EDITORIAL & LETTERS
 

Planet: The fave zine of teen stars Broccoli Spears and Kitsch-N'Sync!  
 

FREE(PRAT)FALL

With this editorial I am unveiling my "Real Millennium Art Project for 2001". This will be even more daring than my previous exploits -- it should be nothing less than an exhilarating kaleidoscopic Nantucket sleigh ride through the meaning of The Material World, Heaven, Hell, Love, Truth, Death, and, of course, Taxes. In other words, the scope of this work simply includes everything, which means that no other art projects will be needed this year, anywhere. So all of you artists out there are just going to have to go into music or acting or corporate Web-page design for at least the next several months, although I am told that the Brooklyn Museum in New York is still accepting submissions of Naughty Art through April of 2001.

Now, here's my concept, and how it will play out. Picture me in outer space (if you don't know what I look like, imagine a white, 1970s-era tube sock filled with peach-flavored gelatin, shaped into a rough humanoid form, quick-frozen, laid gently onto a chopping block, shredded lightly, sprinkled with garlic, black olives, onions, and thistle, quick-liquefied, rolled into a perfect cone, marinated in vinegar and jimson weed for 23 hours, quick-gassed, and then inhaled in one, master-yogic breath through the left nostril -- as you collapse to the floor, an image should come into your stilled mind of exactly what I look like, probably).

So, there I am in outer space, inside my brilliant-white space suit, hanging against the jeweled black curtain, as if I'm sitting on an overstuffed easy chair. For a while, perhaps two days or so, nothing happens. Abruptly, I move my hand and switch on my rear aerosol thrusters, inching forward and positioning my right spaceboot exactly over what we now can recognize as a high-tech, frictionless synthetic banana peel made of bright-yellow Turbonium(TM), the peel held "in place" with the help of surplus Star Wars-era technology. I stand more or less erect, and then "step" forward, my right foot slipping up and away on the banana peel, while my left foot now pushes down on the banana peel, seeking traction yet finding none. I then begin falling backwards, there in outer space, each foot slipping in turn on the peel, yet I never completely fall over due to the absence of gravity. By pacing myself carefully, I expect to enter into a "State of Sustained Pratfall" -- which I have termed "Freepratfall".

At that point, art lovers the world over may tune into my intercom, as I yell "Whoaaaaaaaa!" This sound will immediately be recorded onto a DAT tape loop in the purpose-built med-evac Space Shuttle hovering several meters "above" me (this craft also houses my support entourage as well as control gear for my patented untethered SpaceArtCam, which will beam streaming video of this event to the planetmag.com Web site); this sound loop will continue to play as I maintain my perfect equilibrium between falling and not falling, an "eternal slipping", so to speak. I intend to keep this up as long as I can -- hopefully for 72 hours straight -- with the help of a flexible feed tube extending "down" from the Shuttle and supplying my mouth with a constant dribble of buckwheat-pancake batter.

To me, this freepratfall represents Life/Love Itself, a "Falling in Lo-V", if you will. Certainly, there is the surface entertainment of it all, yet even that should teach people some deeper truths. I expect that those watching will experience a full, virtuous "funny/not funny" cycle, the key principle of comedy, which, in my opinion, is only tragedy turned upside down. In other words, someone watching me will find my slip-sliding-in-place to be, by turns, funny, then funnier, peaking with funniest, then less funny, then not funny, then boring, moronic, disgusting, revolting, abhorrent to Mankind, then, suddenly, puzzling, then absurd, then surreal, then magical realist, then whimsical, then quirky, then cute, then simply adorable as a mouse wearing a wristwatch, then amusing, then funny again, and right on to hilarity, etc. -- or something along those lines.

Over the full 72-hour period, I anticipate that these series of changing emotions in the viewers of my Real Millennium Art Project (co-funded by the Planet Magazine Foundation and the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Space Art Coalition) will begin to cycle faster and faster, till viewers experience the whole range of feelings outlined above within 7.2 seconds (according to the super-smart, monocle-wearing Great Dane, Prof. Bonelick, who runs the Planet research facility).

At the end of it all, those few art lovers who survive this process will be able to walk away from my project with the certain knowledge that the entire thread of their lives is woven deeply into the tapestry of the universe, which in fact is a metaphor for my childhood, and that we are all bound together into complex pictures telling us What Love Is, Who We Are, Where Do You Think You're Going, Why Are You Wearing That Shirt With Those Pants, and What's For Dinner.

It's all very stupid, perhaps... but that has never stopped us before.

See You in Space,
Andrew G. McCann, Editor
March 2001

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Dear Editor: The first issue of E-GENRE (THE NEWSLETTER OF GENRE E-PUBLISHING) http://e-genre.tripod.com/index.html has premiered and was well received. I'd like to thank you for allowing us to reprint "Mars" by Gryffyd Eamonn Dempsey. I want poetry to have a place at E-G. One thing you might like to know is that our readers have spoken, and E-GENRE will go weekly in March. Same great reviews and overviews but spread out over a month.
GW Thomas

Dear Editor: I recently had the opportunity to see your site online and I was very impressed. I am glad that there is a site like this. It gives writers and readers of Science Fiction and other genres a place to go. I have recently written a novel, it is called Exterminance Cometh, ISBN # 0-59509-607-7, it is a paperback, and is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Borders.com, Elliot Bay Books, etc. And, there is a link at http://hometown.aol.com/brooklynboy59/index.html. It is a
book about prophecies and disasters that test the human spirit. I believe that your readers will enjoy it very much. I look forward to visiting your site, and reading the latest issues.
Sincerely,
Robert Segarra

Dear Editor: I have been enjoying your e-zine for some time now. You and AnotheRealm are my favorites. I have my own zine, GateWay S-F Magazine, now into its second Issue, and this is just to let you know that I have put a link to your site on my Links Page. You can check out this link by going to: http://www.gateway-sf-magazine.com/links.html
Thanks for leading the way for us new guys.
Yours truly,
B. Joseph Fekete, Jr.

 

LETTERS TO REJECTED LoTR ACTORS

Dear Bob Hoskins as Frodo: I once knew an evil guy who had an oil portrait done of himself -- he hung the picture secretly in the attic (and also had a GIF of it on his Web site, by the way). And you know what? The portrait never changed (neither did the GIF), yet this guy grew older with each passing year! His name? Strangely enough, it was "Gray" Dorian, because his hair had turned gray at an earlier age. I guess the Dorian part is just his family name. Let this be a lesson for all of us.
Evil Never Wins,
E. Ville Neff-Ervins

Dear Wilford Brimley as Gandalf: What is wrong with the Post Office?! It sucks! I have not had one single letter delivered by those incompetent nincompoops in more than a year! I'm writing to you, an SF zine, about this matter because I've tried just about everyone already, except of course Bill Clinton. By the way, I always mail my letters by dropping them in a garbage can; also, I write them on the scaly sides of day-old, uncooked fish. I just mention those details in case they might be pertinent.
Regards,
I. "Del" Hans

Dear Andrew McCarthy as Saruman: I'm a polysyllabist -- I believe that the lord's name should have more than one syllable. Well, gotta go catch some sleep -- I had a little film festival at the house yesterday and then had to stay up all night rewinding my DVDs.
Best,
Manny Thotz

Dear Mario Cantone as Old Man Willow:
People often ask me, "Who is your hero, and why?" And I always tell them, "Don't you mean 'what' is my favorite hero, and why? And that would be a chicken parmigiana hero with extra mozzarella, 'cuz they are soooo deeeelicious!" Hope that helps, because it's almost dinner time. I feel your stomach pangs.
Regards,
Bill Clinton

Dear Anthony Hopkins as Sam Gamgee:
It's terrible what the psycho media fascists and their goose-stepping dinosaurs-of-rock lapdogs have done to Napster! Don't they understand that Napster actually INCREASES CD sales?! Look at me, for instance: After I downloaded for free all of the music I ever wanted to buy but couldn't afford, and then after I downloaded all of the out-of-print stuff I ever wanted but couldn't find, and then after I downloaded all the new stuff I wanted to check out, and then after I downloaded a lot of stuff just to check it out 'n' trash it, and then after I downloaded gigabytes of stuff that I think is just OK (but I'd already downloaded everything I could think of), and THEN, after I burned it all onto a foot-long stack of CDs for my PC, my CD Walkman, my Dad's CD player, and my car CD player, then, uh... CD sales went up! Or so I've read. It puzzles me, too. Anyway, my point still stands that music should be free. I also want to download for free all the girlfriends of everyone who is reading this.
Awesomeness,
Mett "Al" Icka

Dear Nathan Lane as Gollum:
I had the strangest experience the other night. Everything was dark, and then it was as if I were moving through a fog, and ahead of me I suddenly saw an indistinct light. Well, the light got brighter and brighter, and I felt it was telling me to move, beckoning me to come closer, and finally it became clearer. And I could plainly see the white letters... spelling out WALK, which told me I would very soon be at the other side of the crosswalk. And indeed I got there quite safely enough, with little adventure. I then continued on my little stroll during that moonless, foggy night. Later, when I got home, I was pleased to see a "Friends" marathon on Channel 9 -- but, that adventure can wait for another of my letters to the editor.
Regards,
Ray Mayne N. Lighte

Dear Andy Dick as Legolas: I've just written a play that takes 10 years to perform. However, since I was able to work on it for only 8 hours a day, it took me 30 years to finish. Although I admit this work might seem unreasonable in its length, I merely ask that playgoers trust me and attend the premier next month in my living room of this solo perfomance by me. The ending of the play is great -- really worth the wait. I don't want to give too much away, but I can tell you that the plot revolves around a man who loves to type letters and words all day long, in any order and any language (old, new, or invented), and how his mean wife never understood him and unfairly left him, and how he had to stop typing after a solid three decades of joy and then painfully get a job. Also, please note that I will not be taking reservations from anyone over the age of 90. Statistically, they're just not going to make it to the second act. One more thing: I do not accept checks and will need your credit card numbers for the monthly deductions to keep the play going (and keep us all in pizza) over the many years to come that we shall spend together in my living room.
Sincerely,
Jess E. "Jack" Sonne

Dear Bobcat Goldthwaite as Elrond: In the new Army of One commercial on TV for the US Army, it looks like the soldier is basically running away from where all the tanks are going -- so he's either deserting, doesn't know what he's doing, or is going to take on the enemy like he's Schwarzenegger. Any of those options appeals to me! So I'm going to go steal a car right now and drive over to enlist (even though the recruiter is only a few blocks away)! This will indeed be an Army of One -- at least, it will be once I'm through with it!
Sincerely,
"Colonel" F. Korn

Dear David Duchovny as Tom Bombadil: Mother and I just read your Planet Magazine and had quite a good laugh about it, there in the formal garden, just in front of the maze, sipping Lady Grey tea from our Ming dog bowls and positively chomping on cucumber sandwiches with the crust removed, while Jeeves, ever the butler, stood alert, nude, as Mother had whimisically ordered him to do, while she threw actual darts at his bottom, where she had drawn a crude-but-lovely red target with some Chanel lipstick she no longer cared for. I think it was that very morning we saw father fall, drunk, from the uppermost turret of the maison -- come to think of it, we never did look for the body! Anyway, it doesn't much matter now, does it, as Mother remains at The Laconic Sanitarium with young Dr. Hernandez, who now controls the family Trust through that turncoat Jeeves (too bad we didn't pay any attention to his constant late nights with that Web-based legal studies course!). And as for me, well, the old house is quite drafty, and I've burned all the furniture (quite whimsically, it seems, since the heating oil tank has 500 gallons in it) -- my only companions a tiny family of dung beetles, who cook for me and live in the wall near the terrace doors. They are so kind. Well, turnabout is fair play, or something like that. Say, could I borrow five dollars (American)? I don't need it, I'd just like to borrow something from someone.
Yours,
Wim Sickle

Dear Keanu Reeves as Sauron: I'm sorry to be the one to abruptly announce pending layoffs at Planet Magazine ­ after all, I'm a fictional character buried in the fake letters section. Still, I enjoy it. As you know, risky tech stocks like Planet Magazine's have brought the economy to the edge of the abyss. So, to placate our venture capitalists, we'll have to start decimating the staff. But we'd like it to be voluntary, so anyone ready to leave, please let us know by Friday. Severance pay will be exactly zero dollars for each week worked. Please be aware that those choosing to stay will be forced to accept stock options in Planet Magazine -- note that Planet's options have weakened so sharply that anyone holding them actually must pay money to a general stock market fund for widows and orphans of penny-stock traders. Our goal is to have no employees by next quarter, which should drastically slash our operating costs. Beyond that, we haven't a clue.
Regards,
D. Manne-Agement

Dear Ted McGinley as Aragorn: Hi, I'm writing in to tell you what my favorite scene in an SF movie is. in "2001: A Space Odyssey", I love the part when the pod bay door opens, and you see the slow emergence of a backlit container of Microsoft Office 2001 for the Macintosh. Although what any of this SF stuff has to do with San Francisco is not clear to me.
Cheers,
Bill Gates

Dear Editor as Himself: I just got back from France, and it turns out that the French do NOT like Jerry Lewis. It's all been a mixup due to translation errors.
Sincerelement,
Dee N. Martinn

 

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