Artemis, Issue #1
Review by Kelle Campbell
The premiere issue of Artemis provides great reading for hard science fiction fans: science news, essays, articles, and stories featuring honest-to-goodness science.
Jeff D. Kooistra's "Trajectories" features the suicide orbit, the Moon version of a bungee jump. Basically, the rider begins a hyperbolic orbit that takes him as close to the surface as he dares before swooping him back into space. Steven Smith is a radiotelescopist whose love and skill at this sport (he holds the 500-meter periselenum record) charts his life's course through love and war.
If you're worrying about the story being dry or too highbrow, don't. Kooistra makes Steven an appealing and sympathetic character.
In Stanley Schmidt's "Generation Gap," sixteen-year-old Robby Lerman writes a letter to his future self and gets an answer. Although the idea of communicating across time is a conventional formula in SF, Schmidt uses human nature and quantum mechanics to give his story a twist.
Fred Lerner's "Rosetta Stone" and "Moonlighting" by Ron Collins and Linda J. Dunn are on the softer side of the genre. Lerner's characters try to uncover the secrets of a vanished alien race through a mysterious library found on the Moon. It's an intriguing premise, but I think Lerner goes on too much about historical Earth libraries.
In "Moonlighting" partners Brandt Karmandy and Karen Larsen are just trying to keep their beleaguered Moon mining company afloat despite disgruntled workers, hostile unions and grabby Earth politicians. It's the most lighthearted of all the stories and the authors do a great job of balancing humor and drama.
The magazine is part of the Artemis Project, a plan for establishing a permanent, commercial base on the Moon. Editor Ian Randal Strock's editorial on his involvement with the project and the birth of the magazine is fairly interesting, and his article about the plans for a reference mission to the Moon, "Selling our Way to the Moon: The Artemis Project," is actually pretty exciting.
The artwork in Artemis runs from good to mediocre. Most of the clip art accompanying the essays and articles feels static and bland, especially since they're in gray scale and printed on newsprint. Of the story illustrators, Kim Hawkins and especially Beryl Bush are the most outstanding; Alan Bean's cover is dark but eye-catching.
All in all, Artemis has had a good debut. A few kinks need to be worked out but the true substance of the magazine, the writing, holds great promise for the future.