Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #108, July 1986: Short Circuit vs. R2D2

The anniversary cover design is tweaked this issue; no longer is it a white background with boxed photos; some of the photos are still there – though more as homage than main effect – but there's a large image taking up the lion's share of the cover real estate: Number Five, the robot star of Short Circuit. The cover text labels him (it) "America's favorite robot." Hmm, I would think that honor would go to Kenny Baker's R2D2, also featured in this issue. But maybe Artoo doesn't qualify because he's not really American; from a galaxy quite a ways away, as I now recall.

This is the final anniversary special issue in this format, though even this format has changed considerably in the past couple years. The special all-color, extra-pages section no longer has all of the genre annual wrap-ups and reviews. Also, half of those extra added color pages are printed on non-glossy paper stock; they're still full color (and they look just fine), but non-glossy paper is naturally cheaper than the glossy stock.

Starlog #108
100 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.95

A picture's worth a thousand words, goes the old saying. The math on that calculation is probably debatable, but I'm reminded of it when looking at this issue's front cover and doing a quick count of all of the text. I count 104 words on the cover (including the logo and pricing info).

The rundown: The issue kicks off with the Communications letters section, filled with people praising and/or second-guessing the staff on its choice of the 100 most important people in science fiction from the magazine's 100th issue; Kerry' O'Quinn's anniversary From the Bridge editorial recounts the magazine's challenges and triumphs in its first decade of existence; the magazine announces a big 10th anniversary contest with a two-page spread; in the Medialog section, David McDonnell rounds up all of the latest genre news (including Sam J. Jones – formerly Flash Gordon – being slated to star in The Spirit), C.B. Hackworth on a new start to the Superman franchise, and a film fantasy calendar listing; the Fan Network includes the convention calendar and Anthony Timpone answering reader queries (such as, "Do you know how I can obtain one of those infamous V dolls?").

Mike Clark interviews actor David Hedison, who talks the original The Fly and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea; Steve Swires interviews actor Rod Taylor (The Time Machine, Twilight Zone, The Birds); Adam Pirani interviews Kenny Baker, who portrays R2D2 in the Star Wars films; Lee Goldberg interviews Kurt Russell (Big Trouble in Little China, Escape from New York); Adam Pirani talks with actor Michael Biehn about Aliens and The Terminator; Lee Goldberg profiles Martin Landau (Space: 1999, Star Trek, Meteor); cartoonist Phil Foglio provides a two-page comic, "From Book to Film: A Guide for Authors"; David Hutchison covers a documentary on the fantasy films of George Pal; Ian Spelling talks with Gene Roddenberry (along with a sidebar in which he interviews Roddenberry's wife, Majel Barrett Roddenberry); Brian Lowry chats with Chuck Jones; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier interview Short Circuit director John Badham; Lee Goldberg profiles Tobe Hooper (Invaders from Mars); in an article that would be something of a landmark for the magazine, Bruce Gordon explores the implications of Back to the Future: "The Other Marty McFly?"; David Hutchison previews The Great Mouse Detective; Patrick Daniel O'Neill profiles actress Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth); actress Greta Blackburn writes about her experience portraying Lorraine on V; in the Future Life section, Rich Kolker and Tom Chafin relate their experiences at NASA's Space Camp; coincidentally, Terry Pace previews the film Space Camp; David Hutchison mentions the new video releases in his Videolog column; Chris Henderson rounds up the latest book releases in Booklog; and David McDonnell's Liner Notes recounts some of the science-fiction and fantasy creators profiled in this issue.
"I walked in the office, and Jim [Cameron] was sitting there; ... he had a pen in his hand, and paper all over the place, with notes that he had written, and he was writing away. He said, 'Hi, Mike!' and just kept writing, and I said, 'How you doing, Jim, I came in to see the–' 'Yeah, yeah, the trailer's right over there,' and I asked, 'Jim, what are you doing?' He said, 'I've got to get this treatment of Aliens' – or the first draft, it was something like that – 'done by lunchtime,' and he was eating these cheese snacks – 'I don't have time for lunch,' and he was just hauling ass! This was the day after we finished The Terminator...."
–Michael Biehn, actor, interviewed by Adam Pirani: "Michael Biehn: Futuristic Hero"
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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