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Jupiter, Issue 18, October 2007

Jupiter, Issue 18, October 2007
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:
19 Bedford Road
BA21 5UG

Jupiter's Blog

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

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 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 -- there are five stories, plus one poem and one brief book review.

I would say that the stories for the most part rank at the higher end of the semi-pro scale. In particular, the central ideas tend to be pretty nice, but the plots and writing don't always hold up.

Corey Kellgren's "The Halo Effect" posits a future in which most people are altered to be incapable of violence -- but also incapable of real creativity. I found the violence/creativity link perhaps a bit unbelievable, or at least not justified. I also didn't understand why the story seemed set on another planet. But it moved nicely enough -- telling of a journalist interviewing an unmodified young pop singer.

"Racer's Gambit" by Christopher Lockhart is one of those stories whose arc is inevitable from the first -- a veteran racer needs to win one more race to be able to retire in comfort -- but the risks are high. The SFnal gimmick is that racers are mentally linked with their vehicles -- and too much racing can lead to a racer sort of vanishing into virtuality. No surprises here again -- but it is well executed.

R.R. Angell's "Run Off" is the longest story here -- a corporate wage slave is pushed by his lover to recognize the environmental depredations perpetrated by his employers -- at the risk of losing his job. The real weakness here is that the story, which seems aimed at contemporary issues, is set far in the future, which lessens its impact.

Guy T Martland's "(Patho)logical Necessity" is pretty cute, but again not really believable -- excusable in this case as the story is satirical. The idea is that doctor operations are filmed, so that doctors become stars and make more money based on the interest their broadcasts generate. Which of course opens opportunities for corruption. And finally "The Blue Man's Burden" by Elaine Graham-Leigh may be the best story here -- Earth has been, more or less by accident, conquered by aliens, who have sent a mission to the planet to try to bring it out of its primitiveness. The aliens have two factions -- one is willing to manipulate Earth politics, not caring about humans as individuals, to advance the aliens' interests -- and the other believes in simply helping humans one by one to improve their lives. The story plays out as a human girl, adopted by an alien missionary, is coopted by other aliens to act as a spy. The structure is just a bit off, but the story is interesting and nicely ambiguous -- the more obviously "virtuous" point of view isn't allowed easy approval.

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.

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

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