A little more than 34 years ago this month, a magazine hit the newsstands with little fanfare. It never became a household name, but to many fans of science fiction, it was truly one of the first publications to go behind the scenes of the genre.
Starlog made its maiden appearance with the August 1976 issue. It immediately sold out and even went into a second printing. The cover of the first issue featured artist renderings of Captain Kirk, Spock and the Starship Enterprise. Inside was an episode guide for the Star Trek television show, and what we now refer to as “The Original Series”.
The timing for the magazine seemed perfect. Imported shows like UFO and Space: 1999 as well as the movie, Logan’s Run (remake scheduled for 2012) were rekindling the public’s interest in this type of fare. A year late, Issue Number 7 in August of 1977 would preview a “spectacular new science fiction movie”, Star Wars. Not long after a succession of films that would become big money makers and classics, as well as introducing people to a whole new world of special effects would follow. These films included: Close Encounters, Superman, ET, and Alien. At that point, Starlog had more than enough material to keep its readers entertained.
Starlog featured many interviews with stars as well as people behind the scenes. Especially interesting were articles that featured special effects people who were, and are, truly artists of their craft. These geniuses of the make-believe usually don’t get enough recognition for the worlds and wonders they create in the films we enjoy.
Interviews with authors were especially revealing. It presented a chance to meet people with wonderful imaginations and learn where their inspiration came from to create such horrific tales or beautiful visions. From film to television to books, the fanzine covered it all.
Starlog ceased publication early last year and once again with no fanfare. After over 30 years and nearly 400 issues, the magazine has faded into the landscape. Although there are rumors of a Internet version, the passion and excitement it brought its readers with each edition in its early years would be hard to match. Its collectible appeal is unmatched among other magazines of its type.