The magazine was first published back in August 1976 (with a beautiful Star Trek cover) and the periodical looked at the state of the genre -- film and TV -- with great detail, love and intelligence. Starlog was around for the heyday of Space:1999, Star Wars, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Alien, Battlestar Galactica, The Black Hole, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and so many other landmarks of the disco decade.
In the eighties, the mag covered everything from Doctor Who and Blake's 7 to Highlander, Aliens and the Star Trek feature films. I had a subscription to the magazine in the 1980s and early 1990s, and spent the early part of the Reagan Era avidly collecting back issues at Englishtown Flea Market (where I could purchase each issue for $2.00).
I especially remember reading and enjoying David Gerrold's columns in Starlog over the years ("State of the Art," and "Rumblings"), plus David Hirsch's great updates about the Gerry Anderson universe (called "Space Report"). I also recall with affection issue #33, which featured reviews of Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Harlan Ellison, editor Howard ("Lastword") Zimmerman and Gerrold. Over the years, I enjoyed reading extensive interviews and detailed retrospective pieces from great writers like Lee Goldberg and Jean-Marc Lofficier. Every summer for a while, Starlog ran a must-have summer review issue too, and had the likes of Ben Bova, Theodore Sturgeon, Arthur C. Clarke, Alan Dean Foster and Robert Bloch penning critiques.
Sure, there was occasionally stuff to complain about in Starlog. For instance, the coverage of Space:1999 seemed particularly jaundiced; I remember how every Star Trek cast member and writer interviewed by the magazine felt compelled to slag it off, even when it wasn't the topic of the interview. But that's water under the bridge. What Famous Monsters represents to the older generation, Starlog surely represents to the Star Wars generation (my generation...Generation X).
I can't tell you exactly why, but I stopped reading and collecting Starlog sometime in the early 1990s, after I graduated from the University of Richmond. Yet every time I spotted a fresh issue at a newsstand or in a book shop, I felt happy and content to see that a cherished old friend -- one which did so much to ignite my love of the genre in film and television, not to mention journalism --- was still going strong.
All good things must come to an end, I suppose, even Starlog. For today I simply want to toast the 33-year old magazine that started so many of us off on our fantastic odysseys. Thanks for all the memories, Starlog, and job well done. If you can, come back to print soon...bigger and better than ever.
You know, just thinking about the magazine makes me want to get my back issues out of storage and read 'em all again...