Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #82, May 1984: Trek on a Roll

The stars line up for this issue of Starlog: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Max von Sydow, Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lloyd, and more. It's even the third consecutive strong cover for the magazine. And with the much-anticipated return of Star Trek to the nation's theaters, the magazine has plenty of fodder for upcoming issues. In Starlog spinoff news: the third edition of the Starlog Scrapbook and the second edition of the Starlog Poster Magazine are out.

While writing this synopsis, I'm struck by the fact that the magazine filled the equivalent of three full pages (two full pages, two half-pages) with small-print letters from readers. It used to be a sign of a magazine's health if it had a lively letters page, and Starlog certainly had that. Today, of course, you can't make the same assumption; many people -- especially the most talkative -- prefer the instant gratification of online forums, so even popular and healthy magazines these days often have shrunken or no printed letters pages. A shame, I think, because a printed letters page is so much less likely to be taken over by one or two ill-behaved boors who can't bear to have anyone disagree with them. Alas, progress waits for no man ...

Starlog #82
70 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

The magazine renames its two-page foldout poster the Starlog Fantasy Classic (instead of the usual Starlog Science Fiction Classic) so it can feature an indisputably classic movie: The Wizard of Oz.

The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, Kerry O'Quinn's in full inspiration-overdrive mode again, offering his thoughts on young people who try to decide where to put their energy; in the Communications section, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi producer Howard Kazanjian responds to an earlier letter writer who complained that Jedi was passing along Christian theology (a laughable suggestion, frankly, considering the entire Star Wars series' debt to Buddhism), plus readers share their thoughts on The Day After, The Right Stuff, and the possibility that the Enterprise will be destroyed in Star Trek III -- The Search for Spock; Log Entries short news items include a report on the upcoming Supergirl movie, an overview of the merchandising for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, first word on the William Katt Disney flick Baby, a short interview with The Steps of the Sun author Walter Tevis, an obituary for former Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller, and more.

Lenny Kaye's Space Age Games column provides a roundup of a number of new video games, as well as some thoughts on "The Incredible Shrinking Computer" (which was, by the way, the title of a two-part article Kerry O'Quinn wrote for now-defunct Future Life magazine five years earlier); Lee Goldberg interviews the multi-talented Christopher Lloyd about his work in Buckaroo Banzai and Star Trek -- The Search for Spock; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier interview Ian McDiarmid, whose many acting credits include Star Wars' Emperor Palpatine; Patrick Daniel O'Neill interviews Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner; Sal Manna interviews Swedish actor Max von Sydow about his role in Dune; Robert Greenberger interviews V's Faye Grant; Brian Lowry reports on the SF comedy The Ice Pirates; Lowry also interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger about his role in Conan, King of Thieves (eventually renamed Conan the Destroyer); David Gerrold says "I can't write," but obviously means more and something different than what he says; David Hutchison pens the second of his multi-part look at the special effects of Return of the Jedi; and Howard Zimmerman examines The Ice Pirates and Isaac Asimov's The Robots of Dawn in his Lastword column.
"I've always liked Star Trek stylistically and visually. It's more of a thinker's adventure. It has action, but it's more of a thoughtful kind of dialogue than in most of these films. Ideas are presented and worked out. They think out their problems as they go along. ... No, Buckaroo Banzai does the same thing in a different way, the audience gets it less spelled out, it's less explicit. Buckaroo Banzai represents something more than it talks about. I'm not sure what, though."
--Christopher Lloyd, actor, interviewed by Lee Goldberg: Christopher Lloyd: Call Him Klingon"
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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