Outpost of Jupiter

by Lester del Rey
Reviewed date: 2012 Dec 27
Rating: 2
166 pages
cover art

Outpost of Jupiter is one of those classic old juveniles that does not hold up well. Bob Wilson's life changes forever when his father falls ill during a brief layover on Ganymede. His father's health confines him to Ganymede--traveling would kill him--and Bob quickly realizes that his meagre skills are useless in this fledgling colony. The best he can do is manual labor as a farmer.

But there is more going on at this young colony than meets the eye. For example: many of the earliest colonists are still alive and well, at over 100 years old. They don't look a day over 60 and they never get sick. Something about Ganymede seems to preserve and extend life and health. But there is a dark side: a mysterious Ganymedian plague periodically kills the healthiest young colonists.

To add another wrinkle, Bob makes contact with some Jovians in a mysterious globular spaceship. He uses the language of mathematics to establish a rudimentary communication. While this is happening, the plague strikes the colony, but this time it's a deadly, virulent strain. If a cure is not found, the death toll will be high enough to doom the colony.

Fortunately our hero, Bob Wilson, has a fantastically strong immune system. He fights off the infection, and the antibodies in his blood are harvested. There are not enough antibodies to cure everyone, so Bob delivers the antibodies to the Jovians, who find a way to replicate enough for the whole colony. They are saved!

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