Another welcome edition of ‘Jupiter’, the 39th since the voyage began all these years ago. With a colour cover to advertise its contents, the magazine just seems to get better with every issue and this time there are half a dozen stories plus lots of poetry on offer.
The first story by Simon Fay, entitled ‘Blocked’, was maybe a little experimental. The main theme running through it was the effect on Irish people of a huge block of perfect dimensions materialising just above ground level. Suspended in space, remaining a mystery, it just did absolutely nothing. Disturbing the thought processes of everyone, it created social mayhem. Maybe a bit disjointed at times, the story with its vigorous dialogue was challenging and thought-provoking but it did seem rather pointless in the end. Characterisation, however, was very good.
‘Without Doubt’ by J. Rohr was a good old-fashioned story, told in the first person, by a man in the future involved in the expansion of humanity to the stars. With little prospect at home on Earth, he signs a contract to work on a distant planet orbiting a star light years away and, travelling with lots of other people, some dysfunctional, he begins colonisation work. Life is hard, very hard, on this barren rock with little breathable atmosphere and people were killed in a series of accidents. One man survived against the odds and this created a weird cult which had no real foundation or basis. An absorbing story, well told and engaging, it transported you to another world.
I thought Robert Thayer’s ‘Gap Years’ was very good indeed. People are able to go to times in the past, live there and experience all that the society of the era had to offer. However, the poor chap that wanted to go back to 1770 Paris had the realities of the situation hammered into him by another traveller. Romantic notions of past life were perhaps a little optimistic! Made you think that despite its problems, the present wasn’t too bad at all.
Graham Keeler’s ‘Alien Encounter’ was an adventure story about a rather naive girl from Earth getting picked up in a spaceship by Laren’hi Jalid Rasilii or Larry to his friends and their subsequent encounter in space. Not having a clue where she is, much of the story is involved with her process of enlightenment. This could be part of a much longer story with plenty of mileage. Good characterisation.
‘Signals And Sentiments’ by Tyler Winstead presented us with the future where people were different, possibly manufactured through genetic engineering into specific roles in life. A military man, channelled and conditioned, plus a girl who had been through terrible things in her life and yet still survived, stapled together after serious operations, meet and begin a relationship. Despite all of this, it is still a boy meets girl scenario. Maybe nothing really changes. A very interesting story, well told and thought-provoking.
Finally, ‘The Ghost Writer’ from Steve McGarrity. Axel Anderson was a famous celebrity, his fame deriving from a mission to the planet Mars where he saved the day through heroic actions. Peter Kruger was his ghost writer, helping to make him famous and rich at the same time. There was another person involved in the crisis, a woman called Natasha who was now severely crippled. Kruger brings back the past and presents it in a new way. Some will be happy, others not but what was the truth? This is a story from the future which is quite relevant to the present. Great stuff!
A very welcome edition of ‘Jupiter’, one full of interesting and readable stories, one which makes you think! While my favourite was without doubt, J. Rohr’s ‘Without Doubt’, I liked them all and there was plenty of variation and merit throughout. Now available on Amazon Kindle, as well as subscription, ‘Jupiter’ just improves progressively on an upward curve. Issue number 40 will be coming in a couple months and I am already looking forward to it.
(pub: Ian Redman, 19 Bedford Road, Yeovil, Somerset BA21 5UG, UK. 52 A5 magazine. ISSN: 1740-2069. Price: £ 2.75 plus postage (UK). £4.99 PDF £10.00 for 4 issues (requires 1.5mb in mailbox). Also available as download for PDF and Kindle: Price: £ 1.99 (UK))
check out website: www.jupitersf.co.uk