The State as the noxious machine defacing humanity is flexing its mechanical muscles on a new level here in the United States of America. Chaos and hardship, bureaucratic mazes separating parents from reclaiming their children who have been treated like livestock, new plans for militarized detention camps for families of immigrants––it’s shocking and painful. I’m not trying to add cutting-edge commentary here. I’m just saying the phrase “a life hangs in the balance” has new meaning for me and I’d feel awful if I didn’t add something to the collective efforts to lessen the suffering.
I’m a substitute teacher for Portland Public Schools. I’ve seen how trauma impacts young lives, the long work ahead for the people who teach and care for them, the hard work the kids themselves have to put in to overcome their circumstances. On the last day of school I was working as a music teacher. Apparently there weren’t any music classes left in the year, so I found myself rolling aimlessly around an empty room on a computer chair, waiting for the unlikely class. Sam called me on the phone and we talked about his Uncle Wayne who’d just passed.
Wayne was an avid reader, and he left behind massive piles of pulp science fiction, hard-boiled crime, and fantasy. It’s a remarkable catalogue of under-the-radar imagination, and Wayne actually catalogued it. Sam found in his home messy, idiosyncratic notes on every book he read that were then shaped into a proper entry for each book in three spiral notebooks. As curators of science fiction ourselves we can’t help but remark at Wayne’s peculiar hobby, which we see as a life’s work, an unthanked scholar enjoying fringe literature out in New Hampshire
Sam’s family has been gracious enough to hand us this library, and we aim to archive it and sell off Wayne’s collection to fund our magazine and also do a little good in the form of support for rotating charities of Sam’s choice. In the interest of jumping in when we really feel like we need to,
from Tuesday, June 26th to Tuesday, July 3rd we’ll be sending free books from Wayne’s collection (shipping on us) to anyone who can email proof of a donation made to RAICES between these dates.
What I’m saying is, if you pitch in to mitigate the ill effects of the present American Dystopia, we wanna help Uncle Wayne give you a pat on the back, a nod of encouragement, from the legion of Great Beyonds he was always reading about.
We can be found then and always at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Johnson, Johnson–is it light? Feels like I haven’t seen daylight in forever.”
“Yes, sir. Morning is coming. It’s over.”
“Reports indicate the craft is in low orbit, on an exit trajectory. Broadcasting a final message before departing our planet.”
“But why? Why leave after coming so far?”
“Burn-out, sir. The visitor partied too hard. In the end the people of Earth–our people–were far more radical and righteous dudes.”
“More radical dudes. Hmm. I wonder–at what cost? The coastline cities are gone–the Midwest an irradiated husk. We haven’t heard from London in over twelve hours. Hard-partying, yes. But at what cost? Johnson? Johnson, can you hear me? Johnson….”
You may have heard rumors that Joss Whedon has submitted to Planet Scumm continuously since Scummy first opened the data-banks for contributions from earthlings. Apparently, he believes only Scummy can understand the deepest and most intimate stories that lurk in his heart. Joss Whedon is now mailing full, hand-written manuscripts to the beleaguered team of editor-thralls under Scummy’s command. We don’t know how he got our addresses, but he sends individual copies to each of us and our families. He has ignored numerous requests to cut it out, back off, and has violated restraining orders.
Each new manuscript is another fresh hell with detailed drawings and deranged marginalia appearing and disappearing. Scummy has therefore seen fit to end this torture in the most expedient way possible and ordered the editorial staff to just go ahead and publish Joss Wheedon’s mad ramblings in the hope that this will sate, rather than inflame, his desire for Scummy’s attention.
Author Smita Bhattacharta was kind enough to take set aside some time to answer satisfy Scummy’s curiosity about her work, process and life. recorded below is the exchange as transmitted through another of Scummy’s many minions.
Sean Clancy, one of Scummy’s main minions, was dispatched recently to learn more about the world of Korzac and its discoverer Bill McCormick. Here is the transmission Sean sent to Scummy detailing his findings:
Planet Scumm is a science fiction zine. Leprechaun 4: In Space is the fourth film in the Leprechaun series. It’s the one in space. It’s a science fiction film. It’s tangentially related to St. Patrick’s Day. God has abandoned us.