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Jupiter # 26: SF Magazine April 2009: Jupiter XXVI Isonoe

01/12/2009. 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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'Jupiter' has now reached its 26th edition! This magazine continues its high standard of Science Fiction literature with four readable short stories which will undoubtedly entertain you.

David Conyers is a rising star and I'm sure we will be hearing a lot more about him in the future. He certainly hasn't let us down with this offering entitled 'The Octagon'. So good are the scenarios he dreams up that I'm beginning to wonder if he is really a time traveller from the future.

This is a story about a reality TV show but it is set in the 24th century and the audience is some 800 million. People don't really change in attitudes and aspirations over the years and we can readily identify the four characters who are deposited into this weird building on a distant planet circling a red star. The Octagon is a bit of a mystery. Anyone sent into it in the past didn't possess good survival prospects because alien creatures of an unknown origin inhabiting the building made any meaningful attempt to communicate with them end in disaster.

Of course, you can be sure that matters don't run smoothly. We are not just inside the Octagon, we are also with the people who run the show. Their sincerity is a thin veneer, only a reflection of the multi-planet society which has evolved and the outcome even for survivors is not pleasant.

'The Space Sphinx' by Edward Rodosek was, to me, rather long and convoluted. It told the story of an old hunter and his experience with a woman who had come from the woods. While the setting was a futuristic space empire of many worlds, the story was rather old-fashioned. It would probably have been better located on Earth in the twentieth century. However, there was a certain enchantment about this and the characterisation was very strong and positive.

'In The Shadows Of Hemera' is a very captivating story by Will Styler. An astronaut is sent on a one-way mission to the Pluto Charon system some 6,000,000,000 miles from Earth. Taking 12 years, his task is to maintain the ship and also examine gravitational anomalies existing out there. On the way, by slingshot around the planet Venus, he passes the remains of Hemera, a scientific station where 35 people died from a solar flare.

It's discovered the astronaut was on the station. He survived but not without injury and exposure to gamma rays gave him a death sentence. This is a tale of redemption. As the years count down on this epic mission, we discover the truth. This is essentially a simple straightforward story which is very well told in a realistic way. Apparently this is the author's first published story but I'm sure it won't be the last.

'Cold Pressure' by Rosie Oliver. A very unusual tale about a large computerised trimaran sailing ship making the journey between Norway and Scotland in the not too distant future. A large bubble of methane gas capsizes the ship and a young lady is lost at sea. However, she survives in a strange world of submerged seaweed and meets a Norwegian man who has been similarly lost for quite some time.

A romance evolves between the happy couple but not without a quandary. He has been there too long to escape, too much nitrogen in his blood which would cause the bends you see, though she could escape without any ill effects but only if she doesn't dilly dally. Will she go or will she stay and if she does go will she make it? You'll need to read the story to find out!

All in all, a very rewarding edition of 'Jupiter'. When you've read a copy of this magazine, you are always looking forward to the next.

Rod MacDonald

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