Editorial & Letters
Planet's Pledge: No aliens were harmed very much in the making of this issue.
A Bulletin From 'The Committee'
I am Hans-Juergen Schlarggen, Secret Head of the World Internet Council, and I have taken control of this editorial by fiat. The WIC can do this. We have the power.
Let me briefly introduce my group. Our informal name for ourselves -- not that we are EVER informal -- is "The Committee". We like this because it is vague and scary. The Committee consists of 13 men of apparently East European backgrounds who wear extremely tiny, angular eyeglasses and expensive Italian silk suits in pastel Earth tones. Membership in the committee is so tightly controlled that none of us know how we were picked; we do not know what countries we are from. We do not know who we are. I do not even know who I really am. Yet I know my own name. Interesting, but unimportant. The Committee reports directly to Zolmar, whom the people of Earth know as Alan Greenspan. He reports directly to Greehthalo of Arcturus Prime.
Here is why we are communicating to you today. As you DON'T know, The Committee created what you know as "the Internet" with the aim of setting in motion the ultimate device to weaken humans and ensure that our Alien Keepers receive steady deliveries of human psychic energy to their empire; they use this energy as the equivalent of animal feed. This information is shocking, yes, but you will not be able to do anything about it. (In case you wondered, the WWWs alleged founder, Tim Berners-Lee, does not exist. Note that his name backwards is Eel-Srenreb Mit. Get the joke? If you lived on Arcturus Prime you would really be laughing right now.)
As I was saying, this human psychic energy is collected through TV tubes, PC monitors, PDA screens, even newspapers -- yes, we can do that. Years ago we created credit cards and mass media to suck up energy. Cable TV was one of our better inventions. Now, with the Internet, we have created spam, chat rooms, and various multimedia formats to allow easy access to porno. We created digital cameras, to allow the uploading of pictures of dusty junk onto eBay, which further pulls in your life force. We even created the concept of "online communities" -- there is no end to our desire to enmesh our human victims in pointless, energy-sapping pursuits! We own all of the big high-tech media institutions: AOL/Time Warner? Apple Computer? IBM? MIT? NBA? All report directly to us. But truly our greatest device is Planet Magazine, which so subtly blends science fiction, fantasy, irony, and overpowering intelligence into an ambrosiac froth that none of the finest minds in cyberspace can resist slurping down! Yes, YOU, the readers of Planet Magazine, represent the most intelligent and mentally powerful humans in existence! All 15 of you!!
Now, here is our problem. The internet has gotten too big, too powerful. No one could have foreseen how it has all taken off. Not even Zolmar, who has famously complained about "irrational exuberance". At the same time, like all mundane powers on Earth, we of The Committee have some dependence on the venture-capital firms of Wall Street and Silicon Valley to raise money for our admittedly insane and ghastly enterprises. No one escapes the laws of Economics, after all. Thus, at the same time that we are taking in too much human energy, our VC funding has all but been choked off by the unwinding of the Tech Bubble, as it were. In addition, it's difficult to get the home world to help out financially, since the alien masters have funding concerns of their own, what with the war with the Ootiez and the destruction of Xoii 12.
So, I am here to ask everyone in the world to stop using the Internet, even though all but 15 humans alive on Earth do not read Planet Magazine, and won't see this editorial. Crazy thinking, yes, but that is our hallmark. The problem, specifically, is that we are now getting too much psychic energy and the transfer beam from Earth, which is invisible to human senses or instruments, cannot be stabilized. The alien empire's animal stocks are becoming bloated, floating away into other dimensions, and their cybot herders cannot find them. We cannot shut off the beam, either. It has melted and frozen at the same time and is locked into both the "On" and "Off" positions. What we've concluded, in fact, is that the readers of Planet, with their great mental powers, alone could more than sustain the empire for the next few centuries. This means we are further requesting that everyone in the world, including Planet readers, also stop watching TV, listening to the radio, reading newspapers, or even scribbling notes into their handheld computers. Just you few readers dipping into Planet every few months will be enough for us.
Although I do not mean it, thank you very much for doing your part to ensure the continued captivity of the human race. And we hope you appreciate the fact that it's not been easy for The Committee to lower itself to talk directly to you. In addition, we --
[WE INTERRUPT THIS EDITORIAL WITH A META-BULLETIN FROM ZOLMAR]
This editorial transmission has violated the Secret Internet Protocols and will be terminated, although it's true that I authorized its publication in the first place -- but we alien overlords, like our human agents, are always contradictory in our diktats. Moreover, as of today we have officially and completely run out of funds in our Earth budget. The fact is, it's quite difficult to manage a global secret society. Complexity isn't so much the problem, as we rely on proven smart, self-adaptive networking technology. Even so, you should see the state of our headquarters (A.K.A. "HQ"): most of the nuke-proof window shutters are half-shut and jammed that way. There is rust, or grease, everywhere. The volcano-mouth entrance won't close, and rain gets in. The underwater sub entrance leaks and is unusable. The fission plant is stuttering, and threatening to do a China Syndrome on us, and Maintenance always says it has no time to come by. Don't even ask about the performance of our mutual funds.
But, truth be told, and "The Committee" is unaware of this as yet, we alien lords long ago gave up control of Human Affairs to "The Machines From The Time Bridge" (which is a whole 'nother story). In fact, I and my fellow aliens are withdrawing from Earth and heading home next Wednesday. We've managed to knock the human-energy transfer beam mentioned above away from our galaxy, which is great for us. Unfortunately, it's now pointing at your sun. We don't know what's going to happen with that, but we ain't hardly sticking around to find out! If it helps, I can try to arrange to lower interest rates one more time before I go. This is Zolmar, signing off for good. Ciao!
As Channeled By
Andrew G. McCann, Editor
Reminder from the Planet Magazine Editorial Board
We would like to remind readers that we are the Planet Magazine Editorial Board, and we are watching you. Right now we are hovering above you in mid-air, exactly 10 meters up and 1.75 meters to your left. Defensively speaking, this is our preferred relative hovering position. We are invisible, but we are angry. Very angry. We have scowls on our faces. Our brows are furrowed, as are the fields on our home world -- planted, as always, in anticipation of war so that we can feed our army of superstrong, wisecracking ferret-iguana hybrids. Listen! Can you hear our voices booming across the countryside? Can you detect the flashes of light from the laser-guns and the swords clenched in our fists -- weapons-wise, if not literally "weapons wise", we like to cover all our bases (not to mention all your base, which belong to us). We take the form of mighty humanoid dragons, or in some cases, dragonoid humans. We are the ones who built what the former, non-human Earth overlords think of as "The Machines From The Time Bridge". Ha! Wheels within wheels within wheels, covered, as always here in Planet Magazine's Editorial section, with several layers of delicious, melted Monterey Jack-equivalent cheese.
But why are we angry? Because we are strong. Why are we strong? Because we are angry. Also we are strong because each member of the Editorial Board possesses a sorcerous stone, each uniquely identified with an animal spirit (or vegetable or fruit spirit, as some of us are vegetarians) and endowing us with their qualities, only super-enhanced. I, for one, have the ability to hibernate not just through a single winter, but for season upon season upon season -- powers granted to me through the strange and disturbing Badger Stone! One of my vegan colleagues, to give you another example, is able to turn an overwhelming and unstoppable green, thanks to the magical Broccoli Stone she carries everywhere she goes.
Now, here are our demands: First, we demand that you easily comprehend this magazine. Second, we demand that you like it without reservations (although we do offer reservations for parties of 15 or more, which automatically includes a 20% gratuity)!
Remember, we are strong! And you are weak! We have had years of training! You have had no years of training. None! Furthermore, you will get no more explanations from us! We have said too much already. We have seen the damage done when one keeps inventing and justifying to bolster one's position; we have watched "The X Files"!
This has been a reminder from the Editorial Board of Planet Magazine. We will now cease hovering and relax our facial expressions. Thank you.
Enjoy the Magazine,
The Editorial Board
Letters To The Editor
Dear Editor: Phébus Création are proud to announce that their website is now online at the following URL: http://www.phebuscreation.com Please feel free to browse our complete and updated product catalogue and price list. You may now view our products as well as our various diorama galleries, and find out more about us and our products. You may also order from us directly when visiting our site. Please find full details in our 'Orders' section. We hope that you will enjoy your visit and that we will hear from you very soon ! We also welcome any question or query you may have so please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are at your service.
Best regards from France
Dear Editor: ShadowKeep Magazine will publish a special Halloween edition this year, which will be in e-book format (PDF and LIT). The issue will be free to anyone to download. We are looking for horror at its scariest for this special issue. What we don't want is everyday, run-of-the-mill horror themes. Use your imaginations and come up with original themes and villains! Word count: at least 5,000 words, not more than 12,000 words. If your submission falls under or over this amount, it will not be accepted. We very much prefer RTF (rich text format) attachments for submissions. Absolutely do not send your submission in the body of an email message, unless it is in "HTML" format. We're looking for quality, so submit early and as often as you like. All submissions should be sent to "email@example.com" with "Halloween Issue" in the subject line. Payment is publication. Deadline for submissions is September 15, 2001. Space is limited, so get those submissions in early!
Dear Editor: Twilight Times ezine is celebrating its third anniverary on the Web. This award-winning digital journal just gets better and better. View the stories, poetry, and artwork in the Summer issue now online. Check out an article by Charlotte Boyett-Compo on "What You Won't Be Getting..." [when you sign with an epublisher.] Also, eBook Ecstasy is a free monthly newsletter aimed at introducing readers to eauthors and epublishers. Each issue features book reviews, new ebook releases and information about e-authors. Purposely designed not to be overly technical, eBook Ecstasy revels in the fun side of reporting."
Twilight Times Books
Practical Tips for Online Authors:
E-Book Ecstasy newsletter
Dear Editor: I just wanted to inform you of some recent book publications and want you to know that I cited you and your magazine in the acknowledgments. Four books of poetry have been published and another is in process. Book descriptions appear at www.greatunpublished.com. They are available in print and electronic formats. Their titles are: "One Summer, A Thousand Days" (Haiku); "The Cloud Shaman" (Poetry and short stories for Preteens); "Fires Burning, Deep Inside" (Poetry for Teens); "Turn The Sandglass Over" (Poetry for adults); and "Skyline Drive" (Business poetry. In process.) I will always appreciate the support you showed me in selecting some of my poems for Planet Magazine.
Dear Editor: I thought your subscribers might find our new newsletter of interest. Word of Mouth Speculative Fiction Reviews will feature reviews of new science fiction, fantasy, and horror books and e-books as well as those that have been on the shelf a while. In addition, the free e-mail newsletter will feature recommended reading lists, contests, and letters from readers. It '"stars" the witty and opinionated David McKinlay, who has been writing for our parent newsletter, Word of Mouth Book Reviews (all genres) for more than a year. Word of Mouth Speculative Fiction Reviews will appear twice monthly. Subscription is free and available by sending a blank email to: WOMSpecFicfirstname.lastname@example.org More information can be obtained by visiting the Word of Mouth Newsletters website at: http://www.xcpublishing.com/wompage.html
Hope to see you there!
Xina Marie Uhl
Dear Editor: My name is Tammy Morrison and I am the promotions director for a great fan-driven/based writing project, the Voyager Virtual Season Eight. This is a Web-based, non-profit project, which will attempt to continue the voyages of the Starship Voyager for the fans, by the fans. This is truly a project without boundaries, being directed, written, and produced by a number of fans across the world -- from the US to Canada to Germany to Great Britain. Our motive is to continue the adventures for our fellow fans, and to get the word out to as many people as possible. We'd love it if you could help us in this regard. The premier episode was June 20th, and will be available on the Web site www.creativelogs.com. Please come and check us out.
Tammy J. Morrison
Voyager Virtual Season Eight
Letters to Top-10 Back-to-School Must-Have Gadgets
Dear PDA Helmet: I am so dodally freakin' psyched about "The Lord of the Rings" movie coming up this Christmas that I could kiss an orc! This will be the best film of all time! Better than The Smurfs pilot episode! While I'm at it, I've got something to say to all those people who think Tolkien and his fans are just a bunch of immature dorks. What these latter-day Gollums don't understand is that R.J. Tolkien is easily the greatest single American writer of the past decade!
Sue "GaladrielNYC" Perfan
Dear Combo MP3 Player/Lecture Notebook: Y'know, Hollywood was so concerned about whether they could create "Jurassic Park III" that they didn't pause and think whether they should or not. They built on the shoulders of great directors, and took it one step further. They didn't require discipline to attain their goal of a commercially successful sequel to a sequel, so they don't accept any responsibility for their actions.
Just a Thought,
Dear Combo Digital Camera/Computer Desk: Through judicious cloning and cross-breeding, I have come up with a cat that has no claws, does not eliminate wastes for the span of its four-week life, behaves just like a dog, and tastes exactly like hamburger. Call me a madman -- call me anything you like! -- just don't call PETA.
Kray Z. Cyandist
Dear Wireless-Enabled Bra: Thank goodness for the new, tougher laws against using cellphones while driving, which have encouraged the use of the new hands-free phone headsets. Now, having phone sex while you drive is easier than ever!
S. Knott Phunnee
Dear Theft-Proof, 500-Pound Laptop: If you want to succeed in business, you have to dress for it. So I tried that, always taking my boss as my role model. My plan didn't seem to work out at my first job, where my boss was a woman (I'm a man). And it sure didn't work out at my next job, where my boss was a naked homeless man who was addicted to tincture of opium (they kept him on because he had seniority). So I've now decided I'm going to dress for myself at the office and not worry about what anyone thinks. I will just be who I truly am: the youngest son in a long line of Turkish pipe-smoking, midget-circus-clown stilt-walkers who will not bathe for religious reasons.
Just Wastin' Time,
'Sir' Cus Klowne
Dear Virtual-Reality Roommate: I've heard of Mad Cow Disease, but I was wondering if there is such a thing as Mad Big Fat Cow Disease, as I do believe my husband has it.
Dear Virtual-Reality Girl or Boyfriend: I am writing to you from my Internet-enabled Michael Jordan Palm while wearing Michael Jordan cologne, eating at an MJ restaurant, and reading MJ's autobiography. Soon, very soon, I hope to be writing to you from inside his head. Once I sieze control, I will move to Chicago and start playing again for the Bulls!
Hoopy Days Will Be Here Again,
Dear Networkable Term-Paper Generator: I am writing to seek Planet Magazine's support in my efforts to decriminalize gay aliens. Although it's not scientifically proven that aliens do exist (the kind from outer space, that is), and we don't know what sort of genders roles they might have and whether the term "gay" would even apply, and we also don't know if such behavior would be considered legal or not and by what or whose authority, I nonetheless am persevering in this issue because I'd like to draw some attention to myself.
Thanks Far, Far in Advance,
Dear Knee-Phone: I have a "work situation." It seems that those under my self-appointed command during the night shift in the Word-Processing Department have complained to the shift supervisor that I am "abrasive," "controlling," and "extremely offensive". I, on the other hand, see myself as a "sleek" and "stylish" stage-and-screen actor who is necessarily honing his craft when, and where, he can. What these pasty-faced oxen who refuse to yield to my greatness fail to see is that my performance at work has been perhaps my greatest role yet. Better than my seven months once as a "boyfriend". These typing twerps fail to recognize that the real "Chip" may be just like the ineffably intriguing characters they see every evening at his workstation, only sans any of those potentially illegal behaviors that I am accused of. What they see as "oppressiveness" on my part is really just excellent character and scene work. Kathy Bates would be proud. After all, while I am doing my "scenes" (in the acting sense) as I polish my instrument in ancticipation of eventual stardom, they are merely "working" at a menial job -- I think of it as "Office Theatre"! They should all be grateful. [So, what's your question? -- The Editor.] My question is this: How did you know I had a question, and also, how did you decide to approach this kind of situation when you yourself were called down to Human Resources for "questionable behavior on the job"? [That's two questions -- Ed.] I must disagree. I see it as one, two-part question, if you believe, as I do, that not only is there really only "One Great Question", of which all other questions are merely tiny facets, but also that Im never wrong.
Thank You All, Very Much,
[Dear '"Chip": If I were you, and I am, I would point out to HR that all you ever wanted was to make your audience laugh, cry, and cheer -- whatever the venue might be -- and furthermore that you never once charged an admission fee. If becoming a great actor is a crime, then I say stand guilty as charged! And if things don't work out for you there, you can always start up an online science fiction 'zine. -- Ed.]
Dear TCP-Enabled Bong: While we are on the subject of acting, I would like to note that I am now accepting new students in my exclusive School of Crowd Acting, where I focus on what is commonly, but unfairly, called "extra work". In my view, extras are not "extra" at all, but prime ingredients of any film. Without extras, you would not have had "Birth of a Nation", "Cleopatra", or "Gandhi". All great and epic films require bodies to fill space. Ah, but there are "ways" to fill space, and this is the heart of my Theories of Crowd Technique. If you want to know more, you'll have to sign up. And if you're wondering about my background, I can be seen, but not recognized, in many acknowledged films, such as all of the stadium scenes in "Bloody Sunday" and the second layer of the mass-grave scene in "El Presidente, Come Back!", which was screened at Cannes in 1988, although not during the time that the famous festival is held there.
Er... That's It,
Dear Editor: Last month, I was so frustrated I threw up my hands. But then, a grin split my face. It was all so horrible. I've been in the hospital since. The doctors say that, given my lack of hands and facial disfigurement, they're not sure if I'll ever be able to imitate Jimi Hendrix's guitar-playing style, which I suppose isn't so bad, since I never could do it before.
Thanks for Reading,
Hans N. Phaise
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"The Machines From The Time Bridge" say to Humanity: Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! At the same time they chug around in big circles while emitting a voit-voit-voit-poot sound from the top of their "heads", which looks and sounds ridiculous and takes some of the edge off that evil laughter of theirs. However, they have all been implanted with Emotionally-Oversensitive Chips. So to laugh at them is to invite your doom....