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Quatro-Decadal Review, November 1979: A Brief Look Back

Sunday, October 7th, 2018 | Posted by Adrian Simmons

Star Trek Let That Be Your Last Battlefield-small

When you’re seven years old, you do not see what’s coming next between these two

I’m about to get into the November 1979 science fiction magazines. Dive Deep. But, there is a fundamental difference between November 1969, and November 1979 — I was born in 1969, but by 1979 I was 10 years old. I remember 1979. Or pieces of it anyway.

Before I got into the magazines I thought I’d see what I could recall from my younger years. In short — Star Wars is what I remember.

It loomed large over almost everything in my life at the time. I think I went to see it like… 7 times? And back then, back in 1977, that took work, dude.

I remember disco, I remember “Disco Duck.” I had, by 1979, watched the entire run of Star Trek (and I have to say, when you are 8-10 years old, each Star Trek episode was almost as good as Star Wars).

[Click the images for 1979-sized versions.]

I was aware, vaguely of the Twilight Zone, and very aware of Serling’s second (and far inferior show, but far more terrifying show to a 10-year-old, Night Gallery), and there was some Outer Limits mixed in there, too. I think I had sat through half of 2001 A Space Odyssey. I recall a very specific week in the late 70s when there was a James Bond marathon, and I drank that up (and, honestly, that was pretty much sci-fi, let’s not lie to ourselves. Except, maybe for From Russia With Love which was boring!)

On movies, outside of Star Wars, Alien was in theaters, but I was too young to see it. The first Star Trek movie I did see…. so disappointing.

Star Trek Security Guard

Star Trek security was ready for action.
There was no action to be had!

Rank and Bass’ The Hobbit animated show was awesome. Bakshi’s The Lord of the Rings, also disappointing.

Witch King of Angmar-small

Witch King of Angmar. Still terrifying!

There were still Saturday morning cartoons on TV — real cartoons, too. God, how I miss them so.

You’ll notice that most of my recollections are movies and TV, and a good chunk of them are actually still from 1960s. Planet of the Apes, which somehow I missed in the 1969 discussions, came out in ’69 and continued on until 1973.

About the only new sci-fi TV I do remember was The Martian Chronicles miniseries, which was actually from 1980, but I throw it in because honestly, new sci-fi TV in 1979 was a wasteland.

Martian Chronicles Night Meeting-small

A good adaptation of “Night Meeting,” and a good way to wrap up the series. Also, wisdom.

There were TV shows that would probably be best left unspoken, but I am here to speak! Ark II. Shazam (finally getting a decent movie in 2019!), Land of the Lost. Sleestak still creep me out, man.

Ark-II

 

Land of the Lost-small

Dinosaurs, alien pylon technology. What’s not to love?

TV brought me Godzilla movies and some 50s sci-fi movies. In fact, the American TV sf malaise was so bad that anime, or as we called it back then, “Japanimation,” was almost universally better. G-Force was on after I got home from School. Then Star Blazers. All of which were AWESOME. And, to be honest, I probably avoided getting sucked into the anime hole by sheer luck.

G-Force

Honestly, this is how the kids looked back in the 70s

But what of the writing? What of the written side of science fiction? Almost zero, my friends. Almost zero. At least on the periodicals. I don’t even recall that I was aware of them.

Now, I was aware of science fiction books, because my parents had several of them. Asimov (at least a dozen books), and Clarke, and Niven, Aldiss (one book), Clement, Bradbury, Tolkien, McCaffrey. But had I read any of them?… mmmmno… although I was fascinated by the covers (and still am!)

Asimov the Martian Way

McCaffry Dragonflight-small

This sounds crazy, but I think (think) that I read Aldiss’ Starship in 1979 or 1980. That may have been the first sci-fi book I ever read. I know that my mom and I had read The Hobbit together, and that after that we read H.B. Piper’s Little Fuzzy.

Aldiss Starship-small

So I’m eager to see what I missed in the world of short fiction.

For my 1969 Decadal Review I read and reviewed six science fiction periodicals, plus a wrap-up, in the following order:

Amazing Stories, November 1969
Galaxy Science Fiction, November 1969
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November 1969
Worlds of If, November 1969
Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, November 1969
Venture Science Fiction, November 1969
Wrap-up


Adrian Simmons is an editor for Heroic Fantasy Quarterly — which is now rockin’ a Patreon Campaign. Help us get to the next level!

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