The Dream Report

By Chris Kelso

sfgenreIt’s always fascinating to see dream and memory mating in the primal waters of imagination. It will be an honour to witness Dechaume’s union.

At the summit we see a great waste of desert. I’m surprised because this seems like such an obvious dream-metaphor for writer’s block. Almost too obvious a metaphor for such a visionary writer like Dechaume — after all, it’s a privilege being granted access to his inner creative kingdom. And Dechaume’s historic contempt for journalists has not gone undocumented. We’re certainly grateful. We just expected something a bit more original.

Anyway, we can’t complain.

Even if we have no success in fixing his writer’s block, well, the advance money we received from the New York Times in exchange for the exclusive rights to our footage should tide us over nicely, for a time at least. I mean, this really is a once-in-a-lifetime job.

I take a moment to document my peripherals on the hand-held dictaphone. I’m compelled to note everything for posterity. I feel seas of shifting mineral brush over my ankles and there is a peace here the kind of which I am wholly unfamiliar with — the kind of calm that only the great Dechaume could imagine in all his ethereal genius. The sun sits as a great ghost ship marooned in the sky. Even in artistic limbo he can be breath-taking.

Then the shifting minerals change into something else. Something obscure, alien, and suddenly moving en masse. Hordes of insects appear, distinguished from obscurity by the sky’s burning vessel. I tell John, my cameraman, to train the lens on the thick column of code-covered insects. This is classic Dechaume. His subconscious is trying to tell us something by stimulating the perceptual content around him. I sense we are edging closer to an explanation for his writer’s block. The little dream-algorithms scurry in a northerly direction. Leading us, perhaps, to vital pieces of code that might complete the puzzle.

“We must be near a hot zone, John. Quick, turn up the fMRI resolution. Let’s see where these things came from and what they’re made of.”

John complies and the temporal-res of the environment throbs with new creative activity.

“Creative neurons all right.” —  John confirms.

As documenters of Dechaume’s private dreamscape, we have been trained to spot the obvious signs of subconscious communication, and as an accomplished oneironaut, Dechaume is theoretically with us every step of the way as a sort of lucid dream guide. And, of course, he stressed the importance of being present, metacognitively if not physically. We are exploring one of the preeminent voices of our generation. You can understand his sense of caution given that his mind is such a sought-after intellectual commodity. Our apparatus can achieve astonishing feats of tacit knowledge but trust is something you have to earn over time through hard work and loyalty. But it’s clear Dechaume trusts us to some extent, if not unsupervised.

The insects scurry along the infinite drift and the viewfinder of John’s camera glows with alluvium dreamscape.

New York Times, here we come! 

I document to the listening dictaphone that this silent mud-cracked vista is a mute testimony to an intelligence far greater than our own. These affirmations are about posterity, sure, but they’re also about keeping the grandmaster confident in our motives. We respect him and have no intention of exploiting him — and in dreams we are at our most vulnerable. If Dechaume starts feeling uneasy, he will eject us from his mind in a heartbeat. This job is all about relationships. 

The winds of change sweep in from the west. I look up from the travelling insects and see the skeleton of some fallen behemoth laid before us.

“Are you getting this?” — I nudge John who brings the camera to eye level.

“What is it?” — he asks. 

I survey the half-buried fossils. “Some relic of imagination. It’s had its bones picked clean by some-thing. By someone.”

The words are barely out of my mouth when I see a large spider emerge from behind the fractured birdcage of bone. I jerk back in fright. My Freudian education comes to the forefront — cigars, insects, spiders, fear, guilt. 

Danger. 

The arachnid scuttles cautiously down the left beam, taking sudden strides towards the colony of insects at our feet. The insects panic and try to disperse, screaming into sentience as the spider wraps its silk around the mass and consumes them in one foul movement of predatory engagement. Jaws flapping, acid spewing.

The screams of lost sentience.

“You know what this means?” — I turn to John, astonished.

“Oh, Christ...dream thieves?”

“Relax, this is an even bigger scoop!”

The Spiders.

John and I have heard of them. This is their calling card — spiders appearing from all corners to purge the algorithms of poor unsuspecting personal landscapes. All in the name of intellectual property fraud. It’s easy money if you can infiltrate the right brain and utilise the right covert distractions. I’m starting to doubt if this desert is authentic. It’s looking more like this desert is actually a front, an elaborate deceit created by these criminals to distract us.

I curse myself for failing to see through such flimsy camouflage.

But the emptiness shocks me. It certainly makes sense that these factions would target the most fertile imaginations of our generation, but Dechaume’s mind has almost been entirely emptied of its creative content. I mean, they cleared the place out! Suddenly it occurs to me that John and I might be part of a much bigger conspiracy. A wholesale mind theft! My excitement dissipates and my next urge is to get out of Dechaume’s head and regroup. Collect our data. Get more help. I turn to John but he is nowhere to be seen. The barren landscape starts bleeding like a Salvador Dali depiction of Cadaqués and my own form is soon as afflicted; my colours in quick deluge, hands pixelating to nothingness before my very eyes.

Blackness rushes towards me.

I’m being ejected from the dreamscape by Dechaume. What is he doing? Is he panicking? I can’t collect my thoughts and I’m powerless. My limbs are stalks of wet spaghetti. The void sucks me into it and my shrieking heart roasts to a pulp in the microwave of my chest.

I release a silent scream…

***

When I come to, I’m lying supine in the sensory isolation booth. Heart racing, but no longer a mangled pulp. I get up and go to the adjacent chambers where the resting, dreaming bodies of John and Dechaume should be.

Both are gone, scalp electrodes floating in 2-inches of water.

I call after John but I have a feeling in my gut that he is either being held captive by The Spiders or was accidentally subsumed by Dechaume in his state of self-conscious panic. I go to the printer and see my dictaphone monologues stacked in a neat pile in the tray. I re-read some of my notes but they’re all indecipherable algorithms. They’ve been converted to some kind of abstract neuro-algebra. So, the Spiders have scrambled my notes. The bastards. The New York Times will never accept this, especially without any live footage. I notice a footnote that reads in plain text, like an editor’s additional comment — 

‘Weak premise for science fiction story about dream journalists and dream usurpers. Farfetched and convoluted. Characters are two dimensional, especially ‘John’ who was actually a double agent corrupted by The Spiders and sent to surreptitiously appropriate my thoughts anyway. The main character was so simple-minded that he didn’t notice this betrayal. Back to the drawing board. More care next time.’

I hear the ominous scuttling of spider legs on dream-laminate.

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About the Author

Chris Kelso

chris kelso 200Chris Kelso is an award-winning genre writer, editor, and illustrator from Scotland. His short stories and articles have appeared in magazines and journals across the UK, US, and Canada, including: SF Signal, Lovecraft ezine, Daily Science Fiction, AntipodeanSF, Dark Discoveries, Pantheon, Evergreen Review, Sensitive Skin, Shoreline of Infinity, The Airgonaut, New Coin, Verbicide and many more.

His work has been translated into French and he is the two-time winner of the Ginger Nuts of Horror Novel of the Year (in 2016 for 'Unger House Radicals’ and in 2017 for its sequel 'Shrapnel Apartments'). 'The Black Dog Eats the City' made Weird Fiction Review's Best of 2014 list. ‘Shrapnel Apartments’ was endorsed by Dennis Cooper on his blog — “4 Books I read and Loved”.

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AntiSF & The ASFF

AntipodeanSF supports the ASFF

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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.

<https://asff.org.au>

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

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 257

A Tale of Tyl Feánn: In which loyalty is tested
by Steve Duffy

Couples Therapy
By Roger Ley

Crocs are Incorruptible
By Wes Parish

Cryogenic Heartbreak
By Terry Persun

Fruitricide
By Michael T. Schaper

Hole
By BG Hilton

Mallcity Endgame: The Great Velocity
By Shaun A. Saunders

RXPV
By Geraldine Borella

The Longest Journey
By George Nikolopoulos

The Sea Will Have
By Deborah Sheldon

The Washing Machine Ate the Socks
By Sayo Onada

The Contributors

jt velikovsky 200JT Velikovsky is an Aussie transmedia writer, cartoonist, musician, inventor, actor, director, firefighter, academic, and rabid A.I. enthusiast(!)

His short stories have appeared in 365 Tomorrows, the anthology Shadows of Life, and Opus magazine. His screenwriting credits include the videogame Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal, the movie Caught Inside, and the TV show The Comedy Sale! His satirical sci-fi novel A Meaningless Sequence of Arbitrary Symbols (2011) is on Amazon. JT received his Ph.D (on: Movie Creativity) in 2016, and is currently reading several books as fast as he can write them.

Transmedia Writing website: <https://on-writering.blogspot.com/>

PhD blog: <https://storyality.wordpress.com/>

YouTube: <https://www.youtube.com/joeteevee>

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james walton 200James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, and mostly a public sector union official.

He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers.

He has been shortlisted for the ACU National Literature Prize, the MPU International Prize, The William Wantling Prize, the James Tate Prize, and is a winner of the Raw Art Review Chapbook Competition.

His poetry collections include The Leviathan’s Apprentice 2015, Walking Through Fences 2018, Unstill Mosaics 2019, and ‘Abandoned Soliloquies’, 2019.

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terry persun 200Terry Persun’s poems and stories have appeared in many magazines including Wisconsin Review, Kansas Quarterly, Riverrun, Rattle, Hiram Poetry Review, Bluestem, NEBO, Cirque, Eclipse, Bacopa, and many others.

His poems have appeared in six, chapbooks and five collections.

He was recently included in the 2019 Rhysling Anthology for sicnce fiction and fantasy poetry. He is also a novelist and has recently won first place in the Book Excellence Awards for science fiction.

Terry speaks at writers’ conferences and universities across the country. <www.TerryPersun.com>.

S.A. McKenzie lives on one of the better-looking islands of New Zealand, in the earthquake-ravaged ruins of Christchurch. After surviving more than 12,000 aftershocks she has become adept at estimating the exact magnitude of any quake based on the amount of coffee spilled.

She writes offbeat and blackly humorous science fiction and fantasy stories featuring time travelling rabbits, carnivorous unicorns and man-eating subway trains, because someone has to speak up for these misunderstood creatures.

Find her online at <www.hedgehogcircus.com>.

JD Campbell has been creating alternate realities and transforming factical realities for several decades.

A self-taught writer, musician and artist and unfortunate member of the 21st Century precariat, they live in Melbourne with two rats named Being and Nothingness.

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JacobEdwards 200Jacob Edwards hails from Brisbane and spends much of his time either writing or indulging his love of 80s synthpop.

He served two tours of duty stacking deckchairs for Andromeda Spaceways and has contributed a chic 60s-era Doctor Who monograph (#32: The Romans) to Obverse Book’s Black Archive range.

Jacob can be found online at <www.jacobedwards.id.au> or very occasionally tweeting <@ToastyVogon>.

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mconlyMichael Connolly lives in Bowraville NSW, Australia. He has worked as an art teacher, music teacher, printer and illustrator among other things (such as chicken de-beaker), and has a keen interest in science-fiction and the natural sciences. He has illustrated for the magazine Tabula Rasa, which specialises in the horror genre, and is a regular contributor to AntipodeanSF.

consig

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martin lochman 200I am an emerging author from the Czech Republic, currently living and working as a University librarian in Malta.

I first started writing and publishing in Czech but as time went by and my affinity for English language grew, I switched to English.

Some of my flash fiction and short stories appeared (or are forthcoming) in Theme of Absence, Asymmetry Fiction, Aphelion, Aurora Wolf, AntipodeanSF, 101Words, The Weird and Whatnot, and 365tomorrows.

You can find me at: <https://martinlochmanauthor.wordpress.com/> or twitter: < @MartinLochman>.

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chris kelso 200Chris Kelso is an award-winning genre writer, editor, and illustrator from Scotland. His short stories and articles have appeared in magazines and journals across the UK, US, and Canada, including: SF Signal, Lovecraft ezine, Daily Science Fiction, AntipodeanSF, Dark Discoveries, Pantheon, Evergreen Review, Sensitive Skin, Shoreline of Infinity, The Airgonaut, New Coin, Verbicide and many more.

His work has been translated into French and he is the two-time winner of the Ginger Nuts of Horror Novel of the Year (in 2016 for 'Unger House Radicals’ and in 2017 for its sequel 'Shrapnel Apartments'). 'The Black Dog Eats the City' made Weird Fiction Review's Best of 2014 list. ‘Shrapnel Apartments’ was endorsed by Dennis Cooper on his blog — “4 Books I read and Loved”.

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col hellmuth

This story is a linking piece to two stories previously published in Antipodean SF, Coffee With God (Issue 245) and Frank's Best Friend (Issue 250) both first drafted whilst living in Western Australia, where I spent the best part of two decades. This piece (ironically written whilst sitting on the bank of Emmagen creek in FNQ) is an attempt, not just to further develop some recycled characters beyond the limitations of the short short story format, but also to give these stories a sense of place, a nod to the multitude of unique landscapes (and people) to be found in WA. The huge distances and wide open spaces between locations are also riddled with untold stories, so many that I find myself still writing them years after moving back to North Queensland.

Col Hellmuth lives a quiet (excepting weekly jam nights,) uncomplicated life, off-grid in the Daintree rainforest of Far North Queensland.

His day jobs over the years have found him contracted to do various work around the country in such exotic locations as mine-sites, SAS barracks, a Collins-class submarine, prisons, operating-theatres, swanky restaurants and wineries, chicken sheds, the Great Barrier Reef and the open road. He does not have any fancy letters after his name, or a pet cat, but does read a lot. 

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

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I've read and watched sci-fi all my life I think it's time to give back instead of just taking. My stories have appeared in Aphelion, AntipodeanSF, Far Cry Magazine, Planet Web Zine, Schlock! Webzine, Short-story.me and Unrealpoloitik!. I have one short story collection - Hawking Radiation - published and am currently working on my first novel, due for release in 2020. You can connect with me on Twitter (@Ishmael_Soledad) or my blog at: <https://ishmael-a-soledad.com/>

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eugenbaconEugen Bacon has sold many stories and articles, together with anthologies. Her stories have won, been shortlisted and commended in international awards, including the Bridport Prize, L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and Copyright Agency Prize. Literary speculative novel — Meerkat Press (2019). Creative nonfiction book — Macmillan (2019)

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derek smith 100I am a writer and published author with many short fiction stories published in online and print magazines. My first books were SF including an anthology of all my published and unpublished short fiction. My last book, The Boarding House, was a very long term project a story based on my early time in Oz. I am a baby boomer born in England but migrated to Australia in 1966 when I was eighteen. I live in Canberra now with my family and am all but retired from writing. My current author page is here: <https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8277328.Derek_Smith>.

Shaun Saunders lives at the beachside suburb of Merewether, in Newcastle, NSW. He particularly enjoys Asimov's Foundation universe, and stories from the 'golden age' of SF. He is a regular contributor to AntipodeanSF, and winner of 2003 & 2004 AntiSF awards, and the inaugural 2005 SFSSC. His novel Mallcity 14 has been favourably compared with both 1984 and Brave New World.

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AntipodeanSF January 2020

ISSUE 256

Speculative Fiction
Downside-Up
ISSN 1442-0686

Online Since Feb 1998

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Download AntiSF E-Book

Epub version:

Kindle version:

Poetry

By James Walton

sfgenreYou can get your fingers burned
by Creation’s vanities
the way they hop skip and jump
into various unknowns
or can be motionless pretending
a confirmation beyond them yet

The energy of one of their minds
freed of hemispheric axis
would drive dimensional shift
get you transpired home
solve the linguistic paradox
generate new nebula storms

They like to shape and fix things
with artistry beyond lexicon
but their world is on broken stilts
what they could be teeters
between fronds of unfolding stamens
and the wreckage of diminishing returns

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About the Author

James Walton

james walton 200James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, and mostly a public sector union official.

He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers.

He has been shortlisted for the ACU National Literature Prize, the MPU International Prize, The William Wantling Prize, the James Tate Prize, and is a winner of the Raw Art Review Chapbook Competition.

His poetry collections include The Leviathan’s Apprentice 2015, Walking Through Fences 2018, Unstill Mosaics 2019, and ‘Abandoned Soliloquies’, 2019.

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By Terry Persun

sfgenreSpace Station Interlude
manual adjustments 
connect, clamp 
secure attachment 
open hatch 

join crew 
complete experiments 
log findings 
eat, exercise 
sleep, work 
again…again 

check systems 
reenter rocket 
set course 
going home 
can’t wait

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About the Author

Terry Persun

terry persun 200Terry Persun’s poems and stories have appeared in many magazines including Wisconsin Review, Kansas Quarterly, Riverrun, Rattle, Hiram Poetry Review, Bluestem, NEBO, Cirque, Eclipse, Bacopa, and many others.

His poems have appeared in six, chapbooks and five collections.

He was recently included in the 2019 Rhysling Anthology for sicnce fiction and fantasy poetry. He is also a novelist and has recently won first place in the Book Excellence Awards for science fiction.

Terry speaks at writers’ conferences and universities across the country. <www.TerryPersun.com>.

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.

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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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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>

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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 <wordsbydavid.com>

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

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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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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

Upcoming Cons

Swancon 45 - National Convention 2020. 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: <https://swancon.com.au/>

WorldCon 78 2020 ConZealand, 29/07/2020 - 02/08/2020 Wellington, New Zealand Worldcon 78 in 2020 is to be held in Wellington, New Zealand, on 29 July – 02 August 2020. Antipodeans, mark it in your calendar now — and the rest of the world, well, it’s time for you mark it in your calendars too: to visit the other side in 2020. Facilities for the event include: TSB Arena and Shed 6, the Michael Fowler Centre and the Intercontinental Hotel. More information is on offer at the official website of ConZealand: <https://conzealand.nz/about-conzealand/>. AntipodeanSF's editor, Nuke, will be at ConZealand!

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

Niven's Law: There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool following it.

Larry Niven

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