The Hideous Deed

By Fulvio Gatti

sfgenreThe energy stream flickers as Green’s attention is requested above ninety percent in the Parlour. That’s something they usually won’t agree to do — too many fascinating phenomenons going on in the universe in a single unit, too much to observe and study — but the call had a bossy edge and they could recognise Blue’s stamp even inside a super flare.

Transfer needs no time, but Green makes it slightly longer through a continuum trick. It lets their available ten percent split into further ten parts, each one checking how the primordial soup is evolving in a different solar system. They’ll probably lose their bet against Orange about how the star will turn out, but the latest chemical developments are promising.

“It’s a shame,” Red is saying in the Parlour. “The implications are shattering.”

The tension is huge. Any chance they are aware about what Green is working on in the cuspid binary system?

“You mean, you already figured out millions of potential outcomes and can’t make sense of any of them, right?” The one teasing is Yellow, unusually cranky.

“Siblings, siblings, please,” Blue says, their waves purposefully soothing. “Our task here, in the dramatic majority of our focuses, is to first prove that what Violet is accused of factually happened.”

Realising it’s Violet they are concerned about, Green lets their conscience explore the Parlour, a fascinating concept. Its main purpose is having all the spectrum visible and enhanced to make apparent everybody’s intentions. That, before everybody learned to haze.

The other smart feature is that the Parlour only manifests itself if all of the six Aspects share the same slice of continuum, doing it in good will. So, Violet is there with them, even if their presence is translucent and hard to fully grasp.

“Why don’t you ask them?” Green suggests.

The Parlour fizzles, reminding Green about some old standard civilisation stories about adults being upset from a younger individual’s behaviour. It does it twice, in fact, as the Parlour also favours cognitive loops.

“My offspring’s suggestion is relevant,” Blue says. “I suggest we inquiry Violet directly.”

“If they weren’t my offspring, also, I doubt they’d go so far,” Yellow points out, a light shade of benevolence aiming at Green.

“Come on! You’re implying it only because you, instead, are not involved in the existence of Violet,” Red says.

Orange is quiet, but according to its yellowshift has a favourite side in the argument.

“Which,” Blue intervenes, soothing once more, “makes me the best candidate to inquiry Violet about the hideous deed you’ve been reporting so strongly.”

All energy in the Parlour grows stable in a snap, something as unique as the big bang itself.

“Violet, please,” Blue begins, tiny ripples in the waves betraying a remote uncertainty. “Can you bring your focus close to ninety percent and join us in the conversation?”

The translucent shape gives no sign of having received the message.

“Offspring, can you do something about it?” Yellow asks Orange.

Orange glimmers bright, dark, and then bright again.

Some cycles later, Violet bursts into life.

“Hey! Can I help you?”

The apparent joyfulness bounces against an almost solid wall of concern.

“Violet, thank you for granting us your highest focus,” Blue begins. “We need to ask you a question.”

“Is it about the cuspid binary system?” Violet asks. “In that case, it’s not my operations you’re interested in, but Green’s.”

Green prays that his hazing will distract enough of the other’s attention to find a way out. It takes a full unit to realise nobody is bothering about them.

“Please, don’t toy with us,” Blue says to Violet. “Let us ask the question first.”

Orange flickers in excitement and Yellow gives them an energy-equivalent of a glare.

“Did you — mix?” Blue asks.

Expectation wraps all over the Parlour like a glowing web.

“I don’t understand the question,” Violet replies.

“Of course you don’t,” Red bursts out. “Denying comprehension is the only way to pretend you didn’t do it.”

The network allows Red to broadcast. Among other shades, a Violet-that-isn’t-Violet visually screams.

“What’s this, offspring?” Red asks.

Tiny spots flourish over Violet’s presence and disappear.

“It’s Purple,” Violet says.

If the Parlour had just been twisted, ripped into pieces and recomposed, the effect wouldn’t be as shocking.

“I — just completed a full spectrum analysis,” Yellow says.

“Go on,” Red adds.

“I see a blue component in the mix.”

With a surprised flicker, Blue gets all the focus.

“It’s not how it looks,” Blue says. The peaks of the sinusoid are higher than usual. “It’s my offspring after all we’re talking about.”

“And mine, for what matters,” Red says. “But I wouldn’t even dare conceive such an aberration.”

“You disgust me,” Yellow adds. “I don’t even know why I’m still sharing the Parlour with you.”

“What I’m trying to say,” Blue wave gains intensity, “is that whatever and however this mix happened, it did without my involvement, or remote awareness!”

“Like your own slice of the spectrum wasn’t your responsibility!” Red points out.

“You don’t think we will simply accept this?” Yellow wonders.

The Parlour grows into a noisy kaleidoscope. It’s entertaining, at first. Then, Green decides to switch to the cuspid binary system.

A much better surprise awaits.

At first, Green’s perceptions can’t understand what is happening on the surface of the third planet. The previous data assists them with context, all the failed experiments behind lighting the fire of their excitement.

There are cells, and tissues, and task-oriented living components.

Green shuffles themselves into the lying, inanimate body. Neural connections snap into position while aeons of study help them fixing all that’s yet to invent.

Taking the first step as a corporeal being is exhilarating.

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About the Author

Fulvio Gatti

fulvio gatti 200Fulvio Gatti is an Italian speculative fiction writer been writing and publishing in his native tongue for 25 years.

He has been writing in English for the global market since 2018, and his stories can be found in pro magazines, like Galaxy’s Edge, magazines and anthologies published in US, UK, Italy, and Australia.

He’s been a student of Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta’s Superstars Writing Seminars and he is part of David Farland’s Apex Writing Group. He’s also been a panelist at Worlcon/Discon III, among other international events.

He lives with his wife on the wine hills of the Northwestern Italy, where he works as a local reporter and event organizer.

Website: <https://www.fulviogatti.it>

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 289

Company Man
By James R. Coffey

Dusk Patrol
By Kevin J. Phyland

Martian Food
By Robbie Sheerin

Sociology 101, Lesson Six
By KJ Hannah Greenberg

Superman
By Elizabeth Broadbent

The Eternity Library
By Chris Gladstone

The Sparrow Maker
By Tee Linden

Three Eight Two (Part Two)
By Andrew Dunn

Turning on the Light
By John Bohr

What I have to say about the supersize oceans of the exoplanet C59034
By Ranju Mamachan

Winter's Sky
By Callan J Mulligan

Scifaiku
By PS Cottier

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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AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

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

<https://asff.org.au>

AntipodeanSF September 2022

ISSUE 288

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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AntiSF's Narration Team

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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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

rodney sykes 200Rodney grew up in country South Australia and later in Adelaide but now lives and works in Melbourne.

He works principally as an IT consultant and dabbles in creative writing in his spare time.

He enjoys writing poetry as well flash fiction and often reads his work at the Melbourne Writers Group meetings.

Rodney is currently unpublished but hopes to change that in the near future.

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jared bernard 200Jared Bernard’s fiction has appeared in Morpheus Tales, and his non-fiction has appeared in The Conversation, Natural History, History Today, and American Forests among others. As a PhD candidate studying insects, he has also published in scientific journals.

Jared’s debut literary/speculative fiction novel, Killing Juggernaut <https://www.killingjuggernaut.com>, predicts a dire future in which the fates of an ecologist, a teenager, and an astronomer are linked by humanity’s last-ditch effort to save itself from environmental devastation.

“Tantalise” is a mini companion story to Killing Juggernaut.

fulvio gatti 200Fulvio Gatti is an Italian speculative fiction writer been writing and publishing in his native tongue for 25 years.

He has been writing in English for the global market since 2018, and his stories can be found in pro magazines, like Galaxy’s Edge, magazines and anthologies published in US, UK, Italy, and Australia.

He’s been a student of Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta’s Superstars Writing Seminars and he is part of David Farland’s Apex Writing Group. He’s also been a panelist at Worlcon/Discon III, among other international events.

He lives with his wife on the wine hills of the Northwestern Italy, where he works as a local reporter and event organizer.

Website: <https://www.fulviogatti.it>

chuck mckenzie 200Chuck McKenzie was born in 1970, and still spends much of his time there.

He also runs the YouTube channel 'A Touch of the Terrors', where — as 'Uncle Charles' — he performs readings of his favourite horror tales in a manner that makes most ham actors look like Gielgud.

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michael j leach 200Michael J. Leach <@m_jleach> is a writer and academic who lives in Bendigo on unceded Dja Dja Wurrung Country.

Michael enjoys writing about science. His science poems reside in Meniscus, Rabbit, Cordite, Consilience, Science Write Now, the 2021 Hippocrates Prize Anthology (The Hippocrates Press, 2021), and elsewhere.

He has published a sci-fi short story in Painted Words 2017 (Bendigo TAFE, 2017) and penned two science-themed plays performed by Bendigo Theatre Company.

Michael’s poetry collections include Chronicity (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020) and Natural Philosophies (Recent Work Press, forthcoming in November 2022).

You can read more about Michael’s work on his website: <https://mleach11.wixsite.com/writing>

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greg foyster 200Greg Foyster is a writer, illustrator and author of the memoir Changing Gears, currently living on Wadawurrung country at Geelong.

His stories and cartoons have appeared in The Age, The Saturday Paper, ABC, Meanjin, Eureka Street and others.

His fiction has appeared in Overland, The Big Issue, Aurealis and AntipodeanSF.

Website: <www.gregfoyster.com>

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andrew dunn 200Andrew writes science-fiction and fantasy from the state of Maryland on the eastern coast of the United States, often drawing ideas from jogs through forest trails at sunrise or a tasty beer at sunset. 

Andrew writes each story with the goal of giving readers something they will enjoy, without relying on the typical, predictable, or cliche'. His work has previously appeared in AntipodeanSF, 365 Tomorrows, and soon Daily Science Fiction

When Andrew isn't writing chances are he's playing guitar or bass, exploring abandoned places, or spending quality time with a bulldog. Andrew hopes you enjoy this story, and he will continue to try and write stories that you'll love to read! 

salvatore difalco 200Salvatore Difalco is the author of two story collections, Black Rabbit (Anvil) and The Mountie At Niagara Falls (Anvil).

He currently lives in Toronto Canada.

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Harris 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>. He is 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 Monstrous, which is a volume of speculative poems, and Utterly, which is non-genre.

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

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kj hannah greenberg 200KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs.

Thereafter, she's been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than three dozen books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.

Find out more at her website: <http://kjhannahgreenberg.net/>.