Thursday, March 17, 2011

So, You're a Ferengi, eh? The Starlog Project, Starlog #190, May 1993

It’s Star Trek on the cover of Starlog for the second issue in a row, and the fourth time in the last five issues. If I were a better, more faithful chronicler of these Starlog issues, I would spend the time to look over all 374 issues that the magazine published in its 33-year life and report back to you on how many of those covers featured Star Trek of any sort. Then we could throw in the foreign editions of Starlog, the special one-shots featuring Trek, the licensed TV series magazines, the licensed movie magazines, the assorted Yearbooks and Spectaculars and Scrapbooks and Best of issues of Starlog, and even the paperback books. (Let us not forget the forehead-slapping-loopy cover of the fourth issue of sister magazine Fangoria, which featured Spock from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.)

Add up all of them, whateverthehell the final tally is, and I think it would be a safe bet that Starlog’s publishers produced more publications with Star Trek on the covers than anyone else in the universe.

Starlog #190
84 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.95

Would you date a fellow science-fiction geek? In the Miscellaneous section of this issue's classified advertising is an ad for "SCIENCE FICTION CONNECTION. Nationwide network for unattached SF fans forming. ..." Wonder how that worked out for them.

The rundown: The cover, in case you weren't paying attention, features Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Armin Shimerman, who plays Quark in that show; the contents page is given up to an illustration for a story by Anne McCaffrey, who is interviewed in this issue. In his Medialog column, David McDonnell reports that ideas are brewing to do some new things with William Shatner’s TekWar stories, which have already appeared as novels and comics. One idea: A series of TV movies. Could it happen? Wait and see. Michael McAvennie’s Gamelog column reviews T2: The Arcade Game, Dragon’s Lair, Dark Force Rising, and other games. And the Communications section includes Mike Fisher’s Creature Profile of The Phantom of the Opera, plus letters on Trek, Red Dwarf, Star Wars, and more.

Booklog’s reviews this month include The Door into Sunset, Arthur C. Clarke: The Authorized Biography, Maze of Moonlight, Stainless Steel Visions, The Architecture of Desire, Purgatory: A Chronicle of a Distant World, Skybowl, The Singularity Project, and Red Orc’s Rage, which might not be a bad name for a band. David Hutchison notes releases of new Dr. Who programs in his Videolog column. The Fan Network is comprised of the convention calendar and Maureen McTigue’s directory of fan clubs and publications. Kerry O’Quinn tells us how his friend Arthur C. Clarke “lives the large life.” And Lynne Stevens previews Raver, the new comic from actor and writer Walter Koenig.

Stephens also talks with actor Daniel Davis, who discusses his guest-starring role as Professor Moriarty in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Tom Weaver interviews Mark Goddard, the former star of Lost in Space who at the time of Weaver’s article was back in school earning his Masters degree in special education, which he would go on to teach for years. Sharon Snyder and Marc Shapiro separately interviewed actor Armin Shimerman, and Starlog knits together their interviews into one article, in which Shimerman talks about playing Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Ferengi bartender, Quark (and which includes this quote: “This is not the kinky Star Trek, but there are darker, more multi-faceted sides than on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Geen Roddenberry’s vision is still here, but it’s being shifted around and re-examined through other people’s eyes.”).

Award-winning fantasy novelist Anne McCaffrey (The Ship Who Sang, the Pern series, etc.) is interviewed by Drew Bittner. Bill Warren checks in with actor Peter Donat to talk about his role as the villainous Mordicai Sahmbi in Time Trax. Marc Shapiro profiles actor Jeff Kaake, one of the stars of the ill-fated TV series Space Rangers. When the original Star Trek was being put together, actor Malachi Throne was offered and rejected the role of the Enterprise’s doctor, though he later went on to make guest appearances on the series. He discusses those roles in an interview by Joel Eisner.

Michael Wolff and illustrator George Kochell examine the history of body-snatcher pod-people movies. Speaking of which, Kim Howard Johnson interviews Abel Ferrara, director of the latest Body Snatchers film, starring Billy Wirth. Jean Airey talks with actor Deborah Watling, former companion of Dr. Who. Joe Nazzaro continues his look at the British science-fiction comedy series Red Dwarf with a profile of actor Danny John-Jules, who plays Cat on that show. And editor David McDonnell urges people to keep reading in his Liner Notes column, which is interrupted by a Kevin Brockschmidt “Terminator Bunny” cartoon. You kind of have to see it.
“That was the three years on Lost in Space for me: ‘Is the show good enough?’ ‘Is it getting the ratings?’ And the cast was worried: ‘Is this laughable?’ Especially after Star Trek came on – ‘Can we compete with this kind of a show?’ Then, we went up against Batman and that hit us – they got good ratings and we didn’t, although we did come back later. ‘Batman’s a real camp show, we're not a camp show. Are we a real show? We’re not a real show like Star Trek and we’re not a camp show like Batman.’ Tension! We didn’t know where we fit, we hadn’t found an identity. An identity came near the end, when finally it was Smith and the Robot doing silly things, and that’s what the show became. But that’s not what it set out to be. I always wanted to do a comedy, but I never knew [while on Lost in Space] that I was in a comedy. One day I said, ‘Hey, I’ve been doin’ all this Method stuff – I didn’t know we were doin’ a comedy here!’”
–Mark Goddard, actor, interviewed by Tom Weaver: “Space Duty”
For more, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent site.
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