Speakeasy of the Heart

By Wes Parish

sfgenreWhat a day. Off to pick up the papers for my son's pancreas rebuild — wonderful what they can do with genetic engineering and biochemical printing these days, isn't it — taking a break from the office where

they employed me as a debugger for the massive spreadsheets the outsourced accountancy routinely produced, and equally routinely got wrong.

Teresa wasn't happy about having me out of her sight for too long, but that's not a problem. What Teresa imagines is Teresa's problem, not mine. I had got a date with Angie for tonight, and she's promised me something extra. And she's being coy about that "extra". I have no idea what she's talking about, but a guy can hope, can't he?

***

I take a few extra minutes to complete Tim's papers for his operation, and Teresa blows up. Demands to know what I think I am doing, and I show her the papers. She knows about Tim's childhood diabetes, and knows this pancreas replacement is the only way to conquer it, but you'd think she's got something against me for daring to take enough time to complete the papers. It's not as if she's not fond of Tim, or

at least that's the impression she gave me the last few times we had a Children-at-Work day.

I don't know. I just don't know. She's not a bad person, all things considered.

 ***

End of day, sixteen errors caught and corrected, and I'm feeling wrung out. Teresa stops me on the way out the door

"Some of the crew are going to O'Malley's for a bite and a pint. I'll pick you up and we can get Tim and take some time out. You look done in."

I shook my head. "Thanks but no thanks. Me and Tim are going to The Alamo. We've already prebooked."

She took a deep breath, put her hands on her hips and shook her head, all the time trying to smile. "You could have told me earlier. Your loss!!!"

Then she turned away and with one last glare, left, almost slamming the door behind her.

Springing invites on me — when I've already made arrangements for Tim and me and Angie — then overdoing the disappointment doesn't impress me much. If only I had not stared at her the first day at work —  but a statuesque blonde with a figure like Jayne Mansfield's is kinda hard to ignore, especially when you're a red-blooded divorcee with a son in tow and have just finished an internship at the Australian Bureau of Statistics without getting any further in getting a job there. (My doctor  had advised against going back to work spray painting car repairs. No good for my lungs — my replacement lungs.)

***

We waited and waited and waited at The Alamo, and finally Angie turned up. Not just Angie — she had booked it, without telling me, for a whole group of kids as young as Tim and even more rowdy.

"While they're enjoying themselves," she whispered in my ear, "and the girls are enjoying minding them," with a glance at the crowd of older women sitting smugly with shandies and sherries, "us two can go off

and explore some quite unusual tastes."

I thought I knew what she meant when she grabbed me and pulled my face down for a long, long kiss. When we resurfaced, to her girlfriends' cheers, she grabbed me by the hand and led me out the door. Up to this point I had no idea that the institution of the speakeasy had resurfaced, much less that it had resurfaced below Civic streets, beneath the roads I had cycled on as a boy.

I waved goodbye to Tim, who didn't notice me going. I had no fear for him — The Alamo knew of his dietary restrictions.

***

I suppose I should've known something was odd the moment I noticed that Angie was rubbing her hands over an apparently blank wall in the basement of The Alamo. The door opening took me by surprise, and she tugged me into a badly-ventilated hallway that led to an equally badly-ventilated room.

"He's good, he's with me, and no, he's not up for grabs," she said to a big burly bouncer at the entrance.

"Well then, take him in, but make sure you don't lose him," the bouncer replied.

And then we were in.

***

"The chef's got all the latest updates in biochemical printers," she said. "I discovered them quite by accident a while back. This gets all the latest in overseas speakeasy flavours."

I wasn't feeling adventurous, and picked out a basic steak-and-kidney ragout, with some vegetables I couldn't quite recognise. We didn't say much, and tucked right in. After a while I had to ask: "What are these vegetables? I don't recognise the flavours."

"Reconstructed Jurassic and Cretaceous ferns. Before you start asking about the meat, I should say I was responsible for getting the cultures for it."

I raised my eyebrow in surprise. "Did you have any difficulty? You make it sound as if it was quite a task."

She folded her arms and leaned forward to murmur to me, sotto voce, "Of course it was difficult. The only reason the hospital didn't prosecute was that they didn't want their reputation dragged through

the mud, when they realised I'd got away with the cultures. That steak is bona fide sprinters' leg muscle culture, the same as the Sports Institute uses to maintain athletes' fitness; that kidney's equally bona fide, the kidney culture that was used to patch up President Petersen."

I ... felt sick. I ... turned, and she gripped me by the arm: "Oh no you don't, darling. I didn't get you through all the security just to have you throw your dinner all over the floor and give me a bad reputation with my friends who own this place. If you sick up on me, you'll be wiping it up yourself."

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About the Author

Wes Parish

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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AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

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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 261

A Tale of Tyl Feánn: In which a High King is laid to rest
by steve duffy

Imagining Dragons
By Bart Meehan

In the Beginning
By Emma Riley

Speck
By Simon B. Pointer

The Night D Came to Life
By Zebuline Carter

Dear Friends
By Ben F. Blitzer

Relief Efforts
By Dmitri Christopher

The Third Law of HAVOC
By David Kernot

The Wood for the Trees
By Ishmael A Soledad

Conversation in a Utopian Future
By Denice Penrose

The Ghostship
By Maree Collie

The Door Into Last Night
By Hassac Naminov - Translated by Toshiya Kamei

The Contributors

hassac naminov 200Hassac Naminov is a freelance writer and editor.

He was born in Tokyo and grew up in Shinshu.

Later, he moved back to Tokyo to pursue his literary career.

In 2016, he founded the Sci-Fi magazine Alternia.

A regular contributor to the literary journal Hametuha, he is the author of the science fiction comedy Organization series (2015-2016).

Katlina Sommerberg is from San Francisco.

As a security engineer, she hacks software and machines, but finds this technical knowledge terrible for enjoying science fiction; she can't decide whether she likes science or fiction more.

Contact Katlina via Twitter <@houndom16>

william kerr 200William Kerr is a self-professed science fiction enthusiast. He was born and raised in Tasmania but now calls Canberra home.

His personal preference is hard science fiction and dystopian-style stories which definitely influenced his first published piece ‘The Burning’.

He is looking forward to publishing more flash fiction and is hoping to become a regular contributor.

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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 Abyss & Apex, Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Samovar, and Star*Line.

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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steven fritz 200Steven Fritz graduated from the University of Maryland, became a Naval Aviator and flew helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft in the US Navy.

After leaving active duty, he earned a Ph.D. in Radiation Biophysics at the University of Kansas and spent several years as a medical school faculty member and senior administrator.

After university he managed a seed stage venture fund and did a stint as an avionics entrepreneur. He’s been infatuated with science fiction since his youth and has been writing SF full time for three years. You can follow Steven on his website at <InigoPress.com> or on Twitter at @StevenLFritz1.

 lynne lumsden green 200Lynne Lumsden Green is enjoying the aging process, contrary to all expectations. She completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, and after her midlife crisis went back and completed a B.A. in Creative Writing. She writes both fiction and nonfiction, and owns more books than bookshelves.

You can find her blog at: <https://cogpunksteamscribe.wordpress.com/>.

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col hellmuth

This story is a linking piece to two stories previously published in Antipodean SF, Coffee With God (Issue 245) and Frank's Best Friend (Issue 250) both first drafted whilst living in Western Australia, where I spent the best part of two decades. This piece (ironically written whilst sitting on the bank of Emmagen creek in FNQ) is an attempt, not just to further develop some recycled characters beyond the limitations of the short short story format, but also to give these stories a sense of place, a nod to the multitude of unique landscapes (and people) to be found in WA. The huge distances and wide open spaces between locations are also riddled with untold stories, so many that I find myself still writing them years after moving back to North Queensland.

Col Hellmuth lives a quiet (excepting weekly jam nights,) uncomplicated life, off-grid in the Daintree rainforest of Far North Queensland.

His day jobs over the years have found him contracted to do various work around the country in such exotic locations as mine-sites, SAS barracks, a Collins-class submarine, prisons, operating-theatres, swanky restaurants and wineries, chicken sheds, the Great Barrier Reef and the open road. He does not have any fancy letters after his name, or a pet cat, but does read a lot. 

When he is not enslaved at work he is usually found bumming around his local beach dodging crocs in his kayak or jamming on the blues-harp with his fellow bandmates, the Excruders.

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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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andisha 200Andisha Sabri Carey is an Australian writer and poet who has lived in the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and most recently, Israel.

Her work has appeared in Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, Potluck Magazine and Cordite Poetry Review.

"Last Resort" was originally inspired by a running joke with her husband about the Havens in "Pandemic Legacy: Season 2".

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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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AntipodeanSF May 2020

ISSUE 260

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version:

Kindle version:

AntiSF's Narration Team

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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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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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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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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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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ed erringtonFollowing two decades of working in the area of scenario-based learning (particularly speculative scenarios) within the university sector, Ed maintains an interest in Futurology.

That is, evidence-based suppositions and theories about potential trajectories of humanity, science, technology and civilisation into potential futures.

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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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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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alistair lloyd 200Alistair Lloyd is a Melbourne based writer who was raised on a steady diet of Douglas Adams, Iain M. Banks, David Brin, Neal Stephenson and Richard Feynman.

He feeds a healthy and somewhat nerdy interest in space travel, theoretical physics, design and organisational psychology.

Alistair once won a competition for his pitch to “Sell ice to the Eskimos”, holds a Master of Business Administration and has a seemingly inexhaustible knack of describing things through analogies.

You may find him on Twitter as <@mr_al> and online at <alistairlloyd.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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SF News

Upcoming Cons

Most up-coming cons have been postponed until next year because of the current COVID-19 situation, but please visit the ASFF for up-to-date information.

CoNZealand the 78th Worldcon from July 29 till August 2 is to be a "Virtual Worldcon", held online. More information at <https://conzealand.nz/>

 <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

There’s no real objection to escapism, in the right places… We all want to escape occasionally. But science fiction is often very far from escapism, in fact you might say that science fiction is escape into reality… It’s a fiction which does concern itself with real issues: the origin of man; our future. In fact I can’t think of any form of literature which is more concerned with real issues, reality.

Arthur C. Clarke

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