A Farewell to the Best Friend

By Alexander Iurovetski

sfgenre- Obituary -

Today, I am saying adieu to Joe Higgin Smith, our dear Hick.

“Who the heck is Hick?” you might ask me.

Well, his extraordinary story spanned over decades, full of love and hate, friendship and betrayal. Invisible to most of us, yet leading to the rise and fall of titans.

It’s a pity I cannot tell you much about Hick’s younger years, but I assume those must have been spectacular. Otherwise, how could I meet him at Harvard in 2003 AD, or as we count now, 1 BF? Yes, the honourable event occurred on the verge of the Facebook Era in the lore of its birthplace.

I recall that encounter as if it were yesterday. After six months of struggle since coming to America, I started my dream job of cleaning male bathrooms at the world-famous institution. Going to break the closet drain, I realised that a student was already waiting for me to finish. But the fellow exhibited peerless dignity and elegance. I even doubted he was in genuine need. His good manners and deep respect filled me with unshakable self-confidence. Much later, this advanced my career from rubbing off the toilet wall scribbles to writing on Facebook timeline. I always knew that someday, I would bump into him and boast of my achievements. It never happened in physical life, though.

As you know, things began with memorable FaceMash. Hick was among those three smart ass… Sorry, three wise men who adopted the idea from its advent. Their visionary reactions under a few worthless chick pictures made history.

And since then, he never looked back. For decades, Hick’s involvement only increased. With great enthusiasm, he waited for every announced improvement, never whining upon the implementation. Besides, Hick realised that although he was reading, liking and sharing more, the pile of unread posts grew. He dared to admit that he could never cover everything. Still determined to do his best at any price, Hick went on by self-isolating from a successful banking career and other external fuss.

Typical of prominent figures, this decision took a heavy toll on Hick’s private life. He lost his wife and kid in a horrible divorce accident. Then even his parents abandoned their great expectations. They condemned the dedicated guy’s quest for excellence. Poor old folk viewed his act as social networking for dummies. But Hick was unstoppable from becoming the finest likesmith on the net.

It honoured me to receive his friend request, followed by quiet likes and shares of my humble posts in a generous quantity. For a while, he was the only one who supported my amateurish endeavours. Likewise, out of his eternal kindness rather than personal interest, Hick offered his gentle mobile finger to the uncountable others. Once, I experimented with asking my arbitrary friends to look up who had reacted to their posts. Apparently, Hick topped every single one of those lists. As modern mega-celebrities confessed to me, he was the only person who brought them genuine hope at the dawn of their careers. His unconditional liking pushed neophytes to pursue their goals against all odds.

But he did not support everyone, despite their views. Endless times I saw his signature under petitions to put an end to injustice and sheer cruelty. Only God knows how many unfortunate families and poor animals he salvaged with his compassionate and prompt acts. And how many large corporations have gone bust for their inhumane deeds.

Later on, he even attempted to depose Mark Almighty with angry emoticons under Mark’s every post. Hick realised how much power he gave that despicable Jewish guy in the Age of Tolerance. But the unequal battle ended with a sad, though predictable, result: the heartless IT goliath banned him from what made up the essence of his life. The long-awaited backstab gored the humane mission fulfilled with unprecedented tact and respect to mere us. Hick refused to absorb that level of ingratitude and succumbed to a trivial cold. In a few days, this inconvenience developed into meningitis, paving his way to the better web. The death of a champion for human rights to tap and click should raise a valid concern on the future use of social networks. We should rethink the role of people dwarfed by digits.

Rest in peace, Joe Higgin Smith, a dear friend of thousands and the devout follower of millions. Your empathetic likes accompanied by thoughtful sharings we shall never forget.

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About the Author

Alexander Iurovetski

Alex Iurovetski FB 200A very few words about myself: impossible.

A bit longer:

Alexander Iurovetski lives in Melbourne, Australia.

He had gone with the wind of freedom from the former Soviet camp to the former British colony.

Alex codes and debugs for the sake of living, and bugs living for the sake of writing.

Occasionally, he helps his wonderful wife to raise their two sweet and mischievous boys.

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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 274

A Quindecillion of Cain
By Dan McNeil

Best Laid Plans
By Kevin J. Phyland

Fiction to Fact Technology
By P.V. Andrews

Lucky Bastards
By Kim Rose

Mavis
By Chris Karageorge

The Boy Who Cried Woof
By Col Hellmuth

The Gods in Their Galleries (Part One)
By Rick Kennett

The Mouse
By Natalie JE Potts

The Paragon Abyss
By William Kerr

The PM's Horns
By Len Baglow

The Witch of Borsevo
By Kyosuke Higuchi - Translated by Toshiya Kamei

AntipodeanSF June 2021

ISSUE 273

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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AntiSF's Narration Team

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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

The Contributors

Alex Iurovetski FB 200A very few words about myself: impossible.

A bit longer:

Alexander Iurovetski lives in Melbourne, Australia.

He had gone with the wind of freedom from the former Soviet camp to the former British colony.

Alex codes and debugs for the sake of living, and bugs living for the sake of writing.

Occasionally, he helps his wonderful wife to raise their two sweet and mischievous boys.

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scott steensma 200Scott is a Melbourne based librarian, writer and son of a cat fancier.

He has written non-fiction for The Age, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and other magazines and dailies, but it's writing and reading Science Fiction that really fires his imagination.

He tweets at <https://twitter.com/scottsteensma?lang=en>, and if you're on Goodreads he would love to chat SF with you at <https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/36819318-scott>.

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dr stephanie koorey 200Steph Koorey really wants to get out more, and exercise a lot more, but as it is, she is a home-body Canberra-based academic, and writes occasional fiction, non-fiction and science fiction.

She published her first SF in the High School yearbook, and was mesmerised around the same time by discovering the work of Kurt Vonnegut.

Many decades later, she is reading David Mitchell (not the comedian) and John Birmingham, and is trying to learn from them, including by shamelessly following them on Twitter.

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Sele Hanakusa is a Japanese writer from Chiba.

In 1999, she received an honorable mention in the Cobalt Short Story Prize for New Writers.

In 2020, her story won an honorable mention in the first Kaguya SF Contest.

swylmar ferreira 200Swylmar S. Ferreira lives in Brasília, Brazil's capital city.

He is a passionate reader of fantastic literature and an apprentice in the art of writing.

Writers he admires include Philip K. Dick, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King.

He blogs at Fantasticontos, escritos e literários.

João VenturaJoão Ventura writes short fiction, which has appeared in several websites (AntipodeanSF and Bewildering Stories among them), and also in printed form: Somnium, in Brazil; Dragão Quântico, Hyperdrivezine, Phantastes (Portuguese fanzines); Universe Pathways (in both the English and the Greek versions).

He had short stories in several Portuguese and Brazilian antologies: A Sombra sobre Lisboa (2006), VaporPunk (2010), Antologia de Ficção Científica Fantasporto (2012), Lisboa no ano 2000 (2013), Lisboa Oculta - Guia Turístico (2018), O resto é paisagem (2018), Almanaque SteamPunk (2019), Winepunk (2019), Regiana Magna (2020).

In 2018, a collection of his short stories (in Portuguese) came to light, with the title Tudo Isto Existe.

He likes reading, writing (surprise!), has a blog and is a university professor (now retired).

He is married, with two children and he lives in Lisbon.

Those who read Portuguese can have a glance at some of his stuff in Das palavras o espaço.

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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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.

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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bufnila authorOvidiu Bufnilă was born and lives in Romania. He has headed up Waved Philosophy since 1977.

Ovidiu Bufnilă binds everything so beautiful that the universe seems to be born of a wave that has shattered.

His novel Jazzonia was awarded as the best Romanian SF Novel.

He received the award for the best Romanian SF Story, Mandhala, 2002, and was also awarded for excellence in Romanian SF and the Sigma Award for the best Romanian SF Novel, Moreaugarin’s Crusade.

He received the annual Clouds Magazine Award (USA).

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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