To Dwell Forever

By R.H. Stevens

To Dwell Forever story image

 

I had slept for a thousand years. I could have slept for a thousand more. I don’t know what awakened me. It could have been the strange songs echoing around me, so different from the ones I knew in my faraway youth. It could have been the shifting sea floor, sealing the mineral-rich vents that had warmed my body as I slept.

I was alone when I woke up. I had fallen asleep beside older, more powerful siblings. Our parents, locked in a primordial embrace, watched over us as the torpor took hold. The passage of years within the nutrient-dense waters had made me as colossal as my forebears, but this new strength brought me no comfort. What good was it for me to reach out with titanic limbs without another of my kind to reach back?

I spent a great deal of time singing the songs of the ancients into the darkness, to no avail. It became necessary to rise once again to the warmer waters where other beings congregated. My songs received replies of varying worth. Some, like the many-toothed creatures, sung only tales of hunger and wandering. 

Others, like the ones who travelled in pods, were more gregarious. None of them had seen my family, but they were full of questions about the ancient Devonian sea and their ancestors.

Next, I sang to the mournful ones, their flanks peppered with scars from battling against their cephalopod prey. They sang of more abundant times. They warned me their seers had predicted an age of great scarcity, of waters polluted with poison muck and the ocean depleted of riches. They believed I could prevent this cataclysm, but I didn’t share their optimism. I was too young to reign and took my leave of them all.

I kept searching.

The singers of the past had disappeared, their choir had gone silent across the gulf of time, but my loneliness did not last forever. In my childhood, the surface was savage and pockmarked by pools of liquid fire. Now, everything had changed. In place of burning pillars, I found verdant landscapes. Unfamiliar creatures, alien beings, had bloomed like flowers upon the islands which rose from the endless sea. Long I spent observing these unusual creatures, and the dull minutiae of their brief lives. 

Although they were weak and insignificant compared to me, I was wary of making myself known to them. I had witnessed scenes of harmony and contentment, yet I had also seen them craft weapons of war. 

Would these creatures be afraid of me? Could these creatures destroy me? 

The answer, I believed, was yes. They would be as afraid of me as I was of them. I resolved only to watch from a distance, but the cosmos has a way of forcing us to action when we wish to be still.

In time, one of the tribe came close to where I lurked beyond the shore. The creature was smaller than usual, and I deduced it was a child. From my position on the seabed, I could see the child struggle amidst the waves, and hear the distant calls of its brethren on the beach. 

I rose to the surface. The little one was waging a losing battle against the sea. More of its people had congregated on the beach, their shrill cries rising above the ocean’s crashing roar.

I could see two of the creatures frantically pushing a vessel into the water, intent on rescuing the child, but each passing moment sapped the child’s strength.

These creatures could not survive underwater. The little one would drown before the boat could reach it. Tentatively, I reached out with one of my tentacles and coiled it around the small being in a way I hoped was reassuring. I wasn’t sure what to do. It would have been trivially easy to drag this tiny life into the depths, and hold them there until their heart beat no more. 

Such an act would surely terrify the rest of the creatures, and they would know my power. The little creature struggled pitifully in my grip; I knew what I had to do. I gripped the creature more securely and lifted them up, high above the waves. When the boat came, I gently lowered the child into the arms of its kin. The creatures waved their arms at me and made melodic sounds. I didn’t know whether they were grateful for my interference or angry at my presence, so I retreated to my lair. 

Time passed. The creatures didn’t pursue me, nor did they venture into the deep waters where I still waited. It was dangerous to linger by the tribe when the situation was ripe with ambiguity, but I remained. I was lonely and hungry for contact, even from a distance, even from these beings.

On a calm night, a fire bloomed upon the beach. The islanders had ensconced the flames in a pit of rocks, and around the pit the creatures moved to the rhythmic sounds of drums.

It was the height of madness to rise to the surface and draw close to the shore, yet I did just that. The tribe noticed my approach, but they did not chase me away. They raised their arms and sang for me, wading into the shallows. I saw an enormous effigy set high above their huts. A bundle of sticks, leaves and dyed cloth had been used to approximate a familiar shape. The effigy was of me! Even I, unfamiliar though I was with these alien customs, knew this was an act of reverence. 

“Tupua! Tupua!” The creatures chanted, hands outstretched. I didn’t know what this word meant, or if it was simply the name they had given me. I suddenly understood: I was no longer kinless and alone. This world could be mine. I could create a new family, an empire in which to dwell forever.

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About the Author

Rhiannon Stevens

rhiannon stevensRhiannon Stevens is a professional game designer and illustrator originally from New Zealand.

In her spare time, she writes and illustrates an ongoing xenofiction series which is primarily published through her website.

She lives and works in Brisbane.

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    KJ Hannah Greenberg's newest book, Owmapow Rides Again, launches Jan. 2nd.

    Find out more at her website:

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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 281

Arrival Date
By Stephanie Koorey

Far From the Tree
By Tim Borella

Friday Afternoon, Third Trimester
By Emma Louise Gill

Inflicted
By Ben F. Blitzer

Inversion
By Brian Biswas

Mater Tenebrarum
By Keech Ballard

Mr. Denton Explores the Universe
By Andrew Kozma

Property Acquisitions
By Chad Bolling

Starshine
By Andrew Dunn

The Order of Things
By Chris Karageorge

scifaiku
By PS Cottier

AntipodeanSF January 2022

ISSUE 280

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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AntiSF's Narration Team

ed erringtonAlthough a writer of the baby boom persuasion, Ed has not boomed for quite a while.

He lives with his wife plus a menagerie of non-domesticated — native Australian animals intropical North Queensland.

His writing within the ‘real’ science fiction context of COVID-19 is intermingled by long night sky vigils — searching for pesky aliens intent on maintaining their social distance to the nth degree.

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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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.

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SF Quote

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The Contributors

rhiannon stevensRhiannon Stevens is a professional game designer and illustrator originally from New Zealand.

In her spare time, she writes and illustrates an ongoing xenofiction series which is primarily published through her website.

She lives and works in Brisbane.

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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, Pangyrus, 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 first book is "Chronicity" (Melbourne Poets Union, 2020). You can read more about Michael’s work on his website: <https://mleach11.wixsite.com/writing>

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sr malone 200S.R Malone is a writer living just outside Edinburgh, Scotland.

He has been published in Synthetic Reality Magazine, 365 Tomorrows and Entropy-Squared.

When he is not writing or reading, he likes to spend time with his family and dog, going for walks in the Scottish wilderness.

Get in touch on Instagram: <s.r_malone>.

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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rudy diaz 200A Physicist in Engineer’s clothing, Rudy worked 20 years in the Defense Aerospace Industry, from performing Lightning Protection analysis on the Space Shuttle to the design of Radar Absorbing Materials. He then joined Academia as a Professor of Electrical Engineering, where for another 20 years he attempted to infect unsuspecting students with a love for Maxwell’s equations.

Since High School he has spent most of his free time either writing Science Fiction or trying to figure out how to make Science Fiction a reality. (His students' latest work has led to the realisation of efficient RF antennas that radiate using true magnetic (not electric) currents.)

His speculative fiction short stories have appeared in Residential Aliens, Ray Gun Revival, The Untold Podcast, and Antipodean SF. He blogs on the subjects of Science, Religion, and their intersection. The rest of his work is in the peer reviewed Physics and Engineering literature.

Rudy has also been involved in Jail Ministry for about 30 years. He and his wife Marcy live in Phoenix, Arizona.

Links: <https://rediazauthor.com/>

col hellmuthCol Hellmuth lives a quiet, uncomplicated life, off-grid in the Daintree rainforest of Far North Queensland.

He has scratched out a living in a variety of different jobs (and locations) over the years; these days he scratches out words in various sequences, and dreams of a day when he might be able to convert some of these ramblings into food.

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

He doesn't have any fancy letters after his name, or a pet cat, but does read a lot.

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ishmael soledad 200Ishmael, a regular contributor to Antipodean SF, hails from Brisbane.

His flash and short science fiction have appeared in Aphelion, Far Cry Magazine, Planet Web Zine, Schlock! Webzine, Short-story.me and Unrealpoloitik!, and are published in his two short story collections "Hawking Radiation" and "Sex and The Single Cosmonaut".

In 2021 his debut novel, "Sha'Kert: End of Night", was released through Temple Dark Books of Ireland.

You can connect with me on Twitter <@Ishmael_Soledad>.

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Tony Steven Williams was born in Penzance, Cornwall, UK (that’s right, the one with the pirates!).

He eventually saw the light and became an Antipodean, emigrating to Adelaide in the last millennium.

Tony and his artist wife now live in Canberra.

He is a short-fiction writer, poet and songwriter with work published in anthologies, newspapers, print and online magazines, and broadcast on the radio.

He writes across the genres but has not yet settled down to any particular species; however, SF is a very frequent visitor both in his short stories and his poetry.

His debut poetry book "Sun and Moon, Light and Dark" was published by Ginninderra Press in (2018).

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botond t 200Sometimes I can see what others don't.

Sometimes I listen to the silence and Iknow there is way too much of it down here in the countryside.

All the trees grass wooden gates and sleepwalkers are letting me down.

Very rarely I go out to thefront yard in the night and look at the stars. And I can feel in my guts it is allgoing to sink down the drain.

I look at the photo of my nephew whom I have not seen for 5 years.

I look into the mirror and see my white hair at 45.

Then I stare at the cross on the wall and I want to puke.

Somebody has already decided for me in a nice kind of way.

Too many pieces of the puzzle missing.

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/>.