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Jupiter # 24: SF Magazine July 2009: Jupiter XXV Erinome

01/09/2009. Contributed by Rod MacDonald

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pub: Ian Redman, 19 Bedford Road, Yeovil, Somerset BA21 5UG, UK. 56 A5 magazine. ISSN: 1740-2069. Price: 2.75 plus postage (UK). 4.99 PDF for 4 issues (requires 1.5mb in mailbox).

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The 25th issue of Jupiter has emerged. To mark this event, I would have thought that a little trumpet blowing on their part would have taken place. Nothing of the sort. Not even an editorial! No, 'Jupiter Magazine' allows the fiction to speak for itself and in this case we have five excellent stories to entertain the readers.

'Radio Free' by Sam Kepfield, an on the road story by is set in America concerns a DJ and his girl-friend evading the clutches of an autocratic government where free speech and independent thought doesn't seem to be allowed. Although the DJ, mature in years is a bit past his best, he is galvanised by his youthful female companion. They get the best out of each other in their adventures across the country.

Fet Milner gave us a really good and gripping story called 'On The Commodore'. We are all at sea with this one, literally, in an 'Ancient Mariner' frame of mind. As the story unfolds, we begin to understand the scenario of a maritime planet where most people live by catching fish. This planet has a captured rotation which keeps one side to the sun with the other in perpetual darkness. The fishermen have to go into the dark side to catch fish and are gripped by superstition and fear.

It also transpires that the planet is part of a Galactic Empire but unless they have a large amount of money, they are stuck where they are, socially immobile without much hope for the future beyond their dangerous and mundane jobs. Alcohol is the main sustenance.

A small fishing vessel with half a dozen crew make a journey through the dark side to catch fish. The captain is dead and the crew leave him on the mess table for days, watched with awe and trepidation. Depression descends with the darkness and the men become jittery. The story is the journey that many of us take at some point in our lives. Thoroughly recommended!

'The Oracle' by Kate Kelly was a rather disturbing tale. Not the sort of thing you would want to read if you were claustrophobic! Set in the future beside the Bay of Naples which has been badly affected by an eruption of Vesuvius, archaeologists descend into the earth to encounter a strange cavern. Some claim that they have discovered an Oracle similar to the one at Delphi.

What's real and what isn't, that's a question the archaeologists have to ask themselves. Were they affected by gases and who were the strange figures momentarily appearing amidst scenes of mayhem and bloody devastation? Of course, it would be folly to descend further but still they do!

'The Mariner' by Neil Clift seemed to be an ordinary enough story about someone in a yacht race but then we find his companion is a bee. Of course, this is no ordinary bee. It is a product of the future and it's been genetically modified. Now, read on about the man and bee!

Vera Sepulveda gave us 'Dusting Tycho'. An excellent story set on the moon, as you would expect from the title, but it looked outward to the Solar System and other planets. This was a very effective and nostalgic tale about humans living in the future. Reading this, you could imagine yourself being there.

All in all, a very good issue of 'Jupiter'. The high standard set by this magazine continues to improve.

Rod MacDonald

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