Monday, March 8, 2010

Review: Antipodean SF





While lacking a little in the creative design area, AntipodeanSF nonetheless manages to fit the bill as a viable source for flash-fiction speculative writers to promote their wares. Showcasing ten tales each issue, the Australian aspect of the site is apparent and refreshing: it displays a reversed continent as a logo and is imbued with a green and gold color scheme.

That said, it was a surprise to find the first tale to be from American author Matthew Mapes, whose story The Commute ruffled my feathers a little concerning its hidden implications: the future is going to be nothing but a constricting work-world with a massive amount of time devoted to , you guessed it: commuting. There is an element of truth here . . . more and more of the worlds current climate mirrors this theme.

Next, we have a comical doozy entitled Mommy Come Quick by full time
Adelaide author Jason Fincher. It's a reverse coin attempt where we have human beings as tiny little pests and everybody's favorite aliens as lobster-like beings with huge pincers. You'll certainly want to give this one a go.

Despite the promise of the title, Douglas Belle's Aliens Don't Poop is less jovial but still fun. Almost entirely dialogue, there's a nifty little conclusion with a nice reference to our homeland. John M Floyd gives us The Stopover , where we see an intergalactic federation existing on the other side of the spectrum. 79.9 by Shaun A Saunders examines the horrifying world of retail giants and corporations with a revolutionary setting. Similar is The Language of Tomorrow by Niall Keegan; a story with the feel of big brother consumerism and is quite an original effort from the twenty year old from
Perth. However, the flash-fiction here doesn't get any better than Karen Miac and her tale Through the Window , a gem of a story that probably owns its conception to an old housewive tale but one which I found a wicked slice of female thaumaturgy and revenge. Even in such a short space, we can see that her writing skills are strong and engaging. Rounding up the ten are Re-evolution by Rob Williams: again it tackles a theme of a future gone awry , on this occasion its thanks to global warming and humanity's futile attempts to breed new organisms to combat it, resulting in an unexpected epitaph for future generations. Dust in the Wind by Wesley Parish is perhaps far too elaborate for flash-fiction; a reader will need a couple of sittings to garner it. It's intelligent, but the scope is limited. Finally, Mark Elias Keller supplies At the Top of the City. Although it was probably never intentioned by the author, this one reminds me a little of Stephen King's The Last Rung on the Ladder, whereby the solace of suicide is more fitting than the comfort of life.

AntipodeanSF aims to 'flip' the mind of the reader into another realm.' And, with a few exceptions, it manages to do this. For this reviewer 'Flash' fiction has never held great appeal, but I found myself warming to it. Also, some of the stories hint on the darker aspects, and I would like to see this continued. A featured section in this issue is the third part of a fascinating article by Dr Toni Johnston Woods of Queensland University as he investigates the state of Antipodean science fiction in the 'Pulp Years' from 1948 to 1952. This being my first read of AntipodeanSF, I went back to the archives and read through the first two parts. A critique of this will be presented in the next review.

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