Editorial & Letters

Breakfast of Godzilla : Traffic Jam on Toast

 

A MAN, A PLAN, A CANAL, PALINDROME

Diving helmet? Check. Diving suit? Check. Leaded boots? Chee-eck. All I need now is to procure the oxygenating equipment. Just think of it: "The First Man to Walk the Mississippi." All the way from the Northern States to the Lousiana Delta. Slogging through the silt, with you, my friends, above me in the boat, keeping the sweet, sweet breath of life flowing down that tube to my watery little world below. It sounds crazy, I know. But you know how you always hear people say, "I don't know what I want to do with my life! What am I going do? What am I gonna be?" Well, I've found my thing. It actually happened to me. Suddenly, everything...just...clicked. Everything. And now it's my whole reason for being. I mean, I know it's pointless. But haven't you seen a lot of famous things get done just for the sake of doing them? Hey look at that guy, the Human Fly, who scaled the World Trade Center back in the '80s -- the Greed Decade. Remember how he methodically ratcheted up the corner of that soaring edifice? How he reached the top, turned, paused ever-so-briefly, and gently let himself fall toward the roaring, antlike crowd below -- and how, within two, heart-stopping seconds, he sprouted mechanical gossamer wings, rising like a leaf in God's own updraft to disappear forever into the face of the sun? Now do you see? My greater, selfless act is to inspire people to complete their appointed tasks, whatever they may be, with bravado on this gritty plane of existence.

But it doesn't end there, no. Next, I'll walk the Atlantic. Right across the water. I've got these great little pontoon shoes -- bright red and yellow, so the news helicopters can see me. I put some frictiony sandpaper on the bottoms of the shoes, and I'll just go. Up a wave and down the other side. Up another, then down. Ideally, it won't rain. But I'll be used to that, because walking under the river will be like walking through solid rain. And I'm gonna get some big sponsors too, like Kelloggs, and, well, at least Kelloggs, because you've got to eat a pretty good breakfast before you walk across the ocean. I can just picture those Frenchmen, hanging around on their coast, suddenly squinting out to sea: "Zut Alors, what ees dat? Ist das Limpett?" And I'll just come sliding down a wave, saying, "Bonjour! Got anything to eat?"

Focusedly,
Andrew G. McCann,
Editor Planet Magazine,
June 1995

 

A NOTE TO READERS FROM OUR SILICON-BASED EDITORIAL BOARD

There is no doubt that Planet Magazine has a core of blindly loyal readers. Survey after survey confirms it. Nonetheless, many readers have e-mailed us to complain that -- far from being the SF, fantasy, horror, etc., kind of zine that is being "advertised" -- Planet, once downloaded, is in fact foolish, immature, and pointless.

Well... fine.

Permit us to respond thusly: To those who say Planet Magazine is silly, we say, "Pifflewafflefeathers"; to those who say we're childish, we reply: "No, YOU are"; and to those who claim this zine is irrelevant, we merely point to our long-running investigative series, "Tricia Nixon: The Disco Years." Case closed.

With "Turing"-Tested Sincerity, The Grand Assembled Silicon-Based A.I. Editorial Board

GUEST EDITORIAL: EMOTICON LEXICON

Hey, online consumers! :) There's a brand-old fad in e- mail communication that I just noticed! :( Emoticons! ;-> These are little typographical constructions, like sideways human faces, that help communicate your subtlest thoughts and moods! 8-0 You put these symbols after a sentence to show, for example, that a murderously sniping comment you just made was really a joke! ;-P As a service to our readers, the following list shows the Top 10 emoticons downloaded from AOL and their generally accepted definitions! ?:^]

Top 10 Emoticons

Symbol Meaning

*&6

I've got the flu, and my right eye is infected.

()!

Cyclops is sleeping peacefully.

((-

The saucer invasion has started.

{.:

In the kingdom of the blind, Frosty is king.

||[~

The floor under my dresser is cracked.

c^v*

I'm one happy beatnik.

*99

I'm taking the overnight double-decker.

\/,

Turn down your stereo, please.

...

It's plantin' season.

Po+

There's a helicopter following my wife.

Special bonus: An extra five emoticons! :-+

Y2 (

I've had tee many martoonis.

<.0

I'm camping solo down by the lake.

Jl`

Fnord.

Ui2

Glardo furbulat! (from the planet Chnepthu).

}]|

Good robot, wise robot; remember the Laws.

Best,
Bidermeier van Leeuwonhoek
Internet Guru and Cult-Leader-Without-Portfolio

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor: I must say, I was very impressed with Planet. I did get the Mac version with all the bells and whistles. It looks great. Nice job. Jeff via AOL

Dear Editor: I've read a few issues of Planet Magazine. In particular, one short story stood out. Honestly, offhand, I don't remember too much, except I believe it was a Sci/Fi story with a generational-conflict twist. That Planet doesn't have a specific angle, and hence, target audience is both its strength and weakness; however, if the point you'd like to make is that good writing is worth reading, then I encourage you in your efforts. What might be interesting is if you could arrange the pieces so that they had sort of a vague subject matter that would create in the mind of the reader the equivalent of one of these panel discussions one sees on TV.

One of the perhaps understated advantages of communicating anything online is that the bane of most startup publishers, namely overhead, is miniscule. With this in mind, good luck in the months and years ahead, and I'm looking forward to more of your "zine."
Yours Truly,
Glenn
via NYMUG BBS

[Glenn, thanks for the feedback. We're not sure which story you're referring to, either. As to re-jiggering this zine's format, we might if we ever find the time and energy. - Ed.]

Dear Editor: I just finished reading your first issue. It was really, really outstanding! I downloaded it off of eWorld, of which I am a subscriber. Speaking of subscribing, is there any chance that there will be an e- mail subscription service? Is it a possibility? I sure hope so. Once again, keep up the great work. I'll start hunting for #2 next time on-line.
Sincerely,
Mike
via eworld

[To those who request it, we will send out an alert each time an issue of Planet is posted. For now, that's probably the best we can do. Hope that'll do.]

[Editor's note: The following is a recent review of Planet Magazine #1 from Ziffnet/Mac on eWorld. The author of the review is associate sysop Gordon Meyer.]

"Planet Magazine is a free, quarterly publication featuring works in SF, Fantasy, Horror, and Humor. The editor is Andrew G. McCann, and there are good number of contributors (both writers and artists) to each issue.

In the words of McCann, Planet is an "online-interactive, virtual-reality-specific, internet-savvy, multimedia- intelligent, mag-tronic e-zine that's mostly text." Actually, it's all that and more. Planet is well designed, interesting, and a fun read. Planet Magazine uses DocMaker to provide a Mac-only interactive magazine. Just double- click and start reading.

This issue, Number 1 (March 1994), features 4 SF stories, 4 poems, and 1 each of the Fantasy, Horror, and Humor genre. Of the selections, I enjoyed the horrorific "Tails of the Answering Machine." There's probably something here that you'll enjoy, it's a good mixed-bag of entertainment."

 

LETTERS TO "THEM"

Dear Short Grey: I have built my own mysterious UFO, from which I use a secret ray to control the Earth. Problem is, it's getting a little dull, and the responsibility is really becoming burdensome. D'ya think anyone would mind terribly if I just stopped?
Buggin' out,
Eugene C. Chutney
Self-Abductee

Dear Body-Snatcher: Every morning, my human walks out the apartment door. I figure he must be spending 8, maybe 10 hours per day out there in the corridor. Wuzzup wi' dat?
Cutely,
Kitt E. Harebal

Dear Triffid: I propose a solution to the ongoing controversy surrounding the National Endowment for the Arts' support for unsavory artistic types. Why not use the funding to pay for psychotherapy for these young artistes? Maybe then we'll see something useful out of them -- a Serrano keychain, perhaps, or even some Finley Brand Dessert Topping.
Sincerely,
Admiral Snoutboy
Dogsbody@nea.org

Dear Tribble: I hope you don't mind me using your Letters column to introduce my new fragrance. I originally planned to call it "Cheap Gravy," but quickly realized that wouldn't be a big seller. I've now renamed it "Instant Gravy." Anyway, that's what it is, in fact.
Thank you for your consternation,
O. "Dee"Kohlony
Casey@bat.org

Dear Heechee: I don't use the word "fabulous" lightly, but let me tell you about my recent spiritual epiphanies. Like most people today, I'm trying to achieve self-realization by following the dictates of a "channeled" entity -- in my case, Voldanar, who speaks through my entranced upstairs neighbor, Solly Banquette.

But you know, after a while I became a little tired of schlepping up two flights every night (OK, I take the elevator) to get a daily dose of cryptic mumblings via Solly. I mean, what does this mean: "You are that which is, therefore you is; and I are. I are am. So, for you to be me, be ALL that YOU can be. In here, or, in China or Canada...." I mean, it almost sounds like he's making it up. I can't tell you how many times I lost sleep over these mystical ramblings as my brain slowly turns in toasty twists of pretzel logic.

So, I started thinking: Is there a better way? Why must we "channel" these entities? Why do we have to slip Solly a twenty every evening? And then I thought, hey, why can't we download such musings from an AOL data base, for example. Or, why can't Voldanar, or whoever, have his own Home page on the Web? With links to other entities' pages! And a browser could reach out and grab a PDF file containing all of the latest soulspoutings. And, come to think of it, let's bring the New Age up to techno-speed by putting these entities on CD-ROM, with a boolean search engine. Y'know, type in "future AND romance BUT NOT dork," and see what you get. Should be much clearer, but I'll leave it up to the "experts" to work out the details. I tell ya, I don't know where my ideas come from.
Cye-bye,
Chad Igor
seeker@allis.com

Dear Klaatu: I've recently discovered an additional basic particle of matter, which joins the ranks of those old standbys the electron, the proton, and the neutron. This particle is a basic building block of food, in particular: The Crouton. These toast particles are related to the more fundamental "loaf" particles, which in turn derive from the very, very weak force. The crouton, like the neutrino, is notable for its ability to move unimpeded through more complex structures of matter, in particular The Lettucesphere.
Professorially,
Jerry Bilt
pictures@eleven.pm

Dear V: Raising my dog as a human child has been difficult but rewarding. Now, however, his elementary school is threatening to expel him because his presence is "disruptive," or so they say. Yet my boy can "speak," "sit," and "pay attention" as well as, if not better than, any damn human. As I am poor, please send money to help pay for my team of legal beagles.
Obediently,
Aug E. Dawgi
feel@home.org

Dear Bug-Eyed Monster: Last month, a group of men in white came to my house early on a Saturday and put paint all over the front, sides, and back. Is it because they are the house painters whom I had hired?
Desperately,
Noah Goode Deall
Killer@large.com

Dear Van Morrison: I'm the smartest person I know. That's safe to say, because, I figure, can we ever really know anyone else? Lately, though, I've begun to wonder if I really even know myself, and whether I am qualified to make any statement about my intelligence level at all. However, I've decided it's easier to just make darn sure that I know myself better than I know anybody else. And I'm going to be careful to avoid eye contact and commentary of a personal nature -- even when buying subway tokens. You can bet my wife's none too happy with this decision! Ahhh, whattya gonna do.
Gazing Inward,
Ever More Deeply,
Paul C. Tremmer
via anon.penet.fi

P.S. Please don't respond to this letter, I really don't want to know. *

 


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