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Jupiter XXII: Harpalyke – October 2008
Edited by Ian Redman
Cover Artist: R.J. Bartrop
Review by Sam Tomaino
Jupiter  ISBN/ITEM#: 1740-2069
Date: 26 October 2008

Links: Jupiter website / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

One of my favorite little magazines arrives from the UK, Jupiter is here with #22, the moon Harpalyke and stories by Geoff Nalder, Lawrence Dagstine, Gareth D. Jones, Simon Petrie, Carmelo Rafala, and David Vickery.

I always smile when I open my post office box and see the familiar brown envelope and the British postage. A new issue of Jupiter has arrived! This one is #XXII and takes the name of the moon Harplayke for the October 2008 issue.

The issue begins with "Gravity's Tears" by Geoff Nalder. This one is set somewhat east of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. A woman named Emma is riding with her boyfriend, Quill, along a deserted stretch of road, because he has an out-of-date licence. Quill seems a disagreeable sort who drives way too fast and Emma wonders what she sees in him. Suddenly, something punches through the roof of the car and causes them to crash. Things look bad but get worse. This area has suddenly become beset by meteors falling to Earth and they are in real trouble. Nalder provides a nice little story here of adversity and how it is met. ,P> Lawrence Dagstine's "A Virtual Affair" is set more than 300 years in the future. Our narrator is Helen Minton who meets a special man named Vale in a bar. Vale stands for Virtual Animated Living Entity, a holographic person. Vale can touch and be touched and they fall in love at first sight. A romance and marriage ensues. But there is one thing a virtual entity cannot do in this bittersweet, beautiful tale.

The third story, "Roadbuilder" is, alas, the last installment in Gareth D. Jones' "Roadmaker" series. In this one, we get updates of the characters we have come to love from the other installments and more old technology is discovered and made to work. Things get wrapped up somewhat but I do hope that sometime Jones will turn this into a novel. He is talented at creating characters and has a style I enjoy.

The title "M.R.E." in Simon Petrie's story is taken from the "Meals-Ready-To-Eat" which have replaced K-Rations for soldiers on the move. But the "M" here stands for something else and reminds one of a famous Damon Knight story. Aliens are being very clever at finding their meals but humans always find a way to get back. This one was a real hoot!

Much more serious is "Boxboy" by Carmelo Rafala. We get the story from the viewpoint of a boy named Adam who is kept in a box to keep him alive. Two scientists are conducting experiments as Adam appears to have telekinetic abilities. Adam likes one of the scientists but hates the other and we get a touching story from his simple point of view.

In "Requiem for a Butterfly", Dvaid Vickery's viewpoint character is Richard Atteford, a renegade member of the Time Corps, hiding out in the England of 1315. He winds up with a peasant family and improves their lot, which is against the rules. Much is made of the "nasty, brutish and short" lives of the peasants. Atteford does what he can in this well-written time-travel story.

Issue 22 of Jupiter's continues to delight me. I love the look of its cover! Back issues are available, too, from their website. Start your tour of the moons of Jupiter, now!

Our Readers Respond

From: Richard Chatterjee
    The Harpalyke addition to Jupiter is indeed a treat. I would add that the outcome of "Boxboy" was signaled rather early. "Requiem for a Butterfly" is a masterly work, and in keeping with the consistent high standard of David Vickery (such as "Twice and Future King").

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