My story “Sunward” is in the upcoming “Planetary: Jupiter” anthology (republished by Tuscany Bay.) It’s a tale of lost colonists in Europa’s ocean yearning to return to the fabled planet of the gods. Their imperious queen mounts a space program at great cost…
The anthology also features stories by well-known authors like Lou Antonelli, Arlan Andrews, Julie Frost, and Richard Paolinelli… all with a Jupiter connection, either set on and around Jupiter, featuring the god Jove himself, or on a more general theme of the weight of leadership.
The stories set near Jupiter itself take several different tacks. “Sunward” and Karina Fabian’s “Daddy Issues” postulate genengineered humans able to live in the environments of Jupiter’s midlevel atmosphere or the oceans of moons like Europa. “Encounter on Ganymede” by Coleen Drippé has characters whose consciousness has been moved into robotic bodies. Other stories have standard humans working in mining colonies around Jupiter. The stories which are only metaphorically connected to Jupiter are set in diverse locales: the sack of ancient Troy, 1950s America, a future moon shuttle.
My story, “Sunward,” explores what a genengineered human colony in Europa’s ocean might be like, and within the size limitations, explains how they might survive: spoiler, they use a hydrogen sulfide metabolism near undersea volcanic vents, where other genengineered organisms provide food. The humanoids are some vague combination of human brains, hands, and eyes with dolphin and manatee features, with communication via light and sonar abilities. Thus despite the alien environment, they conduct a society recognizably like ours with factional clan politics, love, and greed. Their geothermal vent power stations are starting to fail as the drill bits left by the original Earth colonists break down and can’t be replaced, since the Europans lack diamonds or other hard-rock cutting tools. The action begins when a radical new queen takes power and forces her people to mount an expedition to reach the Earth before the power stations fail and their civilization collapses.
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