Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #125, December 1987: James Cameron Strikes Back

Yep, that’s my governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, there on the cover of Starlog #125. It’s funny, really; when he ran for the governor’s office, I knew he wasn’t the muscle-bound idiot that some people wanted to portray him as, and the reason I knew that was all of the interviews with him I’d read in Starlog magazine over the years. It came through in those articles that he knew about business and politics. One can disagree with what he’s done in office, but I don’t think you can seriously pretend he’s ignorant.

This issue, Starlog raises its cover price from $2.95 to $3.50. This follows the longest period of no increases thus far in the magazine’s history. It rose from $2.50 to $2.95 way back in June 1983 with issue #71. Unlike in some past eras of price increases, there’s no immediate increase in the number of pages or the quality of paper. The paper quality was improved a number of issues ago, and the page count will increase steadily over the next decade or so, as will the amount of color pages in the magazine. But for now, the magazine just seems to be getting caught up with inflation. Or the publishers wanted to buy another racehorse.

Starlog #125
76 pages (including covers)
Cover Price: $3.50

Classified ad of the month: “MUTILATION GRAPHICS – T-SHIRTS Splat movies, Manson, Ann Landers, Two-Headed Baby, Marilyn Monroe in the Morgue ... Dead. Send $1 ...” Ann Landers?!?

The rundown: The future chief executive of the state of California is on the cover of this issue, in a pose from his latest movie, The Running Man. Kerry O’Quinn’s editorial is practically a meditation on dealing with pain and failure, and how to overcome them; Communications letters include a call for more attention to be paid to science-fiction books instead of films, praise for John Carpenter, memories of Blake’s 7, reaction to the articles on the women of Star Trek, and more; in Medialog, Adam Pirani previews Dinosaur – The Film, and David McDonnell reports the latest genre headlines, such as Dorothy Fontana’s scheduled departure from the team behind Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Steve Swires talks with director John Carpenter again (or continues to talk with him since their last chat in issue #115); David Hutchison announces some classic and modern genre video releases in Videolog; Brian Lowry interviews Amazon Women on the Moon co-producer Robert K. Weiss about the SF spoof he and John Landis made; Bill Warren profiles actor Bruce Dern, who discusses World Gone Wild, Silent Running, The Outer Limits, and acting with John Wayne; William Rabkin previews the great Rob Reiner film The Princess Bride; in response to various letters to the editor questioning aspects of Aliens, writer/director James Cameron wrote his own lengthy letter – here printed as an Other Voices guest column – with a forceful and detailed defense of his movie; Edward Gross interviews Steven de Souza, screenwriter of The Running Man and The Return of Captain Invincible, among others; Gross also talks with writer Margaret Armen about her Star Trek episodes (live action and animated), including her rewrite of David Gerrold’s third-season episode “The Cloud Minders”; and Daniel Dickholtz checks in with novelist J.M. Dillard.

Designer Andy Probert holds a special friend-of-the-blog status for me, because he has for years sent visitors from his web site to an interview of mine with David Gerrold about the abortive Starhunt project, so it’s nice to see him – along with illustrator Rick Sternbach – profiled by Marc Shapiro for their work on designing Star Trek: The Next Generation; the Fan Network pages include information about saving the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers TV show, R.S. Sean O’Halloran on some fans who salvage prop vehicles from science-fiction productions, Mike Glyer’s directory to fantasy fan clubs, answers to reader queries (such as, “What has happened to the Robotech movie?”), an item on the persistence of Star Wars fandom, and more; Mike Clark looks at Gerry Anderson’s Space Police live-action program; Irv Slifkin interviews the legendary Joseph Barbera (of animated “Hanna-” fame); Eric Niderost previews Date with an Angel; in the Tribute page, Kerry O’Quinn writes Polly Freas’ obituary, and Tom Weaver says good-bye to the similarly named but unrelated Paul Frees; and editor David McDonnell, writing in his Liner Notes column, passes along some praise for the magazine from John Carpenter – almost enough to make me feel sorry for dissing Carpenter’s films in that letter to Fangoria years later ...
“I’ll tell you a little story. On Sundays, since I was a little kid in knee-highs, I remember the Sunday paper had the comic strips on the outside, the first thing everybody read when they got the paper. Seven out of 10 people still read the comics first. This need has not gone away. Animation is a relief from what’s going on in the world. You get up in the morning and turn on the radio and you hear a bridge goes out in Albany, a bomb has exploded here and there’s a flood on the East Coast. Then, you turn on the TV and see it all visualized. In living color, no less. Where’s the relief? That’s what we do: Provide relief in fantasy product. It’s important to make people forget what’s really happening.”
–Joseph Barbera, animation producer, interviewed by Irv Slifkin: “The Wonderful World of Joseph Barbera”
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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