Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #128, March 1988: Loving the Beast

I have a confession to make (don’t tell Kerry O’Quinn): I rather liked Senator William Proxmire. Oh, I disagreed strongly with his Luddite opposition to the space program; that was short-sighted of him. I even once wrote a letter to the editor of the Green Bay News-Chronicle that criticized his anti-NASA views (which resulted in a responding letter to the editor from the senator taking issue with my views). But as a Wisconsinite, I was (and probably still am) a bit proud of the fact that this moderate Democrat took the Senate seat that had been disgraced by Joe McCarthy and served our state in Washington, D.C., as an honest, hardworking, principled legislator (as far as I know) .

He was wrong on space (be patient, Luke, you’ll see why I’m making all this fuss in a moment), but he was otherwise fairly praiseworthy. I recall learning that when he ran for re-election, he spent something like less than $300 – and all of that on the filing fee. He spent his campaign simply going to public places, introducing himself, and telling them he was running for re-election. I now live in San Francisco, where our state’s U.S. Senate seat will probably cost a combined price north of $200 million. And I think we’d be better off if Proxmire were our senator.

So, who cares about William Proxmire today? Aside from my homestate pride (hey, we also gave the world Russ Feingold – not to mention Fighting Bob LaFollette – so the state knows a thing or two about real mavericks, not the fakey kind), it’s because Starlog publisher Kerry O’Quinn knocks Proxmire in his From the Bridge column for his opposition to a U.S. space station. True to his principles, O’Quinn makes the libertarian argument that a free country should welcome the disagreements over such expenditures, and that he shouldn’t be able to force Proxmire to support space programs any more than Proxmire should be able to force O’Quinn to be against them. It’s actually quite a good editorial, ending with the note that a space station has to have a sound purpose to get support. That purpose might be military and/or private enterprise (and I think we’re seeing the latter, thank goodness), but O’Quinn says we shouldn’t sacrifice our freedom of thought just to get to what we consider a greater good: space.

Starlog #128
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $3.50

Classified ad of the month: “SCI-FI/MEDIA MAGAZINES! STARLOG, Starburst, Dr.Who Monthly, 007, UNCLE files and more! Send Large SASE for new updated list! Larry ...” I used to daydream over classified ads like this. I imagined saving up my allowance and ordering missed issues of my favorite magazines; perhaps I’d find magazines I’d never imagined before. I know, that makes me a geek of the highest order. But then again, who else do you think would try to chronicle 374 issues of Starlog on his blog?

The rundown: Finally, to the issue. Beauty and the Beast was one of those short-lived TV shows that enjoyed unprecedented success one year, and the next was forgotten; here, it takes the prime cover spot of Starlog #128. In his From the Bridge column, publisher Kerry O’Quinn looks for ways to push humanity into space while being true to his beliefs in personal freedom; Communications letters include praise for Timothy Dalton’s James Bond, reaction to RoboCop, L. Sprague de Camp corrects some photo I.D.’s from his recent article, and more; Medialog includes Lee Goldberg’s brief report of some science-fiction TV series that didn’t see the light of day (such as a Remo Williams spinoff and even a Psycho series), Frank Garcia on Neuromancer author William Gibson being slated to write Alien III, and David McDonnell’s roundup of genre headlines (such as news of a Babar movie).

Lee Goldberg previews The Ray Bradbury Theater anthology series on USA Network; Edward Gross interviews actor John de Lancie (Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation), who quickly became a favorite of Starlog; Robert Greenberger profiles actor William Campbell, whose credits include Trelayne from the original Star Trek’s “The Squire of Gothos”; David Hutchison’s Videolog notes some new genre video releases, such as The Gate and Quest for Fire; Bill Warren interviews RoboCop and Buckaroo Banzai star Peter Weller; Howard Weinstein, himself a novelist, interviews Walter Koenig about the actor’s writing career, including his book Buck Alice and the Actor Robot (with a sidebar by Lee Goldberg, David J. Creek and Weinstein, in which Koenig talks Trek – including the nugget that he had pitched story ideas to the Next Generation team); Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman continue their look at Blake’s 7 with an interview of Paul Darrow; James Phillips sits down for a Q&A with writer Alfred Bester; Marc Shapiro talks with Beauty and the Beast star Ron Perlman (who was also in Quest for Fire, which I hadn’t known); the Fan Network section includes Mike Glyer’s continuing listing of fan clubs, some cartoons, and more; Steve Swires interviews James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader and CNN; then, Adam Pirani interviews the man who portrays Vader on the screen: David Prowse; Jessie Horsting profiles producer Keith Barish (The Monster Squad, Sophie’s Choice, etc.).

In the Tribute pages, Star Trek art director Mike Minor is remembered by David Hutchison and Bob Burns, while Eric Niderost notes the passing of actor Lloyd Haynes (Room 222, Star Trek original series); Juanita Elefante-Gordon interviews actor Mark Strickson about his time as Doctor Who companion Turlough; Marc Shapiro previews a TV show with a title that could only have been made up by a group of 13-year-olds after too much pizza and caffeine: Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future; and editor David McDonnell wraps it all up in his Liner Notes column by relating a story about insulting Ron Perlman’s movie The Ice Pirates – in front of Perlman (it was unintentional, naturally). Perlman, luckily, does not hold a grudge.
“Sigmund Freud, when he first started the whole psychoanalysis bit, spent the first two years psychoanalyzing himself. Now, a good professional writer like myself spends most of his time analyizing himself and saying, ‘Why did I do that?’ Because if I know why I did that – I, me, ich, Alfie B. – then I will understand why other people do what they do. It’s a bit of self-analysis which enables you to understand and sympathize with other people.”
–Alfred Bester, author, interviewed by James Philiips: “Alfred Bester: The Stars 7 Other Destinations”
To view previous Starlog issue descriptions, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent home.
Post a Comment