[FPSPACE] space.com Illustrated
Dwayne Allen Day
Tue, 29 Aug 2000 15:51:57 -0400 (EDT)
I just picked up a copy of the premier issue of Space.com Illustrated,
which is space.com's attempt to make it in the paper publishing
business. It is a strange piece of paper, Ill tell you.
The cover is illustrated with a photo of a pale androgynous elf wearing a
hindu-style hat made out of computer punch tape. What this has to do with
anything in the magazine is unclear to me (as well as to everyone I talked
to). What it has to do with space is even less clear. The people
who showed it to me admitted to a kind of jaw-dropping bewilderment
upon seeing it. There are a couple of postage-stamp sized space photos
down the left border.
Since the purpose of the cover is to catch the attention of your audience,
one wonders what kind of audience Space.com Illustrated is seeking. One
thing is for sure: this cover will not be ranked up there with National
Lampoon's "Buy this magazine or we shoot this dog" for All-Time Best
Magazine Cover. Maxim and various men's magazines have found that they
can increase circulation by sticking half-naked women on the cover.
Space.com Illustrated has decided that sickly androgynous teenagers is the
way to go.
Once you open the covers Space.com Illustrated has the look and feel of
one of those magazines that the airlines give out for free on their
planes. It is slick and glossy and filled with articles that can be read
in 5.3 minutes. Most of the articles average about a page and a half of
text or less. There is an article about space-walking, one about asteroid
impacts, and one about the rarity of earth-like planets. Then
there's an article about lunar geologist Paul Spudis. There's also a
ground-breaking exclusive article by Ray Bradbury on why we need to go to
The photos and layout are outstanding--huge, full-color glossy photos
dominate the magazine. But they tend to highlight the fact that the
articles are so small. One somewhat unfortunate shot features Robert
Zubrin (big surprise there) gazing heavenward with a telescope coming out
of his crotch.
Space.com is giving these away right now-just go to their website and
order one. You can subscribe for cheap-$10 for 6 issues. But take a look
at the first issue and see if you really want to spend that much.