Starlog, the very significant and much-missed science fiction magazine that ran from 1976 to 2009, has now been made available in full courtesy of the Magazine Rack section of the Internet Archive, which has put the entire run of issues up online, from its Star Trek-inspired inception to its eventual bankruptcy. Starlog was lucky – or aware of the zeitgeist – enough to launch almost contemporaneously with the debut of the first Star Wars movie, and rode the impetus that gave for science fiction over 375 issues. It’s not clear whether the Internet Archive collection is complete as claimed – for instance, a search for issue 375 comes up negative – but it certainly seems to have much of the print run, including the celebrated issue 7 which first reported on Star Wars, with one of the first X-Wing covers ever to see the light of day. A search on the Archive for Starlog issues turns up issue numbers well into the upper 200s.
Starlog continues to enjoy a sort of online afterlife, with a relaunched website debuting earlier this year devoted to “the latest in science fiction, fantasy and geek culture,” and planned digital-only magazine under the auspices of former sister publication Fangoria. “In 2009, Starlog went into radio silence, with its future remaining unsure,” runs the introduction. “But as all sci-fi fans know, nothing ever truly dies in the realm of the incredible. So now, after 5 years of dormancy, Starlog is returning with a new look, new sensibility and a new perspective on our ever-changing zeitgeist.” Meanwhile, aficionados and historians of the genre are free to dive back into the past and revisit some great memories.
Internet Archive is certainly comprehensive, but it’s not the most user-friendly. If these issues are really being released into the public domain, it’s be great if some group would repackage them. Options include:
1. Creating serial stories as one document.
2. Creating collections by the same author.
3. Creating collections of similar tales.
4. Creating audiobook versions through Librivox.
Yes, there might be legal complications, particularly if all the author sold was First Serial Rights. But it’d be worth the effort.