The Mouse

By Natalie J E Potts

sfgenre“Good morning, listeners. As part of our series, Behind Every Great Man, I’m here with Mrs Mouse, wife of our own home-grown superhero, The Mouse. Welcome.”

“Good morning, Jason.” 

“It must be quite thrilling, being married to a superhero?”

 “You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Let me tell you, it’s not always fun and excitement at Casa-de-Mouse.”

“Really?”

“Especially after the accident...”

“The accident which gave him his super powers?”

“Yes. At first, we didn’t know about the powers. Initially we thought it was just the burns and physical disfiguration. When...” <BLEEP> “…came home. Oh, I shouldn’t say his name. Can you remove that? Anyway, when…” <BLEEP> “…came home from hospital, he was miserable. Moping around, doing sudokus, watching endless re-runs of Bargain Hunt. To be honest, I thought about giving him a RATSAK sandwich.”

“Lucky for us you didn’t.”

“No, no… Of course I… um… didn’t… Besides, his super powers saved him. I mean, his powers would have saved him if I had. Which, as you said, I didn’t.”

“But if your husband had these powers, why was he stuck at home? I’d think he’d be an asset to any business.” 

“That strange pointy face isn’t all the mask y’know. He was too embarrassed to go out. The teeth aren’t part of the costume either. That’s all…” <BLEEP> “Oh…” <BLEEP> “…I said his name again.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll edit that out. The swearing too.” 

“Sorry.” 

“It’s okay. Now, there’s been speculation that the accident which gave your husband his powers was the mysterious gas explosion in the sewer a few years back.” 

“I can’t talk about that. It’s important to keep mine and my husband’s identities a secret. That sort of information might help someone identify him.”   

“Can you tell me if it’s true that he’s been tested, and there was mouse DNA transference in the accident? Which accounts for the… mutations?” 

“No, not mouse, rat. His face changed very quickly. But that gross little tail is still growing.  I’ve had to alter the costume several times already. We’ve no idea how big it’ll get. He’s also sprouting hair all over. Of course, he’s getting older, so that might also account for the excess of hair.” 

“Lucky he wasn’t next to an alligator when the explosion happened. It could have been much worse.” 

“Could have been much better too. He could have been next to a horse.” 

“A horse? In a sewer?”

“I never confirmed the sewer theory. But something a bit less repulsive would have been good. Even a cat would have been better. Cats go into sewers, don’t they?” 

“Final question. It probably seems obvious, but where did you come up with his superhero name The Mouse if he’s actually part rat?” 

“We spent hours brainstorming a name, and came up with The Nibbler. We thought it was very Gotham. But the journalist who interviewed…” <BLEEP> “…kept referring to him as ‘Micky’ in the article. Of course, litigation fears saw the end of that name before it made it to print, so they just did a ‘find and replace’ in the article with The Mouse and the name stuck.” 

“When really, if anything, he should be called The Rat.” 

“Well, I can tell you, he ain’t called Pegasus!”

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About the Author

Natalie J.E. Potts

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.

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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 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

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Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version:

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AntiSF's Narration Team

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.

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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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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.

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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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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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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>.

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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.

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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 and The Tiger's Eye (YA/Fantasy) White Fire (Sci-Fi) and The Good, the Bad and the Undecided (a unique collection of short stories set during the events of White Fire/Sci-Fi). 

You can read more of her work on her blog <www.solothefirst.wordpress.com> Look for her on Facebook <www.facebook.com/WriterLaurieBell/> or Twitter: <@LaurienotLori>

Rambles, writing and amusing musings

Smile! laugh out loud! enjoy the following

<www.solothefirst.wordpress.com>

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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.

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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

We should grant power over affairs only to those who are reluctant to hold it and then only under conditions that increase the reluctance.

Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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>

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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.

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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.

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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.

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