header by Jim Garrison

Well, here it is another year, and to think of all the people who were betting we'd never make it through the last one. We almost didn't, either, but the only crewmember we lost was Flapface, and that was just because he took it on himself to sweep out the main reactor. We lost a perfectly good broom with him, too.

Not much room this time, so let's get straight to the letters.

--Lt. Luna.

To begin with, we have a pretty good letter from Andrew Salmon:

Hi,

I finally had a moment to go over the issue. Pretty darn good if you ask me. I liked the pulp reviews. I've always thought an anthology of great pulp Christmas stories should be compiled.

The issue itself was good, too. A nice mix of stories and poems. Some pretty good artwork to boot!

I also looked over my story and it looks fine. Glad you could you use it!

Andrew Salmon

(author of THE LIGHT OF MEN,
SECRET AGENT X: VOLUME ONE
GHOST SQUAD: RISE OF THE BLACK LEGION
[ALL available wherever fine books are sold] and The Dark Land available in Print and download at: www.LuLu.com/content/370990
The Forty Club: www.LuLu.com/content/121377

And from Johnny Sachu, we heard:

Just a note to say how much I enjoy these old stories as well as the new. I'd sure like to see more illustrations from the old days and today's art work. Keep up the great job.

Johnny

From the ever-reliable Donald Sullivan there comes:

Dear Lt. Luna,

In "The Vibrating Ether," I found Patricia Rogers' letter, "Adventures in Speerology #2" to be of great interest. Her account of searching out and finding some of Jack Speers' collection was a fascinating read. I shared her elation in finding some books in good condition, and her frustration in finding the flood-ruined books.

The letter sent me back in time, to when I was a kid in the thirties. Sometimes I almost cry when I think of the things I held in my grubby little hands: Coins that were old even in the thirties that I spent on penny candy, nickel cups of ice cream with movie star pictures inside the cap (especially the cowboys like Autry, Hoppy, Cisco, and Johnny Mack Brown.) Saturday matinee double feature movies including a cartoon, newsreel, and selected short subjects--all for a dime.

And there were the books, magazines, and comic books. I remember Amazing Stories, and other magazines with westerns, horror, science fiction, detective, and even romance--which Mama read. In comic books I remember Captain Marvel, The Flash, Submariner, Hawk Man, The Green Lantern, Plastic Man, and others. Hundreds of magazines and comics discarded after reading them. *Sigh*

Gerald W Page discusses letters of comment in his editorial. In one passage, he says, "If I'm going to improve this magazine, issue after issue, I need to know what stories you like and what stories you don't like." It's good to know that the editors of Pulp Spirit and Planetary Stories are concerned about what the reader likes.

I wonder if editors of the present day science fiction zines are that concerned. From what few I've read of zines like F&SF, Asimov's, and others, the stories just don't seem to have any of the golly-gee-whiz-bang-sense-of-wonder that yesterday's tales had. But I think today's readers are conditioned to the humdrum "reality" of today's science fiction, which reads like dramatized technical manuals. It makes me sad that today's readers don't know what they're missing.

Seems like most science fiction writers of today are emphasizing the science but forgetting the "fiction" part of science fiction.

Speaking of reality, before A E van Vogt's death the reality writers were beginning to appear. Someone criticized van Vogt for never sending his characters to the bathroom, so this was "not reality." Van Vogt wrote a piece that struck back. He countered that intelligent readers would assume that characters did mundane things like go to the bathroom, clip their nails, shop for socks, etc, but it wouldn't make for exciting reading -- unless some of those things somehow contributed to the story, like the villain planting a secret teleporter in the commode.

Imagine a guy getting whisked away while he's sitting there with his pants down.

And speaking of pulp zines, I much enjoyed PulpRack Potpourri by Jerry Page and Jerry Burge, and will be looking forward to more about the various types of pulp stories.

I'm a sucker for animal stories, and wolves--the most misunderstood and maligned of all animals-- are my favorite. After dogs, that is. "Sharp Fang" was my favorite story in this ish. A story from the animal's POV is tricky, but this one was done expertly.

"The Wizard's Familiar" by Rick Brooks was also a good read. And as always Gerald W Page treated us to an exciting adventure of The Armadillo, that crime fighting super hero of super heroes. The most suspenseful, gut-wrenching part of the story was when Army faced the Dobermans and pulled the pork chops from his cloak.

The artists doing the artwork for this ish of PS & PS are all worthy of praise.

Lieutenant, regarding your suggestion that I send in another story, I'll try to have one ready early in '09.

A devoted loony,

Sully

Now, that's a letter. All you space cadets would do well to read that one and take notes. Pay attention to the fact that he actually tells us things, such as what he likes about the magazines (everything) and what he dislikes (nothing). That's what the captain likes to read, not that I ever show him this column.

Remember our Holiday Issue? If not, go back and read it now. Tim Ross read it, and comments accordingly:

Dear Lt. Luna,

I just read "A Grave Matter" by Shelby Vick. That was a good story.

Thanks!

Timmy

To which ShelVy replied: "Glad you liked it, Timmy. I had a lot of fun writing it." So, he's having fun writing these things, is he? I should mention that to the skipper so he can lower ShelVy's rates.

We figure you might be just as curious about the people who help us put out these issues as we are -- but for different reasons. So we asked Roy Coker to tell us something about himself. Here goes:

Dear Lt. Luna,

Bio-- I was born in 1953 in LaGrange, Georgia. I attended LaGrange College, where I earned a BA in fine art. My concentrations were in photography and sculpture. The great majority of my life I have been a graphic artist, with some side jobs as a martial arts instructor and a bookseller. I am currently working for a medical supply company, designing stationary and business forms for medical practices.

The pieces I do for my own pleasure may range from pencil to ink, to painting to sculpture. One of the benefits of being ADHD, I suppose.

I am married to Dr. Diane Hughes and my son Michael is a student at Georgia Perimeter College.

In regards to my digital fine art, my influences at this point in time are the photographers J.K. Potter and Jerry N. Uelsmann, along with the multi-media artist Joseph Cornell.

As for my process with the work I have done for Pulp Spitit, it follows this path. I will draw from a reference photo, or life, using pencil, ink and various paints. I will then scan it into Adobe Photoshop. I use a multitude of filters and tools to manipulate the image even more. And there are times I will print it out and draw and work on the printout. And I will scan it yet again. I then repeat the process with the printout until I am happy with it. A rather Byzantine way of doing things, but for me, enjoyable!

There you have it,

Roy

It is, as the more alert of our readers know, the skipper's practice to slip artwork by Roy all through the issue, but we especially recommend the drawing by him that accompanies "The Beast that Owned a Table" in this issue of Pulp Spirit, just in case you need a reminder of how good he really is.

We're also running a pair of photos showing Roy visiting his favorite website. Of course these photos were taken during his lunch hour. Roy wanted us to point that out.

The Astrogation Deck

Oh oh! The water's already up to Debbie's knees in that drawing by Roy Coker, and if we know Roy, he'll release some alligators by the time it gets up to her, uh, pockets. So we better hurry up and release her while there's still time.

But first, let's tell you what's coming up for the good ship Planetary.

For our next voyage we're carrying another full cargo of action, adventure and excitement. The big payload may be "Nadir of the Thousand Moons," a long novelette by Gerald W. Page wherein Captain Shivers and the crew voyage to a neighboring Galaxy and find not only adventure, but some startling -- and sobering -- changes in their lives. Is it true that one of the crewmembers dies? We'll never tell -- at least not before next issue.

We'll also have another long story, "Bug-Eyed Monsters" by Rob Shelsky, written to go with an illo that was donated to us. Real Space Opera!

Pulp Spirit will feature "Fall of the House of Armadillo," which may be the last Armadillo story for a while. Not quite finished at this writing, but likely to be in the same issue is a new Diamondville Dolls story, "Graves in the Cellar," wherein Cathy and Nora visit an old, seemingly abandoned house, and find it occupied by murder.

Now, what was it I was going to do? Oh yes, Debbie. Debbie? That's funny ... I don't see her. And all I can hear is "Glub, glub, glub...."

The Old Astrogator.