Science Fiction and Me . . . Part One

As a child of the Fifties, I was nurtured by a society that was rushing to embrace the future.  I watched the old Buster Crabbe Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials on TV—we had the first one on our block. And there was Captain Video, Tom Corbett—the ORIGINAL Space Cadet—Rocky Jones, and a gaggle of others.

My dad read science fiction, and so did I. Asimov’s juveniles–the “Lucky Starr” books and all the others; lots of Bradbury anthologies to take my time with; and, perhaps most-thrillingly, the space operas of E.E. “Doc” Smith: the famous “Lensman” series, in which Doc basically invented everything we know and recognize as outer-space science fiction.

I saw every sci-fi film of the decade—some, more than a few times.

So, when the opportunity to become an assistant editor at a new magazine about science fiction came my way in 1976, I hit the afterburners. I was teaching third grade in a New York City public school, and had been for a few years. But by that time I was also contributing stuff to local and national pop and rock monthlies, like Creem, Hit Parader, and Rock Scene. I contributed articles, reviews, and analyses of science fiction films, martial arts movies and books, animation, and comics.

Starlog magazine began life as a one-shot—a nostalgic tribute to Star Trek and the sci-fi films of the ‘50s and ‘60s. It sold so well that the distributor demanded it be produced as a frequency mag—a quarterly, to begin with.  When the first issue hit the stand in ’76, I reviewed it for Rock Scene. Six months later, I was working there, in a former broom closet, for $75 a week.

My first assignment was to edit an essay written by Isaac Asimov.

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