By Martin Lochman

sfgenre“Warning! Tractor beam malfunction! Warning!...”

The incredibly loud mechanical voice reverberates through the halls and corridors of an enormous spherical vessel. It travels at a speed of a mere twenty kilometers per second on its way across the void of space, heading towards the centre of a star system with eight or nine reasonably sized planetary bodies.

The spacecraft is, of course, fully capable of traversing great distances in a very short amount of time but its advanced faster-than-light engines are currently recharging — hence the snail-like pace.

Despite its size, the crew of the spherical ship consists of only two beings, both members of a powerful and proud civilization whose empire spreads almost across the entire galaxy. At the moment however, both Bor and Kvar are anything but powerful and proud, their physical and psychological capabilities severely compromised by having ingested large quantities of tasty yet detrimental liquid refreshment.

Bor, who is a little better suited to handle the effects (and most importantly the after-effects) of the aforementioned liquid, is the first one to react to the repeated warnings of the ship’s main control unit. The entity slowly opens its eyes, squinting in the bright light generated by numerous screens covering the walls of the bridge. It initiates a lengthy and gruelling process to climb back into the pilot’s chair.

“Warning! Tractor…”

One of Bor’s many limbs slams a button on the control console, finally silencing the annoying screams. The near absolute silence provides an immediate relief and Bor feels its concentration coming back. It pulls up the status report...

A sudden rush of adrenaline-like hormone snaps it wide awake.

It appears that what the ship’s control unit described as a ‘malfunction’ in its warnings was actually a full-blown failure — meaning that the ten-kilometre C-type asteroid which the gigantic spacecraft was securely towing with the tractor beams is now out of their control.

“Kvar, wake up!” Bor yells at its co-pilot who is sprawled on the floor in the corner of the bridge. “We have a problem!” it offers by way of explanation when Kvor finally manages to get itself in a semi-conscious state.

As the duo struggles to re-activate the tractor beams, a tell-tale circle appears on the central screen. Under normal circumstances, the sight of a luscious blue planet like this one would be something to appreciate, but right now it only means one thing.

“Warning! Collision alert! Warning!” the control unit somehow finds its voice again.

The entities fight for control of the stubborn tractor beam emitters but luck isn’t on their side. Using its robust manoeuvering thrusters, the ship swerves on the orbit at the last possible moment and the crewmembers watch helplessly as the asteroid strikes the planet’s surface.

Sometime later, the two of them read through the results of a sensor scan. The impact had a profound negative impact on the planet’s fauna, killing many specimens and effectively condemning the vast majority of the top species of gigantic reptiles to die in the upcoming ice age.

“This was supposed to be my last haul,” Kvar whines, worrying about its retirement plans.

“Don’t worry,” Bor says and points at one of the screens. “There is an asteroid belt in this system. I am sure we can find a suitable rock there and finish the delivery.”

This seems to cheer Kvar up a bit. “And the planet?

“Who cares? Nothing intelligent was going to evolve there anyway.”

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About The Author

Martin Lochman

martin lochman 200I am a Czech emerging author currently living in Malta and working as a University librarian. My flash fiction and short stories appeared in Ikarie, a former Czech SF magazine, Theme of Absence, Aphelion, AntipodeanSF, 365tomorrows and in a bunch of Czech anthologies. You can find me at <>.


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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 247

As Time Ticks On
by Elizabeth Kovacs

by David Scholes

Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
by Andy McGee

by Mark Tremble

Left Overs
by Monica Carroll

Statement To The Ship Walkabout's Coroner
by Wes Parish

Stop Copying Me
by Jason Retallack

The Alien Nutcracker
by Brenda Anderson

What's So Funny?
by Ed Errington

My Dream Girl
by Tim Train

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AntipodeanSF January 2019


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AntiSF's Narration Team

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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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 (YA/ Fantasy — available now) and White Fire (Sci Fi — available now)

You can read more of her work on her blog Look for her on Facebook <> or Twitter: <@LaurienotLori>

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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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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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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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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) 

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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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SF News

Upcoming Cons

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: <>.

Swancon 2019 — 18/04/2019 - 22/04/2019,  Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges 46-54 Marine Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160. Swancon is Australia's longest-running science-fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction convention, and is the premiere event in Perth for fans of all forms of speculative media. More information: <>.

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 <>. AntipodeanSF will be at Continuum 15 and celebrating Issue 250 of AntiSF!

Worldcon Dublin 2019 — An Irish Worldcon 15/08/2019 till 19/08/2019, The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD). <More info here>

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.

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SF Quote we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups...So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

Philip K. Dick