Friday, March 19, 2010

Starlog Internet Project: Starlog #21, April 1979: Mark Hamill vs. Harlan Ellison

There's a Fangoria angle to this issue of Starlog. First, we see the name "Bob Martin" pop up on the staffbox, listed as associate editor. Martin was marking time until his magazine, Fantastica, exited legal limbo and he could do his real job. Not explained until much later was that competitor Fantastic Films magazine was suing Starlog, claiming that the name Fantastica was too much like Fantastic Films. Eventually, the mag would be renamed Fangoria and a (publishing) star would be born.

Starlog #21
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.95

In an interview that set off a public spat between Star Wars star Mark Hamill and author Harlan Ellison, Hamill tells Starlog some not-necessarily complimentary things about Ellison, who had apparently not liked Hamill's movie that much. The back-and-forth would continue for a while, until the two patched things up. All reported in Starlog.

Publisher Kerry O'Quinn talks about science fiction's global mission in his From the Bridge column; Communications letters range from reader reactions to Superman, Battlestar Galactica, the reason Chewbacca didn't get a medal, Harry Harrison praises Galactica-bashing, and more; Log Entries short news items include an overview of NASA's 1979 plans, a 3-D illustrated Harlan Ellison project, first word on Futureworld, news of The Cry of Cthulu film, and more.

David Houston discovers two science-fiction convention-going fans who got their day in the sun; Steve Swires interviews Mark Hamill, who shares his thoughts on everything from the Battlestar Galactica rip-off idea to his love for science fiction to why Harlan Ellison doesn't like Star Wars; Susan Sackett's Star Trek Report covers the goings-on on the Trek set; Robin Snelsom reports on Pioneer-Venus exploration results; David Houston gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the bridge set of the Galactica was built; Michael Catron reports on the premiere of Superman in Washington, D.C., which President Jimmy Carter attended; Gerry Anderson's Space Report explores "The Birth of 'Starcruiser 1,'" complete with a sketch of the ship; Ted Michael Hruschak and Richard Meyers find that "Lost in Space Lives," writing an introduction to their complete episode guide to the series (a series whose fans sometimes complained that Starlog gave it short shrift compared to Star Trek); Steve Swires interviews George Romero on the making of Dawn of the Dead; Jonathan Eberhart's Interplanetary Excursions, Inc., visits Hektor, the oddball celestial body; David Houston writes about Buck Rogers' life as a motion picture; David Gerrold takes on Warren Beaty and Heaven Can Wait; Andrew P. Yanchus gives us a history of plastic model kits (complete with a two-page "SF Model Checklist"); Paul Mandell visits SFX legend David Allen; David Houston's Visions column looks at Brave New World and 1984; and, finally, Howard Zimmerman suggests science fiction fans take a look at real science now and then.
"[Harlan Ellison] wrote one article in which he said something like, 'Not only is Luke Skywalker a nerd, but Darth Vader sucks runny eggs.' Thats a wonderful effect, and he really should be a lounge act in Las Vegas. I don't think it's worthy of him, with the reputation he has as a wonderfully imaginative science-fiction writer, to lower himself that way. Why should I think his opinion is important, when I know my opinion isn't important?"
--Mark Hamill, actor, "An Interview with Mark Hamill
To view previous Starlog Archive issues, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.

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