AntipodeanSF Issue 308

By Kai Holmwood

Tuesday, September 16, 2025

Helena Massey, also known as LenaMa, is an American artist from Los Angeles, California, now based in Dunedin. Her latest — and, to date, only — public exhibition, titled lifeLine, features hundreds of aluminium straws (perhaps better described as pipes or tubes, as one might find at Mitre 10 or Bunnings) piercing the ground and reaching toward the sky. The smallest appear to be reusable drinking straws, while the tallest perfectly mirror the straws’ dimensions at approximately 11 metres high by 30 centimetres across.

When asked two days ago about the meaning behind her piece, LenaMa declined to answer, claiming its significance was up to each individual viewer to determine. Yesterday, however, she relented and shared her inspiration exclusively with us. We now make it available for you, our readers. Here is the artist’s reply in her own words:

my grandpa died when I was four years old, & of course my mom did her best to explain. “your grandpa is asleep forever & he won’t ever wake up, no matter what. now he’s nowhere. just like before you were born, you were nowhere. his body is in the coffin, but grandpa isn’t really there”

I accepted it with the solemn grace of childhood, in which accepting new, unfathomable things is just a part of everyday life. wouldn’t the world be better if adults did the same? so grandpa was dead, & that was that. there was just one little problem & it didn’t seem to have occurred to anyone but me

I woke my mom up late that night & begged her to take me back to the graveyard. I guess she was probably too tired & sad to argue

when we got there, I ran to his grave & stuck a straw into it

of course mom asked why. “grandpa isn’t coming back, honey, he doesn’t need a straw, he’s dead, remember?”

I knew he was dead. everyone had explained that over and over. but the answer was obvious: what if grandpa forgets he’s dead & needs to breathe?

I’d like my creation to invite viewers to question exactly (or generally?) who (/ what) might forget (/not(/barely) remember) their (its?) own death & potentially need a lifeline …

~ LenaMa

Residents of the area have expressed bemusement. One of our reporters collected reactions from the public yesterday. Here we offer a representative sample of the responses:

  • “Oh, that’s art? I thought it was the beginning of new construction.”
  • “Are they supposed to make noise? Like those tubes that hum in the wind?” Upon being informed that the work was seemingly not, in fact, a sound sculpture: “So what does it do?”
  • “I just don’t trust them not to fall over. I don’t reckon I’ll get too close.”

In a remarkable grounding of metaphor, the farmer whose land hosts the unexpected exhibition complained that the installation had killed some of his onion crop. Perhaps upon the removal of the display, he will be lucky enough to find that the onions’ hollow, straw-like stems received enough air and light through the tubes to survive their entombment. We plead journalistic objectivity on the question of whether this unauthorised construction provides enough meaning to justify its disruption to the farmer’s land and livelihood.

rocket crux 2 75

About the Author

Kai holmwoodKai Holmwood holds an MA in Writing from the University of Canterbury in Aotearoa New Zealand and was awarded the H. W. Hill Prize at UC Berkeley.

Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Solarpunk Creatures, Stanchion, DreamForge, ParSec, and elsewhere.

She spends her writing days drinking Korean tea and trying to convince two giant formerly stray mastiffs that they don't need to bark at every bird.

Issue Contributors

The AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50Our weekly podcast features the stories from recently published issues, often 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 Sunday evening at 7:00pm.

You can find every broadcast episode online here: 

Meet the Narrators

  • Laurie Bell

    lauriebell 2 200

    Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia and is the author of "The Stones of Power Series" via Wyvern's Peak Publishing: "The Butterfly Stone", "The Tiger's Eye" and "The Crow's Heart" (YA/Fantasy).

    She is also the author of "White Fire" (Sci-Fi) and "The Good, the Bad and the Undecided" (a

  • Geraldine Borella

    geraldine borella 200Geraldine Borella writes fiction for children, young adults and adults. Her work has been published by Deadset Press, IFWG Publishing, Wombat Books/Rhiza Edge, AHWA/Midnight Echo, Antipodean SF, Shacklebound Books, Black Ink Fiction, Paramour Ink Fiction, House of Loki and Raven & Drake

  • Mark English

    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

  • Barry Yedvobnick

    barry yedvobnick 200Barry Yedvobnick is a recently retired Biology Professor. He performed molecular biology and genetic research, and taught, at Emory University in Atlanta for 34 years. He is new to fiction writing, and enjoys taking real science a step or two beyond its known boundaries in his

  • Sarah Pratt

    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

  • Ed Errington

    ed erringtonEd lives with his wife plus a magical assortment of native animals in tropical North Queensland.

    His efforts at wallaby wrangling are without parallel — at least in this universe.

    He enjoys reading and writing science-fiction stories set within intriguing, yet plausible contexts, and invite readers’ “willing suspension of

  • Michelle Walker

    michelle walker32My time at Nambucca Valley Community Radio began back in 2016 after moving into the area from Sydney.

    As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I recognised it was definitely God who opened up the pathways for my husband and I to settle in the Valley.


  • Alistair Lloyd

    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 <...

  • Sarah Jane Justice

    Sarah Jane Justice 200Sarah Jane Justice is an Adelaide-based fiction writer, poet, musician and spoken word artist.

    Among other achievements, she has performed in the National Finals of the Australian Poetry Slam, released two albums of her original music and seen her poetry

  • Juliette Cavendish

    juliette cavendish 200Juliette Cavendish was born in Liverpool UK and is of Welsh and Norwegian heritage. Juliette has an interest in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Science and writes in both Science Fiction and Contemporary Fiction genres. Juliette was fascinated with space as a

  • Marg Essex

    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.


  • Emma Gill

    Emma Louise GillEmma Louise Gill (she/her) is a British-Australian spec fic writer and consumer of vast amounts of coffee. Brought up on a diet of English lit, she rebelled and now spends her time writing explosive space opera and other fantastical things in

  • Tim Borella

    tim borellaTim Borella is an Australian author, mainly of short speculative fiction published in anthologies, online and in podcasts.

    He’s also a songwriter, and has been fortunate enough to have spent most of his working life doing something else he loves, flying.

    Tim lives with his wife Georgie in beautiful Far