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Jupiter XXIV: Iocaste – April 2009
Edited by Ian Redman
Cover Artist: S Cerulean
Review by Sam Tomaino
Jupiter  ISBN/ITEM#: 1740-2069
Date: 28 April 2009

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

We travel in a familiar brown wrapper and arrive at the moon Iocaste for Jupiter XXIV. There are stories by David Conyers, Gustavo Bondoni, Andrew Knighton, A.J. Kirby, James McCormick, and Gareth Jones.

Another brown envelope, another moon! This time we travel to Iocaste for Jupiter XXIV, the April 2009 issue and still get a nice collection of tales.

The issue begins with "Black Water" by David Conyers. Set in a future Earth wracked by drought, Joseph Nuwangi is set on improving his lot in life. He has sacrificed much of his body to get where he is and now he is going to use just that sacrifice to make his fortune, on the island of Zanzibar with the purest water in the world. Conyers does a great job here with showing us a future world and the people in it.

In "Sides of the Coin" by Gustavo Bondoni, we are transported to the planet Stranguellini. It seems that every few hundred generations, the peaceful Osca tribesman are attacked by inhabitants of a magic Cube. They always manage to beat the monsters from the Cube and their human monsters and seal them up again. When they break free and attack again, they have learned from the previous battle and are even stronger. In this exciting story, we are treated to one such battle and the sacrifices the Osca make.

"Our Man in Herrje" in the story by Andrew Knighton is Julian Atticus, the communication officer for the British Embassy on the planet Herrje. When a great library of the humans on Herrje is destroyed, he has his hands full, He finds when he meets with a native group called the Gatherers that they have little tolerance for anything they do not consider the absolute truth. How he deals with all this makes for an amusing story.

As one might expect, "The Ninth Circle" by A.J. Kirby, makes reference to Dante. Our narrator is a scientist on a ship where he is regarded with distaste. When his human colleague is thrown out an airlock and a robotic colleague is severely damaged, his situation worsens. The robot merely utters unrelated words (although they are in alphabetical order) and our narrator cannot bring it back online. This was a grim but effective tale.

"If You Can't Beat Them…" by James McCormick is the story of a competition between two gangsters, Majal and Talaxi, and the efforts they undertake to be the last man standing. Things get wilder and wilder in this fun read.

Last of all, we have "Dog's Best Friend" by Gareth D Jones. Set in the world of Jones' wonderful Roadmaker series, the story features Alf, an old man, who has no human friends but still finds some companionship of the four-footed kind. This was a pleasant affectionate look at humans and dogs that was a pleasure to read.

Issue 24 of Jupiter is another little gem! Back issues are available, too, from their website www.jupitersf.co.uk. I will be looking forward to the next moon and you should, too!

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