By Robert David

sfgenreDown at the foot of the hill below Sven, scattered workers return from their shifts. It has been a long day. Now, neither light nor dark claims to master the oil wells on the nearby fields, and a fine yet distant music arises from the folds of the surrounding hills.

It seems to Sven that has seen this twilight amethyst shine before — or perhaps it is only an illusion, a sensation, a reflection of moon — the air thin, silence echoing in a stream of notes like the fall of low tonalities escaping from the vocal cords of a selfish master.

This is an oil-well town; a few houses spread over a grass blanket and thick strips of asphalt branching from one door to another.

Sven sits on the balcony on a chaise-lounge and lights his cigarette, masking the not-so-fresh air. A crane lifts indifferently in a gravel pit. A car slips into the nearby railway station.

He’d arrived this morning on the train. Sven wasn’t on holiday, not really. Sanda had given him that odd look of hers and told him they needed to spend some time apart. “A couple of days,” she’d smiled, a crease forming at the corner of her mouth, hiding for a second the brownish dot that nestled there like a thick freckle. It was something ordinary for them, this agreement; they had never had a fight.

A few stars appear on the darkling sky like diamonds lost in dark lochs. The lochs…Sven inhales deeply. Smoke fills his lungs.

The telephone rings like a cricket scared by the boots of a passerby. The curtain opens and unfolds like a bride’s gown as he enters the house and picks up the receiver.

“Hello? Good evening!” whispers a female voice on the line.

A cold shiver circles the shrunken skin of Sven’s head.

“How are you?” asks the voice.

Sven does not recognise this woman’s voice. He sits in an armchair near a small table, the telephone cradled against his ear. He’s happy to talk.

“Who are you looking for?” he answers politely. He can’t help himself.

The answer comes as a warm wind caressing his ear. “You.”

Sven’s shiver strengthens.

“I’m glad I found you,” she whispers, her voice sneaking in, reaching cold rocks at the edge of his conscious. He grips the telephone receiver and a frozen stone fills his stomach.

“Who are you?” Sven croaks.

A rustle and a simultaneous saxophone beat echo from each corner of the room — deep echoes, marred by sighs and the traces of an eerie whistle. “You know very well who I am. Relax,” she whispers again.

The music becomes louder and louder. Sven closes his eyes and settles into his soft, silky armchair.

“So…you understood…I knew it,” says the voice.

The sound of the concert whirls into reality. Sven sees each bow coming down on strings, each finger filling holes on the flute, swift hands running across the piano keyboard. Above the orchestra in their sheltered pit dances the soloist, atop a sea wall close to the wild edge — embracing the blowing wind, a hoopskirt close to her young body, hair floating under the large brim of her hat, her eyes half-closed and lips moving slowly, leaning against an umbrella. But she isn’t singing. She gazes out to sea, looking at ship masts meeting the sky, there where the water becomes blue. “I’m waiting for you…” she says. “Come back,” she whispers. “Don’t leave me,” she weeps.

The spell is broken. He feels again the cold plastic of the receiver against his sweating palm, and silence on the line.

An ordinary voice, louder than usual, makes him put the receiver back. He draws in a deep breath, inhaling the strong smell of fir tree on the falling-night air, his heart beating against his ribs. He picks up the receiver and dials a well-known phone number. His fingers shake with anticipation. Sometimes it seems things really do come in order, bearing a hidden meaning one is happy to touch when it’s most needed.

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About The Author

Robert David

robert david"Touch" is Robert David's fourth short story published in AntipodeanSF. Robert has graduated the Computer Science department from the Politehnica University of Bucharest in 1996. Since then, he has been working in IT, for various multinational companies, in software development related activities. Robert is based in Bucharest, Romania."

Robert David is happy to be a contributor for AntipodeanSF. He is looking forward to continue publishing short stories for Australian sci-fi readers. He would be even happier to get feedback about his short stories from the AntipodeanSF readers through his website:



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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.


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.


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

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 240

Hit Parade
by Kevin J. Phyland

by Estelle Owen

Mars Hence
by Ishmael Soledad

by Botond Teklesz

Screams Mean Fear Or Pain
by Kyra Thomsen

Serum 66
by Laurie Bell

Star Sign
by Roger Ley

Terminating Train
by D.A. Cairns

The Outsiders
by Ed Errington

Tinker's Curse
by Garry Dean

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(Rob Hood)

AntipodeanSF June 2018


Speculative Fiction
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,

And is a theatre reviewer for 2SER FM in Sydney.

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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 (available now).

You can read more of her work on her blog Look for her on Facebook <> 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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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, 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 <>.

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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 <>

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david whitaker 200David Whitaker is originally from the UK though has travelled around a bit and now resides in India. He has a degree in Journalism, however decided that as he’s always preferred making things up it should ultimately become a resource rather than a profession.

His stories, covering everything from sci-fi to philosophy, have been published across the globe and links to each can be found at <>

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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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SF News

SF News

Lillicat Releases "A Betrayal and Other Stories" by Brian Biswas

Lillicat Publications has relased AntiSF contributor Brian Biswas's new story collection "A Betrayal And Other Stories", now available at Smashwords and Amazon. <Find Out More>

Meerkat To Publish Eugen M. Bacon's "A Woman's Choice"

Meerkat Press has acquired AntiSF contributor Eugen M. Bacon's literary speculative novel "A Woman's Choice" for publication in 2019. Go Eugen! <Read More>


Aussie Awards News

2018 Aurealis Awards Open

2018 Aurealis Awards overseers the Continuum Foundation (ConFound) announces that the 2018 Aurealis Awards are now open for entries.

The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for speculative fiction, are for works created by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.

Full guidelines and FAQ can be found on the Aurealis Awards website: <>


Upcoming Aussie Cons

Continuum XIV: Conjugation. Melbourne’s SF Convention. 8th – 11th June, 2018. More information: <>.

Conflux 14 - The Unconventional Hero — Vibe Hotel, 1 Rogan Street, Canberra Airport ACT 2609. 29/09/2018 - 01/10/2018. More Information: <https//>. AntipodeanSF will be at Conflux 14!

Nullus Anxietas VII: The Australian Discworld Convention – will be held in Melbourne on April 12-14, 2019, and is themed on Going Postal. More information: <>

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <>

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: 

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When I die I’m going to leave my body to science fiction.

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