Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #78, January 1984: A Fine Mess

Yes, just one issue after I praise the magazine for its strong cover design, along comes this mess of a cover. What's supposed to be the central image you get when you look at this cover? What the heck is the top  photo showing, anyway? (The bubble-like photo, that is, not the one next to the logo -- I know that one's Mickey.) And the bottom photo, the one that merges with a strange black shape on the left. There are so many things wrong with this cover. It's a shame, too, because the issue it fronts is a pretty good one.

Starlog #78
70 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

There's an amusing little error in this issue of "The Magazine of the Future": At the top of the contents page, it lists the issue date as "January 1983," though it's really January 1984. (It's correct on all of the page footers, though.)


The rundown: The Starlog Science Fiction Classic two-page poster is Mel Gibson in a shot from The Road Warrior; Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column responds to a reader who was really shaken up by the death of Spock in Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan; Communications letters include Buster Crabbe's widow, Virginia, plus numerous readers reviewing Superman III, a real hero writes from Milwaukee, and more; short news items in Log Entries include a report on the box office performance of the year's genre films (Return of the Jedi and WarGames were hits, Something Wicked This Way Comes not so much), Booklog premieres with news from the world of print, 40-year-old Colin Baker is chosen as the new Doctor Who, author Roger Zelazny gets chatted up, and more.

Robert Greenberger interviews Nicholas Meyer about his controversial post-nuclear holocaust telefilm The Day After; Brian Lowry interviews former Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno about working as Hercules; Lenny Kaye's Space Age Games column looks at some video game developers and marketers; David R. Smith explores the history of the Mickey Mouse wristwatch; David Hutchison interviews Arthur C. Clarke (including a sidebar on Clarke's interaction with Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford when the latter two were in Sri Lanka filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom); Hutchison also explores the special effects of Doug Trumbull's Brainstorm (with a sidebar on the expansion of Trumbull's special effects company); an unbylined article (with REALLY BIG TYPE) previews the Disney cartoon Christmas Carol featuring Mickey Mouse; an actor from whom we'll be hearing a lot in coming years, Lance Henricksen, is interviewed by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver; Fangoria editor David Everitt interviews The Right Stuff's Scott Glenn; David Gerrold announces -- and publishes -- the winning entries in his essay contest (winners are Pamela Howard, Danny Beaty, and Margaret Brumm); Steve Swires interviews Strange Invaders director Michael Laughlin; and Howard Zimmerman's Lastword features some reaction to his earlier complaint that Starlog can't win a Hugo award.
"The aliens actually like living here. They've been studying us for 25 years, and would prefer to stay if they could. They really don't mean anyone any harm. They don't kill anybody – just zap them into blue balls. But they know they can return these victims to human form when they're ready to leave for their home planet. It's a beautiful transcendental idea – to be able to put everything back as it was at the beginning."
–Michael Laughlin, writer/director, interviewed by Steve Swires: "Michael Laughlin: Attack of the Killer Cliches"
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.
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