The fifth issue of Starlog was published in March of 1977, the second of the eight-times-a-year issues. The magazine starts to move beyond sci-fi shows and movies, largely because there weren't that many to write about, and gets more into actual science and technology. Also, readers write lots of cranky letters.
As always, if you'd like to read along at home, the full run of Starlog is available over at the Internet Archive, and here are the previous installments of this series.
1. Civil Trek Convention Infighting, and Space-Rockin'.
So long as humans get together, there's going to be squabbling and disagreements, and that's no less true for conventions. The ISTC in question is the International Star Trek Convention, which ran for a few years in the mid-seventies, and having re-read the article in question from Starlog #003, I have to admit, I'm still baffled by just what her complaint is. But that's also kind of the point, I suppose; this is some seriously inside-baseball stuff, and there were few other forums available.
What strikes me about this letter, though, is how civil it turns in the last paragraph. Even after basically calling Starlog distasteful, and calling out Joan Winston for not mentioning the wrong people (or something), she then makes sure there's no hard feelings, and that she likes all parties involved. Oh, such a bygone time it was.
And Ms. Winston's reply is just as cordial.
In another example of a bygone time, this prog-rocker lists some of the more famous sci-fi bands - and also Synergy. I'm not the biggest fan of prog-rock, but I read a lot of music history, and I've never heard of them before now.
Apparently this New Yorker (who is still space-rockin' to this very day on YouTube!) was not the only person to write about sci-fi in rock music, and I'm not the only person to enjoy the back covers of the last few issues.
2. Shatner on Tour, and the Shuttle Enterprise Prepares for Nothing in Particular.
Did you catch Shatner on tour last year? I did (and wrote about it for SF Weekly), and he did not disappoint. For a man of 80, he still has a lot of energy, though probably not as much as he did during his mid-seventies tour. The reading of Bradbury's "Earthbound" was captured for the ages on the record Captain of the Starship.
Could you just walk into any record store and buy Captain of the Starship? Heck no!
And, speaking of that starship:
The Enterprise gets tiles for at least one hundred re-entries from space, of which it will do exactly none. The neato picture does remind me of the original teaser trailer for the 2009 Star Trek, with all the sweaty guys and the sparks and stuff. But at least that ship managed to make it into space, and everyone agreed on the name. (More on that later.)
3. The Only 1977 Twentieth Century Fox Sci-Fi Films You Need to Know About.
Tidbits about the still-mysterious Star Wars had cropped up in the last few issues, and the film was two months away from being released by the time issue #005 hit the stands, but the movie is entirely absent from the article entitled "Twin 20th Releases for SF Fans." Fox and friends were clearly very nervous about the movie (as evidenced by the teaser trailer, which looks questionable and sounds all wrong without John Williams' score), but they had much higher hopes for Ralph Bakshi's now-retitled Wizards.
It was already in theaters by the time this issue hit the stands, and the purporter isn't wrong about it being a warm-up for his Lord of the Rings, as Wizards does feature many of the worst excesses of that film. (I'm not a fan, is what I'm saying.) It's adorable that they really thought that Bakshi would be able to do the whole trilogy, though.
And speaking of movies with names that keep changing -
It would be officially re-re-titled Damnation Alley by the time it came out on October 21. And, remember, those giant cockroaches? Carefully researched, and totes possible.
4. It's All Part of my Star Trek Fantasy.
Just a nice 28" x 20" poster, available for a mere $3.60 from the Starlog Poster Gallery. Starlog was heavily into merch at the point, and good for them on that.
5. Star Trek vs. Censorship, Round 1.
In this issue's column, David Gerrold talks about the religious controversies surrounding the animated Star Trek episode "The Magicks of Megas-Tu," as well as his own episode "BEM." There were both complaints after the episodes aired, as well as by the network, nervously cutting out things that might have riled up the easily-riled.
The animated Trek is treated somewhat unfairly as a joke these days, and there's a mention above of Shatner having little love for it, but Mr. Gerrold always took it seriously; quite frankly, if it weren't worth taking seriously, nobody would have cared that it used devilish imagery.
6. Nothing About Star Wars, but At Least There's...
Anyway, when Time got around to doing an article about it in the October 17, 1977 issue, they had the advantage of being able to reference the obvious: "The Soviets have developed a 'hunter-killer' satellite, straight from Star Wars, that can track down orbiting U.S. spacecraft - and wipe them out." Further unneeded evidence that that movie changed everything, and changed it fast.
7. Hey, Read Something Else!
A full-page ad for Trek: The Magazine for Star Trek Fans. I've never laid eyes on a copy of this magazine in my life, but I feel like I already know it by heart anyway, since I read and re-read the Best of Trek compilations frequently as a kid. Between those and David Gerrold's book about the making of The Trouble with Tribbles, they instilled a love of non-fiction that's with me to this day. And it's also how I became aware of the fact that fans have this tendency to not get along with each other, and that many people felt that "Trekkie" was a slur compared to "Trekker." I lost my innocence that day.
8. The 3-D House of View-Masters.
The coverage of 3-D from the previous issue continues, this time with a whole heck of lot of technical information about the various processes. Also, how to look at pictures in 3-D using nothing but YOUR OWN EYES! And possibly a mirror. There was the Cross-Eyed Method...
...the Mirror Method (which, let's face it, is cheating)...
...and the Drift Method.
Hey, if you were looking at picture of Tokyo, would it be a Tokyo Drift? (Ba-boom! Thanks, I'll be here all week! Tip your waitress!)
Of the many diagrams and technical schematics, this is the only one I can really wrap my head around - hey, those are shapes! I recognize shapes - and it includes the return of our old pal The Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth.
And, as if it weren't bad enough that they have hunter-killer satellites, the Russians also have 70mm film stock. Shit's gettin' real!