JUPITER XIII: LEDA

Reviewed by Catherine Davis

The black and white cover of this issue of Jupiter gives a good indication of the six stories inside; dark and extra-terrestrial. Unfortunately the numbering on the contents page is all completely wrong which does make it a little hard to find stories.

Epiphanies, Even Here by Matt Bright is a beautiful opening to the magazine. A poet, Doherty, exiled to a nameless planet struggles to write a poem to earn his passage home. It is subtly written with a hint of poetry in the prose, which makes Doherty's homesickness and sense of limbo resonate. In its questioning of how humans could live in a different world the story is often bleak, yet there is a feeling of grim hope as Doherty begins to write his poem.

Nigel Atkinson's Ravening Alien Monsters is written backwards which confused me a little in trying to work out a coherent sequence of events. A pilot, Daphne, accidentally becomes part of a plot to overturn the intergalactic Commonwealth in this slightly jokey story. Daphne's chatty, friendly style of narration allows the reader to be drawn quickly into the action but at times she resembles someone who's cornered you at a party and talks at you without leaving a pause for you to make your excuses and leave. The plot is exciting yet it perhaps needs some extraneous details to be cut down to make it more focused and faster moving.

Laurence R Dagstine's sci-fi thriller, A Sad Day for Astronauts, is a fairly difficult story. Its often dense writing means it is difficult to get into the story of a tragedy in space. However, it is a cleverly plotted and original piece of hard science fiction.

Replay by Carmelo Rafala is presented as a series of scenes as a man relives his final days with his girlfriend. There is some ambiguity as to why he is doing this. The writing is full of imagery which at times is a little whimsical, yet the story's unresolved questions cause it to resonate.

Europa by TM Crone is the story of an explorative expedition to an icy moon of Jupiter, and a love story. There are several parallels between the moon and the astronauts; Rylie is known as “the ice woman”, Tony's tremors precede those of Europa, and this human interest brings the story to life, the moon becoming almost a character itself as its secrets are revealed.

Robert Holbach's Log of Self is a machine's monologue. An extra-terrestrial computer transmits its life story to Earth. A little is revealed of the civilization that created it, and also of the machine's observations of Earth, but the story is really about the machine's development. This character is both interesting and believable yet the story seems to be trying to make a point it can't quite focus on.

Jupiter edited by Ian Redman, 19 Bedford Road, Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 4UG, UK. A5, 52pp, £2.75 or £10/4.

Website: - www.jupitersf.co.uk


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