Editorial & Letters

Whither Outlook: Brilliant Editing, Low Humility, Very Windy



We're taking this little moment here to tell readers that the off-Earth-based publishing company that now produces this "zine" is incorporating a new development into every issue of Planet. This innovation is based on HTML, the hypertext markup language that uses descriptive "tags" to define parts of a document being viewed by someone, for example, browsing the Galactic- Wide Web. Thus, if you'll pardon our further tutorial, by labeling a headline as follows -- <bold>headline</bold> -- it will most likely appear in bold lettering, regardless of the HTML-aware application being used by the viewer.

In contrast, our upgrade, rather than using mere descriptors, will tag document parts with instructions that produce true feelings in the reader! For instance: <interesting>Dear Readers:</interesting> should be a real attention-grabber at the start of an editorial. And how about <warm-fuzzy>Love, The Editorbot</warm- fuzzy> to end that same piece? Then there's <apathy>Dear Editor,</apathy> for a more "honed" letters section. And there's always <bong-rush>Dear Alien Space-Masters</bong-rush> when writing, once again, an e-plea to save our job.

The only kink left to work out is to determine the exact hardware/software configuration that will stimulate the actual emotions in the reader. We're probably looking at some kind of wires-running-from-behind-your-ears-to the-back-of-your-PC sort of neural-implant- wetware/jackingyour-cranium-into-the-Net type of Vinge/Gibson/ Stephensonian-what-have-you. Not to worry: those are the sort of details one leaves to the Microserf-morphingcode-jockey-hacker type of Coupland/Sterling/Levyesque what's-their-faces.

Meantime, please send all <sanguine>royalty checks</sanguine> from usage of my concepts to my pressurized underwater castle off Cape Fear.

<wistful>Yours Within the Law,</wistful>
Andrew G. McCann, Editor-Construct v1.0a
Planet Magazine, September 1995



Last month, we served readers by offering up the Top 10 emoticons downloaded from AOL and their generally accepted definitions. Well, we received millions of e- letters in response, and many people pointed out that emoticons have actually been around for trillions of years. Seems the Glkj of the planet Sdkjl have developed a literature that consists entirely of smileys, winkies, frownies, and other e-symbols. It's apparently a far more concise and richer language than Chinese pictographs. Whatever. Below we offer the Top 10 "e-bbreviations" as downloaded from AOL, and their generally accepted definitions!

Top 10 E-bbreviations

FWIW             Fudd: Wabbits Is Wascally
  BTW Ban The Web
  TIA Trouble In Archeron
  IMHO Imelda Marcos Has Odor-eaters
  RTM Revere The Machines
  RTFM Revere The Future Machines
  LOL Lothar, Our Leader
  <g> <the old gods yet live>
  WYSIWYG Welcome Yon Shrike Into Wherever You Go
  ROTFL Regardez! Omar takes French lessons


Special bonus: Five extra e-bbreviations!

PS          PopSicle
  IMO Imelda Marcos, Onward!
  FYI Furnish Your Interior
  NGT Nameless Gnawing Things
  BLQ Baxwin Lop Qet (seen on Universal services)


Bidermeier van Leeuwonhoek
Internet Guru and Minister-Without-Girlfriend




Dear Editor: Hiya! Got the copy of "Planet" and have read some...nice stuff! I just started reading the fiction, but found the letters section hilarious.
via Sir John's Pub BBS


Dear Editor: I've enjoyed reading the copy of Planet I picked up at Compuserve. As a fellow writer on the net, I am e-mailing you to seek your help. Silly Little Troll is publishing my novel, "THE ENCHANTED STONE OF N'YORK," and I am in desperate need of reviewers. It is a most unusual fantasy quest novel set in real life, a tale of high magic in low places, the first chapter is available at http:\\pobox.com\slt and the rest of the book can be ordered for US$8. If you would be willing to review it, I'll be happy to send you a galley proof via E-Mail gratis. Thank you for both your time and your fine magazine.
Bruce Levine
P.S. Yes, I'm seeking honest reviews. If you think it sucks, you're more than welcome to publish your opinion.

[As we told Bruce, Planet doesn't publish reviews, but we do publish letters. So point your browsers toward Bruce's Web site, if you're so inclined. Also, Bruce later noted that the offer of a free galley for review is only to people who write for legit zines, which knocks Planet out of consideration, in any case.]


Dear Editor: I laffed & laffed & laffed as I usually do thru your editorial page (especially the Top 10 Emoticons)! That hurt my stomach laffing so much! I loved Jason Clark's extremely short story! I really liked S. Joseph's "Plains of Meer" illo! TuKewl! Wow that was creepy! If only I wrote at 12 (as well as now) as well as Drew Shelton at his age! Semel's "Untitled" sure brought back memories but it was when I was 28!
via eWorld



Dear Luscious: About two months ago, I was taken aboard a flying craft and mated with a sloe-eyed (albeit buglike) alien. Now she won't return my calls. Women! They're all the same.
Jess Mylukk

Dear Lucius: So, are UFOs real? Hey, you could call the Air Force and ask, y'know. The number IS in the phone book. Meantime, send away for my free, sixty-hour taped lecture, titled "Why UFOs Are Boring," for only $44.49!
I. Ownlee Seemkrazy

Dear Reggie: Thank god I've finally quit therapy! It was quite a breakthrough after 15 years, I can tell you. I'm not even sure how it happened, but I just realized that I was cured! Fixed! And I went into (what was to be) my final appointment, and I looked him square in the shoulder and said, "I don't need you, you little, little, man!" Then I just pushed him down on the floor, walked out, and slammed the door. Talk about closure! Anyway, do you mind if I crash on your couch for a while? I'm a little strapped for cash.
Ed N. Ferruin
Philospher & Lover

Dear Joe: Why do people always want the air-conditioner on? I like it natural: windows open, breeze flowin' in. A/C's too cold, makes you sick. Better to sweat a bit, even if it's really hot. No one used to have a/c years ago -- heck, when I was a kid, it used to get so hot that people would drop like flies. Old Man Zithers down at the soda stand, why he just burst right into flame one August afternoon. What was worse, that flame itself caught fire. And it eventually swept like an orange gale to all the houses on the street, all the trees in the park, all the cities in the land -- until, only one charred hour later, the Earth itself became unstable and broke apart at the molecular level. Hey, took a coupla- few years to rebuild from that! Maybe you remember; it was in all the papers.
That'll Be $18,
"Tacks" E. Kabb
Somewhere Along the Scenic Route

Dear Steve: Each day, I never really, quite, actually feel good about myself until I've taken off at least one person's head -- thereby elevating myself, in more than one respect!
You Moron,
N. E. Bossatmyfirm

Dear Former President Andrew: All my life I've been labeled, categorized -- stuck in some box, put up on some shelf, and forgotten. It's not right, and it makes me angry. But what can I do? After all, I am just a lowly green Power Ranger doll.
(Call me) "Buddy"
Collecting Dust at Woolworth's

Dear Fred: I'd like to mention that I'm an aspiring writer but have been unable to complete a story as per my intentions. The difficulty is as follows: Whenever I introduce a character into one my tales, he or she is quickly shot, plunged into a vat of boiling copper, sliced into bacon strips by a planetary terraforming device, or other such gruesome happenstance. This always happens within a paragraph or so. I should note, additionally-wise, that those few times that one of my characters has NOT been snuffed has been because he or she quickly left the story -e.g., moved out of the fictional town, broke up with the protagonist, or other such event that made them no longer in the literary "spotlight," as it were. Even worse, some of my stories have progressed for quite a number of paragraphs before I realize that the main character isn't even a minor part of the story's plot, as he/she should be. Soon after, of course, this main character dies horribly.

Now please don't think I'm lazy or lack commitment, but these continual "false starts" are beginning to really check my coat, so to speak. I'm wondering if I should just give up. It's hard enough being married, the father of six, and holding down three jobs, but when my freelance work keeps going right in the crapper, well... I think you might know how I feel.

So, my question is this: Do you know of any characters who aren't being used in anybody's stories, and who I could have? I'm hoping these other characters might be able to enter one of my stories and either save the protagonist before he/she gets wiped out or perhaps have some super powers that enable them to withstand any attack, even from a hypo-glazed-proton bomb (featured in my newest story, titled "Oh, Man! Watch Out for That Huge Bomb!")?
Typing with Crossed Fingers,
Rea Maynder
P.S. Just thought, as a part-time writing coach, that I'd pass on my three favorite transitions to use When You're In A Fix:


Dear Mahalia: I'm a pretty old guy, and I've got no message. So can I run for president?
Best regards, I suppose,
Ken D. Daite

Dear Jesse: You can catch more flies with honey. Hence, we recommend the establishment of a United Nations Bee-Keeping Force.
The Hive Mind of Greater Arcturus

Dear Action: Well, I see you've been contacted by those bumblers in Greater Arcturus. Well, let me tell you that they can't be trusted to give proper military advice! If you need help with any sort of security or defense, please contact us at Spy-der-Enemy Inc.; we have a long history in this area, stretching back to my mother and her mother before her. Come into our Web page at http://www.parlor.com/, where you'll find some interesting threads on the subject.
Commander One-Eye

Dear Stonewall: Here's my down-home, personal guide to "Makin' it on Wall Street, in 4 Easy-as-Pie Steps": 1) Have a lot of wampum to start with. 2) Hire lightnin'- quick, experienced folks. 3) Know a lot of well-placed investment professionals whom you met in biz school. 4) Be a regular Einstein. Hope ya'll like it, ya'll. I'm also available for fee-driven, friendly-like consultations.
Warmest regards,
Bill M. Offen

Dear Samuel L.: Just so you know, that previous letter was no kind of offer at all. Here's what WE are practically GIVING away: For only $39.95, we can show you how to become a Rock Star AND lose weight at the same time! You get your very own FREE Web page, too! Here's our THREE-point program: A. Start smoking. B. Start drinking every day. C. Cut a hit-laden demo (note: you must supply the fully produced demo of original, No. 1 hits to us). Then, we guarantee you FABULOUS relative wealth and fame! Plane crash included!!
Act now,
Bill Kew

Dear Bubbles: I'd like to tell you about how we in the Mars Militia feel about your "zine," but I'm off for a round of nine on the slopes of The Face. You know what they say: All work and no play makes Jack a dull Blay.* In any case, rest assured that I'm behind your zine 110 percent. Privately, of course.
With a stiff swing,
Hank R.
Chief Sargeant@arms.mil
[* Editor's note: As the reader may know, the Blay were meter-length, centipedal silicate lifeforms who spent their entire 1,000-year life spans as bottom-feeders in the frigid estuaries and tidal pools of the Nitrogen Sea on Hibernius VIII. The Blay, although possessing some degree of intelligence, moved at almost a glacial pace; tragically, their entire race was killed off in a single week, when the pioneer human ice-miners arrived in the Hibernius system and mistakenly used the apparently inert Blay as roof tiles for their small city of ammonium storage sheds. That system of warehouses, by the way, still remains in use today, as the sturdy little Blay bodies bravely safeguard Ammonium Corp.'s (sponsor of this month's Planet Magazine!) valuable Earth-bound ore from the fierce, native Acid Typhoons.]

Dear Jillsdottir: What I'd like to do is date at least three different women per week, yet have absolutely no financial or emotional obligations to them. The kicker is, this isn't something I want, it's something I need! Is that so wrong? Should I be judged so harshly for being "who I am"? Does it really make me a "bad man"?!?
Luffem N. Leevim

Dear Lisa-Marie: I've been a lifeguard for a long time. I've seen a lot of joy, I've seen a lot of tragedy. I've seen a lot of swimsuits. I can tell you I've seen things that would turn your hair blonde.
Jay L. Bate
(no computer)

P.S. I'm really looking forward to WaterWorld Two!


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