

"Trust me, you want this free speculative fiction e-zine."
(Rob Hood)

AntipodeanSF December 2018


Speculative Fiction
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

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.

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 <>

 old style mic flat 25

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

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

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 <>

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, 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 <>.

old style mic flat 25

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>

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

SF News

Upcoming Cons

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: <>.

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: <>.

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!

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: <>.

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: 

SF Quote

There’s no real objection to escapism, in the right places… We all want to escape occasionally. But science fiction is often very far from escapism, in fact you might say that science fiction is escape into reality… It’s a fiction which does concern itself with real issues: the origin of man; our future. In fact I can’t think of any form of literature which is more concerned with real issues, reality.

Arthur C. Clarke