Breathing Space

By Tim Cadman

sfgenreMeena Racz was — as usual — doing piecework at the table in the living area of her and her husband’s tiny habitation module on the small planetoid of Colony 37J. Their living quarters were not much bigger than her single room apartment back home and she could never go outside without suiting up. Besides, there was nothing much to see anyway, except for a few stars and the satellites orbiting overhead.

Ever since Ogdan had left for his six-day roster at the algae farm she had been thinking about how she was going to raise enough money to get back to Earth before she went insane.

Ogdan had no intention of returning. He was too lazy to cope anywhere else but here. Work at the farm was easy, boring and monotonous, and he seemed to like it that way. He was just as hopeless with his chores around the module, never fixing anything and leaving jobs undone.

Her reverie was broken by the strident and alarmed voice of the house computer.

“Emergency! Emergency! Oxygen supplies are critical and will shortly be exhausted! Please leave this module and seek immediate help! Get into your vacuum suit at once!”

It took almost five minutes to get suited up. Meena noticed the oxygen levels in the tanks were low — less than two hours. Another task Ogdan had neglected. She would have to get to their nearest neighbours, a good hour’s walk. She felt her pulse racing, and it became cold and clammy inside the cumbersome suit. She forced herself to breathe slowly, and knowing she had no option, started the long trek. The landscape crawled by, a monotonous collection of space dust, small craters and junk. She had never felt so terrified — and alone — in her life.

It was with enormous relief that Meena saw light a couple of hundred metres away, but when she arrived, no one was home and the portal was locked. She was stranded.

She made it halfway back before her oxygen ran out, and after a frantic minute of struggle to breathe, she collapsed.

***

Meena woke back in her own module. An anxious, handsome man sat by her bed. He coughed politely and somewhat awkwardly offered his hand. “Hi. I’m sorry to have met you under such circumstances. I’m Colony Services Officer Patrick O’Byrne. You were down on my schedule for a visit to see if everything was okay. It’s lucky I came along when I did. You were almost a goner. I brought you back here but your module was without oxygen. I changed the filters for you. Who do you get to service them? They were leaking all your air outside!”

Meena looked up at Patrick. He was watching her with an unnerving intensity. He was much more handsome than Ogdan. Slowly, cautiously, she reached for his hand and held it. She didn’t say anything. Then he held her, and she clung fiercely to him, great wracking sobs heaving through her body...

***

Next day, when Ogdan returned, Meena didn’t say a word about her brush with death.

The following morning, before her husband was up, she put the old filters back into the oxygen supply, fixed the house communicator so it would short out if used, emptied the tanks on his work suit (leaving less than an hour’s air), made his breakfast, put on her old suit — now fully functional, thanks to Patrick — and shook him awake.

“Good morning, sweetie. Here’s some nice breakfast for you. I’m off to the neighbour’s. I hope you don’t mind. A message came in this morning. There’s a workshop on how to do macramé with old optical fibre. I won’t be long. If you need me, you know where to call.”

She kissed him, and without a backward glance, closed her faceplate, cycled through the vacuum chamber, and strode off to her assignation with Patrick.

 rocket crux 2 75

About The Author

Tim Cadman

tim cadmanDr Timothy Cadman specialises in the governance of sustainable development, environmental politics and policy, climate change, natural resource management including forestry, responsible investment and institutional performance. The first volume of his ‘CliFi’ trilogy, The Changes: Refuge, was published in late 2017.

aus25grn

 

 

Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version: 

Kindle version: 

AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

ASFF logo 200

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.

<http://asff.org.au>

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.

aus25grn

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.

aus25grn

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 244

Darkstar
by Ishmael A. Soledad

Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden
by Louise Burch

Hollywood Product
by J. H. Malone

Jerry Cornelius (The English Assassin)
by Roger Ley

Miscalculations
by Imogen Cassidy

Old City
by Trent Jamieson

Silver Lining
by Rex Caleval

Silverware
by Simon Petrie

A Necessary Intervention
by Zebuline Carter

Star Dream
by Theodore Irvin Silar

Get Dimension 6

D6sidebar

Get Dimension 6 Speculative Fiction

From Coeur De Lion Publishing

Here at AntiSF
Download D6 Now!

"Trust me, you want this free speculative fiction e-zine."
(Rob Hood)

AntipodeanSF October 2018

ISSUE 243

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

AntiSF's Narration Team

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.

old style mic flat 25

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>

 old style mic flat 25

 

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.

old style mic flat 25

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>.

old style mic flat 25

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 <wordsbydavid.com>

old style mic flat 25

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) 

old style mic flat 25

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 <www.facebook.com/WriterLaurieBell/> or Twitter: <@LaurienotLori>

old style mic flat 25

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.

old style mic flat 25

SF News

SF News

Roger Ley's story in this issue "Pilgrimage"  has gained an Honourable Mention in the Writers of the Future competition.

Congratulations Roger!

 

Upcoming Aussie Cons

Oztrek 14 Adelaide — Saturday Oct 6, Brisbane — Sunday Oct 7, Melbourne — Saturday Oct 13, Sydney — Sunday Oct 14. Guests John Billingsley & Sara Mitich. <http://www.firstcontactconventions.com.au/oztrek14.html>.

2018 SciFi Film Festival 18-21 Oct Event Cinemas George St Sydney <http://scififilmfestival.com/>.

Monsterfest Horror Movie Festival 22-25 November, Cinema Nova Melbourne <https://www.monsterfest.com.au/>.

INDIE COMIC CON 2018 8 Dec Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne Free event. <http://www.indiecomiccon.com.au/>.

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: <https://ausdwcon.org/>.

Continuum 15 Other Worlds (Natcon 58): Continuum 15 is the Australian National SF Convention, to be held in Melbourne on June 7–10. More information and memberships <https://continuum.org.au>. AntipodeanSF will be at Continuum 15 and celebrating Issue 250 of AntiSF!

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

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Arthur C. Clarke