The 19 Coolest Things in Starlog #008: Doctor Who Books, Space Tickets, and Lucas Is Your New God

Friday, January 17, 2014 at 6:00 am

The eighth issue of Starlog hit the stands on July 14, 1977, the fifth of the eight-times-a-year issues. Star Wars doesn't dominate quite as much as the previous issue, but it's presence is still felt, and the both the Star Trek movie and the real-life Enterprise continue to sputter.

Wanna see all the stuff I skipped? The full run of Starlog is available over at the Internet Archive, and here are the previous installments of this series.

1. The Right to Bare Arms on Magazine Covers Should Be Infringed.
At least in this case. A picture without a big doughy arm would have been nice, but what are you donna do? Also, "tabletop" is used in a different way than it tends to be now, though those kinds of games will make an appearance toward the end of the issue.

2. Hey, Can I Buy Trek? (On a Newsstand)

Yikes! Forget I asked.

3. Gene Rodden-who Now?

Not too long ago, Gene Roddenberry was the lone unassailable genius the Starlog editors worshipped. No longer.

4. Scams, Vans, and other Quibbles.

I kinda feel like they're burying the lede: WORKING PHASERS. It's just as well that Star Fleet Research, Inc. didn't deliver!

"You didn't even mention my name" is right up there with "You had one job."

I'll let y'all hash it out for yourselves in the comments.

The Incredible Texas Hulk is not happy that Starlog failed to mention two of his favorite procreation-themed sci-fi movies, and even busts out a quote that I'm sure made him feel very clever.

Probably after taking a deep breath, Starlog replied thusly.


5. You'll Really Like the Minivan, We Promise!

The marketing team at 20th Century-Fox saddled with Damnation Alley Survival Run Damnation Alley (which was eventually released in October of that year, and not under the title Survival Run) decides that the hardware is the way to build anticipation for the movie. That's all people liked about Fox's Star Wars, right?

6. William Shatner, Man of Leisure (Suits).

This record did in fact come out as promised, and unlike Damnation Alley Survival Run Damnation Alley, the title was just William Shatner Live - sort of. The version released to stores was indeed called William Shatner Live, though since it was 1977, K-TEL's sub-label Imperial House also released a mail-order version called Captain of the Starship - William Shatner LIVE! Which is, let's face it, far more exciting.
I've embedded this commercial before, of course, but it's always worth repeating. I don't know why his admiring reference to Werner von Braun makes me laugh, but it does.

8. Tiny Insect, Big Words.

I'm pretty sure this is a first in Starlog: using a footnote to define a word so the readers don't have to go scrambling for a dictionary. Can't be too careful.

Y'know what movies lack these days? Showmanship, that's what. Razzle-dazzle. And, when thematically appropriate, illustrations of ginormous bucktoothed flies wearing Plastic Man glasses. And note that it was certified X, which in Britain in 1958 meant simply that you had to be 16 or older to get in.

9. Harlan Ellison, Misanthropic Humanist.

Harlan Ellison discussing working on a script for the Logan's Run television show. This kind of thing is why I respect him: not his legendary crankiness, but that at the heart of it is a real love for humanity and for justice - and he realized that that necessarily included feminism, which was by no means a popular stance for sci-fi writers to take in 1977.

Yeah, but they'd probably just bring him back to life with Khan's blood. (Actually, no, that's a terrible idea. I hope they never do that.)

The full story of Harlan's pitch for the Star Trek movie is included, of all places, as an extended footnote in Stephen King's great non-fiction book Danse Macabre. Admittedly, in that version of the story it's not Aztecs but Mayans, as they were in this interview with Tom Snyder from 1976. (The relevant part begins at about 6:00.) Just goes to show that even where Harlan Ellison is involved, reality is a relative thing.

10. Speaking of Rejected Star Trek Proposals....

From Susan Sackett's column. The script that Bryant and Scott wrote was Planet of the Titans . Exactly what Philip Kaufman's new story idea was is unclear; in an interview with Ain't It Cool News this past January, he talked about what sounds mostly like the Titans story without describing what his new one was. And, that the head of the studio declared, "There's no future in science fiction."

Not in the movies, anyway; the first rumblings of a possible TV show, and fourth network, are heard.

Oh, how I'd love to see that questionnaire sent to the fan clubs.

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