Giant Mushroom Envelops Small WA Town – flash fiction in Antipodean Science Fiction, November

Another action-adventure Sci-Fi piece in Antipodean Science Fiction. Giant Mushroom Envelops Small WA Town is a quick shoot-em-up set in Western Australia (not Washington), which seems appropriate in AntiSF. Giant fungal invasions remain high on my list of fears, and it’s cool to smother Western Australia too, though I have another story on the backburner, with nasty fungus further east.

Antipodean Science Fiction publishes 10 stories monthly, each story around 500 words long.

Redcord… flash fiction in Antipodean Science Fiction

Antipodean Science Fiction is an online Australian speculative magazine which publishes flash fiction up to 500 words. They’ve published a couple of my stories over recent years – ‘Puncture Wound’ and ‘How Things Fall’ (both archived at The National Library of Australia’s Pandora Web Archive) – and this new piece is kind of interrelated to both of those, using the character (such as a character can be in a 500 word piece) Bayliss. She also appears in my story ‘Xuento’ in the Lame Goat Press book Kings of the Realm – A Dragon Anthology (yes, that’s a hard sci-fi story in a book about dragons).

The story, Redcord MacroNano Engine in Error State in the September issue is a hard-sci adventure. It’s fun taking these characters out for a spin in the depths of vacuum and I think I’ll keep on writing about them.

Cutting words to meet limits

Over the weekend I’ve been working on a couple of science fiction stories, reworking and whittling them for their intended markets. Antipodean Science Fiction, which has published a couple of my stories already, has a tight limit – around 500 words (they have a little flexibility, but not much over 500). 365Tomorrows has taken one of my stories and their limit is 600. My two current stories are 650 and 570 words respectively.

There’s a good article by Ken Rand here on the Science Fiction Writers of America site, about straightforward ways of cutting ten percent from stories and articles. That’s a good start, though having read the article a while ago I notice that I’ve been doing some of these things automatically anyway.

After that the question becomes, what can I remove without having the whole story collapse into a shambles? Perhaps I could drop the mention of the poker game in the longer story? Well, that’s important for character. But how else could I show that aspect? Perhaps if I took Karl’s character out of the other story and just let it be between Bayliss and Angela it would tighten up a bit? It feels like they need a foil, but could that just be done through the situation?

Well, I’ll keep cutting and see where it gets. Otherwise, I might just re-write them from scratch and see how they will fit with one of sites with longer limits – 1000 words feels like a lot to play with when I’ve been shooting for 500.


Okay, I know that that some of you who have read both stories from the last couple of posts – “Vampire Gustave …” and “Puncture Wound” – have noticed they have something in common. Yet the stories were written months apart, submitted months apart, and accepted months apart. That they came out within a couple of days is just coincidence. Kind of a cool coincidence though, I think.