Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #40, November 1980: Mark Hamill Redux

The Year of Empire continues, with Starlog publishing its delayed interview with Star Wars star Mark Hamill (this time, he doesn't go to war with Harlan Ellison). The Hamill interview was originally scheduled to appear a couple issues earlier, but it was delayed due to scheduling changes by Hamill. And a tidbit for inveterate staffbox-watchers: David Houston is no longer listed as the magazine's West Coast editor; nor is he even listed as a conributor, though his Visions column does still carry his byline. And Starlog releases the latest in its line of trade-paperback photo guidebooks: Science Fiction Toys & Models (inaccurately listed as Toys & Games in the payment coupon, if you're picky enough to notice).

Starlog #40
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.25

This issue: Author/columnist David Gerrold strikes back at Fred Freiberger, and also takes a big swipe at Starlog's publishers and editor, plus Freiberger himself is back for part two of his interview, this time covering his tenure on Space: 1999.

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column is another "Grab Bag Notes," this time covering Swedish censorship, Short Film Search info, and comments overheard at science-fiction conventions; Communications letters include positive and negative feedback on David Gerrold's review of The Empire Strikes Back, British commiseration over a lack of SF TV, an unusual degree of anger over a mild comic, and more; short news items in Log Entries include a threat that Dino De Laurentiis is about to unleash his Flash Gordon movie, more film studio money games (this time concerning the Superman movies, and there's a separate update on the Alien revenue controversy), Sweden deems The Empire Strikes Back "too scary and too violent" for people under the age of 15, and more.

David S. Packer interviews Mark Hamill, who discusses his work in The Empire Strikes Back and says that he's as much in the dark as everyone else about what will happen in -- as it's still being called at this point -- Revenge of the Jedi; Bjo Trimble's Fan Scene responds to reader letters; comedian Rick Overton is profiled (though mostly in pictures, including several showing his science-fiction models); Alan Brender interviews Jane Seymour, who discusses her new film Somewhere in Time, and her past work on Live and Let Die and Battlestar Galactica; Gerry Anderson's Space Report is a photo feature on Martin Bower's models of spaceships belonging to various SF villains; Karen E. Willson wraps up her three-part article exploring the making of the Buck Rogers episode "The Flight of the War Witch," and she ends the article with some extended thoughts on where and how an episode can go flat; the Fourth Annual Science-Fiction Merchandise Guide is published in an eight-page yellow-pages insert; Karen E. Willson interviews Gene Roddenberry, who discusses the making of Star Trek-- The Motion Picture and responds to Harlan Ellison's extensive critique of the film in Starlog #33; the Quest page includes a short story by Sheldon E. Inkol and a comic strip by John Hall; this is shaping up to be a Karen E. Willson issue, as she interviews Gil Gerard about his frustrations and hopes for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; Mike Clark and Bill Cotter continue their two-part interview with producer Fred Freiberger, who discusses his work on Space: 1999; David Hutchison covers the back-stage SFX work on The Empire Strikes Back; David Gerrold defends himself and Dorothy Fontana against claims by Fred Freiberger in part one of the Clark/Cotter interview, and he criticizes publisher Kerry O'Quinn and editor Howard Zimmerman for publishing an article in which the interviewee was "suckered into a phony feud"; David Houston's Visions column continues looking at music and genre films, focusing on the work of John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith; and Howard Zimmerman's Lastword sort-of responds to Gerrold's complaints (in particular, the "phony feud" bit), and also explains why sometimes the magazine doesn't deliver what it previews in the Next Month box (which reminds me of Fangoria editor Bob Martin's response to that topic, in which he wrote that he kind of considers the next-month box to be the science-fiction section of his magazine).
"I thought that it was an excellent review, except that Harlan, as usual, would like to escape dealing with the fact that motion pictures, like television and most entertainment today, is a blend of art and commerce. I wish Harlan's adolescent wishes ... that money would cease to be an influence ... I wish they could come true. But [that wish] is not the real world that we live in."
--Gene Roddenberry, producer, interviewed by Karen E. Willson: "An Interview with Gene Roddenberry: The Man Behind the Myth"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.
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