This is a real, red-blooded (well, since we're a science-fiction mag, that could also be green-blooded, purple-blooded -- but you get the idea!) contest. The contest continues! Read on!


Are You Ready for a Strange Adventure on Another World?

Looks like we're continuing the practice of using a duo instead of a trio! This time it's Lee Morris and Victoria. Leo Tifton won the assignment of writing the story featuring them as characters, and you can decide how inspired he was by looking up “Raiders of the Scattered Worlds”.

You can find out more about this and our other competitions by reading the rest of this feature. Whether or not we continue this particular contest depends on whether or not you send in photos. Do you want to be the swashbucklingest space hero or heroine you can be?


We sure hope so, Rocket-Ears, because we’ve decided to give you a shot at one. That’s right! You can zoom across the spacelanes, wrestle with grulzaks, swill xeno with the space pirate scum of the Seven Galaxies at Trooper Keith’s Lost World Tavern, and even flirt with Lt. Luna (keep those hands to yourself, though, boys; she’s got a temper, she has). Because the skipper of Planetary Stories is holding a contest. And the prize is that you get to make a cameo appearance in a story in a future issue of Planetary Stories – assuming you’re the winner, of course, but we all know that’s just a technicality.

Here’s what the contest is all about.

Back in the good old days when Cap Future and Kim Kenniston and Professor Jameson were cruising the cosmos in the untrimmed pages of pulp magazines like Astonishing, Thrilling Wonder, Startling, Captain Future, and especially Planet Stories, most of those mags had a policy of decorating their covers with what used to be referred to by space peelots everywhere as the Unholy Trinity!

That’s right, we’re talking about the famous pulp-era cover trio of the 3Bs. It consisted (as anyone over the age of, er, never mind) knows of the Babe, the Bum and the BEM. The Babe was the gorgeous heroine

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who didn’t need no stinkin’ space suit or much anything else in the way of costume. The Bum was the stalwart hero, holding off the bad guys. And the BEM was – well, as we all know BEM stands for Bug Eyed Monster. Just to show you what we’re talking about, you will observe that scattered hither and thither about the pages of this small opus we have given you some examples of the covers of those magazines so you can be inspired.

So, how do you enter this contest? It’s soooo simple even the staff of Planetary Stories could do it if they weren’t inelligible.

Get together with two of your friends and pose for a picture. Pick your most talented friends because acting is part of the act. We want you to have a photo taken showing you three as the unholy trinity! You’ll need a Babe, a Bum and a BEM.

This may sound like a costume contest to you and if you want to dress up that’s fine with us, so long as it makes for a good photo. At the insistence of Lt. Luna, we are going to maintain Minimum Decency Rules. Nothing skimpier than an Earle K. Bergey designed Lady Space Captain’s Costume allowed, not just those great tattoos you can get at Snaggletooth Bob’s Personal Art Emporium on the Canal at Marsport. Actually, especially not just those tattoos you can get at old Snaggletooth Bob’s.

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Personal Art Emporium on the Canal at Marsport. Actually, especially not just those tattoos you can get at old Snaggletooth Bob’s.

What’s that you say? You don’t have any friends? That’s no problem. We don’t either, so that was one of the first things we thought of. If you want to send in a picture of yourself as just one third of the trinity, that’s fine with us. Only maybe it would be a good idea to let us know whether you’re posing as the Babe, the Bum or the BEM – just to avoid embarassing misunderstandings. If you only have one friend, you can pose together and forget about the third person.

We’re looking to have fun here, so imagination and the ability to catch the spirit of the old pulp covers will definitely count. And remember we reserve the right to reproduce any photo submitted to Planetary Stories.

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Oh – there’s one catch. No monster make-up. The BEMS on the old pulp covers didn’t use make-up, why should you? We’ve seen some of our readers and we know we got readers out there who look like Babes, Bums, and especially BEMs. So just come up with your idea for a pose, take the photo and send it to us via e-mail at this address:

Be sure in the e-mail that accompanies your entry to clearly identify each participant, provide an e-mail address so we can notify you if you win (we regret that we won’t be able to notify losers). And only one photo attached per e-mail.

The editors of Planetary Stories will select the winners and their decisions will be final. There will be a prize for best group and all three participants will be turned into characters in an upcoming story. (Be sure to tell us something about yourself in your e-mail or we’ll make something up.) Also let us know if you’re willing to be killed off in a story. If we do kill you, we’ll try to come up with something spectacular or really, really interesting. Or maybe just gruesome.

Whether or not we award prizes in single or double categories depends on how many photos we get in those categories, and the quality of them. We reserve the right to award more than one prize in any category. Or none at all if the photos don’t come up to our admitedly high standards.


The stories featuring cameos by our winners will be written by certain of our regular contributors as available. If you have a favorite, say so and we’ll try to get that writer for you, but that can’t be guaranteed.So get those cameras a-clicking Crewmates and send your entries in right away.

Meanwhile, just to show you what we mean, we’re giving you a small example.

Fred and Mary Ann van Hartesveldt wore these costumes to a science fiction convention in Chattanooga a few years ago. At the time they didn’t realize we were planning this contest so only the two of them posed. It’s not quite the classic space opera couple, but there were quite a few explorers in the great sf pulps back in the old days and they always seemed to find some incredibly beautiful princess in their explorations. Maybe they weren’t as beautiful as Mary Ann, but even so they weren’t chopped Zitadar kidneys, either.

It behooves us to point out that this photograph illustrates yet another of our rules. You may find it hard to believe Snagglepuss, but Fred is not wearing monster make-up. We’ve seen Fred in and out of costume and he always looks like that.

We asked them if they had any photos we could use and they submitted the following:

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In fact, Fred insists that he’s not posing as the BEM but as the intrepid hero who has saved this sweet young primitive redhead from all kinds of dire fates and brought her back to civilization. Who are we to say him nay?

Fred van Hartesveldt teaches history at Fort Valley State University and is the author of several scholarly books. Mary Ann, aside from modeling on occasion for pictures of Captain Shivers in those Michael Shack stories, was at one time one of the most popular costumers at science fiction conventions in the southeastern United States back on Earth in the old Solar System. The photo shows you why.

Of course this is only an example of what we’re hoping for, given us at our request by two of our friends. The contest hasn’t really started yet. But when we showed the drawing to one of our writers, we were informed that those two would make great characters. So if you want to see what the prizes might look like when the contest actually starts, just turn to the story “The Goddess of the Golden Forest” by Eric Lee in issue 5.

Click here to contact

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But hold on there, crewmate. Like I said, we've seen some of our readers and we know there's certain of you out there (and we're not naming any names) who aren't about to risk breaking your brand new $700 digital camera by taking your own photograph. So we have a contest for you too -- or maybe 'competition' would be a better word. All you have to do is send in a letter to "From the Vibrating Ether." We're going to give prizes to the best letters we get.

And what prizes. See those illustrations down there? Gorgeous, aren't they? And they ought to be gorgeous because they're drawn by none other than Mark Fults, one of the best illustrators around. Well, the Captain says we're going to


give one of the original illustrations from that batch to the writer of the best letter in "From the Vibrating Ether." That's right! The prize is an original illustration by Mark Fults!

We'll have a blue-ribbon panel of letter hacking experts select that letter, so you can't blame the captain if you lose. We intend to award one prize per issue, but we reserve the right to award more than one in case of a tie. The contest lasts until we run out of prizes. It just can't get any better than that, can it?

And don't complain about their positioning; it took me FOREVER to get these gals to behave!

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Replacing awarded prize with ALL of Jim Garrison's Bluewater Illos!

The End

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