Antithesis by Pat Whitaker


An entomologist seeking answers as to how ants communicate goes to Namibia searching for her long-lost mentor. She finds the answers, but is faced with a question she cannot answer.

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It’s a story of one person’s hunt for the truth. An ‘old school’ work of science fiction, it questions our homo-centric view of the universe and our place in it.

Antithesis: Short-listed Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2009

Juliet went looking for a man – a dead man. Her search for him, and the answers she hoped he could give her, took her to the furthest reaches of the planet.

What she found was both magnificent and terrible. What she had to decide cut across all that she was and all that she believed in.

“Juliet knew without a doubt she had found what she had come all the way to this remote part of Africa to find. Professor Makel, or at least his last resting place.

For a time she could not move, she just stood and stared at the sight before her, almost reluctant to disturb anything. Quite why she hesitated, she couldn’t say. Whether it was respect for this man who had occupied her thoughts for so long, or just that she needed to absorb not only the sight of the camp but all the emotions that swirled through her, she didn’t know. But there was no hurry. Everything had been here for thirty years; there was nothing that couldn’t wait. She walked across to a small boulder and sat down, facing the camp. She took out her canteen and had a drink, she wasn’t really thirsty as it was early in the day, it just seemed like the thing to do.

Finally, and with not a little trepidation, Juliet got up and approached the camp. It was all in surprisingly good order. The canvas was faded and tattered but still largely intact and the various boxes of supplies and equipment were neatly arranged. Admittedly, everything was partially covered with wind-blown sand, but it was clear that nobody had been here to disturb things since the Professor’s day.

After a brief glance into the empty Landrover she walked over to the tent. Pulling aside what remained of the flap she stepped inside and stopped. There before her on a simple camp bed, were the skeletal remains of a man. Still wearing the remnants of his clothing, he looked at peace—if that can truly be said of a skeleton. Certainly, to Juliet’s eye, he didn’t seem to have died of anything other than natural causes. She looked a little closer, but found nothing untoward and although the bones had long since been picked clean, they seemed to have been spared the attentions of any of the larger scavengers. Still, how could a man just lie down there and die?

On reflection, Juliet realised that there could be no answer to that. For all she knew the man may have been mortally ill, she knew nothing about him. She stepped back and stood looking down at him for some considerable time. For the first time she asked herself the obvious question, why did she suppose that finding the man was going to give her any answers?

No, that wasn’t fair; he had already given her some. She now knew that he had died. She knew where he had died and she even knew roughly when. She didn’t know why, but she was sure it was a consequence of the massacre at Ongana. She was equally sure that he had not been taken and killed by the rebels.”


“Another well researched and highly readable novel. Pat’s stories have the rare ability to inform and entertain.’“

“Pat Whitaker is a meticulous researcher with an eye for detail and he tells a fascinating story. Once started, Antithesis is hard to put down …”

“A perspective of humanity outweighed by a parallel intelligence, normally thought to be of no significance. Leaves the reader wondering, what if … ? An excellent read.”

“The hairs on the back of your neck will eventually lie down once you finish this book , but your mind may take a little longer to settle …”


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