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Allow me to speculate. You are here for the stories. That’s what AntiSF is all about.
Speculative stories. What ifs.
Allow me to speculate. You don’t want me to ramble on.
Brief — good.
Allow me to speculate. You will read, listen, and eventually write, speak, email, text, tweet…
Speculative stories. Short and sharp.
“Little pig, little pig – Let me in.”
“Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.”
The wolf blew, recuperating later on an asthma respirator.
Trying a giant pickaxe instead, he unhinged the door, failing to see the 'sold by Roy Weston' sign.
Bad luck Mr Wolf.
"Don't pick at that," his mother warned him, "or you'll pull the skin right off."
And she was right. The little cut on his finger, born of an accidental nick the previous day at school, had dried out and begun to peel. Ian couldn't be bothered covering it over with a plaster or applying ointment. Instead, when the skin began to dry, he simply pulled it away.
A little sliver at first, but it exposed more. Ian tugged again, annoyed, and more vigorously than before. Caught between his thumb and forefinger, the dermis began to come loose, much like a plastic sleeve on a Christmas Day wrapping.
It started as a low chuckle then opened into a full throated staccato cackle that filled the makeshift studio. The startled announcer caught himself looking for the kookaburra though he knew the sound came from the shellac 78 disk spinning on the nearby turntable.
The director cued the announcer to begin.
“Welcome to the inaugural broadcast of Radio Australia, beaming to our British brothers and sisters from Sydney via station VK2ME.”
The cave was damp. The mossy clay walls dripped slime. We stumbled our way forward, tripping over rocks, and sloshing through water. Our only source of light came from slow-crawling, blue glowworms on the ceiling.
"Hand me the key," I whispered to Frawin. I stuck out my hand, and felt the cold metal of the rusted artifact we had found in the tower.
"I'm scared," Frawin shivered, her arm clasped around mine.
"Me too," I said.
People always said we were so much alike, twin sisters, but I always found myself to be the leader.
The Earth Federation President frowned, puzzled, at the tablet the spindly ... person ... was holding out to him. He took the pen and signed his name.
"Congratulations," it said. "You have won a new Martian invasion. It will be delivered free, courtesy of Interplanetary Express. Have a nice day!"
Squad Commander Anvil scanned the night sky impatiently as Ground-comms wrestled back their hijacked datalink. Through the control tower window she saw a high, distant spray of sparks wink out. Visual confirmation. The prototype Martian-Jovian asteroid belt miner, the Sun Tzu, or more precisely, what was left of her, disintegrated as she re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
Via optical flash-up, Anvil reviewed the sit-rep prior to losing the datalink. No commercial traffic, no mercenaries or media drones detected within operational radius. The tetrad of missile defence sentinels posing as communications satellites guarding the Sun Tzu had been disarmed by Team Sirocco covering as anarchist Euro-bloc student hackers.
When her husband Thomm appeared in the kitchen doorway, bedraggled and dispirited, Louise knew to expect the worst. Still, as a devoted and loving wife, she put on her best smile:
“Hello dear! Any luck with the fridge this morning?”
He grimaced slightly and shook his head. “Sorry Lou, no luck yet.” He took a seat, thumbed the mute button on the wall-screen remote, and eagerly cracked open the frosty can of soda Louise handed him. “Ah,” he said, after draining the half-litre can in a continuous serious of chugs. “That hit the spot.”
It always starts the same way. The curtains flow inwards, and a cold breeze envelops the room.
The wormhole is stable for only a few hours, but the negative energy always creates vacuum pressure. It makes remote time-viewing tricky at best.
From so far in the future, the focusing of the hole is energy intensive, but at least it avoids paradoxes. Five-dimensional wormholes only exist partially in three dimensions. So we can’t actually influence things — as far as I know. Nevertheless, I always watch the windows. Or candle flames. That breeze.
They finally came: aliens, beings from another world. Drawn to us not by our exploration of space or our messages to the stars, but by chess.
They learnt of the Royal Game by studying our radio waves, fascinated with the idea of a pure contest of minds. They studied and they came to challenge us to a match, best of twelve games; a match for Earth.
Magnus Carlsen, FIDE World Champion, refused to accept, saying they had to prove themselves first. Viswanathan Anand, his predecessor, humbly accepted.
Maybe it came in with the firewood, sleeping in some rotten log until the warmth of the stove revived it and brought it to life. Or maybe it has been dormant in the walls of the old house, and it awoke because it was time. Whatever its origins, it is a unique creature: half mouse, half crab, and hungry. It stretches its legs and grooms its body. After so long a sleep, waking feels good. Its need for food is strong.
He first saw her at a cocktail party. She wore a black dress, short, and pearls. So did all the others. She had long, corn-gold hair and blue eyes. So did all the others.
He knew she was 25. In that year, the year when she'd been born, Griselda Dansk was Bollywood's number one screen goddess. All the girl babies born in that year had golden hair and blue eyes, just like Griselda, and small cup sizes, which Griselda had made fashionable in her classic role as a flat-chested, gloriously incisive Virginia Woolf.
I walked into the place. It was called BAR AND GRILL : DRINK YOUR FILL. I sat at a table near the centre, a third of the way back, where I could get a good view of the stage and audience. A strange-looking group stood on stage.
There they were, looking rather alien. I guess it was an omen. A skinny guy with wild, wind-blown hair on tuba, a short, red-haired girl plucking guitar and singing, an extremely fat, curly-grey-haired man who looked like Fidel Castro at 87 wielding an accordion, and a drummer in robot costume beating multiple hand drums.
Thief's Magic, Trudi Canavan, Hachette Australia (Orbit): July 2015
Thief's Magic is a wonderful example of how to write the first book of a series. It is well paced and intriguing, with interesting, relatable characters and a fascinating new world to explore.
Technically, that should be worlds, I suppose. The book takes place in two separate worlds (as opposed to countries). While the ending does lead one to assume that they are about to collide, this is by no means certain. Both worlds are facing a similar problem, which they are dealing with in very different ways, both of which can be understood, if not agreed with.
The two main characters are also quite different, but both compelling. At first I was quite sure I preferred Tyen to Rielle, and I was impatient when the point of view changed. Then slowly I became far more interested in Rielle, and almost wanted to skip the Tyen chapters. By the end I was quite happy wherever I was, as both stories were fascinating.
Fuse, Julianna Baggott, Hachette Australia: July 2013
This was not the novel’s fault. The fault (dear readers) lay with me. Fuse took me some time, too long in fact, to start reading. And, yes, I should have done so much earlier because upon beginning I was completely and quickly immersed in the narrative and I did not want to leave. And, I suspect, neither will you.
I’ll get it up-front — Fuse by Julianna Baggott is a wonderfully written and thoroughly captivating novel. There is also a fitting reward as the story comes to its close, as does this particular journey for the protagonists. Personally, I could have stayed with them outside the Dome, because that’s where my sympathies were, and because the atmosphere created by the author of the strange yet frighteningly beautiful post-Detonations Earth is palpable indeed.
by Cecilia Clark
Fat Cats & The Taste of Revenge
by Wes Parish
George The Turnip
by Tom Grayhorse
by Zeb Carter
Otto & The Cloth Baby
by Harris Tobias
Scrolls Of The Foreseers
by David Scholes
by David Adès
by Marg Essex
The Cocoa Conspiracy
by Shaun A Saunders
The Hemingway Paradox
by Kevin J. Phyland
The Museum Of Useless Pursuit
by Sheryl Gwyther
Online Since Feb 1998
Resurrection by Derek Smith
The Curse Of The Were Bat by Tony Owens
The Kangaroos Of Sicily by Michael T. Schaper
The Return Of The Were Bat by Tony Owens
A Giant Leap For A Man by Sean Williams
The Elder by Simon Petrie
Welcome by Kathryn Flaherty
Trojans by Rob Bleckly
The Best Things In Life... by Shaun A Saunders
Chorus by Paul Sheringham
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