Donald Allen Wollheim (October 1, 1914 – November 2, 1990) was an American science fiction editor, publisher, writer, and fan. As an author, he published under his own name as well as under pseudonyms, including David Grinnell.
Donald A. Wollheim
|Born||Donald Allen Wollheim|
October 1, 1914
New York City, New York, United States
|Died||November 2, 1990 (aged 76)|
New York City, New York, United States
|Pen name||David Grinnell|
Millard Verne Gordon
|Occupation||Publisher, editor, writer, critic|
|Genre||Science fiction, fantasy|
|Children||Elizabeth Rosalind 'Betsy' Wollheim|
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (first edition, 1979) calls Wollheim "one of the first and most vociferous sf fans." He published numerous fanzines and co-edited the early Fanciful Tales of Space and Time. His importance to early fandom is chronicled in the 1974 book The Immortal Storm by Sam Moskowitz and in the 1977 book The Futurians by Damon Knight.
Wollheim organized the first science fiction convention, when a group from New York met with a group from Philadelphia on October 22, 1936 in Philadelphia. The modern Philcon convention claims descent from this event. Out of this meeting, plans were formed for regional and national meetings, including the first Worldcon.
Wollheim was a member of the New York Science Fiction League, one of the clubs established by Hugo Gernsback to promote science fiction. When payment was not forthcoming for the first story he sold to Gernsback, Wollheim formed a group with several other authors, and successfully sued for payment. He was expelled from the Science Fiction League as "a disruptive influence" but was later reinstated. From the September 1935 issue of Gernsback's Wonder Stories:
THREE MEMBERS EXPELLED
It grieves us to announce that we have found the first disloyalty in our organization... These members we expelled on June 12th. Their names are Donald A. Wollheim, John B. Michel, and William S. Sykora - three active fans who just got themselves onto the wrong road.
In 1937 Wollheim founded the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, whose first mailing (July 1937) included this statement from him: "There are many fans desiring to put out a voice who dare not, for fear of being obliged to keep it up, and for the worry and time taken by subscriptions and advertising. It is for them and for the fan who admits it is his hobby and not his business that we formed the FAPA." In 1938, with several friends, he formed the Futurians—arguably the best-known of the science fiction clubs. At one time or another, the membership included Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Cyril Kornbluth, James Blish, John Michel, Judith Merril, Robert A. W. Lowndes, Richard Wilson, Damon Knight, Virginia Kidd, and Larry T. Shaw. In 1943 Wollheim married fellow Futurian Elsie Balter (1910–1996). It proved to be a lasting marriage and a publishing partnership.
The Futurians became less fan-oriented and more professional after 1940. Its conferences and workshops focused on writing, editing, and publishing, with many of its members interested in all three.
He was not paid for the story, and when he learned that other authors had not been paid either, he said so in the Bulletin of the Terrestrial Fantascience Guild. Publisher Hugo Gernsback eventually settled with Wollheim and the other authors out of court for $75. However, when Wollheim submitted another story ("The Space Lens") under the pseudonym Millard Verne Gordon, he was once again cheated by Gernsback who published it in the September 1935 issue. His third known story was published in Fanciful Tales of Time and Space, Fall 1936, a fanzine that he edited himself. That year he also published and edited another short-lived fanzine, Phantagraph.
Wollheim's stories were published regularly from 1940; at the same time he was becoming an important editor. In the 1950s and 60s he wrote chiefly novels. He usually used pseudonyms for works aimed at grownups, and wrote children's novels under his own name. Notable and popular were the eight "Mike Mars" books for children, which explored different facets of the NASA space program. Also well-received were the "Secret" books for young readers: The Secret of Saturn's Rings (1954), Secret of the Martian Moons (1955), and The Secret of the Ninth Planet (1959). As Martin Pearson he published the "Ajax Calkins" series, which became the basis for his novel Destiny's Orbit (1962). A sequel, Destination: Saturn was published in 1967 in collaboration with Lin Carter. The Universe Makers (1971) is a discussion of themes and philosophy in science fiction.
His daughter Betsy declared: "In true editorial fashion, he was honest about the quality of his own writing. He felt it was fair to middling at best. He always knew that his great talent was as an editor."
Robert Silverberg said that Wollheim was "one of the most significant figures in 20th century American science fiction publishing," adding, "A plausible case could be made that he was the most significant figure — responsible in large measure for the development of the science fiction paperback, the science fiction anthology, and the whole post-Tolkien boom in fantasy fiction."
In late 1940, Wollheim noticed a new magazine titled Stirring Detective and Western Stories on the newsstands. He wrote to the publishers, Albing Publications, to see if they were interested in adding a science fiction title to their list, and he was invited to meet them. They did not have capital, however, and only guaranteed him a salary if the magazines were successful. He approached some of his fellow Futurians for free stories (some published under pseudonyms to protect their reputations with paying editors). It resulted in Wollheim's editing two of the earliest periodicals devoted to science fiction, the Cosmic Stories and Stirring Science Stories magazines starting in February 1941. After the magazines were cancelled later in 1941, Wollheim was able to find another publisher, Manhattan Fiction Publications, and a fourth issue of Stirring appeared, dated March 1942. Wartime constraints prevented ongoing publication, and there were no more issues of either title.
Wollheim edited the first science fiction anthology to be mass-marketed, The Pocket Book of Science Fiction (1943). It was also the first book containing the words "science fiction" in the title. It included works by Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, T. S. Stribling, Stephen Vincent Benét, Ambrose Bierce, and H. G. Wells. In 1945 Wollheim edited the first hardcover anthology from a major publisher and the first omnibus, The Viking Portable Novels of Science. He also edited the first anthology of original science fiction, The Girl With the Hungry Eyes (1947), although there is evidence that this last was originally intended to be the first issue of a new magazine.
Between 1947 and 1951 he was editor at the pioneering paperback publisher Avon Books, where he made available highly affordable editions of the works of A. Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft, and C. S. Lewis' Silent Planet space trilogy, bringing these previously little known authors a wide readership. During this period he also edited eighteen issues of the influential Avon Fantasy Reader as well as three of the Avon Science Fiction Reader. These periodicals contained mostly reprints and a few original stories.
In 1952 Wollheim left Avon to work for A. A. Wyn at the Ace Magazine Company and spearheaded a new paperback book list, Ace Books. In 1953 he introduced science fiction to the Ace lineup, and for 20 years as editor-in-chief was responsible for their multi-genre list and, most important to him, their renowned sf list. Wollheim invented the Ace Doubles series which consisted of pairs of books, usually by different authors, bound back-to-back with two "front" covers. Because these paired books had to fit a fixed total page length, one or both were usually abridged to fit, and Wollheim often made other editorial alterations — as witness the differences between Poul Anderson's Ace novel War of the Wing-Men and its definitive revised edition, The Man Who Counts. Among the authors who made their paperback debuts in Ace Doubles were Philip K. Dick, Samuel R. Delany, Leigh Brackett, Ursula K. Le Guin, and John Brunner. William S. Burroughs' first book, Junkie, was published as an Ace Double. Wollheim also helped develop Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Silverberg, Avram Davidson, Fritz Leiber, Andre Norton, Thomas Burnett Swann, Jack Vance, and Roger Zelazny, among others. While at Ace, he and co-editor Terry Carr began an annual anthology series, The World's Best Science Fiction, the first collection of what they considered the best of the prior year's short stories, from magazines, hardcovers, paperback collections and other anthologies.
In the early 1960s Ace reintroduced Edgar Rice Burroughs' work, which had long been out of print, and in 1965, Ace bought the paperback rights to Dune. (Herbert's title worried Wollheim, who feared it would be mistaken for a western.) Eventually, Ace introduced single paperback books and became one of the preeminent genre publishers. Ace and Ballantine dominated sf in the 1960s and built the genre by publishing original material as well as reprints.
Before the 1960s, no American paperback publisher would publish fantasy. It was believed that there was no public for fantasy and that it would not sell. Wollheim published an unauthorized paperback edition of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in three volumes, the first mass-market paperback edition of Tolkien's epic, despite not being a fantasy fan. In a 2006 interview, Betsy Wollheim said:
When he called up Professor Tolkien in 1964 and asked if he could publish Lord of the Rings as Ace paperbacks, Tolkien said he would never allow his great works to appear in so 'degenerate a form' as the paperback book. Don was one of the fathers of the entire paperback industry, since before he spearheaded the Ace line he was the originating editor-in-chief of the Avon paperback list in 1945, so he took this personally. He was very offended. He did a little research and discovered a loophole in the copyright. Houghton Mifflin, Tolkien’s American hardcover publisher, had neglected to protect the work in the United States. So, incensed by Tolkien’s response, he realized that he could legally publish them and did.
This brash action (which ultimately benefited his primary competitors) was really the Big Bang that founded the modern fantasy field, and only someone like my father could have done that. He did pay Tolkien, and he was responsible for making not only Tolkien but Ballantine Books extremely wealthy. He was bitter about that, and frankly that’s probably why he never got the Hugo he wanted. But if he hadn’t done it, who knows when — or if — those books would have been published in paperback?
Tolkien authorized a paperback edition of The Hobbit in 1961, though that edition was never made available outside the U.K. Eventually, he supported paperback editions of The Lord of the Rings and several of his other texts, but whether he was persuaded to do so by the sales of the Ace editions is unknown. In any case, Ace was forced to cease publishing the unauthorized edition and to pay Tolkien for their sales following a grass-roots campaign by Tolkien's U.S. fans. A 1993 court determined that the copyright loophole suggested by Ace Books was invalid and its paperback edition was found to have been a violation of copyright under US law. (At this time, the U.S. had yet to join the International Copyright Convention, and most laws on the books existed to protect domestic creations from foreign infringement. Houghton Mifflin was technically in violation of the law when they exceeded their import limits and failed to renew their interim copyright.) In the Locus obituary for Donald Wollheim, however, more details emerge:
Houghton-Mifflin had imported sheets instead of printing their own edition, but they didn't want to sell paperback rights. Ace printed the first paperback edition and caused such a furor that Tolkien rewrote the books enough to get a new copyright, then sold them to Ballantine. The rest is history. Although Ace and Wollheim have become the villains in the Tolkien publishing gospel, it's probable that the whole Tolkien boom would not have happened if Ace hadn't published them.
Wollheim left Ace in 1971. Frederik Pohl describes the circumstances:
Unfortunately, when Wyn died [in 1968] the company was sold to a consortium headed by a bank. ... Few of them had any publishing experience before they found themselves running Ace. It showed. Before long, bills weren't being paid, authors' advances and royalties were delayed, budgets were cut back, and most of Donald's time was spent trying to soothe authors and agents who were indignant, and had every right to be, at the way they were treated.
Upon leaving Ace, he and his wife, Elsie Balter Wollheim, founded DAW Books, named for his initials. DAW can claim to be the first mass market specialist science fiction and fantasy fiction publishing house. DAW issued its first four titles in April 1972. Most of the writers whom he had developed at Ace went with him to DAW: Marion Zimmer Bradley, Andre Norton, Philip K. Dick, John Brunner, A. Bertram Chandler, Kenneth Bulmer, Gordon R. Dickson, A. E. van Vogt, and Jack Vance. In later years, when his distributor, New American Library, threatened to withhold Thomas Burnett Swann's Biblical fantasy How Are the Mighty Fallen (1974) because of its homosexual content, Wollheim fought vigorously against their decision and they relented.
His later author discoveries included Tanith Lee, Jennifer Roberson, Michael Shea, Tad Williams, Celia S. Friedman, and C. J. Cherryh, whose Downbelow Station (1982) was the first DAW book to win the Hugo Award for best novel. He was also able to give a number of British writers — including E. C. Tubb, Brian Stableford, Barrington Bayley, and Michael Coney — a new American audience. He published translations of international sf as well as anthologies of translated stories, Best From the Rest of the World. With the help of Arthur W. Saha, Wollheim also edited and published the popular "Annual World's Best Science Fiction" anthology from 1971 until his death.
Algis Budrys in 1966 gave Wollheim a Galaxy Bookshelf award "for doing his job". Upon Wollheim's death in 1990, the prolific editor Robert Silverberg argued (above) that he may have been "the most significant figure" in American SF publishing.
Robert Jordan credits Wollheim for helping to launch his (Jordan's) career. Wollheim made an offer for Jordan's first novel, Warriors of the Ataii, though he withdrew the offer when Jordan requested some minor changes to the contract. Jordan claims that Wollheim's first, 'laudatory' letter convinced him that he could write, and so he chose to remember the first letter and forget about the second. The novel was never published, but Jordan went on to write the immensely successful Wheel of Time series for a different publisher.
Marion Zimmer Bradley referred to him as "a second father", Frederik Pohl called him "a founder", and Robert Silverberg says he was "seriously underrated" and "one of the great shapers of science-fiction publishing in the United States". In 1977 scholar Robert Scholes named Wollheim "one of the most important editors and publishers of science fiction."
From 1975 on, Wollheim received several special awards for his contributions to science fiction and to fantasy, including one at the 1975 World SF Convention and runner-up to Ian & Betty Ballantine at the 1975 World Fantasy Convention.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted him in 2002, its seventh class of two deceased and two living persons. He is the third person inducted primarily for his work as editor or publisher, after the inaugural 1996 pair Hugo Gernsback and John W Campbell.
The 46th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), also known as Nolacon II, was held 1–5 September 1988 at the Marriott, Sheraton, and International Hotels, and the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.
The chairman was John H. Guidry.
The guests of honor were Donald A. Wollheim (pro) and Roger Sims (fan).
The toastmaster was Mike Resnick.
Total attendance was approximately 5,300.Arthur W. Saha
Arthur William Saha (October 31, 1923 – November 19, 1999) was an American speculative fiction editor and anthologist, closely associated with publisher Donald A. Wollheim.Avon Fantasy Reader
Avon Fantasy Reader was a digest size magazine (sometimes classed as a series of anthologies) which reprinted science fiction and fantasy literature by now well-known authors. It was edited by Donald A. Wollheim and published by Avon. The magazine had one spin off, Avon Science Fiction Reader, with which it merged on its cancellation to become Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader.Betsy Wollheim
Elizabeth Rosalind 'Betsy' Wollheim (born 5 December 1951, New York) is the President, co-Publisher and co-Editor-in-Chief of science fiction and fantasy publisher DAW Books, 'a small private company, owned exclusively by its publishers.' The latter roles are shared with Sheila E. Gilbert. She had worked at DAW as an associate editor from 1975. She is a recipient of the World Fantasy Award—Life Achievement.
Her father, Donald A. Wollheim, with her mother Elsie B. Wollheim, established DAW Books in 1971. She took over leadership of DAW in 1985.Brothers of Earth
Brothers of Earth is a 1976 science fiction novel by American writer C. J. Cherryh. It was the second of Cherryh's novels to be published, appearing after Gate of Ivrel, although she had completed and submitted Brothers of Earth first. Donald A. Wollheim, the editor of DAW Books, decided that publishing Gate of Ivrel first would be more commercially desirable, so Brothers of Earth was delayed until the former was released.
The book was first published as a hardcover Science Fiction Book Club edition in June, 1976 and followed by the first DAW paperback edition in October of that year. In 2003, DAW re-released the book in an omnibus edition along with Cherryh's 1977 novel Hunter of Worlds. The omnibus edition was entitled At the Edge of Space.
The novel is set in Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe. Although it was the first book set in that universe to be released, it takes place in the far future of her Alliance-Union timeline. The work was ranked 10th on the 1977 Locus Award for Best Novel.DAW Books
DAW Books is an American science fiction and fantasy publisher, founded by Donald A. Wollheim following his departure from Ace Books in 1971. The company claims to be "the first publishing company ever devoted exclusively to science fiction and fantasy." The first DAW Book published was the 1972 short story collection Spell of the Witch World, by Andre Norton.In its early years under the leadership of Wollheim and his wife Elsie, DAW gained a reputation of publishing popular, though not always critically acclaimed, works of science fiction and fantasy. Nevertheless, in the 1970s the company published numerous books by award-winning authors such as Marion Zimmer Bradley, Fritz Leiber, Edward Llewellyn, Jerry Pournelle, Roger Zelazny, and many others. In 1982, C. J. Cherryh's Downbelow Station was the first DAW book to win the Hugo Award for best novel, gaining the publishing house increased respect within the industry.Until June 1984, all DAW books were characterized by yellow spines, and a prominent yellow cover box containing the company's logo as well as a chronological publication number. When the design was changed, the chronological number was retained, but moved to the copyright page and renamed the DAW Collectors' Book Number.As of October 2010, the company had published more than 1,500 titles during its 38-year history.Although it has a distribution relationship with Penguin Group and is headquartered in Penguin USA's offices, DAW is editorially independent and closely held by its current publishers, Betsy Wollheim (Donald's daughter) and Sheila E. Gilbert. The company's offices are in New York City.Mimic 2
Mimic 2 is a 2001 science fiction horror film, directed by Jean de Segonzac, with a script inspired by a short story of the same name by Donald A. Wollheim. The movie was a direct-to-DVD sequel to Mimic (1997), and was followed by Mimic 3: Sentinel (2003).
The thriller stars long-time film veteran Edward Albert, along with Alix Koromzay (returning from the original film), Bruno Campos and Jon Polito.Orbit Science Fiction
Orbit Science Fiction was an American science fiction magazine anthology published in 1953 and 1954 by the Hanro Corporation. Only 5 issues were published, each of which were edited by Donald A. Wollheim, although Jules Saltman was credited within the publication. Several prominent science fiction writers published short stories within Orbit, including Philip K. Dick, Donald A. Wollheim, and Michael Shaara. Each issue was published as a digest, and originally sold for $0.35.Out of This World Adventures
Out of This World Adventures was a pulp magazine which published two issues, in July and December 1950. It included several pages of comics as well as science fiction stories. It was edited by Donald A. Wollheim and published by Avon. Sales were weak, and after two issues Avon decided to cancel it.Terry Carr
Terry Gene Carr (February 19, 1937 – April 7, 1987) was an American science fiction fan, author, editor, and writing instructor.The 1979 Annual World's Best SF
The 1979 Annual World's Best SF is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Arthur W. Saha, the eighth volume in a series of nineteen. It was first published in paperback by DAW Books in May 1979. It was reissued by DAW in 1984 under the variant title Wollheim's World's Best SF: Series Eight, this time with cover art by Olivero Berni.
The book collects ten novellas, novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors, with an introduction by Wollheim. The stories were previously published in 1978 in the magazines Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the anthologies Envisioned Worlds, Cassandra Rising, Stellar #4, and Universe 8.The 1984 Annual World's Best SF
The 1984 Annual World's Best SF is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Arthur W. Saha, the thirteenth volume in a series of nineteen. It was first published in paperback by DAW Books in June 1984, followed by a hardcover edition issued in August of the same year by the same publisher as a selection of the Science Fiction Book Club. For the hardcover edition the original cover art by Vincent Di Fate was replaced by a new cover painting by Richard Powers.
The book collects ten novellas, novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors, with an introduction by Wollheim. The stories were previously published in 1983 in the magazines Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Amazing Science Fiction, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the anthology Chrysalis 10.The 1985 Annual World's Best SF
The 1985 Annual World's Best SF is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Arthur W. Saha, the fourteenth volume in a series of nineteen. It was first published in paperback by DAW Books in June 1985, followed by a hardcover edition issued in September of the same year by the same publisher as a selection of the Science Fiction Book Club. For the hardcover edition the original cover art by Frank Kelly Freas was replaced by a new cover painting by Richard Powers.
The book collects ten novellas, novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors, with an introduction by Wollheim. The stories were previously published in 1984 in the magazines The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Missouri Review, and Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and the anthologies Habitats and The Clarion Awards.The Year's Best Fantasy Stories (series)
The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories was a series of annual anthologies published by DAW Books from 1975 to 1988 under the successive editorships of Lin Carter from 1975 to 1980 and Arthur W. Saha from 1981 to 1988. The series was a companion to DAW’s The Annual World’s Best SF, issued from 1972 to 1990 under the editorship of Saha with publisher Donald A. Wollheim, and The Year's Best Horror Stories, issued from 1971 to 1994, which performed a similar office for the science fiction and horror fiction genres.
Each annual volume reprinted what in the opinion of the editor was the best fantasy literature short fiction appearing in the previous year. Carter's picks tended to be idiosyncratic, concentrating on long-established authors in the field and reflecting his own particular enthusiasms. He also habitually padded out the volumes he edited with his own works, whether written singly, in collaboration, or under pseudonyms. Saha’s editorial choices more closely reflected the contemporary field and highlighted more emerging authors.
Under Carter's editorship surveys of "The Year’s Best Fantasy Books" and "The Year in Fantasy" rounded out each year’s collection, continuing the annual surveys of the year's best fantasy fiction he had formerly contributed to Castle of Frankenstein before that magazine's 1975 demise. Saha contented himself with a general introduction.Uncanny Tales (Canadian pulp magazine)
Uncanny Tales was a Canadian science fiction pulp magazine edited by Melvin R. Colby that ran from November 1940 to September 1943. It was created in response to the wartime reduction of imports on British and American science-fiction pulp magazines. Initially it contained stories only from Canadian authors, with much of its contents supplied by Thomas P. Kelley, but within a few issues Colby began to obtain reprint rights to American stories from Donald A. Wollheim and Sam Moskowitz. Paper shortages eventually forced the magazine to shut down, and it is now extremely rare.World's Best Science Fiction
World's Best Science Fiction was a series of annual paperback anthologies published by Ace Books from 1965 to 1971 under the editorship of Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr. Some volumes were also issued in hardcover through the Science Fiction Book Club or (in the United Kingdom) by Gollancz.
Each volume included the year of publication after the title, though when the first four volumes were subsequently reprinted the year designation was replaced by a numerical one (First through Fourth Series in place of 1965 to 1971).
Each annual volume reprinted what in the opinion of the editors was the best science fiction short stories appearing in the previous year. The series also aimed to discover and nurture new talent. It featured both occasionally recurring authors and writers new to the science fiction genre.
After the editors left Ace, each separately edited a continuation series, Wollheim (with Arthur W. Saha) The Annual World’s Best SF (DAW Books, 1972–1990), and Carr The Best Science Fiction of the Year (Ballantine Books, 1972–1980, Pocket Books, 1981–1983, Baen Books, 1984, Tor Books, 1985–1987).