Goblin Hunter

By Joseph Sullivan

sfgenreThe wizard stood still; her apartment deliberately arranged in the perfect image of a filthy mess. Papers were scattered everywhere, books were strewn about, drawers were open, her tools laid out as though they had not been used in days. She grinned to herself and laughed with the smug satisfaction of intellectual victory. Reltanna Lirane knew she had it this time.

Suddenly, her triumph was disrupted by a knock at her door. Oh, come on, not now! She waded through the clutter on her floor to get to her door, managing to wrench it open ever-so-slightly, pushing aside a pile of plates on the ground.

“Sorry, I’m really busy right now, you’ll have to come back later,” she said quickly, hoping to dispose of the unwelcome presence. “I’m in the middle of a breakthrough!”

“A…what?” The soft voice was familiar to Reltanna; it was none other than Gelvan Thorndike, her neighbourhood’s local priest, who often intruded upon her work with concern for her wellbeing and scepticism of her sanity. “Reltanna, open the door, your neighbours have started to complain…”

“You think I care? This is the second time this week I’ve heard that!”

“Just what are you doing in here…” Gelvan pushed his way in, then immediately stopped when he saw the devastation. “By all the gods…”

“Does it surprise you when I say that I’m really not in a position to deal with company right now?!”

“Well…” Gelvan turned to her, his face filled with caution. “Either you’re deliberately trying to ward off company, or you’ve let yourself go even more than usual…” he looked her up and down, evidently taking note of her shabby robes and messy hair.

“Once again, you fail to understand …” Reltanna shook her head. “I’m not a slob for no reason! I’ve set a trap, you see…”

“Huh?”

“A goblin trap,” Reltanna explained, the satisfaction of being smarter than him never ceasing to amuse her. “A place like this? Ideal conditions for one of those little tricksters to appear, and when it does, I’ve got the perfect spell prepared to capture it! With one of them captured, I’ll have opportunities for research that half the other wizards can barely dream of…”

“So you’re intentionally trying to bring a malicious entity into the area,” Gelvan grimaced. “This will go so well…”

“Just you wait and see!”

“Well, good luck with your studies,” Gelvan went to leave. “You should know that—”

Suddenly, the sound of glass breaking immediately drew all of Reltanna’s attention away from whatever Gelvan was saying and to her bedroom around the corner. It worked!

“Out of the way!” Reltanna pushed Gelvan out of the way. One chance here…

Reltanna frantically sprinted through her apartment, trying to move past her own belongings, almost tripping over as she went, but picking herself up all the same. She swung around the corner and into her bedroom, where, sure enough, there was a mischievous little green goblin dressed in the colourful clothes of a jester, jumping on her bed with a wicked grin.

“Oops,” it said in a rasp. “Broke your whiskey there…”

“Got you now!”

Reltanna raised her hands as if to cast a spell, hoping to provoke the goblin into trying to flee. Sure enough, it worked, as the goblin leapt over her, jumping off her shoulders, to escape into the living room to undoubtedly cause more problems. For real this time, then. With it already believing itself safe, Reltanna cried out with glee the incantation she had been preparing for just this moment, and shot a burst of energy from her hands, freezing the goblin in the centre of the room.

“Aha!” Reltanna could not contain herself. “Ahahahahaha!” She turned to a shocked Gelvan. “See, I told you I wasn’t mad!”

“I didn’t say you were…”

“You were thinking it,” she snarled, smirking as she said it. “But now who’s laughing? Oh, that’s right! Me!”

She turned her attention back to the goblin. “Now you! I hope you’re ready to answer a lot of questions about how your weird little goblin magic works, or else you’re about to become the test subject in a lot of experiments that I don’t think you’ll be too fond of…”

A loud rattle from Reltanna’s kitchen cabinets interrupted her rambling. Now what? Briefly forgetting that there should not be anything in her cabinets at all that should make any sort of rattle, she looked up and prepared to cast a spell, but before she could think of an incantation, another goblin leapt out of it, hitting her over the head with one of her own wooden spoons. In the shock, she tripped over again, and when she looked back up, infuriated, the goblin had freed the other from her spell.

“Come, my brother, let us flee this place,” the second goblin laughed. “This one’s no fun now that she’s angry!”

“I’ll show you angry!” Reltanna leapt to her feet, but in that moment, the goblins leapt out her window, breaking the glass, and fled out into the street.

She stood still, trying to focus enough to contemplate the results of her experiment in her head.

“Well, that was something…” came Gelvan’s voice again.

“Yeah, and some help you were!” Reltanna barked.

“My apologies,” Gelvan bowed. “It seems you were right about this. Too right, in a way. I shall leave you to your business, but please, think about what I’ve said this time…”

Reltanna did not even bother to answer him as he left. Forget him, she told herself. Her experiment did work, the only issue was that it worked too well. But she knew that that itself was a result: she knew how to attract goblins, and with any luck, could repeat the experiment, and perhaps capture one. Or two. Or three!

She smiled to herself as she looked out her own broken window. I’m a genius, she reminded herself. And those goblins better not forget it.

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About the Author

Joseph Sullivan

Joseph Sullivan is a 21-year-old writer and filmmaker from Melbourne, Australia, currently in his third year of university studying for his bachelor's degree in film and television.

He is an avid reader and writer of speculative fiction, and you can find his work at <https://josephsullivanwriter.blogspot.com/>.

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In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 291

Christmas in the Modern World
By William Kitcher

COVID's Conclusion
By Marty Nemko

First Contact of the Third Kind
By Anthony Woolley

Forty-Nine Seconds
By Michael Cheyne

Hermit People of Ermin 4
By Bob Brussack

Hip Gnomes
By PS Cottier

How to Birth A Billionaire
By Elizabeth Broadbent

The First Thanksgiving
By Harris Tobias

Tramp
By Brian Biswas

Up the Ante
By Rhiannonn Stevens

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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Please consider joining the Australian Science Fiction Foundation, a prime supporter and promoter of speculative fiction down-under.

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AntipodeanSF November 2022

ISSUE 290

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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AntiSF's Narration Team

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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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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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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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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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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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 disbelief.”

He believes stories might also contain an element of humour — however small — to enrich the plot and/or heighten the drama.

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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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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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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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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 North Queensland. For more information, visit his Tim Borella – Author Facebook page.angle mic

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 

The Contributors

se square rounded corners smallJason Bentsman's writings tend to defamiliarise the familiar, including urgent problems facing society, with a metaphysical undercurrent.

He authored the poetic environmental book The Orgastic Future (“A 21st century HOWL,” A.S., New Yorker & Vanity Fair). Writings in The American Bystander, The Blue Nib, FLANEUR, Montreal Writes, Paris Lit Up, Dreich, The Weekly Humorist, and other publications worldwide.

He's also an occasional humorist, and takes fine art photos. His favorite color is: prism. More info: www.linktr.ee/Jason_Bentsman

Joseph Sullivan is a 21-year-old writer and filmmaker from Melbourne, Australia, currently in his third year of university studying for his bachelor's degree in film and television.

He is an avid reader and writer of speculative fiction, and you can find his work at <https://josephsullivanwriter.blogspot.com/>.

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alexy dumenigoAlexy Dumenigo is a Cuban writer.

His debut story collection, Izokumi, won the 2019 Premio Calendario de Ciencia Ficción.

maks sipowicz 200Maks Sipowicz is a writer living and working in Naarm (Melbourne).

His work has previously appeared in Overland, Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin, and elsewhere.

His website is <https://philosophyafterdark.com>.

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elizabeth broadbent 200During her MFA in fiction, Elizabeth Broadbent was a top-ten finalist in William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award's novel-in-progress category; in the same year, her novella placed as a semifinalist.

After having children, she turned to nonfiction; her essays have appeared The Washington Post, Insider, and Time; a six-year staff writer for Scary Mommy, the largest parenting site on the web, Broadbent wrote about everything from chestfeeding to true crime. 

Her speculative prose poetry has appeared in Bewildering Stories and Down in the Dirt

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.

Wes 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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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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Umiyuri Katsuyama 200Umiyuri Katsuyama is a multiple-award-winning writer of fantasy and horror, often based on Asian folklore motifs.

A native of Iwate in the far north of Japan, she later moved to Tokyo and studied at Seisen University.

In 2011, she won the Japan Fantasy Novel Award with her novel Sazanami no kuni.

Her most recent novel, Chuushi, ayashii nabe to tabi wo suru, was published in 2018.

In 2022, her translation of S. Qiouyi Lu's short story "Mother Tongues" was a finalist for the Seiun Award. She is currently working on a novel about a female cook in Jiangnan during the Qin Dynasty.

Her short fiction has appeared in numerous horror anthologies in Japan.

Bryan Keon Cohen 200Bryan is a writer, activist and retired barrister based in Melbourne, Australia.

He has published numerous legal articles, and the books: A Mabo Memoir (2013) and The Apocrypha (2022).

Bryan’s insightful and engaging short stories have been published in Australiain Woorilla (2010), Idiom (2019), StylusLit (2019), Antipodean Sci Fi (2020), and in the UK, Bandit Fiction (2018).

See further at <www.bryankeoncohen.com>.

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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.

harris tobiasHarris Tobias lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

He is the author of two novels: The Greer Agency & A Felony of Birds. He has written dozens of short stories, many of which are available on line at <quantummuse.com>. 

Harris is also the author of many children’s books including At The Robot ZooMoonRivet Saves His Skin and An Alphabet Book of Bugs available in print from CreateSpace and as ebooks for Nook & Kindle. You can find links to his writings here: <harristobias-fiction.blogspot.com>

ps cottier 200PS Cottier is a poet who lives in Canberra, with a particular interest in speculative poetry.

She has been published widely at home and in Canada, England, New Zealand and the USA.

Two of her horror poems were finalists in the Australian Shadows Awards for 2020. Her latest books are V8, co-wriiten with Sandra Renew, (Ginninderra Press) which looks at cars and other vehicles, and Tuesday’s Child is Full (In Case of Emergency Press) which is made up of poems first published at her blog. (These two collections are non-genre.) 

PS Cottier is currently the Poetry Editor at The Canberra Times and blogs at <https://pscottier.com>

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