Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #113, December 1986: Shopping for Horrors

As I noted in issue #112's writeup, I ended my Starlog strike after that issue and resumed being a regular reader (addict?) with this issue, #113. That was probably the real moment in my life when I decided I didn't care if "science-fiction fan" was a permanent and healthy part of my identity.

On the merchandising side (aka, the Buy O'Quinn and Jacobs a New Yacht side), this issue includes an ad by the magazine for its newest commercial service: a 50-cent-per-call phone service that features a message from a different Trek crew member (such as Uhura) giving you updates on the new film, Star Trek: The Voyage Home.

Starlog #113
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $2.95

In most of its earlier years, Starlog printed its required postal statement of ownership and circulation in one of its end-of-the-year issues, such as December. But we've seen the publishers starting to move it into the new year, and by the 1990s, they'd be printing it as late as the March issue. Writing as someone who has had to fill out and print those forms in magazines to satisfy the post office, I can only say that either the rules for timely printing of the form were different back then, or their local post office was more indulgent (aka, looser on the enforcement) than the postal folks with whom I've dealt. So, no postal statement this issue.

The rundown: The cover photo features comedians Rick Moranis and John Candy, stars of the remake Little Shop of Horrors; in his From the Bridge editorial, publisher Kerry O'Quinn criticizes parents who seek to censor textbooks that don't match up with their religious beliefs; Communications letters include director Tobe Hooper (responding to an article in #107 about writing credits), Howard Cruse (praising a recent cartoon by Phil Foglio), reactions to Highlander and Labyrinth, and more; Medialog includes Carr D'Angelo's check-in with Robert Downtown Englund, Jean Airey on new Doctor Who companion Melanie Bush (played by Bonnie Langford), Patrick Daniel O'Neill with more Who news (who knew?), and David McDonnell's roundup of genre news items (such as Orson Scott Card winning the Nebula award for Ender's Game).

Brian Lowry previews the new TV series Starman, the spinoff starring Robert Hays from the film of the same name; Jessie Horsting (author of Starlog's newest book, Stephen King at the Movies), goes behind the scenes of The Wizard, starring David Rappaport; William Rabkin talks with Alan Brennert, executive story consultant on the new Twilight Zone TV series; Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier interview the legendary writer Robert Bloch, who talks Star Trek; the Lofficiers keep up the Trek coverage with an interview with James Doohan, who talks about Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; but wait, there's more Trek: in two one-page articles, Anthony Timpone profiles Trek guest star John Hoyt (the ship's doctor in the series first pilot), and Frank Garcia profiles Sean Kenney (the immobilized Captain Pike in "The Menagerie"); Adam Pirani previews Little Shop of Horrors; Jim George and Fred Szebin provide a retrospective of the computers-amok film Colossus: The Forbin Project; Brian Lowry interviews Sondra Locke about her latest directing job, Ratboy (with a sidebar by William Rabkin chatting with effects wizard Rick Baker); Marc Shapiro talks to actress Sharon Stone about King Solomon's Mines and Allan Quatermain & the Lost City of Gold; Fan Network includes the announcement of the Cinemagic's eighth annual short-film awards, Chris Fletcher on his hew Trek fanzine (The Alternative Warp), answers to reader queries (such as, "Has there been any word released on the third book in David Gerrold's War Against the Chtorr series?"), and more; Will Murray explores the sequel, King Kong Lives!; the Comics Scene section includes Daniel Dickholtz on the Comet Man comic, and David Hutchison's obituary for Floyd Gottfredson; Patrick Daniel O'Neill interviews author Gordon Dickson; Chris Henderson's Booklog covers the latest print releases; Ron Miller pens a two-page obituary to space artist Chesley Bonestell; David Hutchison's Videolog highlights the latest video releases; the Future Life page includes Rich Kolker on the Enterprise test shuttle ending up at the National Air and Space Museum, Douglas Barton on new techniques for creating better steel, and Rich Kolker on the latest visit to Mars; and in a nice coda to O'Quinn's editorial, editor David McDonnell uses his Liner Notes column to explain how religious pressure groups helped kill sister magazine Hard Rock. This was the Reagan era, after all – Moral Majority flexing its power.
"I remember there was a scene I just hated. I went to a sneak preview and stole about 30 opinion cards and wrote down that they should cut this terrible, sloppy, sentimental scene. Two weeks later, Stanley Chase called me into his office and he had all these cards in front of him. He said, 'You wrote all these, didn't you?' I said, 'Yes, I did.' They finally cut the scene."
–James Bridges, screenwriter, interviewed by Jim George and Fred Szebin: "Colossus: The Forbin Project: An Overlooked Classic"
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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