Editorial & Letters
Planet Magazine: Make Us Your Galactic Source for Science-Fiction-Like Substances!


'Way' to Go

I am standing on a new product that will change history, society, and your life, and that's just for starters. The Segway, formerly known by its code name of "Ginger", was released to the public several months ago after much anticipation and wild speculation. We at Planet Magazine have been happily testing these vehicles day and night and are now ready to report what we have found. I am actually writing this editorial with my rack-mounted iPaq handheld while speeding down the sidewalk at the maximum 12 MPH on my little Segway, scattering dogwalkers and joggers as I go, moving this beautiful two-wheeled cart merely by tipping my body slightly forward -- or "intending forward" -- which leaves my hands, and eyes, free to pen this important memo. This does not Suckway. No way.

For those of you without knowledge of this marvelous device I am riding, picture one of those classic push mowers for cutting grass, but designed by Lexus and with a platform for standing. (Note to self: sell the Segway folks on a Segway Lawnmower!). Now add in a revolutionary gyroscopic A.I. motor (in place of the mower blades) that can keep a two-wheeled vehicle stable on just about any terrain (by which I mean any flat or slightly inclined asphalt roadway that was recently paved and is currently free of traffic and enjoying sunny weather), and you've got the Vehicle of the Future that will indeed change the way cities are designed and the way we all live. And that's an under-exaggeration!

As the inventor of this delightful
two-wheeled, self-propelled scooter describes it, the Segway vehicle moves by the rider thinking it forward or backward -- not unlike walking -- all without falling. It's been magical to use and to weave into my life, and any problems have been few and far between and really nothing to worry about. For example, one little incident occurred when I was zipping along, and began idly recalling that morning’s crossword puzzle, which I hadn’t been able to solve. As I was thinking it out, I suddently tilted my head to the right, as a perplexed person is apt to do, and the Segway (following my "intent") promptly made a sharp right turn into the curb, ejecting me and bouncing me face-first off a large maple on the tree lawn. Another hiccup happened just the next day, when I was tooling down the local business avenue. I saw an old friend of mine from college walking past the Dunkin' Donuts, and gave him the universal “Hey, What’s Up, Dude?” sign -- i.e., a quick, upward flick of the head. Well, my Ginger interpreted that as, “Immediately excecute a fast heel-flip up, and then throw me down on my back at 10 mph, in the manner of Tony Hawk.” No sooner thought than done! Amazing. And the hospital released me that very same week! Anyway, how often will things like this happen to the average Segway rider? Once a month? Maybe every two weeks or so, if that? Like I said, not worth thinking about.

So let me just segue into some of my hopes for The Segway and offer a few suggestions to the inventor to help make this hit product turn into some actual sales! The first thing I'd like to see is a rain cover of some sort that includes wipers in front and back as well as an entry door -- maybe some sort of big, square Plexiglas cover that can fit over the Segway, but something that is also lightweight and can fold down to fit into one's back pocket. I'd also like to see a similar cover for the winter, but thicker and with a heating/defogging system installed. (And don't forget the air holes, please!) Yet my biggest dream is to one day get a knobby-tired SUS (sports utility Segway), so that me 'n' Ginger can go off-road and hit the open trails, with a big smile on my surgically repaired face!

Thinking Forward,
Andrew G. McCann
February 2002




Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor: I'd like to inform your readers about an up-and-coming poetry newsletter that I'm publishing. "Poetrylist" is a bimonthly newsletter containing both free and formal verse poetry. It also contains information about poetry events such as readings. If they would like more information they can email me at poetrylist@aol.com.
Thanks for your time,
Bobby Whetzel


Dear Editor: Twilight Times Books is pleased to announce the release of the following books:
(1) Reflections of a Recovering Servant, by popular fantasy author Steve Lazarowitz.
Excerpt: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/Reflections_ch1.html
(2) Eyes of Truth, a fantasy novel by Linda Suzane.
Excerpt: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/EyesofTruth_ch1.html
(3) The Thirteenth Magician, a fantasy novel by Patrick Welch.
Excerpt: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/13thMagician_ch1.html
(4) The Moon Child, meta-mythic fantasy novel, by Alex Roces.
Excerpt: http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/MoonChild_ch1.html
Regards,
Lida E. Quillen, Publisher
Twilight Times Books
http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/


Dear Editor: We are writing from the Enchanted-Art Collection of Jessica Galbreth -- a fantasy watercolorist whose specialty is painting all things enchanting -- faeries, goddesses, medieval & Celtic myth, dragons, unicorns, mermaids, and more. Through Jessica's official Web site, you can enter to win our annual poetry contest. Winners receive a free Enchanted-Art print and have their poem posted for one full year on our Web site with full credit (our site receives upwards of 5,000 hits per week). Without further ado, we'd like to invite you to browse our enchanting pages and further consider entering our poetry contest: http://www.enchanted-art.com/
EnchantedArt@aol.com


Dear Editor: Galacticsurf is a portal grouping many categories about space sciences (cosmology, particle physics, exobiology, stars, solar system, galaxies, space missions, exoplanets, space galleries, space art, and many more). I created this site about a year ago in order to propose to researchers, astronomers, students, or just amateurs, a tool that can be used as a platform for research or just to enjoy a pleasurable trip through space sciences. There is absolutely no commercial goal. Galacticsurf's goal is to provide a free quality service for all space fans.
Edouard
Webmaster
http://www.galacticsurf.com


Dear Editor: I was published in Planet Magazine 9 & 10 (“Ice Princess”) http://www.etext.org/Zines/planet//pm910/iceprinc.htm and wanted to let your readers know I’ve published a children’s book, “Johnny Starlight”, which is available in most Colorado bookstores as well as on Amazon.com. My upcoming projects include a children’s book titled “McKenzie and the Magic Mirror”, and several young-reader books, titled “The Tea Tree” and “Mr. Bug’s Adventure”. My largest project, due out in 2003, is a fantasy novel titled “To Save A Dragon”. Thanks again for all your help and for the terrific start in the career of my dreams!
Erika V. Queen
Queenerikav@yahoo.com
c/o Goldwing Publishers
P.O. Box 33652
Denver, CO 80233


Dear Editor: Drunk Duck, a literary publication, is seeking writers and artists interested in producing and selling e-books on our site. We will produce e-books for you for free. This is not an editing service, and we will only offer Microsoft Reader formatting. In the future, .PDF formatting will be added. We only ask for the right to post and sell your book on our site. We will take a percentage of the sale, and the rest will go back to the author, much like MP3.com’s services for musicians. The author will set the price, and control the rights to the work. More details about this offer will be available on our Web site at a later date. Note that we will invalidate this offer if we do not receive a positive response. If you are interested in participating in this new service please respond to duck@stories.com. Please visit our site, www.drunkduck.homestead.com, and our affiliate site www.6000bynight.homestead.com.
Sincerely,
Richard Edwards
Editor


Dear Editor:
Gambeson Media Network is an exciting new place to read stories in over 300 genres from around the world. Smart navigation makes it easy to find the right kind of story you are looking for in fiction, nonfiction, music, and poetry genres. Recent contributions have come from the USA, Australia, India, and other places. Attention writers: Gambeson is home to the world's first totally automated online publishing system, allowing both new and established authors the ability to bring stories to the world audience immediately and free. You can get your work featured on Gambeson's front page today -- now accepting submissions.
Gambeson Media Network
http://www.gambeson.com


Dear Editor:
Eugene resident and author Max E. Keele announces the launch of a new quarterly Internet magazine dedicated to publishing literary-quality speculative fiction for an international audience of sophisticated readers. Fiction Inferno's objective is to find and publish the best, most literate speculative fiction (which includes the genres usually referred to as science fiction, fantasy, horror, and experimental) available from authors of any and all backgrounds, whether well-established in their writing careers or just starting out. The only objective criteria for making the pages of FI is well-crafted, innovative fiction. FI also intends to be author-friendly -- all rights not purchased will remain with the individual authors and payment will be made for any story published. Fiction Inferno is a quarterly publication, available for free on the Web at www.fictioninferno.com.
Max E. Keele
editor@fictioninferno.com


Dear Editor: GreenTentacles -- the e-zine providing news, articles, and services for speculative fiction businesses -- has just completed a major redesign. The main thrust of the design was to get the main content of the site into a database, in order to make future updates and daily maintenance as painless as possible. We've also added new features, like a pseudo-daily news log, where we report some of the top stories that may be of interest to speculative fiction business people.
Cordially,
N. E. Lilly
nelilly@greententacles.com
A Modern Business Fan
http://www.greententacles.com/


Dear Editor: We invite your readers to visit Cool Beans World, our online comics cavern. We have some great storylines on the site -- including an exclusive animated series of "Scarlet Traces", written by Ian Edginton with art by Disraeli. We've also got exclusive new work in the pipeline from the comics community's biggest names, especially Simon Bisley's return to sword-wielding fantasy in the Alan Grant-scripted "Doomkeeper". On top of all this, there are the community, shop, and interactive zones that promise to entertain you even more.
Cheers,
Jo Fearne
http://www.coolbeansworld.com
http://www.cartoonscape.com


Dear Editor: We’d like to invite any readers who like extreme, bizarre speculative fiction to check out our new titles, which are available in paperback and electronic versions.
Thanks,
Eraserhead Press
EHPress@aol.com
http://www.angelfire.com/az2/eraserheadpress/




Letters to Proposed 'Lord of the Rings' Sequels

Dear "Part IV: The Return of Bilbo: The Adventure Begins Again" (same cast): I have had a problem my whole life. No one ever seems to remember me, although I always remember myself very well! Specifically, my problem is that every time I meet someone, and then run into them later, they always say “Hi, Elliott”, when my first name is actually Lawrence (although it’s true that I insist people call me by my first two initials in combination with my last name). Well, I guess there’s just no accounting for the obtuseness of some folks.
Yours Truly,
L.E. Ott


Dear "Part V: The Return of Sauron: The Adventure Continues" (all-new cast, including Eric Stoltz as the dark lord; directed by Nora Ephron): Although the new iMac may seem like it's in a niche hardware category, and perhaps overpriced for many people, I believe that you've got to consider the fact that it runs many popular software applications and that it also comes with some free digital apps that allow easy movie-making, music playing, photo organization, etc. Now show me one other desk lamp that can do that! Ha! Didn't think so.
Regards,
Capo D. Tutti-Frutti


Dear "Part VI: A Balrog in Hobbiton" (directed by Sam Raimi): President Bush the Younger here, and I’m writing to let your readers know that the U.S. is committed to doing whatever it takes to rein in my rogue daughters. They represent an “Axis of Partying” that must be stopped before they create Weapons of Brain-Cell Destruction. I am telling these girls right now to stop engaging in this massive partying, shut down their activities, and immediately enter rehabs. If they refuse, I am ready to do whatever it takes to protect my familiy’s reputation from the threat of these “krazy kollege-type kidz”. I will even go so far as to use military action against my daughters, should it come to that (hey, I'm just kidding, but I want to scare 'em a bit!). Now that me and the wife have got the girls on notice, I hope they change their behavior on their own. And I hope they hear the message of not only the president of the United States but also a vast coalition of their aunts, uncles, and cousins. And then people say, “What are the consequences of my ultimatum?” Well, these girls will find that out in due course if they don't get their apartments in order!
Speaking From a Disclosed Location,
The Dubster


Dear "Part VII: The Story of Tom Bombadil" (musical, with Nathan Lane): What's the capital of the United States, you ask? That’s easy: Capital U. Or maybe capital U and capital S. But since the question is singular, not plural, then the one I pick would be U (so happy belated Valentine’s Day to U!).
Sincerely,
Ty M. Waister


Dear "Part VIII: Barliman Butterbur Forgets Again!" (with Drew Carey, and Gilbert Gottfried as "Nob"): Ooooooohhhhh, I grow tired of that man Gandalf’s excuses for his regular disappearances! I tell you it’s no picnic being married to a Valar (and yes, already, he IS one). First it was that rogue elfess in Rinvendell that supposedly entrapped him, then the next year it was the card game he lost to Old Man Willow, and there was even that experimental-lifestyle phase with that high-booted Tom Bombadil. And then I didn’t see him for months and months after that doddering fool Saruman allegedly “captured” him. By Shelob, that bumbling, would-be tyrant Saruman couldn’t even catch a cold! And now I’m supposed to believe that Gandalf’s been pulled into a bottomless pit by some slow-witted Balrog and has gone missing? Spare me. Odds are he’s gone missing all the way to the mead taverns of Minas Tirith with that no-good, smelly Strider! I’ll tell you one thing, he’ll be seeing me in Wizard Divorce Court pretty soon! I’ll show that Gandalf a bottomless pit, I will.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Gandalf A. Valar


Dear "Part IX: The Return of Saruman: The Secondary Threat Rises Again" (original cast is back): I am a rare elf/dwarf hybrid -- I am joyous yet sullen, otherworldly yet mundane, pretty yet ugly. Those of us Erfs (as we call ourselves, although some use Dwelfs) have gathered and met in a Grand Council. We have come to a key decision and are now seeking our own homeland in Middle Earth, far and near from the who oppress us. Essentially, we are seeking a mountainous valley, covered by a treeless forest, which is sunny half the year and cloudy the next. Please help us, although we do not need any of your help.
With Sincerity & Suspicion,
Elshape Oakenhelm


Dear "Part X: The Return of the King Yet Again" (all-new cast, including Lucy Lawless as Sauron's Daughter): Continuing on from my letter in the last issue, I am here to demonstrate via Internet-enabled Powerpoint slides exactly why and how -- and most assuredly contrary to the claims of my self-appointed "ex"-girlfriend -- I am not "pompous and boring", as she maintains. Let us go view my presentation then, you and I. First slide, please. First slide, please! Drat! Not again. Those fellows I talked to in that AOL chat room swore to me that the presentation would be ready to go at the appointed hour. After all, they said they were graphics experts working in the office of The Most High Internet Commissioner himself, Lord Hugh Jass of Geneva. (Ah, Geneva! I remember it well! How I miss the soaring plumes of that storied city's Jet D'Oh!) Well once again Fate appears to be against me in this endeavor! Still, I can always take solace in the fact that Physics tells us there are infinite worlds, which means that, somewhere(s), I have an infinite number of dates tonight. So I'd better go (watch TV, that is!).
Borously,
A. Guy Fromme-Las Tishyu


Dear "Part XI: A Hobbit in Cimmeria" (Animated Saturday morning cartoon): Let me tell you a little story. A bushy-haired philosophy professor stood before his class, picked up a large, empty jar, and filled it with rocks right to the top. He asked the students if the jar was full, and they agreed it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar, shaking the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed. He asked again if the jar was full, and the students said yes! The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar, which seemed to fill up the remaining space. He asked yet again if the jar was full, and they said yes, yes, OK, fine, it's full already. Some eyes impatiently strayed to the wall clock. The professor then took some water and poured it into the jar, which seemed to fill it to total capacity. He looked at the students -- they said yes, yes, we get the point, you can always fill it up a bit more. But surely the jar is full now, and anyway wasn't that the bell signaling that class is over?

So the professor, after a brief, dramatic pause, pulled out an illegal pocket-sized quantum-foam sprayer/compacter, stuck it into the jar, and filled it to beyond its capacity -- but carefully, so that it maintained its structural integrity. He asked the class if it was full now. There were uneasy, scattered murmurs of assent. And an undercurrent of fear snaked through the classroom. The professor's eyes flicked across the rows of students. With a swift, precise motion, he pulled from his desk drawer a mil-spec Tattington-Li quark splitter, held it straight up, rotated it 30 degrees to his left, extended the splitter apparatus from its cowling and poked through the very fabric of reality, removing some [WARNING FROM PLANET EDIT-BOT: UNTRANSLATABLE TERM], and then held it over the jar.

The classroom erupted into a piercing wave of screams, as the students viewed [UNTRANSLATABLE] with their naked eyes and unprotected brains, and most fled through the doors at the back or jumped through the open second-story windows. Only one student remained, the smartest in the class, who sat frozen to his seat in terror at the knowledge in his head as the professor began lowering the [UNTRANSLATABLE] into the overfull jar. “Professor!” the student suddenly shouted. The professor paused, looked up, a cold smile on his lips, and said, “Yes? You want to tell me something?” The student gasped: “Professor, the jar… it’s not full! My God, do you hear me, it is NOT FULL!!” The professor smiled, swiveled to his left, inserted the [UNTRANSLATABLE] back through the reality rip, closed the rip with the splitter, and locked the splitter in a drawer of the table he stood at.

“Now,” said the professor to the remaining student. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things, like your family or food. The pebbles are the secondary things, like your car. The sand represents tertiary things, like magazine subscriptions. The water represents the new Harry Potter movie, which if you didn’t see on opening day, you should see as soon as possible. The compacted quark foam represents the new Lord of the Rings movies, which you should eventually purchase on DVD, but you don’t need to see at the theater, especially since the Hobbits look too human, which was a huge mistake by the director, that Ursine Human called Beorn. Finally, the [UNTRANSLATABLE] represents the least in life -- those things that are pointless yet can still kill you, like this apocryphyl Internet-circulated anecdote that you and me are acting in right now, which, even worse, isn’t the actual supposedly real anecdote but a tarted-up double-fake that’s been created for a false Letters to the Editor section of a notorious sci-fi Web-zine.”

The professor then removed his glasses and looked right at the student. “Yet, almost like an emptied jar, this classroom is no longer full, save for you and me. I’m sure there is some parallel I could draw at this point -- about us being the two last rocks or perhaps the [UNTRANSLATABLE] itself -- but I think we would all agree (and here I include those reading this right now), that, at long last, have we not the decency to end this fake Letter to the Editor? The student relaxed, smiling a bit while nodding his head. "Now," said the professor, "how the heck am I going to remove the compacted quantum foam from this damn pickle jar?" The professor started chuckling, the student joined in, and then you, the reader, began laughing as well, as this fake letter fades to black.
But This Letter Is Still Not Full,
Prof. S. Orr


Dear "Part XII: The Return of Elrond" (special F/X extravaganza; cameo by Keanu Reeves): I still insist that the Internet is going to be the biggest thing since the Human race was invented by the Voshtorr’an of Klepajl IX a million years ago or so. This whole Tech Bubble thing in the stock market has been nothing more than the popping of a small pustule on the face of destiny. So don’t even bother thinking about it. Surely, it’s only a matter of time before the Internet is installed in our very brains, our bodies, even our souls! I firmly believe that one day, there will be no people anymore -- only the Internet, although I do expect there will be at least one official “user” to be retained for demonstration purposes, in case the Voshtorr’an ever return to see how we’re doin’. And for evidence of all this, one need look no further than my unshakeable conviction in my own ideas and my personal greatness. But it’s all detailed on my 230-gigabyte Web site, which is currently in search of a free Web-hosting service.
Thank Me Very Much,
Prinn “Ted” Sircutt-Bordd


Dear "Part XIII: Rambo in Mordor: Last Blood" (with Jet Li): It's true that George Harrison was known as "the Quiet Beatle", but did you know that John Lennon was known as "the Hard Beatle". Paul McCartney, of course, was "the Loud Beatle", and Ringo Starr, "the Slow Beatle" (betcha thought I was going to say "Soft", didn'tcha? Truth is, there never was a "Soft" Beatle, and they all were considered "Fast"). And then there were original guitarist Stu Sutcliffe (the Arty Beatle), original drummer Pete Best (the Vacant Beatle), producer Sir George Martin (the Elegant Beatle), keyboardist Billy Preston (the Smiling Beatle), and even radio DJ Murray the K (the VW Beatle), all of whom have legitimate cause to claim the position of the Fifth Beatle. Maybe you knew all of that, but what you likely don't know is that I am known as "the 121,339,736th Beatle". So how did I get to become the 121,339,736th Beatle? Well, do you really want me to go through the tortured logic and self-justification of it all, like the other fake Letters to the Editor here, including a ranking of every "Beatle" preceding me? You do? Well, sorry, but I've got no time for it; I'm quite a busy fictional character.
The Beatle Goes On,
Vic Shunal


Dear Editor: So, N’Syth will not appear in "Star Wars Episode II", I hear. Hmmm… Vanquished then is Darth Timberlake, for now. But always more than one there is, yes. We must beware Darth Joey… known as The Fat One, is he... a Human/Hut mix. Dangerous are the Boy-Band Clones!
Bye Bye, Jedi, Bye Bye,
Yoga



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