1/09/2010. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: Ian Redman, 19 Bedford Road, Yeovil, Somerset BA21 5UG, UK. 60 A5 magazine. ISSN: 1740-2069. Price: £ 2.75 plus postage (UK). £4.99 PDF for 4 issues (requires 1.5mb in mailbox).
check out website: www.jupitersf.co.uk
I don't really need to say much to introduce 'Jupiter' magazine because I've said it all before in previous reviews. However, if you have missed the reviews and you're looking for good quality Science Fiction stories presented in a straightforward way in a readable magazine then this is the place for you. We've now reached 'Jupiter # 29' which has five excellent stories for your entertainment.
Rosie Oliver starts everything going with 'Agents Of Repair'. The main subject in question is an artificial intelligence so you've got to jump out of your own body and place yourself, well, somewhere else. Of course, the AI was created by humans and it does have our characteristics but sometimes things can go wrong when dealing with a disparate collection of real humans. Set amongst the Jovian satellites, we see that the boundary between artificial and real humans isn't all that large.
'Hybrid' by Emma Knight takes us on another out of body experience. Henry is not quite human. He lives in the distant future and is the result of a society completely transformed by alien interactions. He seems to have a happy life with his Eternity Partners living on an Earth which has no resemblance to the planet we know today. There is no oxygen, no plants and no animals on its surface. The hybrid humans don't need such things in their cities which cover the planet. Henry nevertheless has a hankering for the past and falls in love with a 21st century woman. He also has a secret which he has kept from his Partners for years until one of them discovers the truth.
'The Bottle Garden' by Mike Wood is set on an asteroid far out in the solar system. A quaint and somewhat strange family inhabit this former mining site. Not quite aristocratic, they seem to be aloof from the rest of society on Earth. There are many problems created by life on an asteroid but circumstances change when a replicating machine is introduced. This changes society everywhere but how will this family cope? An engaging story, sad in many respects, it teaches us that whatever we may think change is inevitable.
Nigel Fisher and 'Oil On Canvas' provided us with a different environment. It seemed to be like a cell in a prison but in reality it was a cabin on a starship freighter. Even a century after the war between competing races, there will still be enough tension to merit a militarily presence on the ship. Marcus was an artist without any apparent problems but his dilemma began when, tired of being confined to a small space, he spent some time in the recreation area. After trying to make a sketch of a Vor, apparently as xenophobic as you could get amongst the aliens, he discovered this creature was also an artist.
There was a distinct problem in that humans and the Vor found each other physically repugnant, nauseous even. However, the long voyage presented them sufficient opportunity to get to know each other. With apologies to the other writers, this story was in my opinion the best of the magazine. Well written, it was absorbing reading from start to finish. Don't miss out on reading this! If indeed this is Nigel Fisher's first story, it augurs well for the future.
The final story of the quintet was 'The Earth Beneath My Feet' by James Lecky. The planet is in a bit of a mess and people have been going to the stars to get away from this self-created hell. However, the method of travel involves using psychic ability to push a way through time and space. The effort causes terrible damage to the body and mind.
On a reservation for sick travellers, a man and his girl-friend volunteer for a final mission, a journey to a galaxy billions of light years away. All planets so far have been inhospitable to humans but what will this new planet be like? What will happen to the travellers? A very interesting story and example of very good writing!
Science Fiction as portrayed in this magazine takes us to new situations and horizons. It takes us out of ourselves, making us realise that there are other worlds out there. Maybe these worlds are not always planets; possibly they could be other people and civilisations not far geographically removed from our own. As with the artist in the story 'Oil On Canvas', a bi-product of dialogue and conversation may be our ability to become more tolerant. Like the artist, there may be rewards for making the effort.
Another excellent issue of 'Jupiter Magazine'. Editor Ian Redman in his editorial talked about enjoying the summer. My message to him is that, as everyone knows we've not been put here to enjoy ourselves! Get back to work and give us issue number 30! I'm sure it will be a good one.
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