Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Starlog Project: Starlog #26, September 1979: Loving the Alien

The Starlog top brass made some great decisions over the years, and they took some big risks that really paid off. But when you look at the ad on page 22 of this issue, you do have to wonder who bought the Salvage I SF Poster Book. Probably a better idea was the special one-shot John Wayne & The Great Cowboy Heroes advertised on page 7.

Starlog #26
76 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $1.95

It's another Alien-heavy issue, as the 20th Century Fox flick continues to blow minds. No doubt, the Starlog staff (at least the straight male members of that staff) (um, I didn't mean that to sound quite that way; let's try "the heterosexual males on the staff") was thrilled with the mildly pornographic H.R. Giger painting on the contents page.

Kerry O'Quinn's From the Bridge column pumps up artist Don Dixon's SFX article in this issue (step-by-step instructions on making a space painting); Communications letters range from reactions to a large-screen Battlestar Galactica movie to people praising or damning David Gerrold's column to others ranting about the Harlan Ellision & Mark Hamill smackdown, and so much more; in Log Entries short news, another (as yet unnamed) Space: 1999 movie is being planned, Hugo award nominees are listed, scientists in Mountain View, California, create a mini-universe on a computer, and more.

David Houston interviews Alien director Ridley Scott; Houston also interviews H.R. Giger about his surrealist designs for the movie (and, er, the contents page); Howard Zimmerman profiles SF movies about the moon (A Trip to the Moon, Woman in the Moon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc.); in an eight-page special fold-out, Starlog's newest photo guidebook, Science Fiction Weapons, is previewed, complete with blueprints; David Hirsh relates how and why Gerry Anderson created the TV production of The Day After Tomorrow; David Houston profiles artist Steve Scherer; Alan Brender interviews Bo Brundin, who plays Rolf Mannheim in the upcoming disaster flick Meteor; a two-page color spread features photos from Moonraker; Susan Sackett discusses the audio side of Star Trek; in Unreel, the magazine takes a look at some of the SF Short Film Search winners; Stephen J. Sansweet uncovers SF toys from Buck Rogers to the present (er, 1979) day; J. Blake Mitchell looks at Grady Hunt's SF costume designs; Don Dixon writes "Secrets of a Space Artist," this month's SFX section; David Gerrold's Rumblings column (which is printed accidentally without the logo, though the logo background appears -- oops) compares Star Trek to later SF TV productions such as Space: 1999 and Battlestar Galactica, which both pale in his comparison; David Houston's Visions column examines Arthur C. Clarke's classic Childhood's End; and Howard Zimmerman's Lastword column praises the movie Alien.
"Battlestar Galactica isn't even that hopeful in its premise. Nine-tenths of the human race has been wiped out and the survivors are fleeing the enemy Cylons, a race of chrome robots. (I fail to understand why a robot even wants an oxygen-atmosphere planet; oxygen encourages rust.) The premise here is even less honorable: 'They're after us! Let's run like hell!'"
--David Gerrold, columnist, Rumblings
To view previous Starlog Archive issues, click on "Starlog Internet Archive Project" in the keywords below.

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