Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #110, September 1986: Still Innovating

The inside front cover ad promotes a brand-new book from Starlog and Signet, Stephen King at the Movies. The 112-page, 7-3/4" x 10-3/4" trade paperback was written by Jessie Horsting, a genre journalist who had previously been a contributor to Starlog's late competitor, Fantastic Films. The book also contains an essay by Harlan Ellison (reprinted from elsewhere, if I recall) on adapting King to the screen, and it was designed by co-publisher Norman Jacobs. A rather nifty book, all in all, and only for $9.95.

Starlog #110
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

This issue also features the first in-house ad for Starlog's two official licensed movie publications from the film Aliens. Unfortunately, it's printed on some black-and-white pages that are too dark, so any text that is inside a shaded box is nearly unreadable. But you can still get the point: An official "movie book" – which, again if I recall correctly, was designed by former Starlog art director and celebrated comics artist Howard Cruse – and an official movie magazine (the difference is in the packaging, some posters, and the pricing). These two publications became quite the collectors' items, very difficult to find many years later. After haunting eBay for many years, I finally snagged them, but only after I passed up many sellers who had priced each publication at something like $29.95.

The rundown: The cover photo features director David Cronenberg with his Fly open. In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O'Quinn highlights some fans who made professions out of their favorite genres; letters in the Communications pages include an NBC News correspondent who corrects some details of Kerry O'Quinn's hurricane editorial from #103, feedback on Enemy Mine and Brazil, some praise for Starlog in general and Harlan Ellison in particular, and more; Medialog includes Adam Pirani's chat with special effects ace Brian Johnson, plus David McDonnell's roundup of genre news (such as, ABC has taken a pass on the series based on David Bowie's The Man Who Fell to Earth film).

Adam Pirani interviews director James Cameron about Aliens; the Fan Network pages include answers to reader queries (such as, "Could you tell me what Night of the Comet's Kelli Maroney is up to?"), plus short items on Grace Lee Whitney, fan organizations that work to improve the world, thoughts on celebrating the anniversary of Star Trek, and more; speaking of Trek, Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier interview Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home director Leonard Nimoy; Mike Glyer gives the history and trivia behind the Hugo awards; in a major team-up, Lee Goldberg, David Hutchison, and David McDonnell interview author Ray Bradbury; David Hutchison also pens his usual Videolog column previewing the new releases, and Carr D'Angelo adds a chat with Jewel of the Nile director Lewis Teague; Brian Lowry previews The Boy Who Could Fly; writer David A. Kyle remembers First Fandom in the Other Voices guest column; Anthony Timpone interviews The Fly star Geena Davis (and Timpone includes a sidebar chat about the movie with director – and coverboy – David Cronenberg); Patrick Daniel O'Neill notes the 25th anniversary of the Fantastic Four in a Comics Scene column; William Rabkin previews Howard the Duck; Lee Goldberg talks with filmmaker Bob Gale (Back to the Future); Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier explore Short Circuit, and they interview actor Steve Guttenberg in a sidebar; William Rabkin interviews William Dear (Amazing Stories' mummy episode); in the Future Life section, Douglas Borton reports on Voyager 2's Uranus flyby, and he explains Swedish doctor Bjorn Nordenstrom's electric ideas for fighting cancer, Rich Kolker looks at space-grown plants, and John McMurphy notes that "Atomic Clocks Replace Greenwich Time"; Lee Goldberg chats with actress Kim Catrall (while, in a sidebar, Daniel Dickholtz profiles actor Dennis Dun); Chris Henderson's booklog previews the new print releases (such as Michael Ende's Momo); and David McDonnell wraps it all up in his Liner Notes column talking copy editing, a new edition of Starlog's Science Fiction Trivia book, and more.
"[At the 1975 North American Science Fiction Convention, Larry] Niven was going up in a hotel elevator carrying the Hugo he had won for 'The Hole Man' which friends had just delivered to him from Melbourne [where, at a different convention, the Hugos had been awarded]. Two teenaged boys popped into the elevator next to him, and recognized the award but not the owner. 'Gee, mister, where did you get the Hugo?" one asked. Hardly hesitating, Niven explained, 'I got it from Harlan [Ellison]. He's quitting science fiction, and giving away his awards. I think he still has a couple left.' The two excited kids jumped off the elevator at the next floor and went pounding away down the hall in search of Ellison. Niven hopes they found him."
–Mike Glyer, writer, "No Trivial Pursuit: The Hugo Awards"
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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