Editorial & Letters
Planet Magazine: Anti-Botox for Your Brain Wrinkles!

Gamma Craze

As a child I dreamed of being exposed to gamma rays, so that I too could mutate and develop super powers. Preferrably, these powers would involve radioactivity. Ideally, I would project a visible, greenish aura. But my dream was just that -- a dream, as I noted several words earlier. Until... one day, during the height of the Tech bubble, when I was a day trader buying and selling penny stocks randomly and raking in the cash, I accidentally liquidated all my positions and cashed out completely from the stock market. Made an unbelievable fortune. Guess I hit the wrong button. So, since I wasn't sure I could remember how to open up my trading accounts again -- it had been several weeks since I started trading in stocks, after all -- I decided I would do something different with my money. And then I recalled my dream. To be exposed to gamma rays. To become a mutant. To become something greenish and POWERFUL.

And when you wish hard enough for something, it usually happens. Like when you let yourself consciously think of aliens, it's only a matter of time before you're being levitated out through your bedroom window one night by the blue-white, smoke-tinged beam of an arc lamp. It also helps to have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend if you really want something done. So it wasn't long before I was able to build a private spaceship with a high-end gamma-ray detector. Finally, after clearing governmental red tape (which had been strung across the launch pad, in a pathetic attempt to stop me), I swanned off into outer space, now nearly penniless, looking for the rays. This was my one, big chance.

And I found them. They entered my ship as I swung around the Sun one Thursday afternoon, easily passing through the interior wood-paneled walls of my craft. And they looked just like phantom-white <product placement>Tylenol Gelcaps</product placement>, only completely different. And then each gamma ray gelcap-like bullet passed through my body, leaving smoking non-holes, as if I were some bizarre humanoid Swiss cheese. The mutation had begun.

Upon arriving back on what you mortals once called Earth, but which I have named The Lair, I began using my powers -- as you all know. Unfortunately, my powers seemed to be uneven. I soon discovered that the Swiss-cheese-hole pattern of the gamma rays that had hit my body was reflected in my powers -- for example, if I shot a levitation ray at a criminal, he could easily squirm around while in its clutches and drop down through one of the ray's holes, potentially escaping. This made it very difficult to charge for my superhero services, and my financial situation was becoming dire. After visiting my Superherologist and undergoing extensive testing, I was shocked to learn that I had mutated only where the rays had penetrated my body, and that any part of me that had not been hit by the gamma radiation was still mortal. This meant that one day, parts of my body would die, and decompose, while the rest of me -- probably cylindrical cross sections -- would remain immortal, but unaware, and probably just laying on the ground somewhere.

And so I faced my greatest enemy: a lack of cash with which to build a new spaceship and obtain a thorough gamma-ray bath. I was in total despair. But then, one fine day, something happened that was so incredible, that so neatly tied together every problem I had and put it into a completely satisfying package, that I was simply unable to come up with it before the deadline for this editorial arrived. I take solace in the fact that perhaps no one, not even a Super One, could persuasively have accomplished this feat.

Gamma, Gamma, Hey!
Andrew G. McCann
May 2002

Editor's Notes:
Planet Magazine author Tony Chandler has won the prestigious 2002 EPPIE award for Science Fiction for his book Mothership. MotherShip also won the 2002 CLARA. The book also was an Indie Award Finalist. For details on the book, visit http://www.tonychandler.com

The following link will take you to a recent, interesting article on SF that appeared in Writer's Digest. http://writersdigest.com/articles/tips/what_is_science_fiction.asp?secondarycategory=Fiction+Subhome+Page

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor: I just wanted to take the opportunity to introduce my book, entitled This Stirring Strife. Published online in December 2001 by www.booklocker.com, this is a tale of adventure and intrigue in the late 28th century. The Holy Realm of Achernar is butting heads with the powerful Terran Concordium, leading to an interstellar war. Several small nations, such as the Republic of Sagittarius, are caught in between. It falls to several people -- an ambassador, two news men, a female fighter pilot, and a husband-and-wife spy team -- to save their own people. At the same time, one young Achernite captain finds himself questioning the authority of his theocratic state. Check out the book at the link above; enter your e-mail address and receive a free excerpt the book.
Steve Rzasa

Dear Editor: I have a Bring Back 'V' petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/julietp1/petition.html

Dear Editor: My name is Charles Acree with the World Authors Showcase. Our site was created to replace the Amazing Authors Showcase after the untimely death of the site's creator, Pepper Raines. Our site is designed to give writers of all genres a place on the Web where there work can be viewed. One of the things lost with Ms. Raines' passing were the submission guidelines used to join AAS. While scanning different sites on the Web, I found your submission guidelines to be excellent. I would like your permission to borrow some of the phrasing from your site to use on ours. I would be happy to feature a link to your site on our Directory of Links page regardless.
Thanks for the consideration.
Charles A. Acree
World Authors Showcase

Dear Editor: Paula Guran has re-launched her long-established horror and dark literature Web site, DARKECHO HORROR (http://www.darkecho.com). Scores of professional book reviews, articles, and interviews with authors such as of Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, and many others are now included on DarkEcho Horror. The site, first launched in 1995 as DarkEcho's Horror Web, incorporates all of the content originally produced (1996-1998) for pioneering professional Web publication OMNI Online (now a static site). Guran produced the literature section of Universal Studios' HorrorOnline beginning in October 1998 and continuing in a monthly format through the spring of 2001. HorrorOnline no longer exists, so most of Guran's work -- monthly interviews, essays, and reviews -- are also on the re-launched site. Reviews and articles from other sources are also now online at DarkEcho Horror. Guran's new design for DarkEcho Horror incorporates artwork by the noted artist Rick Berry
Paula Guran

Dear Editor: The Spacejetters Web site includes SF art galleries, virtual museum, top 100 SF movies, free SF screensavers, etc.
Best regards
Mike Henderson

Dear Editor: Firebrand Fiction is proud to announce our debut interview, now posted in the interviews section of SFReader.com. Our guest is Darrell Schweitzer (http://www.sfreader.com/darrell_schweitzer.asp), SF writer, archivist, and editor supreme! Click over for an encounter with a SF legend, who's had over 250 short stories published and is co-editor of one of the longest-running print SF magazines, Weird Tales. Firebrand Fiction is an ever-expanding review source for short SF fiction, available at SFReadercom. Peruse our debut, bi-weekly column and then click back often to catch "surprise" offerings, like our upcoming bonus-review of Black Gate. SFReader.com is an outstanding new resource for SF fans, editors, and writers.
Best Wishes,
Daniel E. Blackston

Dear Editor: The Dragon*Con 2002 Art Show will be held August 30 to Sept. 2, 2002, as part of Dragon*Con, which is one of the largest annual Science Fiction and Fantasy theme conventions in the world. This year the Art Show, Artist Bazaar, Print Shop, and Digital Art Section will be located in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. The Dragon*Con 2002 Art Show is a very large and diverse event. We will also have our first convention inside a convention: the First Annual Renderosity convention! We are planning many exciting events for the Dragon*Con 2002 Art Show, including the 2nd annual Iron Artist contest, a large canvas that all the artists can work on (which will be sold at auction), an art jam, demos, how-to's, and other wonderful items. The Dragon*Con 2002 Artist Guest of Honor is Alex Grey (http://www.alexgrey.com). To reserve your space go to http://www.dragoncon.org. We have also posted the entire Dragon*Con 2002 Art Show registration package on this Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SciFiFantasyHorrorSpace_ArtShows/.
Patrick Roberts
Dragon*Con Art Show Director

Dear Editor: I was just link-checking my site and was happy to find that not only was the link to one of my stories still valid, but that your magazine is still up and more than alive. As before, my compliments!
F. Alexander Brejcha
Brejcha disABILITY Resource Site


Dear Editor: Recently you have published an excerpt ("The Flower and The Sentinal") from one of my Science Fantasy books, "Eye & Sword". Please note that my Web site, Dark-Print, has changed location to http://www.stevedavison.co.uk/dark-print/. Please could you pass this on to your readers.

Dear Editor: The What is Speculative Fiction? article is now live on GreenTentacles, at http://www.greententacles.com/article.php?cid=5&aid=26. As a part of our ongoing mission, with the help of others in the speculative fiction industry, we try to define the genre, in this living article.
Nathan E. Lilly

Dear Editor: My new science fiction/romance novel, "The Reclamation Project", describes how the legendary Library of Knowledge has been discovered deep beneath the sands of Egypt in the Giza Plateau. The scrolls and tablets within promise to reveal the secrets of the universe... but they also foretell of the necessity of a human-key to fully unlock the power of the pyramids. When it is discovered that the human-key may mean an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, modern-day scientists set about cloning two of them. As the translations progress, however, it becomes apparent that these lost writings contain revelations that parallel the biblical prophecies. Did the Sons of God spoken of in the book of Genesis truly marry the 'Daughters of Man?" Were these entities angels? Or could they have been a race of highly advanced extra-terrestrials? Before long the realization dawns that modern man may have overstepped the delicate balance between God and nature... and that perhaps some secrets are better left undiscovered. Additional information can be viewed at my Web site: http://home.earthlink.net/~rthegreat
Ruth Marie Davis

Dear Editor: In reference to your story "Sidetracked" in Planet Magazine No. 7 (http://www.planetmag.com/pm7/sidetrak.htm), you know as well as I that Project Looking Glass has distinct origins, as Lazar of S4/Groom Lake fame has told; nothing there you made up, or at another time and place can pretend was never said. I just now wonder, if the time line continues with someone being able to know all of the somewhens within his (or her) own mind as they have passed them, then all the possibilities must still exist to be true, which is a real double-whammy for poor reality, which tries to just exist on its own without being manipulated. And that we creatures would just leave these things well enough alone and would not try to ditch the aliens by going through these portals, so we could keep their stupid toys, because they may seem so cool to play with and because some of us like to roll the dice. As Einstein said, "God does not play dice." But in this case we would be fool enough to, finally, tear the fabric of space enough to realize we never even existed, all of us, and we are to never realize anything again.

Dear Editor: I was delighted to read Mr. Esparrago's poem and see his artwork at http://www.etext.org/Zines/planet/pm32/bowling.html. The Deep Space 1 encounter with comet Borrelly inspired many people (including myself!) in many ways, and I am very happy that he was able to create an artistic interpretation of it. I don't know whether you have visited the DS1 Web site at http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1. You may find many stirring aspects of this remarkable mission there. Congratulations on Mr. Esparrago's fine work!
Marc Rayman
DS1 Project Manager

Dear Editor: It seems like a major embarassment to see all the major SF magazines like Asimov's, Analog, and Magazine of F&SF never have the power of Planet Magazine. To compare you to the magazines, the so-called "major magazines" never have the great originality of you guys. The so-called "SF magazines" seem to have stories that are mostly dominated by fantasy fiction and stale, dull and typical SF stories. You guys stand up for what the readers originally want: action and adventure.
Keep up the good work!
G. Hurtado

Dear Editor: I have a new book out about the late science fantasy author, A. E. van Vogt, titled A. E. van Vogt: Science Fantasy's Icon (ISBN 1-59113-054-9), and it is available in e-book and print-on-demand formats. My book page address is: http://www.booklocker.com/bookpages/vogt.html
H. L. Drake

Dear Editor: I use my palm device to read books, mags, etc. I came across your magazine by linking to it from Strange Horizons. I converted the pages to a palm doc file and read it from my PDA. I've done this for issues 32 and 33. If you don't mind, I was going to make these available at Memoware (http://www.memoware.com/). These are plain text versions of these issues; obviously the pictures cannot be included. I think Planet Magazine is fantastic. I love the tongue-in-cheek style, hamfisted tales, etc. I think others would as well, so I would enjoy converting other issues to palm doc format. Strange Horizons also makes their articles available monthly at the Fictionwise Web site (http://www.fictionwise.com/). They are free, and once you subscribe, you get them automatically. Maybe you could do likewise with Planet Magazine.
Brian Athey

[Editors Note: The issues converted by Brian are now available at Memoware. We will also be providing them on the Planet site, through a link on our home page, at http://www.planetmag.com. Look for the Planet in Other Formats link. Some of the early issues of Planet already were in Palm format (.prc files) and can be found through this link.]

Letters to Numbers

Dear The Steps of AA: I have a complaint to make. Last month you recommended The Segway transport device. Well I ran out and bought one and spent all week trying it out. Imagine my dismay when the darn thing broke down in a rainstorm. Well there I was, trapped in my Segway for 3 hours until the paramedics were able to extract me using ''the jaws of life'', which I insisted on, as my foot was tangled in the handle of a shopping bag.
Obi-Wanna Krakker

Dear Highest Setting on Nigel Tufnel's Amp Dial: I bought the new "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings" DVD but will not be able to watch it. After purchasing it, I unwrapped it and pulled it out of its case; unfortunately, I was standing near the fireplace and in my excitement I fumbled the disk, sending it tumbling into the flames. When I pulled it out, it still felt fairly cool and I could see what looked like small, white Elvish script scratched into the innermost ring of the disks shiny side. Wasting no time, I quickly set off for Antartica, where I knew there was a year-round active volcano and where scientists (or should I say "I") believe that the historical Mordor was located. After many days and days of misery (detailed in my proposed IMAX film of my trip, currently being potentially considered for optioning), I finally reached the lip of the volcano and flung the disk into the bubbling lava below, watching it burn up and curl into black smoke on the surface of Lava Lake. Fittingly, all this happened right after I fought off a strange, demonic creature from the nearby Russian base, who bit off my finger, while yelling: Give me the precioussss disssssk. Our next movie ssssshipment isssssnt for sssssix monthsssss. It'ssssss mine! Then he fell, or perhaps was pushed or kicked, into the lava lake below us and disappeared. Well, I suppose that could be murder on my part, technically speaking, but that's not important right now. What is important is that I, like Frodo, have saved the world by preventing Sauron's reawakening to power.
You're Welcome,
Jimmy Baggins

Dear Bo Derek: I've eaten things you people wouldn't believe... Cheeseburgers on fire off the shores of Miami. I've watched French fries glitter in the dark off of Tanners Bar & Grill. All those meals will be lost in time... like cake, in the rain. Time to eat lunch...
Repp Lee Kant

Dear That Mickey Rourke/Kim Basinger Film: This is a warning to your readers that Holodecks can be much more dangerous than you think, especially for those currently using virtual bodies. I'm in a virtual body right now, as my personality was transferred there while my real body is getting some nips and tucks. If I were to use a Holodeck in this condition, I run the risk of merging with whatever scenario is running and never coming back. This happened to Hollingsworth over in Accounting, back in '09, and you can see him as one of the baseball fans in the classic Babe Ruth simulation. Sometimes you can almost get his attention, but that damn hot dog vendor always comes up and distracts him. This was hushed up by the Federation, but it's all true.

Dear John Lennon's Dream Song: You know why I've never won an Oscar? No, it's not my lack of acting talent, nor is it the fact that I've never been in a movie, other than what might appear on any Dunkin' Donuts security camera in the metropolitan New York area. No, the real reason is simple: racism. And I am talking about Racism in the largest sense. You Humans never write any good roles for aliens. The best we aliens can hope for are stock, simplistic nonspeaking parts, such as those found in "E.T." or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". And when you do offer a speaking part, it's often taken by a Human, such as Jeff Bridges in "Starman", or any of the Human voices used for the many alien roles in children's cartoons. Sure, you see relatively complex alien roles in "Star Wars" and "Star Trek", but even those characters are usually one-note evil or good creatures who are portrayed by latex-slathered Humans, or even latex puppets! It's been a long drought for us Aliens at the Oscars, and no doubt the wait will be longer still -- especially since its not clear that we aliens actually exist. Well, maybe next year...
With My Full Range of One Emotion,
A. Lee N. Akkter

Dear That Autobiographical Fellini Film: I don't get newspapers, by which I mean I don't understand them, although I do receive them via subscription. On the other hand, I do "get" magazines, although I do not subscribe to any. And that is an important symmetry to have when writing such a mere bagatelle of a Fake Letter to the Editor as this.
Neil B. Formee

Dear Dick Van Patten's TV Kids: I am the owner of the coffee cart outside your place of work. I just want you to know that the coffee-flavored hot water I sell you every morning is now officially "Hot n Fresh", which is a service-marked phrase we are committed to proudly displaying on a prominent sign. And you can take that to the bank! Also, the donuts we sell are now officially "Bak'd This Week"!, as another sign on the side of the cart will state. It's a different world now, and we must all adapt to the new corporate-honesty fad, for now. Note: Once these signs fade due to exposure to the elements, as our crullers often do, we will toss them out, as we never do with our crullers -- so see them while you can!
N. Ron X. Ekutive

Dear James Bond: I am Darth Ewok, a horrible yet adorable monstrosity! How I loathe the whiny Luke Skywalker, the cinammon-bunned Princess Leia, and the pseudo-rasta Jar-Jar! Even so, I would willingly join a conga line with them. Such is the kind of conflicts we furry little Ewoks face once we join the Dark Side. Wait!! I sense a disturbance in the Force surrounding my refrigerator. Yesssss, the salami and cheese in there are strong, indeed. I find the lack of a sandwich in my stomach disturbing! I must go.
All Hail the Emperor!
Darth Ewok

Dear GE's Sigma Quality Process:
I am hoping that you will publish my new book, "The Story of a False English/Welsh Palindrome, Or: Ro, Emordnilap Hslew/Hsilgne Eslaf a fo Yrots Eht". It's not science fiction, and I've only written the title so far, but then, we don't really need to go any further with this joke, do we? I will sign a fake name below, even though I do not exist. I guess we Welsh are a funny lot.
Cole Myner

Dear What Dave Brubeck Took: Sorrrrrrrrry if this letterrrr is smearrred. I prrrrressed the Send button just as I was stepping down frrrrom lightspeed. Either that, or my Cuban accent is rrrrrrrrrreally showing up in my typing. Or maybe I'm Scottish.
Rick E. "Rick" Ardo

Dear Stairway to Heaven LP: I am starting a lawsuit against disco music and those who encouraged and promoted it. They should have known at the time that what they were doing was wrong. And the fallout from disco, once that fad crashed, took a great toll on average Americans, who had invested their retirement savings in filling their closets with burnt-orange polyester leisure suits that became instantly unusable -- what's more, these suits didn't even fit anymore when the '70s Look came back in style about 20 years later!
L. "Lee" Ott-Spritzer

Dear Neo's Girlfriend: I forget, what did we do in the office all day before the Internet came along? I know it wasn't work. Wait -- it was that solitaire game with the green background, wasn't it?
I knew it!
N. Ron Hubbard.

Dear The Chief Interrogator and Administrator of 'The Prisoner'
: Denial is not a river in Egypt. "Denial" is a word meaning, among other things, a refusal to admit the truth or reality. The Nile, however, is indeed a river in Egypt. Just wanted to clear that up.
Rhea Habb

Dear Editor:
I just wanted to let your readers know that I am available to sing at weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc., for a reasonable fee. I do my own 1980s-style of stadium/synthesizer rock. Although I find it very, very difficult -- nay, impossible -- to hit all those hight notes, by god I try!
Darth Brooks

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