Editorial & Letters
Planet Magazine: Still among the Top 100% of all SF Zines!
Under relentess pressure from the Attorneys General of Earth and the Associated Planets, and against the advice of our lawyers from the Choodoeuo Spectrum Collective (the finest pro bono lawyers in this reality -- although who doesn't like U2), we at Planet Magazine have chosen this moment to finally come clean. We are taking this space to fully and truthfully admit that every single story that we have ever published has been fictional. That's right: made up by some writer. Invented. Imagined. Not one of the tales published in these e-pages has been literally true (except that one about time-travel and aliens).
What's worse, because of the extremely high quality of these fictional stories -- and especially of the brilliant editorials -- the average reader was receiving what he or she believed was a very satisfying and lasting return on the considerable time they invested in reading Planet while at their jobs. We acknowledge that our failure to stress the "fiction" in science fiction consitutes a willful and negligent pumping up of readers' expectations that within a few years they would be traveling to other dimensions via SonyIBM PortalPaks, where they may converse with their doppelgangers (but never touch one another, as the usual matter/antimatter problem would blow them both up and destroy both dimensions as well as several neighboring realities).
We could blame our writers for the situation we're in (as it really is their fault), or we could point to the irrationally exuberant bull-market in Sci-Fi Web-zines over the past several years (whose very existence warps reality, even when they are unread). We could even insist, as our lawyers have told us to, that our true readers are the institutional readers (so called because they often become "institutionalized"), who understand that the stories are fictional but can also extract inspiration from them and thus better their lives on their own terms. However, we at Planet are all about copping a plea to snag a reduced sentence. That's what we've always stood for, and always will. So we've agreed to admit to all charges through this editorial, owning up to the fact that we publish science FICTION. And to ensure that we save our skins we've sung like a super-intelligent xenocanary from the planet ZhoXXiossee to the regulators and have turned in all of our writers, poets, artists. That's right, we gave them names, dates, websites, blogsites, e-mail addresses. Everything.
As a result, Planet's editors will not go to jail, as our years of selflessly editing this zine have been accepted as community-service served. In addition, Planet has agreed to a financial settlement (what's called a "sci-fine") with the attorneys general to disgorge negative profits of nearly 3,141,592.56 Euros "earned" over the past nine years or so. Therefore, dear readers, please send us your cash contributions as soon as possible to help meet this galactically mandated disbursement of negative income that you owe. The best way to do it would be to simply send us a $100 bill as an e-mail attachment (here's how: in your e-mail program, simple create a new message, choose Attach, and then navigate through your folder hierarchy, out of your computer, and into your wallet, where you'll choose the proper bill; address the message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and hit Send. It's that simple.) If all of our readers do this, we expect to make a profit of nearly $120 shizillion. The final part of this settlement with the regulators involves us agreeing to distribute stories by third parties, along with our own stories. We're not really sure what that means, but we signed the legal documents anyway to get this behind us. Bottom line: It's "business as usual"! The boys are back in town! Yeeeeehawwwww!
With Enforced Sincerity,
Andrew G. McCann, Editor
Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor: The WRA Committee is pleased to announce the 2003 Wooden Rocket Award winners. The annual award recognises online excellence in the science fiction and fantasy genre. At the close of counting on June 5, 2003, 12,647 online science fiction fans had made 63,531 nominations for various web sites. The awards for each category for this year can be found at http://www.woodenrocket.com/.
Wooden Rocket Award
Dear Editor: Greetings from Tyrannosaurus Press. We are a small publishing house in New Orleans that specializes in science fiction and fantasy. Our goal is to help both new and established authors produce and promote quality works of SF&F. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Dear Editor: In recent years, Star Trek has lost its way, becoming more and more about sex appeal and less and less about the qualities that the Original Series tried to make accessable to the general public. A group of fans has now been organized as TrekNoConfidence. This association is dedicated to informing other Trek fans about the problems with the franchise today and encouraging them to participate in a mail-in No Confidence Vote to Paramount. Our website is filled with articles and information gathered from all over the web and from members of the group. Thank you for hearing me out.
Dear Editor: I just found my old Planet Magazine stories from 1995. I wrote the Time Burglar (PM 7) and Time Madam (PM 6). Funny going back to those novice efforts after all these years! I am now a writer and author of the (nonfiction) book Gearheads: the Turbulent Rise of Robotic Sports, at www.gearheadsthebook.com.
Dear Editor: I stumbled across your web site today and have enjoyed reading many of the stories. I do have a question for you. I've noticed many of the stories have obvious spelling and grammatical errors. Who is responsible for the editing? The author? Someone on your website? Just curious. For me, coming across obvious errors detracts from the reading of the story to the extent of becoming annoying. Maybe it's just me but...
Alan L. Brown
[Editor's Note: We apologize for errors found in any issue of Planet Magazine. We will do our best to maintain and improve quality.]
Dear Editor: As a contributor to your zine, I thought I would ask readers to check out the book Spacestations and Graveyards. I do not think they will be disappointed.
Eric S. Brown
Letters to the Updated Axis of Evil
Dear Government-but-Not-the-People-of-Iran: Are you the kind of person who comes right out and poses a question that seems to indicate it's leading up to something, only to answer your own question with an absurd, sophomoric statement that attempts to link you with the person being questioned? If so, then you and me are shamahumalama.
So It Is Written,
Dear Government-and-the-People-of-North Korea: I bought one of those High Elven Infantry helmet reproductions from the movie Lord of the Rings (and by movie, I mean documentary). It looks great on me, and I expect a big side-benefit of the helmet acting as a shield against alien abductions, but Im very worried about the heat effects during the summer months. Any advice? I live in Key West, by the way.
[Editors Note: We recommend you go topless, barefoot, and wear shorts when you have the helmet on! Also, carry a handheld fan (packing plenty of extra batteries in your pockets) and keep it pointed under your chin (that will also help distort the alien See-Know Total Information Awareness rays). So go ahead and go to the beach with your pals and have fun this summer! Its worked well for us!!]
Dear Government-and-the-ex-Iraqi-Officials-They're-Hiding-but-Not-the-People-of-Syria: The letter just above this one has prompted me to write in. My anti-abduction helmet (made of aluminum foil and old gym socks and thus not very kewl) is also a bit hot, so to fix that I've poked holes in it to cool me off. In hindsight (as I literally see out of my ass), I should have removed the helmet from my head before poking the holes! Yee-owch!! But like you say, its worked well for me!!
[Editors Note: We accidentally poked holes in our own skulls too! That's funny!]
Dear Jacques Chirac: I am the Evil One, known far and wide throughout Middle Earth as "The Eye". Yet I am even crueler at home, as you might well imagine -- though there is no way you could imagine this without experiencing the actual horror of it! How cruel am I? Well, did you know that the original name of the Nazgul was "The One-Hundred-and-Seventy-Eight Black Riders"? Hey, do the math. Now, all of you, bow down to the terror of The Ring of Power! Yes, "THE Ring". And of course I am talking about the ancient and awesome power of Krispy Kreme!
The Dork Lard
Dear Hillary Clinton: I am a life-size cardboard cutout of a person. My current job involves participating in a lot of videoconferencing. So inevitably people misunderstand and think Im just an inert stand-in for some uncaring, absentee employee. The fact that I can't talk or move only reinforces that mistaken impression. You can imagine how difficult it was for me to think up, type, and send this letter to you -- but I really wanted to get my story out. Hopefully, my videoconferencing co-attendees will now give me my "props". ;)
N. Ertt, President
Kardboard Kutouts Who Kare Assn.
Dear Martian/Arcturian Alliance: In comedy, timing is everything. Also in racing. And perhaps more so in dashing-between-whirling-scimitars and such things.
Carey A. Scarr
Dear Democratic President Bush from MirrorWorld (Dimension 17): The famous US moon landings decades ago were indeed faked, according to my research (which consists of me suddenly believing that something is true). These so-called landings were actually created on a Hollywood stage set, which, ironically, was constructed on the moon itself. Ironicallyer, the moon itself is fake and is a mere theatrical set constructed on Earth, although Earth itself is actually Mars, which, in my view, reironicallizes the deironicalization of the first premise.
Permanent Alien Invasion Works Program
Dear Giant Vampire Seducer-Fleas from My Mind: I am a nameless thing from a dark pit in the coldest reaches of space. To you, that is. To my friends, well, I am "Sully". Or sometimes "Tammy". It's hard to get exact equivalence when you have to account for language, culture, time, dimension, and purely alien emotions. Speaking of which, I'd like to point out that I am a family man, or woman, or perhaps thing, who consistently nurtures those in my family/harem and who feels something like love/control for them. Further, what to you might look and feel like a black, blasted hellhole in the nether-regions of space looks and feels just like home to me. Now it's true that I do literally live in an icy, fetid pit on a wandering asteroid somewhere in the Epsilon Quadrant, but I rather like absolute darkness, and bitter cold simply cheers me up. That's just who I am. So love me, hate me, run screaming from me, but do not disrespect me for being what to you and your kind appears as a shrieking monster from a lunatic's nightmare. Cthulu had feelings, too, y'know. There is simply too much judgmentalism in this universe, and I speak from tens of thousands of years of experience. And it would be most good to see that sort of reactionary thinking finally fade away from the billions of minds inhabiting the many galaxies, to dissipate like the atmosphere from a leaking ore ship I once encountered, which contained a quite delicious spaceminer. So, now that we've had this little talk, prepare to die as I pounce on you and consume your very soul, which shall writhe in torment for eons inside my dank and suffocating mind. But do not take it personally. That's just how my digestive system works.
Monster from a Space Pit
Dear Voldemort: I'm a polysyllabist -- I believe that the lord's name should have more than one syllable. No offense to anyone at all, of course (or to Any-One-At-All).
Sol M. Lee
Dear Editor: My name is Peter Jackson, and I filmed both LotR movies: "The Fellowship of the Ring", and "The Two Towers". Recently, despite the success of the films, I have come under attack by animal-rights advocates for the treatment of certain creatures used on the set. I would like to state unequivocally right here that absolutely no wargs were harmed during the filming. Further, all wargs used were stunt-wargs, watched closely by warg-handlers. I hope this calms everyone down, and I look forward to everyone enjoying the coming finale, "The Return of the King". Oh, and one more thing: We did in fact kill the Balrog shown in both the first and second films. We sent that treacherous spawn of Hell right back to the burning, fetid bunghole from whence it came. And we did it proudly and gladly! The bloody things are impossible to control and would have wiped out the whole set and production crew. A side benefit is that the Dwarves are now able to move back into Moria and resume mithril production. So it's really a win/win!
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Planet Magazine is good at two things: chewing gum and publishing kick-ass science fiction...and we're all out of bubble gum!