AntipodeanSF Issue 307

Kevin J. Phyland

Kieran springs for the five bucks entry into the amusement park and quickly mingles with the crowd of merrymakers donating their hard-earned to the rogues gallery of flim-flam artists and sweaty carnies. 

A fool and his money, thinks Kieran, and slows to a less conspicuous gait, reasonably sure that the two policeman have lost him in the general noise and bustle of holiday bonhomie, but just to be certain he looks about for an attraction that might kill some extra time and ensure his clean getaway.

A barker outside a nearby tent spruiks up the dubious merits of the bearded lady, the dog-faced boy and the world's oldest dwarf. Kieran shudders slightly. The money he took from the liquor store is still hot in his pocket, but he draws the line at paying good money to support the exploitation of genetic unfortunates. His ethics are fluid to be sure.

He strolls further along and spots the rather antiquated Hall of Mirrors, where a large, bored-looking woman of indeterminate age trades paper tickets for the chance to 'find revelations in a world of infinite illusion and reflection', as the advertising hoarding proclaims.

It seems to Kieran to be as good as any other diversion to kill some time with, and he dispenses another five dollar note and redeems his ticket.

Inside it is almost dark and he waits a few moments for his eyes to adjust to the level of ambient light before looking about him. On his left is a row of oddly shaped mirrors, the first bowed outwards, that makes his middle look grotesquely fat, like an ambulant Buddha. 

He moves on to the next one. It is rippled along its vertical length and his shape mimics this as he waggles his frame from side to side, like an Indian rubber man.

Moving further onwards he comes to a pair of mirrors facing one another and he walks into the narrow defile between them. 

His image is repeated infinitely back and forth from left to right, gradually getting darker and smaller as it recedes into an illusory distance. He waves his arm up and down and a billion Kieran's copy his motion. How far deep do the images go?

He puzzles over this and imagines the Kieran who first entered is still bouncing between mirrors further and further away. He sighs with the realisation that he will not have changed in any of the images.

With a shock of this revelation, however, he takes off his jacket and, pulling a rubber band from his pocket, quickly puts his long hair up into a ponytail. Not much of a disguise but perhaps enough for a policeman to overlook in a brief scan of the crowd.

His decision made, he places the remaining money he stole on the ground in front of the two mirrors and leaves. It looks like far more money than it is and still too little to potentially ruin his life.

A new Kieran walks out of the Hall of Mirrors, while the old one bounces forever inside the mirrors, getting smaller and smaller until he eventually disappears.

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About the Author

kevinjphyland 200Old enough to just remember the first manned Moon landing, Kevin was so impressed he made science his life.

Retired now from teaching he amuses himself by reading, writing, following his love of weather and correcting people on the internet.

He’s been writing since his teens and hopes he will one day get it right.

He can be found on twitter @KevinPhyland where he goes by the handle of CaptainZero and his work is around the place if you search using google or use the archive.


Issue Contributors

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Meet the Narrators

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.


  • 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 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

  • 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 <...

  • 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

  • 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.


  • 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

  • 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