Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Starlog Internet Archive Project: Starlog #3, January 1977: Do It Again

In only its third issue, Starlog had achieved enough success to expand its printing frequency from quarterly to eight times a year. Though the indicia (the small text with the publishing info on the bottom of the contents page) still says the magazine is published quarterly, the subscription ad on page 55 exclaims "Now ... eight issues!" The eight-issue subscription cost a mere $9.98. This issue also sees the first appearance of Howard Zimmerman, the future editor-in-chief who is introduced here as an assistant editor. In a later issue, publisher Kerry O'Quinn described advertising for an editor and hiring Zimmerman -- a school teacher and comics aficionado. Within a year, following David Houston's move to the West Coast and a short interregnum in which O'Quinn serves as editor, Zimmerman would take the helm and run the ship until nearly issue #100. (Zimmerman currently runs his own book packaging studio.)

Starlog #3
68 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

The 1970s might have been the last (and only?) time when SF conventions would not only be a major story but would be a cover story, even in a genre publication. There's only a slight uptick in advertising in this issue, but ads were never a big part of the magazine, though they reached their zenith in the late 1990s before dropping off again.

Editor David Houston kicks off the issue with an editorial relating the feedback his team received from readers when they attended a big Star Trek convention. There's also the Log Entries short-news section (including a report with photos of the roll-out of the Enterprise shuttle by NASA). Howard Zimmerman contributes his first article, and the subject is a favorite of his: comics and movies; the article is co-written by Jim Burns. The Communications letters page includes lots of chatter about Space: 1999 (the cover subject of the previous issue), and the Sci-Fi Library contains books news (though not reviews). Tom Rogers writes about "Science Fiction Films Made for TV," and follows it up with a guide to 40 made-for-TV SF films; a special "Star Trek Bi-Centennial-10 Convention" section includes an overview, reports on convention speakers (Nichelle Nichols, Grace Lee Whitney, Jesco von Puttkamer, Kathryn Hays, James Doohan, Stanley Adams, George Takei, David Gerrold, DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Susan Oliver, and Walter Koenig) and on-the-scene reporting (Star Trek's blooper reel, photos from the con floor, animated Trek). Writer Joan Winston explains the challenges of putting on a Trek convention; Jason Thomas and Kez Howard discuss "The Dream Machines: 75 Years of Movie and TV Spaceships," illustrated with photos of 2001's Discovery, This Island Earth's craft, the Forbidden Planet saucer, similar-looking ships from both Flash Gordon and the softcore parody Flesh Gordon, and more; six more episodes from Space: 1999's second season are described; Isobel Silden profiles Lee Majors, star of The Six Million Dollar Man; Star Teasers offers crosswords and word-hunts; and the issue wraps up with "The Search for Percival Lowell's Mysterious Trans-Neptunian Planet X" (i.e., Pluto) in the Visions column.
"Some of the [audience] questions led one to have grave doubts about the brain power of a few of the fans. For instance, the fan who asked to see Mr. Shatner's belly-button. Bill's reply was classic: 'Do you mean to tell me I traveled 9,000 miles to have someone ask to see my belly-button? I only answer serious questions. Next?'"
--Joan Winston, writer, "So You Want to Have a 'Star Trek' Convention ...?"
To view the rest of the Starlog compendium, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.

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