Jupiter XXXVI: Sponde – April 2012
Edited by Ian Redman
Cover Artist: David Conyers
Review by Sam Tomaino
Jupiter ISBN/ITEM#: 1740-2069
Date: 29 May 2012
With Jupiter XXXVI, we are exploring Sponde, the April 2012 issue and it's got more good stories.
The first story in this issue is "The Photograph" by Michael Sutherland. Sean Carter, our narrator, receives an envelope from a woman named Mrs. Andresen. He is ready to write her a check for what is in the envelope, but she refuses any money. Carter's client has advanced him money and he can pay her, but she tells him to destroy what is inside. When she leaves, he opens the envelope and tales out a photograph, supposedly of a very human looking alien. As the story develops, he becomes obsessed with the photo, going on the run so he does not have to give it up to his unnamed client. This story is really made by its conclusion, something you won't see coming.
In "Footprint" by Greg McColm, The Director of MarsTech Station has a couple of problems. One is a fifteen percent budget cut. The other is "a great orb of rigid golden threads" that had surrounded a power conduit. When they analyze it, they find that it cannot be a living thing. It is only one fifth of one percent carbon. It's makeup is 22% copper, 12% oxygen, 12% nitrogen, 11% chlorine, 10% sulphur, 10% silicon, 9% sodium and traces of other stuff (like carbon). What is it? The answer to that might solve her other problem in this clever story.
The acronym "LEAD" in Alexander Hay's tale stands for Low Economic Activity Designate and they are the unemployed and other poor that the British government have made indentured servants (read slaves) to be sold to other countries for menial jobs. We get some good characters on both sides and witness a slave revolt and this had some clever satire. The problem is that I just did not believe it and felt it was just dystopian polemics of the kind I've seen before.
Next up is "The Zenith" by Neal Clift. Hayden Manning is a prisoner being transported by a bounty hunter named Turner Hackett back to the jail from which he has escaped. Their conversation reveals a bit about Manning's crimes and character as they are traveling in a luxury cruise ship called the Zenith. When disaster strikes and the ship's core reactor has malfunctioned and the hull has been compromised, they begin sinking. We get a good exciting story here and another great ending.
The issue concludes with "The Post-human Condition" by Dean Giles. Clayton awakes from hibernation to memories of his beloved wife, Emma. She isn't dead but she might as well be. She did not accompany Clayton on the 200 year long journey on a colony vessel. Clayton and the others on the ship chose to leave Earth rather than be uploaded to a computer and become part of post-humanity under the supervision of an AI. Emma had chosen to be uploaded. As they approach the end of their journey to a system called Gliese 581, Clayton and the others discover the post-humans waiting for them, a violation of a treaty. They have a right to destroy the post-humans. Clayton has dreams of his wife talking to him. Should he join her? The issue ends with another good story.
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