AntipodeanSF

Issue 304

By Wes Parish

I was worried. A small-scale temptation job, meant to gradually lead the target into deeper and deeper self-deception, until they got hopelessly mired in deceit on smaller and larger scales, I had fluffed it up, because I had felt sorry for the target. Even at this low level, one is not supposed to feel sorry for the five-year-old who resists and at the last moment, blurts out that yes, he did take the bikkies, and yes, he did eat them up, and yes, he is sorry.

I was in disgrace —  aren’t we all? Even in the very depths of the nothingness that embraces us after the Boss got us kicked out of Upstairs, we still try to maintain some sense of hierarchy, and I felt ... displaced from my ... obvious ... place.

An old friend — I suppose I can borrow the human concept? — came to talk with me, and we wandered the levels, gazing out at the places where the souls were face-to-face with their deepest failings, their most deep-rooted shames, and made to feel the loss of hope — since they would no longer be able to correct them.

“Your failing,” my ‘friend’ said, without a trace of pompousness, “is not unusual. I suppose you know that you are not the only one who has let prey slip so easily. And for such reasons. Nobody else is to know this, but we did lose fifteen agents in the human world last year. The foe is strong, and we lose many such, unprepared spirits who begin to think in ways that mimic the human animals.”

I was astonished. And even worse, I began to feel sorry for my ‘friend’. Noticing my fires dampen, he immediately added, “It seems to be an occupational habit — err, hazard, isn’t it?”

Then, as the fires flamed inwards from the region where reality infringed on Hell’s outer boundaries, he added, “You should not worry. You are not the only demon who has had to face his inner humans. We lose those who succumb to that temptation and some even become positively angelic, a danger to the rest of Hell. I cannot pity you ... and don’t pity me!”

It was too late...

rocket crux 2 75

About the Author

sf pedal steelWesley 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 ... ?"

aus25grn

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: http://antisf.libsyn.com 

Meet the Narrators

  • 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

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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 <...

  • 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

    ...
  • 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.

    Within

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • 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.

    ...

  • 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

    ...