Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #106, May 1986: Big Trouble in Little China

John Carpenter's film Big Trouble in Little China, which takes the cover spot this issue, is a very 1980s film. Fake characters, over-the-top action and acting, farcical premise. It's a film that should have been fun, but was instead forgettable. Carpenter's track record is long and impressive, but it includes a number of these utterly useless films (sorry for the strong opinions) among the many gems. On the other hand, this is probably the only issue of Starlog that features a Buddha on the cover.

In his column, editor David McDonnell notes that sister magazine Fangoria (which he is temporarily editing) is increasing its frequency from nine to ten issues annually, and the Starlog Scrapbooks, Poster Magazines, and Best of publications are being rebranded under a Starlog Presents label.

Starlog #106
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

This issue sees an actual mention of Mobile Suit Gundam. Groundbreaking. Probably never to be repeated. Alas.

The rundown: In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O'Quinn talks about hope as the first step toward success; Communications letters include a proposal for a museum that would house science-fiction spaceship models, plus a ton of comments on many aspects of Star Trek; Medialog items include Carr D'Angelo with a promo for the Starlog conventions, Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier chatting up NBC Entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff (who talks Amazing Stories), and David McDonnell rounding up all of the genre multimedia news (including the upcoming Evil Dead sequel).

Adam Pirani previews Aliens, the sequel to the great Alien; Lee Goldberg interviews actress Louise Fletcher about her role in Invaders from Mars; the Fan Network pages include a note from Leonard Nimoy assistant Kirk Thatcher, Anthony Timpone's answers to reader queries (including, "What is the status of Ray Harryhausen's Force of the Trojans?"), a call for more fan club listings, and more; William Rabkin profiles actor Tim Curry (Legend, The Rocky Horror Picture Show); the Future Life section includes Chris Henderson on Kerry Mark Joels' book The Mars One Crew Manual, Douglas Borton on designs for the next generation of automobiles, and Daniel Dickholtz on the Star Trek game The Kobayashi Alternative; Lee Goldberg previews Big Trouble in Little China; Kim Howard Johnson chats with former Monty Python member Terry Jones, screenwriter of Labyrinth; Patrick Daniel O'Neill profiles Blake's Seven's Terry Nation; Kim Howard Johnson visits the location shoot for Cherry 2000; Ben Bova, writer and former editor of Omni and Analog, pens the Other Voices guest column, in which he discusses space-based defensive technology; Robert Greenberger interviews The Postman's David Brin; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier explain the animated War of the Rock Lords; Lee Goldberg interviews writer Rockne S. O'Bannon; Steve Swires talks with director Leonard Nimoy about Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Adam Pirani interviews Highlander actor Clancy Brown; in the conclusion of his two-part examination of Japanimation, Fred Patten includes Mobile Suit Gundam, TranZor Z, Robotech, Fist of the Big Dipper, and others; in Booklog, Kathleen Gooch talks to author James P. Hogan, and Chris Henderson rounds up the latest book releases; David Hutchison rounds up the latest genre video releases in Videolog; and editor David McDonnell wraps it all up in his Liner Notes column with some notes about doings in the Starlog family of publications.
"I would trade a million copy bestseller to be able to write a paper on mathematical physics that only a hundred people would appreciate and would stun Steven Weinberg in Cambridge. One of the most wonderful things about our culture is that people can be physics groupies. ... My brother had only two science and math courses in his entire college career and he's a ferocious science groupie – he subscribes to Scientific American and he's always calling me up with questions."
David Brin, author, interviewed by Robert Greenberger: "David Brin: Dispatches for The Postman"
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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