Jupiter Magazine Enters Final Orbit

Jupiter, the British quarterly SF magazine, has announced its next edition will be its last, at least for the foreseeable future.

Editor Ian Redman wrote in Jupiter 49:

I’ve greatly enjoyed the last 12 and a bit years, but I need a break. I think Jupiter needs a break from me as well. Family life has reduced the time I can commit to running Jupiter and as such it’s been pushed and squeezed, and quite frankly it deserves better. Our authors deserve better and you, our readers, deserve better.

I intend to take a break from the slush pile, spend time reading science fiction because I enjoy it, and fall in love with the genre all over again.

One clue that change was coming stemmed from the policy of naming each issue after one of Jupiter’s moons. Though Jupiter has more than 50 moons, most of the remainder are as yet unnamed.

Publishing a half-century of magazines is no small achievement. Browsing the list of back issues gives some sense of the work that has gone into producing Jupiter over the years. In addition to quantity, we should also recognize the quality of the stories. For example, the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says the following about Jupiter.

Despite its basic looks, Jupiter remains an interesting magazine, seeking to publish as good quality science fiction as a non-paying market can expect, preferably optimistic and with a technological background…

Most contributors are amongst the reliable corps of regular contributors to the Small Press magazines… who, between them, have given Jupiter a strong and rewarding character.

Jupiter is also listed in Wikipedia.

Jupiter has garnered a solid reputation as a dependable small press in its respective field…

While the strength of each issue wavers — and although there is no pay — this has not stopped Jupiter from attracting rising stars in the field of speculative fiction…

Those are fair descriptions of a magazine that endeared itself to me by emphasizing hard SF and traditional story qualities. Even the name of the magazine might be thought unfashionable in some SF circles, because it refers to outer space. However, good stories never got out of style, and I found many of the narratives published in Jupiter to be at least the equal of those found in more prestigious journals.

Some believe we are entering a new golden age of publishing, but the loss of Jupiter reminds me that the SF community depends on the unheralded and poorly-rewarded commitment of many contributors. The love of SF can be a burden too; we cannot complain that Ian needs to prioritize fatherhood over continuing to publish his magazine.

For all our chatter about conventions and awards, Ian Redman shows us the SF community extends well beyond those who attend fannish events, or who jostle for praise, or who pump out opinions via blogs and social media. Ian did none of those things, but he did give his readers the pleasure of new stories for over a decade. For that, he deserves our thanks and appreciation.