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Jupiter, Issue 19, January 2008

Jupiter, Issue 19, January 2008
Jupiter
Yearly subscriptions (4 issues) are available in the UK for 10, Europe for 12 and the rest of the world for 14. Cheques or postal orders (sterling only) should be payable to "Ian Redman" and sent to:
Jupiter
19 Bedford Road
Yeovil
Somerset
BA21 5UG

Jupiter's Blog

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

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I'll repeat what I said by introduction when I reviewed the previous issue of this magazine: "Jupiter is an SF magazine -- and I do mean SF as in Science Fiction -- based in the UK. It has been around for some time -- 18 [now 19!] issues is a respectable total. The editor is Ian Redman. The magazine's appearance is modest: A-size sheets folded in half and saddle-stapled, black and white cover and no interior illustrations. But that's really not a drawback -- the presentation is very clean, the font nicely chosen and nicely sized (though it is interesting that UK magazines seem to prefer san serif fonts, unlike most US magazines). The focus is heavily on fiction ..." This time around there are five stories, plus one poem. The quality of the fiction remains about the same -- interesting but not fully successful stories, somewhere towards the higher end of semi-pro SF.

I think my favorite story here is the longest, a novelette called "O-Topper: The Musical", by Monte Davis. Much of what I like is the weird presentation of what is a fairly familiar basic story: time travel tourism, in this case rich men battling Huns. But the organizer of the tours insists on art -- he's a cross-dressing clown and he dresses up his clients similarly. The tour itself has a shocking side -- the tourists' mantra is "You can't kill what's already dead," but of course they are killing these people. Which becomes personal when a pretty red-haired village girl is involved...

David Towsey's "By the River" is a dark tale of a war-torn future in which some of the dead become the "Walkin'" (sort of zombies), and what happens when a young girl decides to find her Walkin' father. Much is intriguing here, especially the nature of the Walkin', but the story is a bit too unfocussed. Philip K. Lentz's "The Penetration of Luna" is again a bit unfocussed, blunting the emotional impact of a story of a man who meets an enticing woman on a trip to the Moon -- except that he has a special mission. Gustavo Bondoni's "As Advertised" nicely enough details a scam involving a machine that enforces advertising messages by brain alteration. Gereth D. Jones's "Roadwalker" seems set in a post-holocaust, or at least post-collapse, future -- for some mysterious reason a road has been built through a small village, and a young man decides to walk it, to see where it leads. Modest but pleasant -- and not finished: the story is a sequel, and clearly it will have sequels of its own. The poem is a fine lyric by Kristine Ong Muslim, "Star Lost."

Again what I said before in conclusion still applies: "This is a rather nice little magazine -- none of the stories here are great, but they are all in their way interesting. All a bit old-fashioned -- refreshingly so -- in their straightforward science-fictional focus." Indeed, in outlook the magazine reminded me a couple of times of 50s 'zines. "As Advertised" could have appeared in Galaxy, "Roadwalker" in Startling, even "O-Topper," for all its weirdness, reminded me at times of Poul Anderson or L. Sprague de Camp, with one of their lesser stories that might have ended up in the likes of Imagination or Future. I don't think this is a bad thing, necessarily -- it would be a bad thing if there weren't alternatives,but there are, and Jupiter does what it does quite nicely.

Copyright © 2008 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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