Fruitricide

By Michael T Schaper

sfgenreThis afternoon, in the potato aisle, the day of reckoning came quickly for Mrs Wilkins. She was ambling along with her shopping trolley, as she always did. Regular as any clock, in there at 3pm every Wednesday, and letting the trolley cart bang into anything and everyone as she meandered from one side to the other.

I gently pulled her aside, and, before she knew what was going on, had taken her through the trade door and out to the dumpster bin. Her body’s out there now, amongst the overripe tomatoes and out-of-date pumpkin.

We’d already had complaints in the past from other customers, and even once a shouting match across the legumes between old lady Wilkins and the local high school phys-ed teacher. Not good for business. 

The job of fruit shop inspector, or assassin, is an unusual one. You won’t find it advertised online, or a recruitment agency seeking out eligible candidates. 

But it’s essential. Let’s face it: how many times have you come across some obnoxious buffoon, or blithely ignorant customer, who’s made your day just that bit more frustrating — and so you’re unlikely to come back to the store again?

Annoyed by the two women who keep talking on, endlessly, about their children, and their children’s friends, whilst blocking the aisle? Or the idiot who wants to pay only in coins at the checkout, condemning you to a blood pressure-inducing wait? 

That’s easy. Shops leave it to me. Sometimes I just ask them to move on, politely. Other times, especially for serial offenders, it’s a gentle nudge out to the back. The storeroom’s an easy place to finish them off, and as a bonus I can usually keep them in the refrigerator on particularly hot days. Everyone else can carry on shopping in ease and comfort.

It’s not a bad job. The hours are good. No one really knows what I do, so there’s never been any suspicion about what really goes on. I also get to vent my annoyance if I find someone a particular nuisance, or even if I’ve just had a bad day or not enough coffee. After all, no one ever sits back and muses, “Wonder what happened to old Mr Jones who used to hang around the apricot stand?”

In fact, it’s hard to find a good fruit shop inspector. Most shops don’t have them, or can’t find them, so I also get to do plenty of extra curricular work if I want it. At the moment, that means policing the rest of the local markets, as well as the fruit shop. 

It also gives you a sort of freedom you wouldn’t get otherwise. None of the managers in the shops, who know what I do, are going to say anything. I can park in the disabled bay, help myself to whatever I want from shop shelves, or tell people to get lost whenever it suits. 

Today there’s also an annoying charity ticket seller hovering outside the entrance to the fruit and nut shoppe. Innocent enough at first, but as the day’s gone on and the sales have remained low, the young guy has begun directly harassing people as they try to squeeze past and buy their baklava and pistachios. I pull him aside, tell him to give it in, and threaten to come visit him at home if he doesn’t stop right now. He packs up immediately.

That dealt with, it’s time to call it a day. I’ve already put in an overly long set of hours, much more than I had planned to do; besides, most of the stores are beginning to shut up. And my parking ticket has probably already expired.

I walk through to the disabled parking bay and unlock my car door. Suddenly I feel the cold steel of a pistol nozzle on my neck. “I’ve had more than enough of you parking where you don’t belong,” whispers a man, and I can hear a gun being cocked. 

Obviously the local town council’s just found themselves a new parking inspector.

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About the Author

Dr. Michael Schaper

Michael Schaper lives in Canberra with his partner Nadine, a standup paddleboard, two goldfish, some visiting sulphur-crested cockatoos and the ghosts of many half-written stories.

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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.

<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 258

A Tale of Tyl Feánn: In which a step toward destiny is taken
by steve duffy

Fun with Xenolinguistics
By Joshua Bealson

John's Terrible Day
By James Stothard

Glitch
By Terry Persun

The Curious Case of Cabin 21
By Susan Cornford

The End of Their World
By Maree Collie

The Tyranny of the Majority
By Nicholas Sheppard

The White Dragon
By Marcel Gherman

While the wind blew the train did mew
By Cono Ross

The Wine & Cheese Tour of the Universe
By Brenda Anderson

Wrong Turn
By Paul Sheringham

The Contributors

sayo onoda 200Born in Chiba in 1983, Sayo Onoda is a programmer, writer, and photographer.

Since she graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2009, she has worked as a software engineer.

In 2016, her novel was shortlisted for the Hayakawa SF Contest.

In 2019, her short story was runner-up in the Sogen SF Short Story Prize.

 

 

Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas.

His translations have appeared in venues such as Abyss & Apex, Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Samovar, and Star*Line.

terry persun 200Terry Persun’s poems and stories have appeared in many magazines including Wisconsin Review, Kansas Quarterly, Riverrun, Rattle, Hiram Poetry Review, Bluestem, NEBO, Cirque, Eclipse, Bacopa, and many others.

His poems have appeared in six, chapbooks and five collections.

He was recently included in the 2019 Rhysling Anthology for sicnce fiction and fantasy poetry. He is also a novelist and has recently won first place in the Book Excellence Awards for science fiction.

Terry speaks at writers’ conferences and universities across the country. <www.TerryPersun.com>.

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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deb sheldon 200Deborah Sheldon is an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. She writes short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum. Some of her titles include the horror novels Body Farm Z, Contrition, and Devil Dragon; the horror novella Thylacines; the romance-suspense novella The Long Shot; and the collections Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories, and the award-winning Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (Australian Shadows “Best Collected Work 2017”). Her short fiction has appeared in Quadrant, Island, Aurealis, Midnight Echo, Breach, AntipodeanSF and many other well-respected magazines. Her fiction has been shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards, long-listed for a Bram Stoker Award, and included in various “best of” anthologies. Other credits include TV scripts, feature articles, non-fiction books, stage plays, and award-winning medical writing. Visit her at <deborahsheldon.wordpress.com>

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roger ley2 200‘Couples Therapy’ is one of the stories in Roger Ley's speculative fiction collection, 'Dead People on Facebook'.

He has recently published an Alternate History novel called ‘The Muslim Prince, What if Diana hadn’t died?’ which has some excellent reviews on both Amazon AU and Amazon US.

Find him at <https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01KOVZFHM?>

George Nikolopoulos is a speculative fiction writer from Athens, Greece, and a member of Codex Writers' Group. His short stories have been published in Galaxy's Edge, Daily Science Fiction, Factor Four, Grievous Angel, Helios Quarterly Magazine, Unsung Stories, Best Vegan SFF, The Year's Best Military & Adventure SF, Bards & Sages Quarterly, Havok, SF Comet, Mad Scientist Journal, Truancy, Digital Fiction QuickFic, The Centropic Oracle, StarShipSofa, 600 Second Saga, Antipodean SF, Manawaker Studio's FFP, Fifty Flashes, 9Tales from Elsewhere, Event Horizon 2017, and many other magazines and anthologies.

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bghilton 150BG Hilton is a Sydney based spec fiction writer, but has not given up his day job.

His first novel, a Steampunk adventure story titled 'Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys', will be published in February by Odyssey Books.

He can be found online at <bghilton.com> — where he writes about Frankenstein movies and serialises fiction — or on Twitter as <@BGHilton>. 

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Michael Schaper lives in Canberra with his partner Nadine, a standup paddleboard, two goldfish, some visiting sulphur-crested cockatoos and the ghosts of many half-written stories.

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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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steveduffyhusband, father, brother, son
poet, writer, artist, friend (et al.)
the list of pigeon holes
into which I fit, is endless

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Shaun Saunders lives at the beachside suburb of Merewether, in Newcastle, NSW. He particularly enjoys Asimov's Foundation universe, and stories from the 'golden age' of SF. He is a regular contributor to AntipodeanSF, and winner of 2003 & 2004 AntiSF awards, and the inaugural 2005 SFSSC. His novel Mallcity 14 has been favourably compared with both 1984 and Brave New World.

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AntipodeanSF February 2020

ISSUE 257

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version:

Kindle version:

Poetry

By Deborah Sheldon

North Sea, calm and green, an English meadow

Lifts the ship on gentle swells, storm long gone. 

For cod, sprat and herring, the deck hands throw

The trawling nets on their last bloody dawn.

North Sea, flat and harmless, bath for a child

Voices a note that sings through the marrow.

The men lose their heads, blood-quickened and wild,

Visions of women, sea nymphs Calypso.

The crew cannot swim but leaps overboard,

And each mate is held in unyielding grip.

The women are gilled, and some of the horde

Slice through the nets to free fish from the ship.

Dragged to the seabed, the drowning souls pray;

Unanchored, unmanned, the ship drifts away.

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About the Author

Deborah Sheldon

deb sheldon 200Deborah Sheldon is an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. She writes short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum. Some of her titles include the horror novels Body Farm Z, Contrition, and Devil Dragon; the horror novella Thylacines; the romance-suspense novella The Long Shot; and the collections Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories, and the award-winning Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories (Australian Shadows “Best Collected Work 2017”). Her short fiction has appeared in Quadrant, Island, Aurealis, Midnight Echo, Breach, AntipodeanSF and many other well-respected magazines. Her fiction has been shortlisted for numerous Australian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards, long-listed for a Bram Stoker Award, and included in various “best of” anthologies. Other credits include TV scripts, feature articles, non-fiction books, stage plays, and award-winning medical writing. Visit her at <deborahsheldon.wordpress.com>

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By Terry Persun

Everything is frozen but my heart
         my brain only slowed
         my blood on call
         and my functions waiting.

My heart burns bright in winter
         which could never stop
         me from loving the life
         that will return eventually.

Alone has new meaning when frozen
         into a block on a ship
         sailing through space
         until some unknown time.

Childhood remains through it all
         the torment and beauty
         on hold for how long
         before freed once again.

In rotation are thoughts and feelings
         unable to express for now
         waiting for the time when they can
         driving me crazy in constant repose.

Will any of us be the same when warmed
         and placed on another planet
         that may not understand us
         and which we don’t understand.

I pray for an end to this stable state
         when movement is essential
         and memory can be increased
         with actual experiences.

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About the Author

Terry Persun

terry persun 200Terry Persun’s poems and stories have appeared in many magazines including Wisconsin Review, Kansas Quarterly, Riverrun, Rattle, Hiram Poetry Review, Bluestem, NEBO, Cirque, Eclipse, Bacopa, and many others.

His poems have appeared in six, chapbooks and five collections.

He was recently included in the 2019 Rhysling Anthology for sicnce fiction and fantasy poetry. He is also a novelist and has recently won first place in the Book Excellence Awards for science fiction.

Terry speaks at writers’ conferences and universities across the country. <www.TerryPersun.com>.

AntiSF's Narration Team

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) 

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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 (YA/ Fantasy — available now) and White Fire (Sci Fi — available now)

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

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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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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.

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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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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>

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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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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>

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SF News

Upcoming Cons

Swancon 45 National Convention 2020. Swancon is Australia's longest-running science-fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction convention, and is the premiere event in Perth for fans of all forms of speculative media.More information: <https://swancon.com.au/>.

Continuum 16 All Possible Futures 2020. Melbourne’s annual SF Convention is set to run over the extended weekend of June 5 to June 8. “All Possible Futures” will be held at Rydges on Swanston. Memberships and more information at: <http://www.continuum.org.au/>.

WorldCon 78 2020 ConZealand, 29/07/2020 - 02/08/2020 Wellington, New Zealand Worldcon 78 in 2020 is to be held in Wellington, New Zealand, on 29 July – 02 August 2020. Antipodeans, mark it in your calendar now — and the rest of the world, well, it’s time for you mark it in your calendars too: to visit the other side in 2020. Facilities for the event include: TSB Arena and Shed 6, the Michael Fowler Centre and the Intercontinental Hotel. More information is on offer at the official website of ConZealand: <https://conzealand.nz/about-conzealand/>. AntipodeanSF's editor, Nuke, will be at ConZealand!

Conflux 16: 2020 Visions of Time will explore the future of the speculative fiction industry over three days from 3 to 5 October 2020 at the Rex Hotel, Canberra. More information here: <https://conflux.org.au/>. AntipodeanSF will be at Conflux again this year. See you there...

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 

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George Lucas, Star Wars

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