By Kevin J. Phyland

sfgenreThere are diamonds in water. There is gold in dirt. There is heaven and hell on Earth. And there is peace and comfort somewhere...else.

My editor is not a prick..well...not per se...but she or he does have timelines that seem rather absurd.

“You promised me 3000 words by next Friday!” they said. “And I'm serious,” they continued. “And if not, your vague joke of a 'collection' is a definite no-go. Get it?”

I got it.

I was tempted to send off a transcribed copy of the 407 rejection slips I'd gathered during my career.

In my head I 'd go, “There! That's a collection, you arsehole! That's the pain and personal non-growth that accompanies the litbiz! And yes...if you notice a theme that somehow implies that all my stories 'end in futility' then you might start to wonder why I feel like I do!”

But I didn't.

It would be futile. The irony didn't escape me.

I also wondered whether numbers would add to the”The countdown began...3000, 2999, 2998...” but I'm not Mozart. I couldn't juggle that many balls in the air at once and make it still work. The words are all there, I just have to put them in the right order.

So, next Friday. That gave me eight days. A deadline.

I typed like crazy. Putting ideas, plot devices and half a dozen possible resolutions. That's what you do. Let the readers try to guess what you're doing. But they never will because I had a new idea.

Halfway to the deadline and still no real plot or resolution. Usually I have the start and the end before I start and the middle fills itself a limerick...but not this time. The deadline had given me what I hoped was a temporary writer's block.

Then it came to me.

What if it was really a deadline? Like I'd die? OK. I finally had somewhere to go.

So I send in the's only 350 words.

“I'm sorry,” I wrote, “it's not the whole thing...but it's a start.”

I email it off.

A day to go. Then I get a reply. A form letter... “Ends in futility.”

I thought about that for a while. So many times. The world is slightly futile.

Only needed one more email.

“Thank you for considering my short piece of fiction.” It needed an ending.

“If only it was just fiction.”

Now that's futility.

rocket crux 2 75

About The Author

Kevin J. Phyland

Kevin J. Phyland

Finally officially retired. Writing will now take up a bit more of my time. Still working on longer pieces. 33 years spent teaching. Writing since I was 12 on and off. Something had to give. I have a penchant for short, choppy, staccato sentences with too many adjectives.


AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

asff img

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.


Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version: 

Kindle version: 

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 232

An Angelic Interview With Saltbush Bill
by Wes Parish

Daughter Of The Sea
By George Nikolopoulos

By Eugen M. Bacon

Executive Reward
By David Scholes

By Simon Pinkerton

Good Intentions
By Simon Petrie

Mighty Mouth
By Tony Owens

New Moon Madness
By Kim Rose

The Broken Clock
By Sue Clennell

Universal Behaviour
By Benjamin Hayes

Get Dimension 6


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


Speculative Fiction
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

rocket crux 2 75

SF News

SF News


Take a listen to Dr. Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist on Radio National’s “Big Ideas” with Paul Barclay, who sums up Finkel’s speech in the following way:

“Our future leaders and policy makers should read more science fiction…scifi can be useful for the building of a good society.”

You can find the program audio here: <>, originally broadcast on ABC Radio National on Tuesday September 19 2017.


Upcoming Aussie Cons

Sydney Freecon 2017
Free Entry SF&F / speculative fiction event. November 3, 4 and 5, 2017. A weekend about the ideas found in SF&F, including a short story competition. More information: <> or contact Garry at <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>.

Genrecon 2017
State Library of QLD 10-12 November 2017. More information <>.

Swancon 2018 (NatCon)
Transmogrification. Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth. (Easter) 29 March to 02 April 2018. Guests: Kameron Hurley, Ryan Griffen, Barb de la Hunty. More information: <>.

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

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: <>

AntiSF will be at Swancon (2018).

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show Podcast

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 episode online here: 

S5 Box

Login Form

S5 Register

You need to enable user registration from User Manager/Options in the backend of Joomla before this module will activate.

SF Quote

If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire