1/12/2010. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: Ian Redman, 19 Bedford Road, Yeovil, Somerset BA21 5UG, UK. 60 A5 magazine. ISSN: 1740-2069. Price: GBP 2.75 plus postage (UK). GBP4.99 PDF for 4 issues (requires 1.5mb in mailbox).
check out website: www.jupitersf.co.uk
Well, we've got a XXX edition of ‘Jupiter’! It's got nothing to do with Vin Diesel but more to do with this excellent magazine reaching its 30th edition. As time goes by the contents get better and better and I'm sure it will be here for a long time to come.
There are four short stories on offer plus some poetry. The front cover by Paul Drummond is particularly good. Setting the scene for the fiction inside, this type of artwork demonstrates how important it is to have a good illustration fronting a magazine. Creating a sense of mysticism and mystery, it attracts you into these other worlds that you are about to explore.
‘No Man's Land’ by Jude Coulter-Pultz was an interesting story with an intriguing twist. The Earth government had made a bit of a botch up terraforming a new planet and a team had been sent out to investigate. On the surface everything seemed to be okay but deeper into the planet there were tunnels and caverns leading to...an encounter with alien life? It was not all what it seemed to be. The ambassador character was unique in that he had an implant which allowed him to speak every language in existence! A very good piece of fiction to start everything going!
‘Stippleback’ from Colin P. Davies told us about the massacre of swamp creatures. One of them survived and then went on a mission of revenge but in doing so it became entangled in the politics of life in an archaic kingdom. What would be the outcome? A simple but effective story with a curious outcome.
Louis B Shalako and ‘The Stud Farm’ was a strange story about the horrors of being a horse, especially during what appeared to be the 18th century. Farley encountered all sorts of people in his travels and clearly discerned class differences but, beginning to wonder what everything was about, he became perplexed. Told from a horse's point of view, this engaging story was very well written.
The final story and the longest of the quartet was ‘The Uncertainty Bridge’ by David Conyers. This well-known author from Sydney, Australia, is no stranger to the pages of ‘Jupiter’ and many other magazines out there. I've always been impressed by the readability and delivery of his fiction and, with this story, he maintains his standards impeccably.
The picture he paints of the future is rather bleak in this story. Set well into the 21st century, the population has been virtually wiped out by a series of biological wars and all that remains are isolated villages trying to exist on an agricultural basis. While some rudiments of former civilisation remain, the standard is probably 18th century. We are introduced to two young characters, Geoff and his sister Jo, in the process of witnessing their parents die of a new plague.
Similar to sleeping sickness, Geoff tries to get some help by visiting the local village but everyone seems to be dead. Affected by the plague himself and unable to muster enough energy to do much else, he drinks himself to oblivion at the local pub. It's then that a quasi-military outfit arrives. Surprisingly, Geoff is still alive and he's now got to deal with them as well as the plague.
A really great story and one you should definitely read. The other stories were very good but I've got to say that this one was the best. While I should not get into the habit of selecting the best, agreeing that all fiction has its merits in different areas, I think this story by David Conyers would be the best in any magazine at the moment.
‘Jupiter’ has been around for many years and over these years lots of exciting stories by good authors have appeared. It comes out four times per annum so it's not a great commitment in time and money but the rewards are very good. I've been reading ‘Jupiter’ for some time now and always looking forward to the next edition, I'm pleasantly surprised by each new batch of stories. If you haven't tried this magazine yet I would urge you to do so. In saying this, I don't know the editor and I live hundreds of miles away up north from his location. In recommending the magazine, my judgement is solely on the standard of the fiction it contains.
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