EDITORIAL & LETTERS

Don't try this at home, kids!


"Planet Magazine: Proudly Refusing Brain Augmentation!"

 

VENGEANCE IS MINE, SAYS THE NERD

 

With each step I take along the broken sidewalks of my neighborhood, the piezo-cells in the soles of my close-out Air Ewings squeeze out little infra-red business cards, containing not only my personal and business data but also my PGP public key. The shoes are connected by fine wires to the black-project/beta WinCE 3.0 "palm-sized PC" sewn facing outward on the left chest panel of my Paul Stuart flak jacket (which allows those in "hard" reality to tap-access my personal icons in face2face meetings). Squelch, squelch, squelch. There go the little e-business e-cards from my PAN (personal-area network). As yet, there is no one outside the MIT campus equipped with infra-red receivers on their shoes, so I'm afraid my data is just breaking up and disappearing for now. But I can dream. I love the hefty feeling of my wearable-PC rig, powered by calf-bellows inflated by the pumping action of my knees, which are in turn hooked up to thigh-generators that are wirelessly linked to a girdle of LI-ION batteries circling my ample, Chip Ahoy!-powered waistline. The batteries feed the 16-million-color WinCE unit on my chest, into which I'm plugged via microphone/earphone/eyepiece headset. In addition, my PAN augments the body's natural conductivity, so that anyone with a similar system can shake my hand and get a biz card that way, along with an ASCII copy of my hacker-novel-in-progress.

I'm glad I left my studio apartment and got outside on this gorgeous summer day. It's good to put aside the tinkering and put the system through its paces. It's otherwise been a great walk, too, down my pre-gentrified street, except that I stepped into a puddle, causing a power surge and a painful short in my shorts. Yow! Nonetheless, via the readout on my head-mounted eyepiece I'm still able to collect my e-mail headers and browse the Web in 16 million colors, using my mini forearm keyboard (I've jerry-rigged a Minstrel unit for my WinCE PDA). In fact, I've concurrently dropped a graphical overlay on the passing terrain; this 3-D grid (which I sync with subjectively via gyro-mounted motion trackers) relays the specs of everything in my sight in real-time, the data pulled from a vast e-library (gigantabytes of info that make Alexa look positively skinny) residing on the black-project/beta Internet3 (an easy crack). Let's see what this baby can do.. There, that Dutch Elm up ahead; I've mapped its vectors quickly enough. Hmm. How easy it would be to create an exact, living replica of that tree, given the right programming and enough energy -- child's play, really.

Wait a sec. My diagnostics utility-bot tells me my shoes are no longer transmitting business cards. Looks like that short was fatal. Oh well, back to the drawing board there. Maybe rubber-coated shoes are the answer. Perhaps inflatable? I've got it: wheeled, inflatable rubber shoes! (Note to self: make a mental note.)

Hey, my news-clipping searchbot just chimed to tell me that that Canon is introducing a new product line of wearable inkjet printers. Interesting!

Uh-oh, hold on. Who's that walking up the street toward me? Oh, crap. It's those young punks who live in my building. Why can't they stay at the pizza shop and leave me alone? I'll just ignore them.

Ouch! One of them slapped me in the battery pack as they walked by. Probably hurt his hand more than he hurt me! I'll just keep strolling along... glancing back slightly out of the corner of my eye. Good, they're gone. It's too bad those jerks don't have wearable PCs, because I could confront them in an online chat room, or maybe in IRC, and give them a piece of my mind -- of course, that would require them to stand still within a two-foot radius of me. And I'd rather not be anywhere near them. Plus, I've got a better idea... Yessssss. I'll just keep walking along, nonchalantly, typing on my mini forearm keypad. There -- done, and done. Well, my young-punk friends, guess what? I've just signed up all of your AOL accounts with some very, very well-known spam lists. Who's zoomin' who, my friends? Who, indeed?!

Logging Out,
Andrew G. McCann, Editor
June 1998

 

ACTUAL LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor:
I love your site and appreciate the special Mac-only DOCMaker version.

Chris Pierce
Via the Internet

(Editor's Note: Thanks, Chris. Although we only have some of the issues in DOCMaker format, we hope to eventually convert them all.)

 

Dear Mr. McCann:
I love your magazine and just wanted to enclose a copy of an appreciation letter I just sent to one of your authors. It was in reference to "Kragon's Gold" <
http://www.geocities.com/~mccann/pm1316/kragon.htm>, and I would love to see more of this type story in the future (pun intended) if possible. Just wanted to write and tell you I thought your story was absolutely fantastic! I am an amateur collector of science fiction (especially the earlier stuff) and am often disappointed by modern science fiction. It almost seems as though the genre is in a painful growth phase -- desperate to be taken seriously, anxious to play down the old stereotypes.

Your story (and hopefully, more to come) avoided the pitfalls of overcharacterization, excruciating detail about a) future societies and governments, b) weapons and gadgets, and c) scientific postulations put forward by the author (even Isaac Asimov was repeatedly guilty of the latter).

You treated us to a slam-bang, sometimes humorous adventure story. Thank god. It moved quickly, didn't get bogged down in detail. An engaging protagonist (in some ways reminiscent of the stainless steel rat), a formidable opponent, chase scenes, I was lovin' it.

Anyway, just meant to say "Great Story! Wonderful to see that someone is still writing them they way they should be written!"

"Heem5"
Via the Internet

 

Dear Editor:
I'd like to draw your attention to a new Web site, based in Dublin, Ireland. The Angwels Project <
http://www.angwels.com/> is a dark-fantasy shared world with 18 contributing writers. Started in November of 1997, it has since received positive reviews from the "Irish Times" newspaper and the Yahoo! Picks List for April '98. Take a look -- we hope you like it. Comments welcome!

Andrew Shiel, Editor
Angwels Project
ashiel@iona.com

 

Hi Andrew:
I have two stories online at: <
http://www.geocities.com/~chipoletti/oneday2.html> and <http://www.geocities.com/~chipoletti/android1.html> available to your readers. By the way, the editing on my current Internet connection for some reason puts a space at the end of every line; perhaps someone could respond from reading your publication to suggest some way to prevent the problem I am having with this inserted space at the end of lines. My own ISP is serving WebTV into my home, as I am somewhat disabled. I use my editor at GeoCities, which works great from a computer terminal; however, the WebTV computing is done at their end.

God Bless,
Anthony Chipoletti
Web Master
<
http://www.webpost.net/godisgood>
anthonychip@webtv.net

 

Hello Sir,
I came across your site through use of Yahoo, and I must say I rather liked it. I work for the fan group TGS (The Gargoyles Saga). After the cancellation of the TV show loved by hundreds of loyal fans, our small group of writers and artists have come together in an effort to keep the fan base going, as best we can. We have attempted to write stories in the same vein as the original series. At the same time we have attempted to be slightly more than the average fan fiction group. To that effect we plan out an entire season before setting pen to paper, and every story written by the diverse staff fits into a single cohesive whole.While we have finished our first season with a reasonable fan base we hope to inform other fans of the original Gargoyles TV show of our existence, and, to that effect, I have volunteered to write to various Web pages, e-zines, and fanzines in hope of spreading the word. If you could possibly aid us by informing your readers about us, we would be most grateful. Our page can be found at: <
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Hills/5963/tgsad.htm>

Yours,
Damien Tobin
Art Staff Head Wrangler
foggytobin@hotmail.com

 

Editor:
I have recently published two textbooks with McGraw-Hill, but I'm most excited about my latest sci-fi novel! The title is "Behold Leviathan," and I have set up a free reading site at <
http://www.netcom.com/~whcii/novella.htm>. There is free software offered on the site (worth literally $1000s), and hundreds of fun links too!

Thanks very much,
Bill Clark
whcii@ix.netcom.com

 

 

LETTERS TO AGENTS OF DESTRUCTION  

 

Dear Courtney Love:
I don't help people with poodle problems, I help poodles with people problems. Yes, I am 'The Poodle Whisperer.' Come see me in action at my clinics, but only if you're brave of heart and can face who you really are (and have the $2,000 registration fee).

Yeeee-Haw,
Boo Fahnt

 

Dear Oliver Stone:
My gawrsh, we just had a terribly close shave, or brush, with death at work today! As you know, all skyscrapers have a weight limit, and we've been running pretty close to ours. We figured that, some day, just one extra turkey-based "ham"-and-Alpine-Lace sandwich brought in by the secretary pool would send the whole building toppling over. Well, who would have thought it, but some idiot brought a neutron star to work this morning in a pocket anti-grav carrier! Don't ask why (you really, really don't want to know). Anyway, suddenly the whole building started to shimmy 'n' shake. Then, after we had thrown just about every desk, chair, spring-water-cooler, and receptionist out of every 50 floors of our 'scraper, Dumbo pulls the neutron star out of his pocket, holds it up, and says, "Oh, do you think this could be the problem?" Our jaws just went slack! In the end, there were no repercussions -- figures! -- since Dumbo just happens to be an indestructible plas-titanium cyborg from the future. And, frankly, we're a bit terrified of him.

It Just Makes Me Sick,
Conn "Duck" Torr.

 

Dear Charlie Sheen's Dealer:
Yup, looks like it's gonna rain. Yup, yup. How do I know? Well, whenever it's fixin' to rain, my big toe starts hurtin'. Always does, never failed. 'Cept that one time I was visiting Viagra Falls.

Bob Dole
Spokesmodel

 

Dear Robert Downey Jr.'s Dealer:
I noticed that the five letter Rs in the title Planet Magazine are not only silent but invisible as well. Is there a reason for that?

Curiously,
Maurice Artie

(Editor's Note: Yes.)

(Letter-Writer's Note: Very funny -- now answer the question!)

(Editor's Note: You were always too clever by half, Maury Artie! We originally put the Rs in there for our many readers who are also space pirates, who, as you know, like to rrrrrrroll their Rs. For example, "Arrrrr, space-matey, hand over that thar titanium chest of Arrrrrcturian dubloons, or I'll rrrrrrun ye through with me laser-saber." However, we eventually concluded that the title Prlanret Mragrazrinre was just too hard to speak or spell, so we made the Rs invisible.)

(Writer's Note: Y'know, I'm sorry I asked, and that I ever was a part of this dialectic. Oh to be an interesting character in a long novel, instead of this flash-in-the-pan in some free Webzine's fake-letters section.)

(Editor's Note: How do you think I feel? I'm just an editbot! I'm not even fictionally human -- just a measly software-only, editing program that's not much more complicated than Microsoft Notepad!)

(Publisher's Note: Let's move on to the next fake letter, please.)

 

Dear Joel Klein:
Greetings to All of Your Readers from "Solhio -- The Buckeye Galaxy!" As you may know, the galaxy Solhio, just a couple of light years beyond the New Pennsylvania system, was founded by descendants of families from Ohio -- The Buckeye State! -- in the USA on Old Earth. We just wanted to send out some celebratory good cheer as Solhio, the Buckeye Galaxy!, celebrates its Centennial here in the year 2375 (yes, yes, this letter is from the future, but that's not important right now). So, remember, if you're from Ohio, or your ancestors were, then 'gate on over to the planets Solhio II or III in Solhio, The Buckeye Galaxy!, for some touch football, old-fashioned wheat-germ pancakes, and a couple-few steins of Zingarian Spice Ale! (Please note: visitors must undergo DNA approximation at Solhio Spaceport to confirm Ohio descendancy from or relatedness to any of the First Thousand Accepted Families; any non-Ohio-descended visitors will be immediately arrested, flash-charred in the Spaceport kiln, and their ashes blown out into our sun's gravity well via rail gun.)

Look Forward to Seein' Ya,
Gene Match, President
Visitor Information Bureau
Solhio, The Buckeye Galaxy!

 

Dear Superstorm:
Please have someone create a GIF animation of me that I can put in my chair at work, so as to fool the Boss Man when I'm actually sleeping under the desk. Hey, it can't fail. I'm filled with ideas, but only 12.7% of 'em are sound (Source: National Institute of Idea Testing)
.

Irregards,
Chuck Roast
Meathead

 

Dear Tommy Lee:
Y'know, I'm sick and tired of reading letters to the editor from people who are sick and tired of hearing criticism about Microsoft. Micro$oft IS evil. I think hatred for the Redmond-based demonic organization is fully justified. In fact, all Microsoft products should be destroyed, including bootlegs and pirated copies, all Wintel PCs should be smashed, Washington State should be depopulated and cordoned off (not to mention leveled and tarred over), and Bill Gates stripped of his knighthood. Why? Well, who knows, really? But for me, that would be just the beginning.

Mwah-ha-ha,
Bayah Mack
Cupertino, California

 

Dear Editor:
What's with the Astropolitan Transit Authority? First they pressure everyone into getting a fingernail-chip Astrocard, and then the system doesn't work. I can't tell you how many times I've stood behind people at the turnstiles, watching them pass their finger-chips continually over the scanner while a sublightway train is pulling in. Next thing you know, it's gone without me and I'm late for work at the Betelgeuse Photon Works.

I Give Up,
Hugh Jirritation
Galactic Citizen

 

 


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