Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #58, May 1982: Blade Runner and Spock

A great issue. Blade Runner on the cover, John W. Campbell's classic short story reprinted, more death-of-Spock commentary, spaceship blueprints, and more. On the Starlog merchandising side, we have the announcement on page 59 of the first edition of the Starlog Scrapbook, a collection of photos from science-fiction TV and films. The cover photo is the same Star Trek photo (showing Spock and Kirk in front of a warping Enterprise) used on the cover of Starlog #30, except the photo is flipped from left to right.

Starlog #58
70 pages (including covers and fold-out inside front cover)
Cover price: $2.50

Past controversies in the pages of Starlog have often included much huffing and puffing, angry words, broken friendships, much tears and shattered glass (well, you get the point). But the controversy over whether the character of Spock should be killed off in the new Star Trek movie is of a different sort; it's a matter of story integrity, studio money, and emotional bonds fans had built toward the character over the previous decade and a half. David Gerrold dives right into it this month in his column, and he does a great job of exploring the meaning and implications of such a move.

The rundown: Harrison Ford's Blade Runner character, Rick Deckard, is once again gracing the cover of Starlog, but this time, unlike issue #52's cover, the photo isn't blurry (moody, yes); the foldout inside front cover features a full-page photo and a two-page blueprint of The Altares, a spaceship from Gerry' Anderson's The Day After Tomorrow (by Martin J. Bower and Stephen Corbett); Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge discusses overcoming your own doubts so you can pursue your dreams; Communications letters include an Australian's thoughts on Star Trek, support for Bjo Trimble's pro-space columns, a comic strip by Ken Montgomery, a contrarian view of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more; short news items in Log Entries include Atari's new games, Obi-Wan Kenobi will be in Revenge (yes, still Revenge) of the Jedi, people working on space colonization, William Shatner (Hooker) and Leslie Nielsen (Police Squad) are headed to television, and more; and Barbara Krasnoff pens a Spotlight page devoted to the Robotorium store in Manhattan.

Steve Swires interviews Bill Lancaster, screenwriter of John Carpenter's The Thing; James Van Hise interviews veteran voice actor Walker Edmiston; Van Hise also interviews Blade Runner screenwriters Hampton Fancher and David Peoples; Ron Miller's Futures Past explores "The Evolution of the Spaceship: Part One"; a two-page spread revisits Battlestar Galactica with some color and black-and-white photos (and a rumored third attempt to make the series work); the centerfold is a two-page Starlog poster showing Galactica's Captain Apollo from the original movie; Ed Naha interviews designer Syd Mead on his Blade Runner vehicle designs (an article illustrated with many Mead images, as you'd expect); David Gerrold's Soaring explores the meaning of Spock's death in the Star Trek movie; part one of the reprint of John W. Campbell Jr.'s "Who Goes There?" -- the basis of John Carpenter's The Thing remake --is illustrated by Nicola Cuti and sprawls across seven pages; David Hirsch describes the background of the Antares spaceship shown on the inside front cover; James H. Burns looks at some holographic creations of Michael Frankel; Wendy Rathbone and Della Van Hise provide an April Fool's (the May issue was on sale in April 1982) edition of Star Trek bloopers; more April Foolishness in Bjo Trimble's Fan Scene, which features Robbie the Robot dancing (today, we'd put him on Dancing with the Stars); Quest features the work of three readers (a model maker, a writer, a cartoonist); and Howard Zimmerman's Lastword talks about the secrecy behind E.T. (more on that in a few issues) and the John Campbell short story in this issue.
"It was Ridley's vision ultimately that we were serving. I think it's terrific and important that Philip K. Dick likes the end result -- I mean it's his baby. Without him there's none of this. This is where it comes from. It's terrific that he was happy, but he really gave me much more credit than I deserve."
--David Peoples, screenwriter, interviewed by James Van Hise: "The Blade Runner Screenwriters: Hampton Fancher and David Peoples"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.
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