Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Starlog Web Site "Removed for Non-Payment"

So maybe this is how Starlog goes out, not with a bang but with a non-payment notice.

As of 5:46 p.m. (Pacific time) today, Wednesday, February 10, 2010, the starlog.com web site -- which has been unavailable for days, and before that had only been up briefly since its last down-time -- currently displays the notice imaged on this page: "Site removed due to non-payment by The Brooklyn Company, Inc."

Starlog Group was once the behemoth of the science-fiction (and movie-related) periodicals world, at one point being the number-one publisher of licensed movie magazines in the country. Over the years, the company published dozens of magazines -- some great, some good, some stinkers, but almost always worth a look. A very entrepreneurial company at its best, based on a geeky magazine that started life as a Star Trek one-shot. Starlog itself was the unrivaled champion of the SF media magazine world, burying such competitors as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Questar, Fantastic Films, Sci Fi Universe, Cinefantastique, SF Movieland, Dreamwatch, Space Wars, and others. At its peak, hundreds of thousands of copies flew off the newsstand shelves each month. Today, it can't even pay its web server bills. How the mighty fell.

But give the company a few bankruptcies, two changes of ownership in less than a decade, a cessation of print publication last year, the resignation of long-time editor David McDonnell this past fall, and a whole buncha turmoil at sister magazine Fangoria this past month, and I am thinking Starlog might be dead as a doornail.

As someone who can still off the top of his head remember almost every article in the first issue of Starlog I bought with my allowance waaaaay back in 1980, I'm sad it's come to this. The awful economy -- in which even successful small businesses have been unable to get financing -- was, I'm sure, a contributing factor. But can't anyone buy this title and make it a winner? Give me the money and I'll do it, for pete's sake.

Oh, well, at least I guess this means I own the complete collection.

UPDATE: I checked again this morning, 6:47 a.m. Pacific time, Thursday, February 11, 2010, and the non-payment notice is gone, replaced by this message: "Internal Server Error. The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request. Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@starlog.fangoria.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error. More information about this error may be available in the server error log. Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request." Either way, it ain't good.
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