By Rob Riel

sfgenreThe dogs trot quietly up the stone stairs and through the open gothic doors of the church. Seventy of them, at least. Mostly larger breeds. No chihuahuas. No uncontrollably yappy miniatures are allowed in the church.

The dogs are perfectly silent as they enter, but for the clicking of their nails on the dark marble floor. They jog along the aisle to the communion rail and form a line. A few sit, but most push their snouts through the balusters to see and sniff. A large female mastiff, tall enough to see over the rail, whines softly. The dogs on either side make eye contact, ears back. She lowers her head and tail.

None of the dogs move.

The priestess steps out from behind the altar. Those dogs that are sitting stand, ears erect.

The priestess is a tall, blonde woman, probably in her late 40’s. Facing the altar, she intones a few quick lines in Latin. She turns to face the pack.

“Yes, you are welcome here. All of you. You belong, because God has blessed each of you with an immortal soul,” she intones. “The difference between human and canine is that each canine soul consists of tiny ghosts. Tens of thousands of tiny ghosts. Human souls consist of a single ghost. Do you understand?”

The dogs bark a joyful assent. Their delighted reaction lasts for almost half a minute — until the big female mastiff darts towards the church doors, which are slowly closing. They all make it out before the doors boom shut.

None of the dogs will ever return, and the priestess will never hear of them again. Obviously, there is no need.

rocket crux 2 75

About The Author

Rob Riel

rob riel 150Rob Riel is easily bored. He can’t seem to hold onto the same job for more than a few years. He has earned a crust as an electronics technician, officer in the US Navy, metallurgical engineer, assessor in disability services, university lecturer in creative writing, electron microscopist, failure analyst, mentor in HSC English, founder and publisher of Picaro Press, and writer of both poetry and short fiction. He still has a Nuclear Weapons Handling Certificate, but it’s expired, dammit. Rob is a serial judge for the Aurealis Awards. He lives in Cardiff, NSW, and is at present is building a new deck for his beloved partner Judy.


AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

asff img

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.


About AntipodeanSF

Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version: 

Kindle version: 

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 227

101 Uses For Dark Energy
by Pascal Inard

AThousand Ways Of Not Detecting Aliens
by Russell Hemmell

Jamison Omitted
by Willow Schafer

The Black Dog Cometh
by Benjamin Hayes

The Orient Express
by Daniel de Cullá

The Human Question
by Ivan Bucalo

Still Water
by Mark Tremble

Three Mistakes And Something More
by Paul Alex Gray

Triumvirate Judgement
by David Scholes

by J.M. Williams

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)

AntiSF May 2017



Speculative Fiction
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

Radio Show Schedule

Aaronson: May 6

No More Doors No More Windows — by Andrew Kozma
The Donald - Duck That Is - Gone Hunting — by Wes Parish
Panel presentation "Selling Across The Ditch", at Contact 2016 — Kylie Chan (moderator) Keri Arthur, Angela Slatter, Sean Williams (part 4)


Aase: May 13

City Limits — by Matthew Harrison
Drawing Down The Demon — by Nick Clark
Panel presentation "Selling Across The Ditch", at Contact 2016 — Kylie Chan (moderator) Keri Arthur, Angela Slatter, Sean Williams (part 5 - final)


Aavasaksa: May 20

Out Of Time — by Chris Cole
A Bushmeat Addiction — by Wes Parish
Panel presentation "Australian Gothic", at Contact 2016 — Kathleen Jennings (Moderator), Simon Brown, Angela Slatter & Kaaron Warren (part 1)


AAVSO: May 27

The Mask — by Sue Clennell
A Self Long Forgotten — by Ariel Braago
Panel presentation "Australian Gothic", at Contact 2016 — Kathleen Jennings (Moderator), Simon Brown, Angela Slatter & Kaaron Warren (part 2)


2NVR - Nambucca Valley Radio

20:30 EADST — every Saturday


Live Stream 2NVR Here

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show Podcast

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 episode online here: 

SF News From The ASFF

Big Issue Short Story Competition: <> Entries close 5 June.

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <>


Thronecon: Melbourne 20-21 May 2017 Melbourne Showgrounds (Town Square Pavilion), Epsom Rd, Ascot Vale, Melbourne.  More information <>

CONTINUUM 13: TRISKAIDEKAPHILIA will be held in Melbourne from 9-12 June 2017. (Jasper Hotel, Melbourne) It will also be the 57th Australian Natcon. The Guest of Honour will be Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant. More information at: <>

Starwalking - 40th Birthday Gala Dinner. Celebrating 40 years of Star Wars. 3 June 2017, Jasper Hotel, Melbourne. <>. Sadly Star Walking Inc has announced that Force V has been cancelled. Silver lining the Gala Dinner will still go ahead.

Nullus Anxietas VI — The Discworld Grand Tour — The Lakes Resort Hotel, West Lakes, Adelaide, South Australia on 4-6 August 2017.  More information <>

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <>

S5 Box

Login Form

S5 Register

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.

SF Quote

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke