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The Starlog Project

Starlog issues: 1-20 | 21-40 | 41-60 | 61-80 | 81-100 | 101-120 | 121-140 | 141-160 | 161-180 | 181-200 | 201-220 | 221-240 | 241-260 | 261-280 | 281-300 | 301-320 | 321-340 | 341-460 | 361-374
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STARLOG

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Starlog magazine was published from 1976 through 2009, primarily by O'Quinn Studios (eventually renamed Starlog Group), though it went through two sales in the last few years of its life, first to The Creative Group and then, upon that company's bankruptcy, to The Brooklyn Company, which continues to publish sister magazine Fangoria.

I've got plenty to say about Starlog -- its highs and lows, its meaning and inspiration -- and I'll say that here. For now, this Starlog Project is a project in progress, and you can follow it via the link below. You might also want to read my rather extensive overview/diagnosis/prescription of Starlog that I wrote a while ago on my blog; that's here.

THE ENTIRE RUN
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Starlog #1, August 1976: It All Begins

In 1976, Norman Jacobs and Kerry O'Quinn -- owners of a small periodicals publishing firm in Manhattan (Daily TV Serials, Beatles Forever, Screen Greats) -- put together a one-shot magazine devoted to the long-dead science fiction TV series Star Trek. As O'Quinn explained in later issues, their distributor didn't think there was a big enough audience to make the one-shot a success, so Jacobs and O'Quinn went back to the drawing board and added non-Trek articles to make it a general (though still Trek-heavy) science fiction media magazine. There were no ads in this first issue; the pages were a mix of full-color coated (glossy) stock and mostly black-and-white uncoated pages. The August 1976 issue was an immediate success, and within a year the quarterly magazine doubled its annual frequency to eight issues. Issue #1, along with the other first nine or 10 issues, would eventually be reprinted for sale by Starlog as back issues; in the 1990s, around the time of the magazine's 20th anniversary, the company produced 10,000 numbered copies in a special reprint, all on heavy glossy stock. (Yes, I have one.)

Starlog #1
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

From the front cover Star Trek painting by Jack Thurston to the back cover photo from The Bionic Woman, the premiere issue of Starlog magazine truly reflects the era in which it was born. Trek, Space: 1999, Dino DeLaurentiis' King Kong remake, bionic people, etc.

It kicks off with with a first-issue welcome editorial, short news (the David Bowie-starring The Man Who Fell to Earth, and other upcoming productions). Then the feature articles: Isobel Silden explores The Bionic Woman; editor David Houston writes about the changes in the second (and, as it turned out, final) season of Space: 1999; Gary Girani unveils two separate attempts to remake the classic King Kong (Girani's article would be publicly cited by Peter Jackson more than three decades later as an inspiration for his own big-budget Kong remake); publisher Kerry O'Quinn contributes a short preview of Squirm, a wormy horror film; Houston provides background for the cover features on Star Trek; then there's the full-color "Special Collectors Section" featuring lots of classic Trek photos from the original live-action series and the animated series; the great Isaac Asimov on the phenomenon of science fiction conventions; William Shatner is interviewed by Kirsten Russell (in the first of many, many Starlog interviews over the next several decades); costar Leonard Nimoy is interviewed by J.K. Lindquist; a complete episode guide to the original Trek; and it ends with some puzzles and word games.

"[Dino] DiLaurentiis stirred up a racial hornet's nest when he asked black males to try out for the role of Kong by jumping around in a bent-over position while wearing a monkey suit. De Laurentiis apparently hopes to supplement the robot's performance with the suits and black actors, provided he survives the lambasting from angered racial groups."
–Gary Girani, writer, "Battle of the Titans!"
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Starlog #2, November 1976: Spreading the Love

Three months after the first issue appeared to a grateful public, the second issue of Starlog showed up in the fall of 1976 and began building on the concept of the first issue. With double the number of full-color pages, the focus and love wasn't reserved for Star Trek; this time center stage was reserved for the Space: 1999 TV series -- though Star Trek was also well represented. There's also the first appearance of something the first issue lacked: outside advertising. There's not a lot of it -- a record ad and a book seller -- but it was a start. And we see the first sign of something that would be a Starlog (and Norman Jacobs/Kerry O'Quinn) hallmark: the merchandising of a popular property. So this issue, on page 8, we have an in-house ad for color prints of the Jack Thurston painting from the cover of the premiere issue, and t-shirts (only $3.99!).

Starlog #2
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

With the same staff as the first issue, the team produced a magazine that was a good preview of the content mix that would carry the title to untold heights of success in the science fiction publishing world in the next few years. Interviews with active SF luminaries, editorials and columns, articles on current SF TV shows, short news about various topics (first news about the Star Trek movie!), retrospectives of classic productions, and lots of good color and black-and-white photos. It's all there. Also added, on the contents page, is the magazine's slogan, which it would retain for many years: The magazine of the future.

Editor David Houston takes over the editorial writing duties this issue from the first issue's Kerry O'Quinn. An extended Log Entries (short news) section expands on the first issue's concept and blends reports on upcoming productions (first news on Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters and on the upcoming blockbuster called Star Wars featuring a young Mark Hamill in the starring role of "Luke Starkiller"!) with short interviews (Space: 1999's Nick Tate) and other tidbits. Kez Howard contributes the first of what will become many (from different writers) profiles of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry; Jim Burns provides a newsflash about the new Star Trek movie; famous Trekkies such as David Gerrold, Rod Serling, and Arthur C. Clarke are quoted on the Trek phenomenon; and we get the first appearance of the Communications letters page.

Bill Irvin explores the Logan's Run movie; two pages are devoted to books news and a convention calendar; Managing Editor James M. Elron provides a preview of "The New Television Season" -- including the then-new Wonder Woman TV series; Tom Rogers contributes a retrospective of the classic George Pal movie The War of the Worlds; David Houston goes behind the scenes of the second season of Space: 1999, which is followed by an episode guide to the first season-and-a-half of the show; Gary Gerani explains the history of Flash Gordon, followed by an episode guide to the 1936 Flash serial; Gerani also writes an article called "Bringing the Comics to Life," which looks at how Hollywood adapts comic books; Frank Squires and David Houston pay tribute to the composers who provide the music for SF movies; there are some word games and quizzes; and finally there's the first appearance of the long-running "Visions" column, which this issue looks at how Mars is portrayed in SF and at fictional sources of inspiration for real space heroics.

"The [Star Trek] film's largest problem at this point is that Paramount still has not approved any of the screen plays or outlines that have been written. Both Robert Silverberg and Chris Knopf have written full screen plays; and Harlan Ellison, Dick Simmons, and Theodore Sturgeon have written outlines. All of them have been rejected by Paramount."
–Jim Burns, writer, "The Star Trek Movie"

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Starlog #3, January 1977: Do It Again

In only its third issue, Starlog had achieved enough success to expand its printing frequency from quarterly to eight times a year. Though the indicia (the small text with the publishing info on the bottom of the contents page) still says the magazine is published quarterly, the subscription ad on page 55 exclaims "Now ... eight issues!" The eight-issue subscription cost a mere $9.98. This issue also sees the first appearance of Howard Zimmerman, the future editor-in-chief who is introduced here as an assistant editor. In a later issue, publisher Kerry O'Quinn described advertising for an editor and hiring Zimmerman -- a school teacher and comics aficionado. Within a year, following David Houston's move to the West Coast and a short interregnum in which O'Quinn serves as editor, Zimmerman would take the helm and run the ship until nearly issue #100. (Zimmerman currently runs his own book packaging studio.)

Starlog #3
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

The 1970s might have been the last (and only?) time when SF conventions would not only be a major story but would be a cover story, even in a genre publication. There's only a slight uptick in advertising in this issue, but ads were never a big part of the magazine, though they reached their zenith in the late 1990s before dropping off again. Editor David Houston kicks off the issue with an editorial relating the feedback his team received from readers when they attended a big Star Trek convention. There's also the Log Entries short-news section (including a report with photos of the roll-out of the Enterprise shuttle by NASA). Howard Zimmerman contributes his first article, and the subject is a favorite of his: comics and movies; the article is co-written by Jim Burns. The Communications letters page includes lots of chatter about Space: 1999 (the cover subject of the previous issue), and the Sci-Fi Library contains books news (though not reviews).

Tom Rogers writes about "Science Fiction Films Made for TV," and follows it up with a guide to 40 made-for-TV SF films; a special "Star Trek Bi-Centennial-10 Convention" section includes an overview, reports on convention speakers (Nichelle Nichols, Grace Lee Whitney, Jesco von Puttkamer, Kathryn Hays, James Doohan, Stanley Adams, George Takei, David Gerrold, DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Susan Oliver, and Walter Koenig) and on-the-scene reporting (Star Trek's blooper reel, photos from the con floor, animated Trek). Writer Joan Winston explains the challenges of putting on a Trek convention; Jason Thomas and Kez Howard discuss "The Dream Machines: 75 Years of Movie and TV Spaceships," illustrated with photos of 2001's Discovery, This Island Earth's craft, the Forbidden Planet saucer, similar-looking ships from both Flash Gordon and the softcore parody Flesh Gordon, and more; six more episodes from Space: 1999's second season are described; Isobel Silden profiles Lee Majors, star of The Six Million Dollar Man; Star Teasers offers crosswords and word-hunts; and the issue wraps up with "The Search for Percival Lowell's Mysterious Trans-Neptunian Planet X" (i.e., Pluto) in the Visions column.

"Some of the [audience] questions led one to have grave doubts about the brain power of a few of the fans. For instance, the fan who asked to see Mr. Shatner's belly-button. Bill's reply was classic: 'Do you mean to tell me I traveled 9,000 miles to have someone ask to see my belly-button? I only answer serious questions. Next?'"
–Joan Winston, writer, "So You Want to Have a 'Star Trek' Convention ...?"

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Starlog #4, March 1977: Taking Shape

A number of names crop in in Starlog's fourth issue that will play big roles in the magazine's future. First is the author David Gerrold, who signs on as a regular columnist. Also joining the party is David Hutchison as a production assistant. He will eventually become the magazine's special effects editor, producing a series of special effects trade paperback books and editing sister magazine Cinemagic after that magazine is purchased by Starlog in a couple years.

Starlog #4
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

There are no major leaps with this issue, but we do see the solidifying Starlog approach (its article mix, page designs, etc.) and reader appreciation for a magazine that was clearly filling a niche in the SF world. One item of note is the first appearance of fiction in this magazine; fiction would only appear a handful of times in Starlog, but it was well-chosen when it did appear.

David Houston uses his editorial to herald David Gerrold's inaugural column; Log Entries is filled with reports on upcoming productions (The Island of Dr. Moreau), Hugo award winners, an "SF Resurgence in Comics," and books news (which seems to have migrated to this section from its previous Sci Fi Library location); James M. Elrod writes a "newsflash!!!" on Wade Williams' effort to release classic SF films. In his first column for the magazine, David Gerrold describes his antipathy toward critics -- and irony that he has just become one. The Communications letters page has the first, I believe, appearance of the "Sci Fi vs SF" controversy, an argument in which Starlog would eventually choose "SF" -- until it published Sci Fi Teen and Sci Fi TV magazines in the late 1990s.

Regular contributor Isobel Silden interviews Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman from The Bionic Woman and The Six Million Dollar Man); David Hutchison writes about "Science-Fiction Movies in 3-D," covering a topic that would be a recurring passion of his; there's no author listed for a two-page filmography of 3-D movies from the 1950s, but it's there nonetheless; Star Teasers has two pages of games; the centerfold of the magazine appropriately features the two-page opening spread of "Arena," a reprint of a classic Fredric Brown short story (that had been adapted as a Star Trek TV episode in the original series), and the centerfold art is by the great Boris Vallejo, showing an alien blob meeting a naked man (I said it was appropriate for the centerfold -- you've got to trust me on these things); there's also a two-page color spread of images and descriptions of the Trek episode adaptation of Brown's story; Jim Burns interviews Space: 1999's Nick Tate, who played Alan Carter in that series; Gary Gerani gives the background to "The Inner Mind of The Outer Limits," which is followed by a complete episode guide to the series; we've got the first appearance of "Classified Information" advertising, and the Visions column wraps it all up with a look at robots in sci fi -- er, SF.

"The most useless job in the world is that of the critic. That is a prejudiced statement. I admit it. I'm prejudiced. I hate critics. ... And now, as the saying goes (yesterday, I couldn't even spell critik), and now I are one."
–David Gerrold, columnist, State of the Art

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Starlog #5, May 1977: Star Reaching

Readers of Starlog for most of its first two and a half decades of life quickly came to recognize (and, I think, appreciate) a signature factor in the magazine's content and character: the "reach for the stars" philosophy and encouragement of co-publisher Kerry O'Quinn, and here we get the first of umpteenth number of editorials by O'Quinn in that spirit. This issue, O'Quinn also takes over as editor-in-chief in the wake of founding editor David Houston's departure (Houston would soon be named the West Coast editor of the magazine). Other staffbox changes include co-editorship by James M. Elrod and Howard Zimmerman. This issue sees the first ad for a Starlog Photo Guidebook, Spaceships; in the coming years, Starlog would publish dozens of these high-quality and lavishly illustrated trade paperback books on a variety of SF topics (Aliens, Special Effects, Space Art, etc.)

Starlog #5
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

The cover painting is by artist Don Dixon, who is also profiled in the issue. Space art would remain a strong love for the magazine (and its short-lived spinoff, Future Life).

Kerry O'Quinn kicks off things in his editorial by highlighting the success of people who made careers out of their love for space and science fiction. Communications is filled with interesting letters, including one from a "Richard A. Pini" in Taunton, Massachusetts. Is this the Richard Pini who, with wife Wendy, created the Elfquest comics? Log Entries has the usual previews and news, including some making-of info on the new King Kong and a report on William Shatner's college speaking tour; columnist David Gerrold writes about some religious pressure that resulted in the changing of a Star Trek animated episode to suit some Baptists' sensibilities.

David Hutchison continues his extensive look at 3-D science-fiction movies; Robert M. Hefley puts together a "Science Fiction Address Guide" for television productions; David Houston interviews spacescape painter (and cover artist) Don Dixon, in an article illustrated with many of Dixon's beautiful SF paintings; in the magazine's first foray into controversial political topics, writer Frank Gilstrap looks at how an episode of the live-action Star Trek was censored by a Texas television station on religious grounds (a nice live-action complement to Gerrold's animated column this issue, eh?); Howard Zimmerman examines the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson UFO TV series; Tom Rogers contributes a complete episode guide for that UFO series; Starlog publishes an episode guide to the final six episodes of Space: 1999's second and (wait for it...) last season; a selection of reader letters on Space: 1999 are published in a special article; Star Teasers has some movie anagrams; and the Visions column looks at the search for extra-terrestrial life.

"This issue is dedicated to these people ... and to all of our readers who are equally demanding of their lives. Whether you have already done it or will demand it of yourself in the future, there is no greater success in life than turning your pleasure into your profession."
–Kerry O'Quinn, editor-in-chief (and co-publisher), From the Bridge

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Starlog #6, June 1977: Counting Pages

More staffbox changes occur in the sixth issue of Starlog, including the appearance of underground cartoonist Howard Cruse as a contributor (Cruse would soon join the company as an art director, and he would contribute comic art to the Starlog family of magazines for years). Former editor David Houston is listed for the first time as West Coast editor, and Howard Zimmerman is now listed as sole editor (under editor-in-chief Kerry O'Quinn), with James M. Elrod moving to assistant editor from the co-editor position he had held the previous issue with Zimmerman. Musical chairs.

Starlog #6
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

For the first time, Starlog uses a photograph on its cover, and from here on, paintings would only be rare exceptions to the standard photo treatment. The magazine also boosted its page count with a special eight-page center section, printed on yellow paper (again, a practice the magazine would use occasionally for years when it included episode guides or other reference specials).

Kerry O'Quinn uses his From the Bridge column to take sides in the ever-pressing debate over whether science fiction should be abbreviated as sci fi or SF (and announces the editors' adoption of SF), and he makes the case for the higher calling of the SF field. Controversy rears its ugly head in the Communications letters, with a Virginia reader complaining about the nude man that illustrated (tastefully) issue #4's reprint of Fredric Brown classic short story, "Arena." The reader writes that he thought he had mistakenly picked up a copy of Playgirl. "I weep for today's science fiction ..." and he warns Starlog's publishers not to lure young SF fans, who "are subject to sexual problems (such as homosexuality)." The editors' response is a nice mix of pleasant disagreement and blunt talk. David Gerrold's first column also draws a number of complaints.

Also in this issue: Log Entries includes some real-life science news, the announcement of Christopher Reeve's selection to play Superman in the forthcoming feature film, and two full-color Ralph McQuarrie paintings from the then-upcoming Star Wars movie, along with a short report on the movie's progress; the cover story is a reprint of an article by the great Robert A. Heinlein chronicling "The Making of Destination Moon," illustrated with many color and black-and-white photos from the classic film; William Irvine visits the set of The Fantastic Journey TV series; a special pullout section featuring "The Starlog Science Fiction Address Guide: Motion Pictures," compiled by Robert M. Hefley; Malcolm C. Klein explains how Star Trek was animated for Saturday morning TV; a complete episode guide to the animated Trek; columnist David Gerrold writes about writing; a one-page report on the cancellation of Space: 1999; Susan Sackett, the personal assistant to Gene Roddenberry, begins a column chronicling the making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture; David Hutchison launches his long-running special effects section with a lengthy article on the use of miniatures; and the Visions column explores solar eclipses.

"The artist, Boris Vallejo, is one of the best-known and most talented in the business. His knowledge of human anatomy and his ability to render figures of impressive stature and lifelike sensuality is, to most people, a source of pleasure ... not shame and embarrassment. Before a reader spends a great deal of time worrying about other people's sexual problems, he would do well to get his own house in order."
–The editors, response to reader letter, "Nudity in Starlog?"

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Starlog #7, August 1977: Star Wars Arrives

The arrival of Star Wars in theaters changed cinema forever, and it also changed the science fiction media magazine world forever. Numerous magazines (Fantastic Films, Questar, Star Warp, etc.) were launched in the wake of Star Wars mania in the late 1970s, and for Starlog, which had begun a year earlier and rode Star Trek fandom to success, a whole new fan base joined its readership. Starlog would never be the same, and it was for the better. Also coming aboard with this issue is Assistant Editor Ed Naha (who replaces James M. Elrod). Naha would be a big player in the Starlog world for many years, co-editing Future Life magazine, being the founding editor (under pseudonym Joe Bonham) of Fangoria, and writing many, many articles and columns.

Starlog #7
76 pages (including covers and partially numbered blueprint insert)
Cover price: $1.50

Starlog isn't the only magazine to use the above photo on its cover of a TIE fighter shooting at an X-wing, but it's the only magazine that ended up with an iconic cover with it. Go back and look at all of the covers for Starlogs one through six. Nice and colorful, yes, but number seven had action, space opera, adventure; the same elements that made Star Wars such a refreshing jolt to the moviegoing public in 1977 also makes this cover leap out from other early Starlog covers.

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column praises SF fans who put some energy into achieving their goals; censorship, 3-D, holography, and praise from William F. Nolan light up the Communications letters pages; Log Entries has its usual wide variety of short news, including info on the new Logan's Run TV series, Ray Harryhausen's Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, satellites and space probes, the space shuttle, giant SF conventions, and more. David Houston writes an excellent and lengthy cover feature on the making of Star Wars. Beautifully illustrated, filled with lots of good detail and background, the article strongly supported the idea that Star Wars was not just another new film but was a game-changer.

Also in this issue, Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report gives some insight into the ongoing script games with the Star Trek movie; Bill Irvine interviews Allan Scott about the Trek film; Geoffrey Mandel has the center of the magazine, which is devoted to a Space: 1999 blueprint insert and article; a one-page article on the second Man from Atlantis TV film; David Houston explores the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.; David Gerrold chronicles his 1973 experience (with photos) as a chimp extra on Planet of the Apes; Ed Naha contributes a Rocketship X-M retrospective (illustrated by the great Kelly Freas); in part II of David Hutchison's SFX department, he gives the history of Robby the Robot; and the Visions column explores the outer planets of our solar system.

"The story is set in another galaxy and time and concerns a valiant struggle against a totalitarian empire that is spread among the stars. The characters herein have never heard of Earth. Their alien worlds and cultures, their dress and architecture, their technology, history and future (if any) are not of our world." 
–David Houston, writer, "Creating the Space-Fantasy Universe of Star Wars"

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Starlog #8, September 1977: A Taste of Harlan Ellison

Special effects geeks take center stage with Starlog #8. Mix that with science fiction's most outspoken author, and Starlog #8 tries valiantly to keep people's attention one month after the mind-blowing experience of the Star Wars issue.

Starlog #8
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

Actual behind-the-scenes special-effects photos rarely took the cover spot at Starlog, despite the large role played by SFX at the magazine. This cover is probably a good reason why. Despite giving you a neat idea of how the dinosaur scenes were shot on the Saturday morning fantasy series Land of the Lost, it's simply not a cover that jumps off the newsstands.

The rundown: In From the Bridge, Kerry O'Quinn raves about how inspiring Star Wars is; Communications letters include a Californian who writes in with some background on Star Trek actor George Takei's run for local office in Los Angeles; Log Entries items include a preview of SF TV for the fall season and a report on the SFX controversy regarding claims that a robot was used in the King Kong movie. John Ciofli and John Warner contribute a retrospective of the original The Fly; Howard Zimmerman interviews Harlan Ellison, "Science Fiction's Last Angry Man."

Ellison pal David Gerrold fantasizes about the new Star Trek movie; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report answers the question of whether Trek will return as a feature film or a TV production; in "The First 1,000 Tickets to Space," science writer James Oberg suggests that "many readers of this article may be journeying into space themselves by the end of this century. This is not fantasy. ... This is hard, cold, quantifiable arithmetic." "Welcome Back to the Wars" offers two more pages of Star Wars photos; Jim Burns provides an overview of Saturday morning TV programs, including a complete listing of "kid-vid"; David Hutchison illuminates how model figures are animated in movies; and the Visions column examines solar sailing crafts for chasing comets.

"Harlan is not looking for any new fans. 'Fame is a lot more and a lot less than it's cracked up to be. I get 200 letters a day. People come from all over the world and sleep in my car if they think I'm not home, just so they can say they slept in his car.'" --
–Howard Zimmerman, editor, "Harlan Ellison: Science Fiction's Last Angry Man"

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Starlog #9, October 1977: Logan's Run's Spotlight

The short-lived Logan's Run gets a short-lived time in the spotlight with the cover story of Starlog #9. In the staffbox, we get the first appearance -- as a production assistant -- of David Hirsch. Writer Sam Maronie makes his first appearance in the magazine. This issue also sees the continued cross-media merchandising of Starlog's growing brand; the inside front cover is devoted to an ad for an original LP soundtrack album produced by the magazine, Rocketship X-M. And late-1970s inflation begins to kick in as the cover price is upped by 25 cents.

Starlog #9
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.75

Starlog reaches a new high in page-count with this 80-page issue, which is its first issue devoted to the SF-TV season. On an arcane design note, the magazine has finally ditched the above-the-logo cover line of "Fantastic color photos!" It seems that after eight issues, someone finally decided that that was too-valuable real estate to use for such a non-specific plug. More arcana: This is the first issue in which the "next issue" information includes specific information about articles, rather than just an on-sale date. Interestingly, the article info and the on-sale date are in separate boxes on different pages. Alas, progress is slow.

The rundown: Kerry O'Quinn uses his From the Bridge editorial to attack prejudice and bigotry, citing the Vulcan creed from Star Trek of "infinite diversity in infinite combinations." Letters in the Communications section cover Catherine Schell's past, an attack on Keely Freas, Star Wars nit-picking, and more. Log Entries includes short items on an ABC Star Wars making-of documentary, animated Flash Gordon, an obituary for Wernher von Braun, an update on the Superman movie, and more (including a photo of Carrie Fisher reading Starlog #7).

David Houston interviews Patrick Duffy, the Man from Atlantis. Ed Naha interviews Gerry Anderson, the start of a long-running association between the magazine and Anderson; Naha and Sam Maronie interview Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter; Jim Burns provides an update on the SF programs aimed at young viewers; Houston interviews Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts on the Logan's Run TV series; Houston also interviews William Shatner, back for his second appearance in Starlog in two years; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report updates the Trek movie; David Smith reports on the SF-TV of the 1950s, including Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and Rocky Jones, Space Ranger; Houston's back with another interview, this time with Fantastic Journey's Jared Martin; an episode guide covers the complete Fantastic Journey; Houston -- again -- writes this issue's SFX department, focusing on Magicam technology; David Gerrold uses his column to promote blood donation (and Robert Heinlein); Howard Zimmerman and Ed Naha call Star Wars "the best thing to happen to science fiction since Asimov first propounded the 'Three Laws of Robotics,'" and provide background on the movie and its story; and the Visions column covers science fiction ideas about television -- before television.

"One of the fans sent me a copy of Starlog recently, the one with the articles on UFO and Space: 1999. It's a very good magazine and I'm very grateful it exists. It's a great help to the fans who are widely scattered across the States. It unites them, informs them. There is a very real need for a magazine like Starlog. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be sitting here now, talking."
–Gerry Anderson, interviewed by Ed Naha, "Gerry Anderson: The Master of Space"

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Starlog #10, December 1977: The Howard Cruse Era

Howard Cruse, who began contributing comic illustrations to Starlog a couple issues earlier, replaces Linda Bound as art director with this issue, and the magazine's design shifts toward bolder use of photos and type treatments. (Art directors really make a difference in a magazine, and Howard Cruse was one of my favorite at the Starlog magazines; another is his successor, Robert P. Ericksen.) Ed Naha is now managing editor of the magazine, and advertising starts to pick up.

Starlog #10
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.75

It's not quite issue #7's Star Wars dogfight, but the rocketship blasting off on the cover of this issue shows the direction Starlog wants to go. And for completists: For the first time, the next-issue preview is in the same location in the magazine as the on-sale date of that issue. Exciting, no? Well, at least the lineup of personalities in this issue is exciting, indeed.

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge editorial frankly gushes with pleasure at the inclusion of big names in this issue, such as Ray Harryhausen (interviewed), George Pal (interviewed), and Isaac Asimov (contributing writer). The letters in the Communications section range from complaining that Starlog bleeped out Harlan Ellison's four-letter words to praising Robbie the Robot. Log Entries' short news items include a Japanese fishing boat, the Zuiyo Maru, that found a dead animal believed to be a prehistoric monster, Pigs in Space, a new SF comic called Star Hawks, and the "Earth Sounds" record carried by the Voyager spacecraft.

Isaac Asimov explains the unlikelihood of faster-than-light space travel; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report covers the reunion of the Trek cast on the Paramount lot, and the beginning of the construction of the starship Enterprise model; Kirsten Russell relates the difficulty of getting any reliable information out of the production company putting together Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and a one-page editor's note follows up to say that the production has gotten even more publicity-phobic since Russell's article was put together (the inability of Starlog and Steven Spielberg to share information would come to a head with E.T., which led to an extended editorial by O'Quinn explaining the futility of it all); David Houston looks at the Space Academy TV series; David Gerrold's State of the Art column whacks Space Academy and has some choice words for TV's Logan's Run; David Hirsch writes about the concepts for Space: 1999 that were abandoned; a special eight-page "yellow pages" insert features "The 1st Annual Science-Fiction Merchandise Guide"; Ed Naha contributes an extensive eight-page interview with the great producer George Pal; Richard Meyers then interviews SFX great Ray Harryhausen; Richard Meyers talks with Ralph Bakshi about his animated Lord of the Rings movie; Ed Naha, who began his career as a rock journalist, here contributes "The Rock Connection," looking at the SF-rock intersections (I mean: David Bowie -- 'nuff said); Kerry O'Quinn profiles composer Albert Glasser (who would be the subject of a forthcoming Starlog Records LP); Richard McEnroe writes this issue's SFX section, focusing on homemade special effects movies; and the Visions column wraps it all up by linking Jules Verne with great innovators throughout history.

"Which brings me to Logan's Run. I have never read the book. I have no intention of reading the book. I thought the basic premise of the book was stupid when it was first published, and I still think so today."
–David Gerrold, columnist, State of the Art

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Starlog #11, January 1978: Lookin' Good

Starlog kicks off 1978 with a good issue that contains lots of solid content, nicely designed articles, and further evidence that the title was beginning to flex its muscles. The magazine announces the second in its Photo Guidebook series of trade paperback books: Science Fiction Aliens. Publisher Kerry O'Quinn relinquishes his editor-in-chief role and leaves sole top editing responsibility to Howard Zimmerman (at least one assumes so, judging from the staffbox). Another special-effects shot on the cover and, as with issue #8's dinosaur model cover, it's both a nice cover and a bit of a snoozer.

Starlog #11
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.75

Makeup special effects take center stage this issue. Also, William F. Nolan gets back at columnist David Gerrold, who dissed his Logan's Run novel in the previous issue.

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column looks at the leap of faith SF fans are -- almost always -- willing to take to enjoy their movies. In the Communications letters, the debate over Anita Bryant and homosexuality spills into the SF world, and author William F. Nolan attacks David Gerrold. Fun stuff. The short news in Log Entries includes Carl Sagan's Voyager record, real-life domestic robots, Disney's Return from Witch Mountain, William Shatner discusses Kingdom of the Spiders, and more.

Charles Bogle (methinks that's a pseudonym) writes about the Magic Lantern animation company; Howard Zimmerman explores the classic Patrick McGoohan series The Prisoner, complete with a detailed episode guide; David Houston gives the low-down on the Quark science-fiction parody; Ed Naha (not a pseudonym) contributes a retrospective of The Incredible Shrinking Man; a new Conventions department reports on Suncon and Star Trek America; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report gives a progress report on the Star Trek film, including comments from her boss, Gene Roddenberry, on how he's resurrecting the classic series; Richard Robinson writes "The Computer's Game," looking at home PC games; Richard Meyers previews Close Encounters of the Third Kind; David Houston interviews Logan's Run production designer Mort Rabinowitz; the TV Update section includes an early report on the upcoming NBC Buck Rogers TV series and production info on Man from Atlantis. Apparently none the worse for the fracas with Nolan, David Gerrold uses his State of the Art column to explain the difficulty of getting a coherent vision to the TV screen in a series (with more comments on Logan's Run and some info on the Buck revival); Richard Meyers interviews Superman producer Ilya Salkind. In the SFX section, it's a collection of profiles of makeup effects masters: Sam Maronie on John Chambers; Richard Meyers on Stuart Freeborn and Rick Baker. Peter B. Gillis writes "Looking for SF in the Comics"; and the Visions column looks at some fanciful technology at the heart of some SF productions.

"[David Gerrold] calls the novel's premise (compulsory death at 21) "stupid ... silly, unbelievable and a waste of time" -- while admitting he's never read the book. Now, there are many SF novels which are stupid, silly, unbelievable and a waste of time (including Mr. Gerrold's own clumsily written The Man Who Folded Himself -- which I did read) but Logan's Run is not among them. It is, in plain fact, a modern classic."
–William F. Nolan, letter, Communications

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Starlog #12, March 1978: Seems Like Old Times

This is a great issue, a magazine that I'd have been glad to have show up in my mailbox, to sit next to my bed to be devoured every night before I went to sleep. But it was published two full years before I would buy my first copy of Starlog, so I only got to know it years later as a back issue. Staffbox changes: David Hutchison, having established himself as the resident special effects guru on staff, is now listed as the science & SFX editor. Rita Eisenstein appears as a production assistant; Eisenstein would work her way up the company to executive VP, second-in-command to the Starlog Group empire, by the early part of the 21st century. Talk about starting at the bottom rung and working your way up.

Starlog #12
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.75

This is another issue with examples of Starlog growing, flexing its muscles, reveling in its success. It includes the launch announcement of the first spinoff magazine from Starlog, called Future (renamed Future Life a year later). The magazine also shoots its first television commercial, featuring a famous science fiction icon as its spokesman -- er, spokes'bot.

The rundown: Kerry O'Quinn uses his From the Bridge column to do two things: first, he urges SF fans to have high standards and demand quality science-fiction entertainment, and second, he announces the birth of Future magazine. The Communications letters range from amateur filmmaking geek talk to commenting on Isaac Asimov's faster-than-light travel, and more; short news items in Log Entries include a report on the "Martian winter," SF video games, Mark Hamill's role in Stingray, Spacelab, and more.

An unbylined one-pager TV Update announces the cancellations of Logan's Run and Man from Atlantis. James Obert commemorates the 20th anniversary of "Sputnik and the Opening of Space"; Charles Bogle chronicles the Charles Band movie Lasterblast, which would quickly be forgotten until it was immortalized in episode 706 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (for completists, we might note that the Laserblast article is cut off at the bottom of page 23 -- the jump line was left off, so readers were left to page through the magazine until they get to the article's completion on page 70); Susan Sackett interviews her boss, Gene Roddenberry, on the making of the new Star Trek movie; Sackett also contributes her regular Star Trek Report column, answering questions from fans. David Hutchison provides a "Special Report on the (New) Enterprise" design; Richard Meyers writes about another soon-to-be-forgotten 1970s SF flick, Starship Invasions; the Conventions page covers Mystery Con II, Science-Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Con, and Creation Con; David Gerrold's State of the Art column publishes a pack of his Solomon Short quotes (he would do this one or two more times during his years as a columnist); James Oberg investigaes "UFOs: Reel vs. Real"; Ed Naha writes the humongous cover feature on Close Encounters of the Third Kind; David Hutchison interviews Star Wars animator Larry Cuba; it's more makeup effects masters profiled in the SFX section: Samuel J. Maronie does Dan Striepeke and Richard Meyers does the legendary Dick Smith; David Houston profiles space artist extraordinaire Chesley Bonestell; there's a one-page report on the Starlog TV commercial starring Robby the Robot, including a photo of Robby being "directed" by a script-in-hand Kerry O'Quinn; Richard Meyers writes about superheroes on TV; David Houston explores "Two Branches of Science Fiction's Conceptual Family Tree: Part I: Wishful Thinking" in the Visions column; and to close out the book we have the first column by editor Howard Zimmerman, whose Lastword issues a harsh verdict on Close Encounters.

"If Mr. Spielberg did not want to make a science-fiction movie then he should have chosen another theme. However, having chosen the theme that he did, it was his responsibility to do something with it. Spielberg had the chance to expose the public to the meat and heart of SF -- extrapolation from today to tomorrow and the personal consequences thereof -- and he blew it."
–Howard Zimmerman, editor, Lastword

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Starlog #13, May 1978: Space as Art

Starlog launches its newest department -- a column by science writer Jonathan Eberhart that explores real destinations in space -- with a beautiful cover painting by Ludek Pesek. A very nice looking cover, in fact, though I don't know if it sold as well as the recent movie photo covers. Also, a few months after having moved to new offices on Manhattan's Park Avenue South, the staff continues to grow.

Starlog #13
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.75

Controversy, controversy, controversy. From fundamentalist parents to a miffed dark lord of the Sith, disagreements and problems abound in this issue. Read on ...

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column welcomes new readers who have come to the magazine as a result of its television advertising campaign; letters in the Communications pages include a reader who has taken out a P.O. box because his parents are religious fanatics who burn his copy of Starlog when it arrives in the mail; short news in Log Entries includes announcement of a new ad campaign for Star Wars, news about NASA visiting Saturn, the shortest of notes about a blockbuster sequel ("Star Wars II is currently being prepared for production in London"), and a chat with Fred Pohl about how to become a science-fiction writer.

William H. Pratt covers the horror movie The Manitou; David Gerrold's State of the Art compares good and bad science fiction; Richard Meyers interviews David Prowse, who vents about not getting recognition for playing Darth Vader; Charles Bogle reports on The Return of Captain Nemo, a CBS mini-series; David R. Smith chronicles "Walt Disney's Conquest of Space," the story of Disney's retelling of the space race; David Houston writes the obituary for the Logan's Run TV series, which also gets a complete episode guide; Houston also provices a preview for 3001: A Space Comedy; in his first Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., column, Jonathan Eberhart visits "The Tenth Planet"; Howard Zimmerman interviews Forrest J. Ackerman, "The World's Greatest Science Fiction Fan" (and, incidentally, the editor of competitor Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, but who's keeping score?); special effects matte artist Matthew Yuricich explains his craft in Gregory P. Barr's SFX article; a three-page feature gives us some more (frankly dark and grainy) color photos from Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report explains the seemingly never-ending back-and-forth regarding making Trek as a motion picture or a television series; Sonni Cooper visits the set of Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Ed Naha provides a retrospective of George Pal's 1960 The Time Machine; David Houston's Visions column is part II of his exploration of SF's foundations; and Howard Zimmerman looks at how science fiction has suddenly (in 1978) become in vogue.

"Even when overshadowed by modern technology's present day advancements, Disney's 'factual science' shows stand as being brilliant achievements in popular science. For one brief, shining moment in history, fact and fantasy melded perfectly together to create a fascinating overview of mankind's possible future."
–David R. Smith, writer, "Walt Disney's Conquest of Space"

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Starlog #14, June 1978: Behind the Scenes

And it's another behind-the-scenes special effects shot, an image that displays a cool thing -- Star Wars matte painter P.S. Ellenshaw painting background for the Star Wars Death Star shaft scene -- but it's not a good image for the magazine's cover. On the staff side, James Oberg is now listed as science advisor; he's also a regular contributor to sister magazine Future.

Starlog #14
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.75

Comedy, tragedy, and a little romance. Except no romance. This issue, one of the first back issues of Starlog I ever purchased (not that you asked), is nothing out of the ordinary of recent or the next couple issues. And that's good enough for me.

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge uses talk about science-fiction conventions to talk about SF fans who actually do something constructive with their ardor; Communications letters include a note from Ron Miller, who -- I believe -- is the same space artist Ron Miller who would soon be a space art advisor to Starlog and Future magazines, plus readers pro and con on Close Encounters; Log Entries includes short bits on NASA's plans for Skylab (besides "duck," I suppose), Gerard K. O'Neill's space station ideas, and ultra-brief notes about future SF productions (including something called Galactica).

Stop-motion artist Jim Danforth is interviewed by Charles Bogle; Gerald Morris describes The Incredible Melting Man; Gerry de la Ree profiles fantasy artist Virgil Finlay; David Gerrold's State of the Art deals with big egos; an unbylined TV Update gives first news of Ray Bradbury's classic The Martian Chronicles coming to TV; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., stops at Io; there's a two-page photo essay on Space: 1999's special effects; in a coup for the magazine, Saturday Night Live writer Michael O'Donoghue's script for the Star Trek parody, "The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise," is reprinted; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report gives an overview (publicity, script, special effects, etc.) of the Trek film; Kerry O'Quinn introduces a ballot for readers to suggest the SF movies from which they'd like Starlog to produce soundtrack records; David Houston interviews Project: UFO Producer Col. William T. Coleman; Richard Meyers and Ed Naha write about the fake-moon-landing movie Capricorn One; David Houston profiles matte artist P.S. Ellenshaw in the SFX cover story; Houston's Visions column looks at the role of extrapolation in creating science-fiction visions; and Editor Howard Zimmerman's Lastword on fantastic technology that might not be so fantastic.

"Stop motion isn't taken for granted in Hollywood, ... it's ignored. The industry doesn't know anything about stop motion. The fans have a far better understanding of what goes into an animate dfilm than most of your motion picture executives."
–Jim Danforth, interview, "A Tale of Cinematic Survival by Stop Motion's Heir Apparent"

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Starlog #15, August 1978: Classical

Starlog reaches a new height (or length) in page-count with this issue: 84. Packed with a Twilight Zone fan's greatest dream, this issue is mostly aimed at lovers of the classics. That includes the (admittedly blurry and grainy) cover photo from the This Island Earth retrospective (it's not often that retrospectives make the cover). But there's new stuff, too, including the printing of a chapter of columnist David Gerrold's new novel, Death Beast. There's also some new staff: Ira Friedman joins the company as assistant publisher; Howard Cruse is no longer art director; he's succeeded (very temporarily, as it turns out) by Chris Hedick; and Robin Snelson is now listed as co-science editor with David Hutchison; Snelson would soon be co-editor of sister publication Future Life. On the advertising front, an interesting ad is a two-page spread from Heavy Metal magazine, promoting some of its graphic novels. It's another sign of the flowering of SF and fantasy publishing at that time in the late 1970s. There was a lot of dreck, but there was also some quality stuff, including Starlog and Heavy Metal.

Starlog #15
84 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.75

My how things change. Not only were classics like Twilight Zone different from the TV shows of 1978, or movies like This Island Earth different from blockbusters of the 1970s (which is what make Island a candidate for lampooning in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 motion picture many years later), but productions change quite a bit from first announcements through production to final release. Look no further for one example than the cover text of Starlog #15, which announces "TV's 'Earth Star.' Earth Star was just one of several names for what would become Battlestar Galactica, which is previewed on page 52.

Kerry O'Quinn's reach-for-the-stars philosophy is on full display in his From the Bridge column, where he encourages people to work hard to achieve their dreams. Communications letters range from UFO devotees to Godzilla pros and cons; short news items in Log Entries include tickets on the space shuttle for Steven Spielberg, GE gets a patent on a living organism, SF comics in the newspapers, Jefferson Starship's new SF-themed album Earth, and more.

Richard Meyers interviews Superman director Richard Donner; the first chapter of Death Beast, from the novel by David Gerrold, is printed and is illustrated by Feibush; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., visits Valles Marineris on Mars; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report announces that Trek has officially been given the green light to be a motion picture; Richard Meyers reports on Milton Subotsky's Thongor in the Valley of the Demons, which even an SF fan like me has to admit is an embarrassing title; Ed Naha writes about Twilight Zone, "Rod Serling's Dream," which serves as the introduction to the 11-page episode guide to the classic series, compiled by Gary Gerani. Richard Meyers previews the TV show known variously as Star Worlds, Earth Star, and Galactica; David Hirsch edits a new column by British SF producer Gerry Anderson, Space Report, which gives background on Space: 1999 and other Anderson productions; Richard Meyers looks at merchandising in "The Selling of Star Wars"; Louis Broadhurst previews Brian DePalma's The Fury; Michael A. Banks looks at "SF Prediction: Speculation or Future Fact?"; David Hutchison uses the SFX section to look at the creation of sound effects in classic SF films; Hutchison also puts together a two-page photo profile of makeup artist David Ayres; Robert Skotak and Scot Holton write the cover story, "Space: 1955 -- The Story of This Island Earth"; David Houston's Visions column examines extra-sensory perception in films such as Village of the Damned and Carrie; and editor Howard Zimmerman wraps it all up in his Lastword column by being cautiously optimistic about Galactica -- or whatever it's called this week.

"[I]f you're a bit skeptical about the future possibilities of some of SF's more fantastic themes, consider how outlandish modern technology must have appeared when it was presented -- before its time -- in SF."
–Michael A. Banks, writer, "SF Prediction: Speculation or Future Fact?

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Starlog #16, September 1978: New Style

Starlog gets its third art director in three issues, as Robert P. Ericksen assumes the duties. Ericksen remains at the helm for some time, and in my humble opinion is the best of the magazine's long line of art directors. The design of the magazine beginning in this issue achieves a beautiful mix of a colorful, eye-catching look with a tasteful use of nice headline typefaces. Yes, this is all design geek stuff, but it helps cement Starlog's role as a professional magazine that's on another level from the rest of the science fiction media pack.

Starlog #16
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.75

And it keeps growing: included in the magazine's in-house ads are the release of the third Starlog Photo Guidebook, Fantastic Worlds, and the second Starlog-produced record, The Fantastic Film Music of Albert Glasser.

Kerry O'Quinn's inner Ayn Rand comes through in his From the Bridge column, in which he describes helping a youth from communist Hungary overcome idiotic government restrictions on freedom of thought; Communications letters range from DC Comics Editor Jack C. Harris on SF art to a critic of Capricorn One; Log Entries short items include the launch of the Japanese edition of Starlog and Future magazines (as one Japanese magazine under the Starlog banner), space mirrors to beam energy to earth, preview of the film Warlords of Atlantis, announcement of an Avengers TV revival, a progress report on Ralph Bakshi's animated Lord of the Rings, and more.

Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report showcases a big color photo showing the back of one of the computerized bridge sets from Trek; Michael Cassutt interviews Alan Dean Foster, "SF's Hottest Young Writer," back when his Splinter in the Mind's Eye was throught to be a possible sequel to Star Wars: A New Hope; Mick Garris -- yes, the future movie director -- writes about the new Invasion of the Body Snatchers film, starring Leonard Nimoy; Ed Naha profiles producer Bert I. Gordon; Al Taylor and Richard Meyers remember the making of the Fantastic Voyage film; a three-page color photo spread reprints space-related postage stamps from around the world; Louis Broadhurst previews the new Buck Rogers, illustrated with pre-production paintings from the great Bob McCall (one of whose paintings graces the cover of this issue, see above); Gary Gerani remembers The Invaders TV series and provides a complete episode guide; James C. Odell covers The Body Human, a CBS science series; David Gerrold gets into serious geek territory with his State of the Art column, which digs into various aspects of Star Wars and looks for their meaning or extrapolates from them; David Hirsch -- the resident Gerry Anderson expert -- covers supermarionation in the SFX section; Robin Snelson reports on space-based solar power possibilities; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., visits"The Incredible Shrinking Planet"; David Houston explores "The Invisible Visions of Star Wars" in the Visions column; and editor Howard Zimmerman discusses his Close Encounters of the Third Kind controversy in Lastword.

"And so, barely out of his twenties, Alan Dean Foster is preparing to take the SF world by storm. Oddly enough, however, his phenomenally successful career started out as a goof. 'It all happened by accident,' he reveals."
–Michael Cassutt, writer, "Alan Dean Foster: SF's Hottest Young Writer"

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Starlog #17, October 1978: Time for Galactica

A 20-cent boost in the cover price greets buyers of Starlog #17, but they get some other, more-welcome changes, as well. For the first time since the very first issue, there's an illustration on the contents page, which is a good move to break up that text-heavy page. This issue also has a poster insert. On the staff side, Rita Eisenstein begins her march to the top of the company, where she's now listed as the advertising sales contact. Bob Woods (a future editor of Future Life) is the mag's new managing editor.

Starlog #17
80 Pages (including partially numbered poster insert)
Cover price: $1.95

Battlestar Galactica gets its first Starlog cover, and it's a great space-opera action shot, the best cover since Star Wars had Starlog #7's cover. (That's not to say anything about the merits of the Galactica program. Just cool special effects. All I'm saying.)

In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn has a nightmare about the movie studio destroying the Star Trek movie; Communications letters include a certain Isaac Asimov writing in with his thoughts on Robin Snelson's recent article about harvesting solar power from space, other writers take on the question of ESP. There's a warning notice on page 10 about people who subscribed to Starlog through the magazine's TV advertising campaign but didn't receive their subscription copies; short items in Log Entries include a planetary exhibit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, a preview of the film The Last Wave, announcement of the Future Space Art Club (kind of a painting-of-the-month club), Electric Light Orchestra's spacey stage show, news of The Boys from Brazil, and more.

Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., visits the solar system's planetary rings; Steve Swires makes the first of gazillions of appearances in Starlog by interviewing Steven Spielberg; A Special TV Update section includes reports on Buck Rogers (with a cool and clearly unused preproduction drawing by William Stout), Nova, Battlestar Galactica, Mandrake the Magician, Saturday morning TV roundup, Brave New World, Project U.F.O., and Mork and Mindy. The great Ralph McQuarrie is interviewed by David Houston and supplies the artwork for the pull-out poster (from Battlestar Galactica); Joe Bonham (a pseudonym for senior writer Ed Naha) interviews Gene Roddenberry on Star Trek -- The Motion Picture; Eric March interviews SF writer Joe Haldeman; Richard Meyers writes "Return of the Video Superheroes" -- i.e., Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk; In Space Report, Gerry Anderson writes about making commercials with his supermarionation techniques; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report gives Trek movie updates on makeup, costumes, story editor, etc.; David Hutchison's SFX section covers "Explosions for Miniatures," illustrated with lots of cool photos of things blowing up in SF films, including the step-by-step destruction of Emperor Whang's castle in Flesh Gordon; Richard Meyers documents Doctor Strange's television program; having taken on Star Wars, David Gerrold's State of the Art now dissects Close Encounters of the Third Kind; David Houston's Visions column looks at "The Space Fantasy of Edgar Rice Burroughs," illustrated with two great Frank Frazetta paintings; and editor Howard Zimmerman wraps it up in his Lastword column by hailing real TV science fiction.

"In less than a decade, filmmaker Steven Spielberg has succeeded in astounding millions of moviegoers worldwide with his surreal sense of celluloid imagery. His is the realm of man-eating sharks, ethereal saucer children and bloodthirsty tractor-trailers. He is considered by many to be the great white hope of the current motion picture industry and his fans number in the millions."
–Steve Swires, writer, "Filming the Fantastic: Steven Spielberg"

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Starlog #18, December 1978: Scary Spice

From our distance in the future, we can look at this issue's 76-page-count as a bit of a harbinger of what would soon become the norm at the magazine within the next year: 76- and 68-page issues as inflation eats away at things. But the magazine is still a science-fiction aficionado's delight, and it continues to innovate/merchandise into broader realms. One of the most unexpected but kind of most innovative is the original Starlog/Future book advertised on page 43: The Boy Who Saved the Stars, a "space fable" children's book written by Doris Vallejo and illustrated by Boris Vallejo. And on page 75, we learn of the release of Space Art, the newest (and, at 200 pages, the largest) Starlog Photo Guidebook.

Starlog #18
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.95

It's Halloween time at Starlog, as the cover highlights various fright-related features in this issue. They've even pimped the staffbox, widening it enough to include a photo of the entire staff, a number of them wearing Halloween masks. (It's also a reminder of something pleasant a reader of Starlog pointed out long ago: Has there ever been a picture published of Kerry O'Quinn where he's not smiling?)

Speaking of O'Quinn, the publisher's From the Bridge column is something of an ode to joy; letters in the Communications pages include a follow-up to the Hungarian SF fan noted in a recent From the Bridge, plus Star Wars Visions, and reader thoughts on SF productions; Log Entries short news items include a call to save Forrest J. Ackerman's science-fiction memorabilia collection, a new NASA plane, a report on a new KISS telefilm (including comments from SF fan Gene Simmons), an attempt to import more Dr. Who into America, and more.

Joseph Kay interviews Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz; David Houston interviews (separately) the two stars of Battlestar Galactica, Dirk Benedict and Richard Hatch; David Gerrold's State of the Art continues his attempts to seek "Implications in CE3K"; Richard Meyers covers some new Dracula productions (including Love at First Bite); a special eight-page "yellow pages" insert features the second-annual "Science-Fiction Merchandise Guide"; David Hutchison puts together a portfolio of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde photos (getting scared yet?); Richard Meyers previews The Boys from Brazil; David Hutchison uses his SFX section to lift the lid on the scary happenings in local Hollywood legend Bob Burns' backyard; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., visits many moons (illustrated with a big painting by Ron Miller); Ed Naha previews Joe Dante's Piranha; Gerry Anderson's Space Report reflects on the first Space: 1999 convention, held in Columbus, Ohio; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report describes the filming of the first scene on the new Enterprise's bridge; David Houston reports "The Adventures of Stella Star: An Actor in a Strange Land" (which stars David Hasselhoff, who is interviewed); David Houston's Visions column tackles things that would destroy the earth (in science-fiction films); and Howard Zimmerman wraps it all up in his Lastword column by summing up all the attention SF is getting in the media these days ("these days" being late 1978).

"On this very page, our austere, sophisticated office and editorial staff has taken a moment out of their hectic schedule to gather in the conference room for a family portrait. As you can see by looking beyond the hideous grins on our lovable faces, some of us have fangs, some horns, some only minor physical defects -- but basically we are just plain folks."
–Kerry O'Quinn, publisher, From the Bridge

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Starlog #19, February 1979: Wookie Life Day!

Every year, each magazine published in the United States that is distributed through the U.S. Post Office (i.e., mail subscriptions) is required to print a statement of ownership and circulation. This is the first issue in which Starlog has published one, and its reported paid circulation is the highest the magazine would see for many years. The paid circulation for the issue closest to the statement's filing deadline is listed as 195,736, including the number of paid subscriptions of 23,446.

Also in this issue is one of the odder attempts to extend the Starlog brand: Starlog co-publisher Norman Jacobs purchased a racehorse and named it Starlog. Two decades later, when I visited the office and was with the two publishers, they joked about whatever happend to that horse: "He's probably glue," said one.

Starlog #19
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.95

Science-fiction fans generally regard the Star Wars Christmas Special, highlighted on this issue's cover, as one of the low points of the George Lucas saga -- right down there with Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks. But despite the Special's presence on its cover, Starlog #19 is a good, meaty issue with lots of articles and photos to keep the SF fan -- casual or committed -- happy and busy.

Kerry O'Quinn opens things up with his From the Bridge column, in which he relates the high points of 1978 (producing records, launching Starlog in Japan, getting compliments from Isaac Asimov, and much more -- it was a good year for O'Quinn); Communications letters include bets on Buster Crabbe's life, viewer attempts to save NBC's Quark, a call for reader help with a new Photo Guidebook on roller coasters, and more; short news in Log Entries includes the announcement of the Starlog/Future short film competition (soon to become the Starlog/Cinemagic Short Film Competition, once Starlog buys that DIY film magazine), Duck Dodgers, Close Encounters of the Third Kind updates, Battle of the Planets comes to American TV (ugh), Starlog the horse, and more.

David Houston covers the return of Buck Rogers in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., visits Olympus Mons on Mars; Ed Naha interviews Maren Jenson, "Athena" on Battlestar Galactica; David Gerrold opens a can of worms with Star Wars fans by asking "A Parsec in a Pear Tree -- or -- What Makes a Kessel Run?"; Richard Meyers and Charles Bogle interview Phil Kaufman, director of the new Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Ed Naha interviews Ralph Bakshi about his animated Lord of the Rings; two color pages are used to announce a Getaway Special contest to put a reader's experiment aboard a space shuttle (at $10,000, still probably a better investment than the racehorse); Robin Snelson looks at NASA's new jetpacks; Joe Bonham (i.e., Ed Naha again) interviews famed B-movie king Roger Corman; Natalie Millar lost the office bet and had to write the Star Wars Christmas Special article. In Space Report, Gerry Anderson answers reader questions on Fireball XL-5, Space: 1999 spaceships, and more; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report covers watching dailies, set security, and the Trek softball team; Kent Dorfman covers "Superman: Ready for Takeoff"; Paul Mandell writes the SFX section this issue, exploring the making of the mothership from Close Encounters; Al Flyn looks at the new book Faeiries, illustrated by Brian Froud and Alan Lee; David Houston's Visions column looks at the early days of science fiction in mainstream culture (illustrated by a Boris Vallejo painting); and editor Howard Zimmerman takes a wrecking ball to Battlestar Galactica.

"It's hard to decide whether my basic reaction to ABC's Battlestar Galactica is anger or incredulity. ... The sad truth is that the plot inconsistencies are only part of the problem. There is no science background in the show whatsoever. Why don't Viper pilots wear pressurized suits when they fly? What good are those stupid-looking Egyptian helmets? What powers the Battlestar and its Viper craft? (If they possess faster-than-light drive, it has never been mentioned.)"
–Howard Zimmerman, editor, Lastword

From WEIMAR WORLD SERVICE

From WEIMAR WORLD SERVICE

From WEIMAR WORLD SERVICE

Starlog #20, March 1979: You Will Believe a Man Can Fly

The Starlog family is set to expand, as the company adds new titles and plans more issues of its most popular title. We're also teased with the possibility of an additional magazine and a movie -- both ultimately unrealized. And, for the completists among you (such as, well, me), this is the first issue to feature an entire half-page Next Month section.

Starlog #20
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.95

There's photographic evidence right there, on the cover of the magazine, that men can fly, or at least that Superman can. Thus we have Starlog's self-proclaimed pull-out-all-the-stops coverage of the long-awaited Christopher Reeve Superman film, supplemented by an interview with the man who played Supes more than three decades earlier. The Mork and Mindy stuff is just there to remind us of how awkward the 1970s truly were.

Kerry O'Quinn drops a few bombs in his From the Bridge column, noting that Starlog will go monthly beginning with its next issue, the company might publish a fiction magazine (it never did), Starlog had formed a feature film company (it never did anything),  Future has changed its name to Future Life, Cinemagic will soon be published by Starlog, something called Fantastica will be published. As we'll see in the near future, Fantastica will go through a tortuous journey until it is ultimately renamed -- tadaa -- Fangoria. Letters in the Communications section cover thoughts on the Battlestar Galactica series (no, we don't know what a micron is), George Pal, special effects explosions, and more. Short news in Log Entries includes the film Arabian Adventure, new stop-motion from Europe, and a whole slew of Starlog self-promotion bits (more on Fantastica and Cinemagic, the formation of SF Film Productions, Inc., Starlog's monthly status, Starlog wins an award at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, the Starlog/Future Getaway Special, Starlog Records' third release -- It's Alive 2 -- the new name for Future, and a staffer who wins costume prizes; all in all, a page and a third of Starlog self-congratulation).

Next, George S. James and Frank H. Winter write a 50th anniversary celebratory article on Buck Rogers; David Gerrold's State of the Art column slams Capricorn One; David Hutchison looks at Jason of Star Command, the Saturday morning live-action SF kids' show; Gerry Anderson's Space Report gives us the goods on the Space: 1999 feature film, Destination Moonbase Alpha; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report follows the extras (including fellow columnist David Gerrold and future Starlog columnist Bjo Trimble) for the crew assembly scene in Star Trek -- The Motion Picture. Richard Meyers and Phil Edwards preview Alien. Jennie Lalume interviews Pam Dawber of Mork and Mindy; Richard Meyers writes the extensive cover story on Superman: The Movie; Jeff Elliot interviews a former Superman actor, Kirk Alyn; James R. Stuart gives us the facts on "Ion Drive Spacecraft: The First Interplanetary Electric Rockets"; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., goes to Venus' Beta; a three-page survey collects information for the forthcoming Starlog Yearbook, to be edited by David Gerrold (and never to be published again, alas); G. Harry Stine tells people how to "Build Your Own Spaceship"; David Houston profiles model-maker Brick Price in the SFX section; David Houston's Visions column looks at 20th-century examples of science fiction that have made it into the mainstream; and editor Howard Zimmerman ends it all with his Lastword column, which looks at the magazine's increase in frequency and revisits his Galactica criticism.

"Described appropriately as a science-fiction horro film, Alien may prove to be 1979's most unique offering. At this point, it's already proving to be a one-of-a-kind prospect for its cast and crew. "We're having a few problems with the censor over certain scenes,' [Dan] O'Bannon chuckles devilishly."
–Richard Meyers and Phil Edwards, writers, "Alien"

This is a work in progress. Check back regularly for the rest of my ongoing compendium of Starlog -- the complete run, nearly 400 issues of the science fiction film/TV/books/etc. magazine.

In the meantime, as I continue adding them on this site, you can see the up-to-date project on my blog.

Copyright © 2010 John Zipperer, except for Starlog images and text, which is the property of Starlog.