Starlog magazine saved my life

My childhood was spent growing up in a quaint, country town on the south coast of England. By far the most important – and the most exciting – event in my 13-year-old life was being paid every month for my weekly paper-round. Not because I enjoyed receiving the veritable fortune of £35 for hauling half a ton of newspapers and hiking what felt like a thousand miles every week…but because it coincided with the last weekend of every month when I could catch the train to the nearest city, Southampton, which to this wide-eyed young man felt like a virtual metropolis.

It would take an hour or so to reach the city centre and then another 20 minutes walking to reach my destination: the biggest newsagent I had ever seen in my life. If I was travelling with friends, they’d never be able to keep up and chances are I had lost them far behind me by the time I reached the shop door. It didn’t matter, they all knew where I was racing to. It’s location on the infinitely long shelves that stretched to the back of the store and beyond was burned into my memory. I could spot it a mile away. There, tucked in and surrounded by other anonymous glossy magazines, was my salvation: Starlog. I would sit and read the entire issue cover to cover in the shop even before buying it.

Here was my last hope. It seemed other people, lots of other people – somewhere in the world, in a distant, faraway land – appreciated science-fiction and fantasy. I knew one day I would have to travel to this country and find them. My sanity, even my life depended on it. Within the pages of Starlog each month were insightful interviews, features on films I had never even heard of and pages of classified adverts offering blueprints of every Federation starship ever designed. This was my only means of contact with a different world that I longed to be part of. Every day for the next month I would read and re-read the whole magazine until, four agonising weeks later, payday arrived once again.