Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #42, January 1981: Year of Trek, Redux

Starlog takes a break in its Year of Empire to give us another Star Trek -- The Motion Picture cover. This issue also includes a bound-in vinyl disk, featuring excerpts of science fiction theme music. The first time the magazine included a bound-in disk, it was printed on some sort of paperboard and was one-sided; this issue's is printed on flexible vinyl (you had to really hope your postal carrier didn't bend the magazine) and is two-sided. This month advertises another first for the magazine: the Starlog watch, shown on the inside back cover, selling for a rather high $50.

Starlog #42
68 pages (including cover)
Cover price: $3.00

Another strong issue, with some continuing controversy (oh, how those play out over many issues, especially in the pre-internet days) and lots of articles on past movies. It's a bit weak on upcoming fare, but the early 1980s didn't have the high production of science-fiction and fantasy programs that we would see in the 1990s.

Kerry O'Quinn uses his From the Bridge column to urge readers to stop just dreaming and use their inspiration to actually do something; Communications letters includes Gerry Anderson's and Zienia Merton' replies to the Fred Freiberger brouhaha, reader feedback on the Flash Gordon movie, praise for the Mark Hamill interview, and more; short Log Entries news items include announcement of Steven Spielberg's Night Skies, hints of a Sheena, Queen of the Jungle movie, Star Wars coming to public radio, and more.
A two-page unbylined article touts the work of the Thinking Cap Company; another two-page unbylined article describes the work of Neil Norman's Cosmic Orchestra, which produced the music on the flexible vinyl disk bound between those two pages; James H. Burns covers Filmation's animated Flash Gordon (yes, odd to think that the Saturday morning show was more serious than the big-budget DeLaurentiis movie); David Gerrold writes about "the Good Guys," the volunteers who "form a very special and very wonderful sub-category of the science fiction community"; Alan Brender interviews Mark Lenard, who portrayed a Klingon in the Trek film as well as numerous other SF characters throughout the years (including Spock's father, of course); Quest highlights the illustration of professional artist Paul S. Farkas; Ron Goulart's look at science-fiction comics continues, examining "The 30s -- Boomtime for SF Heroes"; Samuel J. Maronie interviews Wild, Wild West actor Robert Conrad; Frank H. Winter provides a retrospective of the classic German silent SF movie Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon), from Fritz Lang; Alan Brender interviews Doctor Who companion actors Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter; James H. Burns previews an adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, accompanied by color pre-production illustrations from the never-made movie; David Hutchison explores the Magicam effects in Carl Sagan's Cosmos series in the SFX section; Bjo Trimble's Fan Scene reports from the conventions; David Houston's Visions column looks at 1950s science-fiction TV series such as Space Patrol and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet; and editor Howard Zimmerman wraps it up in his Lastword column with a few words about a wayward former contributor, some praise for Altered States, and some disappointment for Cosmos.
"During the filming of this movie many real events were happening which in some respects seem unreal. It was as if Frau im Mond had a sub-plot. To begin with, the pre-publicity of the film naturally attracted the attention of a new wave of spaceflight enthusiasts in Germany. One of these people was actually an old timer to spaceflight, Hermann Ganswindt, then aged 72. Ganswindt was an eccentric and prolific (if sometimes unscientific) inventor who was known for his novel bicycles, horseless carriages, 'motor' boats, fire engines, a briefly working helicopter (in 1901), airships and a spaceship which he had designed in 1891!"
--Frank H. Winter, writer, "Frau im Mond: Fritz Lang's Surprising, Silent Space Travel Classic"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.
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