1/12/2011. 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). GBP4.99 PDF GBP10.00 for 4 issues (requires 1.5mb in mailbox). Also available for Kindle).
check out website: www.jupitersf.co.uk
Issue number 34 of ‘Jupiter’ is with us and again we've got a really good selection of stories to read. This magazine keeps producing the goods and you're never disappointed with the selection of fiction on offer. This time there are five short stories, a variety of subjects explored with each one being well written. Satisfyingly good, I would say.
The cover by Paul Drummond depicts a worker on an alien planet, obviously not Earth, with a hovering craft not far away. Perhaps this could be an asteroid, more likely because of the vegetation a planetary body somewhere distant in space. The first reaction on looking at the picture was not what I expected. The artist, coming from Scotland, will probably understand. The being in the ship is shouting to the worker outside, ‘Your tea is ready!’
Okay, maybe that sounds a bit mundane but the future is not all whiz-bang fantastic and glorious. It will not be full of epic moments. As with our own lives in this 21st-century, it will be routine and repetitive. If we think back to our past, looking towards the next century maybe we envisaged something spectacular and different. Of course, back in the 60s the idea of possessing computers and lots of other fancy electronic devices was mind-boggling but here we are, in the 21st-century and we take it all for granted. No doubt it will be the same in the 25th century!
Onwards and upwards to the excellent fiction. The first story, ‘Dark Age’ by Alistair Miles, is a well described and dramatic tale set on the asteroids far out in the solar system. In the future, minerals obtained from the asteroids will become very valuable, sufficiently so that it could become economically viable to exploit them. The story concerns the activities of a group of miners, their lives and aspirations working far out in the region between Mars and Jupiter. Life progresses as normal until matters change when a mysterious ship approaches.
Who are the guys from this ship and what do they want? This all makes for an exciting story. Okay, asteroid mining has already been done lots of times before, especially with Ben Bova in a four-part series. Despite this being the case, the story comes out refreshingly new with lots of excitement and tension. The very fact that this scenario has been explored before doesn't mean it can't be written about again.
‘Pilot’ by Jack Davidson is a futuristic story set out as if in a stage drama play with acts and interludes. It's a story about someone programmed to fight in an interstellar war. The results are inevitable. Let's hope the future will be somewhat different. The world is a stage Shakespeare said but the universe is an even bigger stage. There is no free will in this future depicted by Davidson despite the players having an illusion that they are important individuals. Rather chilling!
Lee Russell gave us ‘In the Web’. A really good story set about 300 years in the future. The planet Earth is in a bit of a mess. Nothing unexpected about that, one would say. Society is divided between the haves and the have-nots, with little opportunity of upward mobility. Wait a minute, is this not present day? Anyway, a young man from the right side decides to seek out a young woman from the past but in doing so he has to go over to the other side with all the dangers that this entails. He does find something and someone but it's not what we expect. Very well written!
‘Frank’ by Martin Ott was about a man waking up in a vehicle. Lots of questions arise as to his identity. What was going on in the world about him? In fact, who was he? Saying much more would spoil the short story but it's a cracking good story at that!
Finally, ‘The Bitter End’ by Simon Kewin and Dominic de Mattos. This is a series of e-mails between mother and daughter. As the subject matter extends, we learn that the daughter is pregnant. Okay, nothing unusual here but what is happening to the world? Again, can't say much more about this but it has a significant ending. The story creeps up on you, giving you a good punch at the end. A definitely recommended story without doubt.
Well, congratulations to the editorial team for another welcome issue of ‘Jupiter’. All going well, nuclear war, armageddon or asteroid impact notwithstanding, we should see them again in 2012. Check out the website and also Amazon to see how to purchase this magazine. A subscription would make a good Christmas present!
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