Saturday, March 13, 2010

Starlog Internet Archive Project: Starlog #6, June 1977: Counting Pages

More staffbox changes occur in the sixth issue of Starlog, including the appearance of underground cartoonist Howard Cruse as a contributor (Cruse would soon join the company as an art director, and he would contribute comic art to the Starlog family of magazines for years). Former editor David Houston is listed for the first time as West Coast editor, and Howard Zimmerman is now listed as sole editor (under editor-in-chief Kerry O'Quinn), with James M. Elrod moving to assistant editor from the co-editor position he had held the previous issue with Zimmerman. Musical chairs.

Starlog #6
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.50

For the first time, Starlog uses a photograph on its cover, and from here on, paintings would only be rare exceptions to the standard photo treatment. The magazine also boosted its page count with a special eight-page center section, printed on yellow paper (again, a practice the magazine would use occasionally for years when it included episode guides or other reference specials).

Kerry O'Quinn uses his From the Bridge column to take sides in the ever-pressing debate over whether science fiction should be abbreviated as sci fi or SF (and announces the editors' adoption of SF), and he makes the case for the higher calling of the SF field. Controversy rears its ugly head in the Communications letters, with a Virginia reader complaining about the nude man that illustrated (tastefully) issue #4's reprint of Fredric Brown classic short story, "Arena." The reader writes that he thought he had mistakenly picked up a copy of Playgirl. "I weep for today's science fiction ..." and he warns Starlog's publishers not to lure young SF fans, who "are subject to sexual problems (such as homosexuality)." The editors' response is a nice mix of pleasant disagreement and blunt talk. David Gerrold's first column also draws a number of complaints. Also in this issue: Log Entries includes some real-life science news, the announcement of Christopher Reeve's selection to play Superman in the forthcoming feature film, and two full-color Ralph McQuarrie paintings from the then-upcoming Star Wars movie, along with a short report on the movie's progress; the cover story is a reprint of an article by the great Robert A. Heinlein chronicling "The Making of Destination Moon," illustrated with many color and black-and-white photos from the classic film; William Irvine visits the set of The Fantastic Journey TV series; a special pullout section featuring "The Starlog Science Fiction Address Guide: Motion Pictures," compiled by Robert M. Hefley; Malcolm C. Klein explains how Star Trek was animated for Saturday morning TV; a complete episode guide to the animated Trek; columnist David Gerrold writes about writing; a one-page report on the cancellation of Space: 1999; Susan Sackett, the personal assistant to Gene Roddenberry, begins a column chronicling the making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture; David Hutchison launches his long-running special effects section with a lengthy article on the use of miniatures; and the Visions column explores solar eclipses.
"The artist, Boris Vallejo, is one of the best-known and most talented in the business. His knowledge of human anatomy and his ability to render figures of impressive stature and lifelike sensuality is, to most people, a source of pleasure ... not shame and embarrassment. Before a reader spends a great deal of time worrying about other people's sexual problems, he would do well to get his own house in order."
--The editors, response to reader letter, "Nudity in Starlog?"
To view previous Starlog Archive issues, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.

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