Date Night

By Kevin J. Phyland

sfgenreThis Saturday night I am a young man. Very young. About nineteen or twenty. I can feel the fresh young muscles in my arms and legs rippling with suppressed energy. Caged panthers ready to spring at the slightest excitement.

The meeting starts promptly at 7 p.m. As it always does. The walls to the left and right of the room are covered in mirrors. To give a feeling of space mostly, but also to enable the meeting participants to preen and admire themselves or check out the rest of the seated avatars.

I admire my physique openly.

Sun-bleached yellow-blonde hair in a mop from a surfing youth that I never had. Deeply tanned and finely muscled arms and legs. A dancer's body. A face just starting to earn permanent creases around the mouth and eyes from smiling in the sunshine. Blue eyes.

A poster or a caricature of a healthy twenty-year-old.

In back of my reflection I see the avatar of a woman watching my narcissistic display with dark eyes and a slightly amused expression.

Her avatar is about mid-twenties and rather short in stature. Her dark hair is cropped short to frame a heart-shaped face and her legs are hidden in old-fashioned bottle-green trousers.

The meeting adjourns after yet another overly enthusiastic pep talk about the therapeutic benefits of pair-ponding for avatars here in The Field Of Reeds®. Even in a software afterlife it wasn't considered healthy to be alone.

The gathering eventually devolves into a sort of ritualistic mixer, where uploads of all adult ages feign polite interest in each others’ histories, real or imagined. Usually the latter.

We meet over the punch, and I tell her that I am a dancer. I omit the fact that I am a very poor dancer and always have been. She cocks her left ear towards me as I speak. A remnant mannerism that the avatar has unconsciously absorbed. She was most likely hard of hearing before entering postlife.

She tells me that she was a judge once, but that she never really enjoyed it. She waves a hand expansively at the rest of the meeting group, summarily sentencing them to irrelevance. I have attracted her attention.

“Call me Carol,” she says, and leans closer to me and whispers a truly salacious and outre suggestion for next week's meeting.

I consider her proposal. The consequences for me if it is merely a practical joke on her part seem minor enough — embarrassment was never fatal nor permanent — so I agree.

I spend the intervening week puzzling over my appearance for the next meeting. It's not an easy thing to show. But time in The Field Of Reeds® Afterlife Facility runs much faster than the human world. Being stored at petaflop speed means the week only lasted a few minutes in the world of my extinct meatspace body shell.

It amuses me mildly that since being uploaded so little time has passed for my old body that it may not yet have been buried!

By the time the next Date Night had rolled around I had decided on my avatar statement. It was bold but truthful. It was something that any slumming AIs in The Field Of Reeds® would not see as particularly odd but posthumans most definitely would.

Half the avatars shrink back in amazement as I enter the mirrored room. I take note of which ones, as they were once human. My avatar is a shrunken, aged male body covered in liver spots and burst blood vessels. A one-piece surgical gown open at the rear barely covers my scrawny shanks and behind. My right hand grasps an antique mobile morphine drip. Only my eyes are youthful.

She appears a few minutes later. Her avatar is amazing! She is seated in a twentieth century wheelchair (with actual wheels!) and most of her hair is gone. One leg has been amputated and one arm is prosthetic. Her eyes smile at me.

“May I have this dance, Carol?” I ask huskily and without irony.

She smiles from a mouth stretched skeletally thin. “My pleasure,” she says.

And we dance a slow shuffle around the room displaying what it was like to be human, while the rest of the avatars regard us variously with awe or indifference.

rocket crux 2 75

About The Author

Kevin J. Phyland

Kevin J. PhylandRetired after 33 years of teaching, Kevin now indulges his passions full-time: weather, reading and writing. His fiction usually embraces darker themes or the new weird, but lately he has gone back to more traditional old school SFF. He has set himself the task of reading every Stephen King novel, in order, and all of the recommended SF reading lists of Locus magazine for the last 35 years <http://www.sfadb.com/Locus_Awards_1983>. His eyes hurt.

aus25grn

Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version: 

Kindle version: 

AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

ASFF logo 200

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.

<http://asff.org.au>

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.

aus25grn

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.

aus25grn

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 244

Darkstar
by Ishmael A. Soledad

Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden
by Louise Burch

Hollywood Product
by J. H. Malone

Jerry Cornelius (The English Assassin)
by Roger Ley

Miscalculations
by Imogen Cassidy

Old City
by Trent Jamieson

Silver Lining
by Rex Caleval

Silverware
by Simon Petrie

A Necessary Intervention
by Zebuline Carter

Star Dream
by Theodore Irvin Silar

Get Dimension 6

D6sidebar

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)

AntipodeanSF October 2018

ISSUE 243

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

AntiSF's Narration Team

david whitaker 200David Whitaker is originally from the UK though has travelled around a bit and now resides in India. He has a degree in Journalism, however decided that as he’s always preferred making things up it should ultimately become a resource rather than a profession.

His stories, covering everything from sci-fi to philosophy, have been published across the globe and links to each can be found at <wordsbydavid.com>

old style mic flat 25

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) 

old style mic flat 25

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 (available now).

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

old style mic flat 25

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.

old style mic flat 25

garry dean narratorGarry Dean lives on the Mid Coast of New South Wales Australia, and has been a fan of SF for most of his natural life. Being vision impaired, he makes good use of voice recognition and text to speech in order to write. Many of his stories have appeared in AntipodeanSF over the years, and his love of all things audio led him to join the narration team in 2017.

You can read examples of Garry's fiction on his website <https://garrydean.wordpress.com>

 old style mic flat 25

 

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,

And is a theatre reviewer for 2SER FM in Sydney.

old style mic flat 25

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.

old style mic flat 25

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>.

old style mic flat 25

SF News

SF News

Roger Ley's story in this issue "Pilgrimage"  has gained an Honourable Mention in the Writers of the Future competition.

Congratulations Roger!

 

Upcoming Aussie Cons

Oztrek 14 Adelaide — Saturday Oct 6, Brisbane — Sunday Oct 7, Melbourne — Saturday Oct 13, Sydney — Sunday Oct 14. Guests John Billingsley & Sara Mitich. <http://www.firstcontactconventions.com.au/oztrek14.html>.

2018 SciFi Film Festival 18-21 Oct Event Cinemas George St Sydney <http://scififilmfestival.com/>.

Monsterfest Horror Movie Festival 22-25 November, Cinema Nova Melbourne <https://www.monsterfest.com.au/>.

INDIE COMIC CON 2018 8 Dec Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne Free event. <http://www.indiecomiccon.com.au/>.

Nullus Anxietas VII: The Australian Discworld Convention — will be held in Melbourne on April 12-14, 2019, and is themed on Going Postal. More information: <https://ausdwcon.org/>.

Continuum 15 Other Worlds (Natcon 58): Continuum 15 is the Australian National SF Convention, to be held in Melbourne on June 7–10. More information and memberships <https://continuum.org.au>. AntipodeanSF will be at Continuum 15 and celebrating Issue 250 of AntiSF!

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <asff.org.au>.

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

Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.

Isaac Asimov