Statement To The Generation Ship Walkabout's Coroner

By Wes Parish

sfgenreThe beginning of this tragedy is simple. About ten years ago my husband Rodrigo was killed while repairing some elements of the forward shield array. His body was never recovered. My friend Louise's husband Sam was also killed a few days later in the tokamak shielding refractor when the magnetic shielding bent for a few seconds. He was vaporised.

So Louise was widowed with a young son, Kenneth, and I was left widowed with a young daughter, Cher.

We'd been good friends; I offered her a place with me to recover. It helped that she was a registered obstetrics nurse — she could help me in my midwifery practice. Which she did, with gusto. It's not something you forget. It really broke my heart when she died of cancer last year.

All I need to do to close that is to iterate that we were two widows giving each other strength. We were never lovers.

Ah yes, Kenneth and Cher. I wish there was some other way to say this, but Cher is totally devastated. It's all I can do to keep her responding to me.

Cher was not at all pleased to discover she had to share her mother with anyone else in the wake of losing her father. Kenneth was equally devastated by the loss of his father; but he never took it out on her. She took it out on him. I did what I could to restrain her; I failed in that.

Then came puberty and Kenneth, who had withdrawn into himself, discovered he was fascinated with medicine and science. Cher took a bit longer, but she discovered she was interested in psychology. A little while later, after Kenneth had disappeared on a visit to the medical school in the generation ship's bow, she discovered she was lonely for him. She had hated him. I worried about his reaction; I didn't think he would take it well.

Nothing changed, as far as he was concerned. She was a nuisance he was resigned to ignoring. Or trying to ignore. He never asked for help. She could've been discussing fried frogs for all he was concerned.

None of this deterred her. If anything, it made her more determined. He was hers; she would not let him get away.

He was accepted into the medical degree at the medical school, and he was overjoyed at that. Some of it may have been the opportunity to get away from Cher; but he never talked about that. I think my overreaction when he did complain about her once when they had just moved in to my house may have made him so closed.

He came back for the holidays — and with his training, we found we worked together. Cher was overjoyed at this. It meant she had continuous access to him which no other girl would have.

He was much too polite to tell her to leave him alone. Not that she would've paid any attention.

The death of one of the local nurses had made us the clinic responsible for her clients until someone new came along. This meant we had a lot of her equipment in some front rooms, and Kenneth was assigned those.

Some time during his last visit he received a message that caused him real pain, but he refused to talk about it. Cher seemed to thrive on that, and turned up the pressure. She wanted to parade around the town on his arm. She wanted to discuss their future together. He refused to admit such a possibility. He just shut up.

I guess the pressure got to him.

On his last day, I was in the clinic and stopped to look in the CCTV system. I saw them, Cher and Kenneth, sitting in the clinic's front rooms where the non-obstetrics equipment was stored. One of those was the liquid nitrogen used for warts. Weird, isn't it, we're several hundred light months away from our species' birth planet Earth, and we still worry about warts.

Cher was talking twenty to the dozen about their future together, and Kenneth was tying some cotton sticks for freezing warts off when he looked up — directly at the camera, it seemed — and smiled. I hope never to see such a ghastly smile again in my entire life. He dipped the cotton buds into the liquid nitrogen and held them against his neck.

"What are you doing?" screamed Cher.

"Freezing off the ugly wart on my shoulders that you informed me a few years ago was my worst feature," he replied.

I screamed and ran to the room as fast as I could.

When I got there, he was lying on his side on the floor. I felt for a pulse. Nothing. Cher screamed and screamed and screamed.

She now talks of death. Nothing else. But I don't know how to break her free from her despair.

The one question that keeps repeating in my mind, is: was there anything I could've done to help him? I loved him as a son, and if Cher's dreams had come true, he would've been my son-in-law. Was there no way he could stop thinking of Cher as an annoyance who refused to grow up? Why didn't he talk? Why did we never listen?

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About The Author

Wes Parish

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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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 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 248

A Taste For Salt
by Noel Osualdini

Better Ballers
by Salvatore Difalco

First Choice
by Vanessa Kittle

Forever In Time
by Shane O'Halloran

Frozen Moments, Stolen Out Of Time
by George Nikolopoulos

That Monster Show
by Bart Meehan

The Last Word
by Roger Ley

The Tower
by Mathew Nelson

Vocation
by Ishmael A Soledad

Wet Paint
by Simon R. Gardner

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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SF News

SF News

"White Fire" by Laurie Bell Published

That's right, AntiSF author and narrator, Laurie Bell, is the author of "White Fire" available for your reading pleasure now at booksellers online in paperback and ebook. <Booktopia> or <Amazon>.

 

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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!

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SF Quote

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