Send letters of comment to EDITOR by clicking on the link, 'EDITOR'.
Welcome to my world! I'm Lt Luna, and we want to hear from you! (By the way; yes, I am a distant relative of Sgt Saturn. He made the rank of Major before he retired.)
Now, for our first letter:
Palo Alto, California
Liked what I saw, Luna! (And the stories weren't bad, either!)
Luna back at you. Nice you have your perspectives in the right place, Charles!
You got it! Most of your stories read right out of the old days!
"Most"? Hey, you want me to sic Saturn on you? (In all honesty, thanx, Jenny!)
And NOW (blare of space trumpets) our first complete letter of comment! Followed by others. (Unlike pulp letter columns, back in Sarge Saturn's days, we don't hafta cut the letters short!)
D GARY GRADY
I've read three of the stories at Planetary Stories (which I printed out the other day to take with me) and just went looking for more, but all the links on the contents page appear to be broken. Anyway, the stories I read I enjoyed quite a lot. They're well above the level of typical fan-written fiction and better than quite a lot that was published in the pulp era.
Brief comments on specific stories: "Darkstar Silverarm" by Rick Brooks: A pretty good example of what it's intended to be -- straighforward pulp space-opera adventure. It never drags for a moment, and the super-cat sidekick makes the story as far as I'm concerned.
Your own "Space Marshal vs King Jorx" was a good take-off on Captain Future that managed to have some nice twists and surprises mixed in with the parody. Not great literature, I suppose, but considerably brainier than a lot of sf adventure movies.
Your "Moult Revolt" surprised me, since I was expecting all space opera, and this story is more straight sf and original as well. I'd definitely rate it my favorite of the three. I'm looking forward reading more when they come back on line.
By email, gave Gary the links to other stories while Lloyd was repairing damage I had done to the Contents page.
Thanks for the links. Just printed out several stories to read later, but since "Tolerance Station" didn't look too interesting, I decided just to skim it. I wound up reading the whole thing and to my surprise enjoyed this very bizarre blending of true confession and primitive sf. Some good story-telling techniques here as well, such as successfully giving the impression that the hero/boyfriend was dead and then pulling a surprise. The scene where the kids came in was also remarkably effective. And all this despite the sheer pulp ridiculousness of the plot! (Produce grown to ship thru space was the least of it.) Maybe my standards are slipping but I liked it.
I've read what I think are the remaining stories, and my reactions follow.
"Walkabout" was quite entertaining and original, though one could quibble about the high-speed language teaching business and some implausible character actions, such as Banti's over-hasty attempt to cross the gel when the reason for the urgency had not been established. I also wondered why the protagonist didn't try traveling above the gel, using something as simple as a pair of stilts. The need to go thru the gel could have been addressed, perhaps by having Banti try both convincing the alien not to harm her and by using stilts just in case. (And for that matter, four bits don't make a byte any more than they make a dollar.) But those are quibbles and details that didn't really detract from the story.
"Revolt on Mimas" is of course more Hamiltonesque space opera (with more robots and another space cat, I note). It was quite readable, though a steady diet of this sort of thing would get old after a while. The references to Susan Calvin and the Demon Knight were amusing enough.
Finally, I enjoyed the more-or-less straight comedy of Neutron McGurk. Grabby Haze armed not with a six gun but with six guns, yet. . . . Liked the bit about chewing up the universe before swallowing it. I suspect I should get Earle K Burgery, but I don't. "She wore the elaborately revealing black gown of a lady mad scientist." Ah, word pictures. . . .
I've noticed that cats kinda mix well with sf, pulp or otherwise! As for 'Earle K Burgery', there was a cover artist in the pulp days named 'Earle K Bergey'. Did Startling Stories, Planet Stories, and just about all of them. I'll try to slip in a copy -- but you can always google him!
And now, another letter, from an old friend.
This is so beautiful, ShelVy. . .I am so happy for you!
Sez Luna: I'm blushing! . . .OH! You're talking about Planetary Stories!
And here's another fan who seems satisfied! (Like -- what else would you expect, with Luna here?!!!)
Christopher J Garcia
Fantastic Stuff! It's great to get this type of stuff without having to scrounge thru flea markets or pay an arm and a leg on eBay!
I have to say that I had a hard time reading Tolerance Station -- it hit a little close to home. I've known too many women who had far too much Jefferson in them.
Revolt on Mimas reminded me of 1940s and 50s Science Fiction Radion dramas. There are a few college stations that still play them once a week, and I'm hooked on them. I'd love to hear a recorded version of RoM, since it seems like it would work so well. I loved Neutron McGuirk, too. There was a 'Rassler in the 1960s named Neutron McGuirk that was a total wash-out. It's the type of story that I love, with heroes that are far beyond the scope of normal humans. Just great stuff.
The Headline and the cover page are both really good. You've done a great job recreating the age of Space Opera that I sadly missed by being born a little too late.
Appreciate the kind words, Chris! You're just the sort we're after -- along with the older fans who were around to see it all and miss it!
Next one comes from an old friend of ShelVy's:
Have been meaning to send a LOC for awhile, so here it is. Your on-line zine came out looking great!! From what we've talked about and what your editorial says, you still think PS is not as close as it could be to the old pulps of yesteryear.
Well, after checking it over from cover to cover (or should I say, mouse click to mouse click) I think I may have figured out the thing that's missing: the smell -- the old pulp paper smell :) Other than that, I think you've got PS heading in the right direction.
I look forward to visiting your site to peruse each new issue -- and possibly contributing to it in the future as well!
Thanks for the wonderful trip to the past!!
Thanks for the vote of confidence. We'll be looking for that contribution!