Wednesday, September 08, 2010

So long, Starlog, and thanks for all the fish

Another item from the Drafts bin. When Starlog ceased publication in April 2009, I had intended to write a short retrospective about it. I started writing this draft posting and gave it a suitably geeky cliche title (see above). I did not get around to finishing it.

I only needed to wait 17 months and, look, today James Maliszewski posted his own retrospective article on Grognardia, written more eloquently than I would have. Maliszewski's opinions match my own, more or less, although I do miss the magazine more than he does. Rather, I miss the idea of Starlog more than the print magazine, at least the way it was in the 70s/80s. I haven't picked one up since the very early 90s. By then there were more outlets for fandom information, and Starlog became more slick and glossy but with less substance -- much in the same way that Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood used to report on film production news.

I liked the homegrown fanzine feel of the early issues. A large percentage of pages were given over to classic Golden Age sci-fi and fantasy then, with the sort of articles that you now only see in Filmfax. I remember the multi-issue serialization of "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr. and part of David Gerrold's first Chtorr book.

Another important aspect of Starlog was its use as a source for new sci-fi and fantasy movie news. An issue might have one or two still photos and a short article on the making of a new movie, and then we would have to wait another month for more news, another still or some production art. Quite a contrast from today, when any leaked movie news is blogged, Flickr'd or Tweeted around the world almost instantly. It's great having more and more fan news available, but I believe we may have lost something special in the process.

As noted in the comments for that story on Grognardia, blogger John Z. has been reviewing every issue of Starlog -- take a look at the archive for The Starlog Project.

The more things change...


miakoda said...

Ah, Starlog. Just skimming some of the magazine writeups on that site gave me a touch of junior high nostalgia -- I loved flipping through these at the old Waldenbooks in Scottsdale Mall back in the '80s. My friend Heathar and I had a mad geek crush on STNG, so those issues in particular always caught our eye...

Kaiju said...

Very true! I need to read more of his commentary postings; it's like travelling through time.

I remember seeing them at Waldenbooks, or the Book World at UP Mall. I distinctly remember buying the Return of the Jedi preview issue at the Martin's on Portage.

Vincent Diakuw said...

It's great having more and more fan news available, but I believe we may have lost something special in the process.