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Jupiter, Issue 33, July 2011

Jupiter, Issue 33, July 2011
Jupiter
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A review by Rich Horton

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The thirty-third issue of Jupiter is subtitled Euanthe, as ever after a moon of Jupiter. This issue has five stories, as well as two poems by Allen Ashley on astronomical subjects (Venus and Mercury).

The issue opens with "Battlefield of Woe" by Alexander Hawes, BSc. It alternates between scenes of Joseph fighting a losing battle on an alien planet, and scenes of him and his love at home, before his deployment. There are no real surprises here, and not much need for the story to be SF -- it's the same old sad story of the soldier leaving. V. K. Valev's "Operation Marketing" is told from the point of view of an artificially intelligent toaster. We can see where this is going, as the toaster decides its mission in life is to kill its rivals, and to support its manufacturer's market position. So -- not a new idea, but Valev rings some nice changes on it.

"The Triangular Trade," by Jon Wallace, is a longish and often interesting, but ultimately not quite successful, story. The title strongly hints that it will be about slavery, but it opens depicting a trade being made for trireme (a kind of spaceship) called the "Triangular." Burgess, the new owner, finds he also needs to hire a pilot, and she ends up leading him to another world, and to freeing a group of natives of that world that he had enslaved previously. All this is against the backdrop of a mysterious foe (?) called the "Fear." Compression is a good thing in general, but here I think a bit more expansion of the backstory behind things might have improved what is, as I said, an interesting but frustrating piece. Shane Ward's "The Cataline Downfall" worked less well for me. It tells of the downfall of an alien race, the Cataline, and the escape of their children to another place, which turns out to be Earth. I never really connected with the idea of the Cataline and their peril, and the eventual resolution simply seemed tacked on. Finally, Ian Sales' "Words Beyond the Veil" is a curious thing -- a sort of paean to death metal, using actual lyrics from an album by the death metal band Mithras to illuminate a story of contact with aliens fostered by metal music. Sales is a fine writer, and the story is well enough executed, but the basic idea was not quite inspiring to me -- still, decent work.

Copyright © 2012 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton.


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