JUPITER XIX: MEGACLITE

Reviewed by Terry Grimwood

Warmth, that was the first feeling I drew from the 19th issue of Ian Redman's Jupiter magazine, warmth and enthusiasm and the sense that this is a real labour of love. All engendered by the friendly editorial that leads you into the publication.

And what a great collection this is.

There are only five tales, but each one is a neat, imaginative piece, with good characterisation and narrative that engages and compels.

The opener, David Towsey's By The River is an intensely moving story set, presumably, in a future America where some alluded-to catastrophe has caused reversion to a kind of 19th Century society, at least in the town of Barkley. Add to this the Walking, another strangeness that may or may not be malign but haunts and terrifies the good folk of Barkley, and you have a rich, multi-layered piece that builds steadily to an achingly tragic conclusion.

By contrast, The Penetration of Luna by Philip K Lentz, is a thriller set in a technological future where mankind's lunar colonies exist under the shadow of terrorist threat and no one is quite who they appear to be. A very clever deceit is played out on the reader to make this a highly entertaining tale. And chilling, given the West's present paranoia.

In As Advertised, Gustavo Bondoni takes a darkly wry look at advertising and its more sinister possibilities. A serious subject tackled with just the right level of dry humour and with a wonderful cast of characters.

Monte Davis's oddly titled, O-Topper, The Musical takes us into time travel territory (can time travel have a territory? Surely it has a tempitory) and a new and very bloody, rich man's sport that excuses itself with the motto; “You can't kill what's already dead.” Stir in a healthy dose of the surreal, song lyrics and men mistaken as gods, and you have an energetic, amoral, sometimes irritating, but highly inventive yarn.

Roadwalker by Gareth D Jones takes us to another future-primitive society through which an intimidating, enigmatic road has been carved by a mysterious machine. No one knows where it leads, who built it or why. So, cheek still damp from his truelove's kiss, a young farmhand sets off to find out. This is one of an occasional series but stands alone as a yet another warmly compelling piece.

Kristine Ong Muslim signs us out with the poem Star Lost which reverberates with the echoes of an ancient journey across the cosmos. Highly emotive and visual, this is the work of a deft hand and just seemed right, there at the close of a wonderful journey.

I loved Jupiter XIX, no need to beat around the bush; I loved it from Michael J King's striking cover art to the closing poem. The prose is by turns highly literate (particularly in my favourite, By The River) and workmanlike. But story is everything here. Well done to Ian Redman and his cast of writers for producing such a friendly, entertaining publication. So go on, order a copy, you'll get a lot of story for your £2.75

Jupiter edited by Ian Redman, 19 Bedford Road, Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 4UG, A5 56pp, £2.75 or 4/£10.00

Website: - www.jupitersf.co.uk


Return to Whispers review archive