Starlog Log #4


What is the long term goal of fandom? You’d think it’d just be enjoyment, using something you already love and branching it off into a thousand other avenues to seek out more of that personal fulfillment for however long it lasts (and while to some fans that commitment is life-long, there’s no guarantee it will—tastes change, no matter how strongly people cling to the remnants of their childhoods.) It should be easily understood, same as any other hobby and pastime, something to do when the important stuff is over, albeit most fandoms seem to go an extra step compared to what most people do during their free time (although if you compared it to the time and effort spent by sports fans or people who modify cars or other kinds of hobbies no one really bats an eye at, they might end up looking pretty similar.) But is it just a pastime, or does a love of SF media mark you out as someone more, someone with potential to do truly great things?

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The last thing I want this site to be is timely, but seeing some online noise about remarks in this interview (specifically “…these characters are just functions…”) inspired me—I had been writing about this kind of fighting game design philosophy for a couple of months, and this gives me the opportunity to expound a little more.

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Starlog Log #3


I lived in the odd transition in the dissemination of information, when print and early Internet lived side-by-side on more or less equal terms, as the latter was not nearly as universal as it would become and had very few centralized hubs for reference—instead, there were a series of arcane discussion forums and fan sites whose veracity was always in question, all long before more reliable sites like Wikipedia built themselves up and became the wellspring for all things. I was around in the days when a magazine could still print articles about old/new TV shows or movies or whatever, pure information without much in the way of original reporting, but was also around when the Internet made those articles (even more) redundant, probably around the early 2000s, a shift that would seem seismic if it wasn’t about something so completely frivolous. Still, having essentially one source for all basic information about something like entertainment, be it Wikipedia or its many gaudy fan-edited mutant offspring, IMDB, or probably a million hyper-specialized sites, is still something that would only exist in the dreams of the people reading and writing Starlog thirty or more years ago.

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Starlog Log #2


The interactions between fans and creators is one of those topics that won’t go away—not as long as they keep coming up with more ways for fans and creators to interact, whether either party wants to or not. In the case of SF, most of its history of fan interaction has to be seen in the context of its early days, where the “creators” were split into two groups: writers, rarely rising above the lowest of low-key fame, and the low-level actors who made up the casts of TV series and some movies, who were as close to being celebrities as this field got without actually being that unattainable stereotype (especially as they got further away in years from their star-making roles.) The primary ways for fans to interact with these two groups were conventions (which had been going on as far back as the late thirties, where it was entirely writers and members of highly-organized fan clubs) and letter-writing. Starlog provided the third method.

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Starlog Log #1


Over the last few years, I’ve become obsessively interested in the science fiction (or speculative fiction, if you prefer…this is why just using SF is useful, no one can get mad at which terminology you use) of the seventies, which saw the genre explode in multiple mediums and then transition into what is (more or less) its current position in the cultural world. This was partly inspired by my relatively recent dives into the history of SF literature (I, unlike a lot of fans, didn’t become a massive fiction reader until late adolescence), which was the parallel force to the higher-profile cinematic SF, influencing and contrasting it; I was also rereading Keith Phipps’ “Laser Age” column on the much-missed Dissolve site, which chronicled that very period, tracing the trends and through-lines of the science fiction boom period instigated by the one-two punch of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes in 1968. The more I’ve read about this time, which followed the slow dissolution of the sixties revolutionary and counter-cultural movements in the western world (which still lingered in remnant form for decades afterwards) and fully embraced the casually cynical worldview that appeared in its wake, the more fascinating it seems, a time of weird ideas and ambitions and money to throw around chasing dreams forged by ex-hippies, paranoids, and cynical businessmen trying to co-opt the first two. SF suddenly appeared in all mediums, and much of it tried to have something to say, successfully or otherwise.

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