01/06/2011. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
pub: Ian Redman, 19 Bedford Road, Yeovil, Somerset BA21 5UG, UK. 52 A5 magazine. ISSN: 1740-2069. Price: GBP 2.75 plus postage (UK). GBP 4.99 PDF GBP 10.00 for 4 issues (requires 1.5mb in mailbox).
check out website: www.jupitersf.co.uk
‘A Binary Form’ by Rod Slatter was the opener for an excellent five short stories in this edition of ‘Jupiter # 32’. What I liked about it was the thought that had been taken to make this particular story scientifically accurate. All too often we end up on fanciful planets which bear no semblance to reality, to what is actually out there in the universe, but Clay and Belinda on LeCourt's World encountered a double star, an eccentric orbit, variable temperatures, a pressure gradient and different atmospheric gases. The author even mentioned stellar types and the abundance of heavier elements.
Maybe all this scientific information could make the story rather dry but it was weaved into the dialogue to make its delivery seem completely natural. Stranded somewhere out on the surface of this new planet, an alien presence was watching them. The couple's aim was to seek out a strange cave mentioned by one of their friends, now deceased, and also to discover intelligent life for which there would be a large financial reward. This is an intelligent story, well-written and enjoyable to read which is what you invariably get when you buy a copy of ‘Jupiter’.
The cover reminded me of a Robert Burns poem about a mouse. This time we are on an alien planet and a woman has picked up a small creature in danger of being mashed up by the machinery behind her. The artwork is by David Conyers. We are more familiar with his fiction but he is obviously an artist as well. Possessing qualities associated with a woodcut, the cover has a quaint and earthly atmosphere despite being from a distant time on another world.
In ‘Spider Dreams’ by DJ Swatski, a woman with arachnophobia goes to a psychiatrist to seek a solution to this problem. He puts her on a machine which controls her dreams and through them makes her feel more comfortable with our eight-legged friends. Undoubtedly something must go wrong with this solution and of course it does when a form of artificial intelligence enters the scene. What will be the outcome?
‘Jupiter’ continues its poetry schedule with offerings from two sources, the most interesting being from a physics point of view, ‘Einstein Year’ by Chris Oliver. Now no longer with us, his voice echoes in the future.
CJ Paget gave us a lengthy story in ‘Guardian Angel’. Agnes was a fairly bright girl in her 20s but she had a very ordinary life working in a supermarket and looking after her aged grandmother. She was also going mad. The voices in her head and her unusual abilities evident from childhood seemed to set her apart from others. Who was she? What did this all mean?
Steve McGarrity's story ‘I, Human’ was very entertaining. A zoo full of exotic creatures from the galaxy ends up being a degrading spectacle, so much so that a group of animal rights people decide to do something about it. Setting the creatures free was not as simple as it seemed especially as the true nature of some of them was unknown. This was certainly the case with a group of shape-shifter beings.
Finally, ‘Product Placement’ from Nicola Caines. A rather frightening story of people, especially children, being controlled by companies, marketing strategies and genetic engineering. Only twenty years in the future! What will they think of next? Let's hope this doesn't come true!
Another welcome edition of ‘Jupiter’ and very good selection of stories. Totalling all the editions of the magazine so far, there are well over 100 stories to read, undoubtedly a treasure of Science Fiction. Perhaps one day we will see an anthology of the best of ‘Jupiter’. What about it, Ian?
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