When I was growing up (mostly) in the early-to-mid 1980s, with the World Wide Web still just a glint in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye, my fellow geeklings and I got our news of the geek entertainment world in one place: Starlog magazine. When the latest copy of Starlog landed in the mailbox each month, my family knew I’d be in my room devouring it for as long as it took me.
I don’t remember exactly when I stopped reading the magazine — before I went off to college, I’m pretty sure — but I have many strong, clear memories of my excitement at reading the latest article about the next Star Trek movie, or seeing the first on-set photos from Revenge of the Jedi (those who are old enough to remember will know why that isn’t a typo). I remember reading about all sorts of films that started to be made but then mysteriously never showed up in theaters. I remember nearly always enjoying David Gerrold’s regular column.
For myself and others like me, and for anyone else who’s interested in seeing how geeks got their entertainment news before “Internet” was a household word, old issues of Starlog are now available for free online to everyone! The first 224 issues of the magazine have so far been posted to archive.org — I don’t know if more are to come or not, but that takes you from its debut in August 1976 all the way to March 1996, by which time the World Wide Web had pretty much taken over as a geek news source, anyway.
There are far too many awesome issues to point out, and I haven’t had nearly enough free time to read through many of them, but one standout among the ones I’ve browsed is Issue #43, which has among its early pages a piece about Tom Baker leaving Doctor Who, a piece about some book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy becoming a hit in the U.K. and thus getting a print run in the U.S., and a piece about how Gary Kurtz would not be involved in the making of Revenge of the Jedi.
If you’ve been feeling old recently — and I’m about to turn 28 in hexadecimal, if you know what I mean, so I certainly have been — this is a great opportunity to turn those feelings into nostalgia.