Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #25, August 1979: Now with More Bradbury!

It's a good issue, but Starlog had some headaches coming off the blocks to begin its fourth year of publication. For example, on the cover above the logo (in what we in the magazine biz call "roof text") is a blurb announcing a pinball art contest and directing readers to the entry form on page 45. Except -- you guessed it -- it's not on page 45. The full-page contest form is on page 49, instead. No biggie, I know. But subscribers' versions of Starlog #25 included a bind-in card that reads: "Dear Subscriber: Due to a mistake at our printing plant, the subscription copies of Starlog #24, the 3rd Anniversary issue, were not wrapped in our usual protector. This does not indicate a change of policy. You will find that because the cover is laminated, the mailing label can be carefully peeled off without damage to the magazine. Our sincere apologies. -- Starlog Magazine." Ah, well, the issue gets better from there. And we have two more photo guidebooks released: Robots and Science Fiction Weapons. I think it'd be cool if they put out a combined book of Science Fiction Robot Weapons. But that's just me.

Starlog #25
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.95

The colorful cover painting of the new U.S.S. Enterprise from the Star Trek movie is also printed as a full centerfold. This fourth year of publication would be the Year of Trek at Starlog, with three covers devoted to the movie, a three-issue excerpt from Walter Koenig's nonfiction book about the filming of the movie (read it and you'll always remember Koenig asking to kiss Persis Khambatta's bald head), Harlan Ellison's review that takes apart the movie and Gene Roddenberry (one of the most controversial articles Starlog would ever publish), and numerous other articles. So might as well start off the year with a Trek-heavy issue, right?

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge does two things: talks about strange behavior at science fiction conventions, and takes issue with a recent article (the Day The Earth Stood Still retrospective in #23) that took aim at nuclear weapons. Communications letters include pleas to revive Battlestar Galactica (but in Galactica 1980, it would be a revival much like that in The Monkey's Paw), reader praise for Starlog's diverse articles, someone who really hated the satirical article "Statues of the Gods," and more; Log Entries short news includes the impending release of the movie Meteor, ABC's announcement of a new two-hour Galactica movie (seriously, don't get your hopes up, kids!), winners of Starlog's first annual SF Short Film Search, news that Star Wars would be serialized as a special National Public Radio program, Starlog's beautiful Space Art Photo Guidebook was excerpted for 10 pages in the publishing behemoth Reader's Digest (I had not known that before now; I had seen that Omni magazine excerpted Space Art in its second issue but hadn't known that Reader's Digest had done so), and more.

Bob Woods kicks off the feature section with a profile of Dale Enzenbacher, the "Mad Sculptor of San Francisco" (and the article is illustrated with many color and black-and-white photos of his fantasy sculptures); David Gerrold was pulling your legs last issue when he said that was the last edition of his State of the Art column, because he's back this issue with Rumblings, the new name of his column, in which he tells an emperor-has-no-clothes fable; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report relates some "Trivia & Teasers" (such as "Which actor has LEMLI on his car's license plate, and what does it stand for?"). Barbara Lewis interviews the great Ray Bradbury, who discusses his life and the upcoming production of The Martian Chronicles; a one-page SFX-TRA looks at the making of Howard Hawks' The Thing; David Hutchison interviews artist and Trek production designer Mike Minor; Gerry Anderson answers more reader letters in his Space Report column; Brick Price and Cory Faucher give a behind-the-scenes SFX look at how models of the original Enterprise can be lit up; a two-page photo layout showcases the Alien movie; Michael A. Banks visits the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum; Barbara Lewis gives a progress report on Star Trek -- The Motion Picture, including a sidebar on"The FX Mess" (which would be covered in-depth in a future issue); Bob Martin profiles pinball machine manufacturer Bally; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., visits Caloris Basin (on the sunny planet of Mercury); it's part III of the series of career profiles in the SFX section, with David Hutchison profiling Frank van der Veer and Paul Mandell profiling Susan Turner; David Houston's Visions column continues his Charles Darwin linkage to modern science fiction, including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes; and Howard Zimmerman's Lastword column covers some sciencey things to do during those long summer months.
"One can scarcely tour the spaceways looking at one spectacular after another without trying to visualize how such features formed. The eruption of Beta on Venus, the colorful evolution of Io, the exotically layered sand dune of Mars -- each evokes dramatic images of its genesis. And the genesis of Caloris Basin would have been a sight to behold."
--Jonathan Eberhart, columnist (and space sciences editor of Science News magazine), Interplanetary Excursions, Inc.
To view previous Starlog Archive issues, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.
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