A long-time member of the World Science Fiction Society, he published a fanzine starting in the 1950s, wrote short stories, and moved on to edit several prominent science fiction magazines, as well as a number of anthologies. As editor emeritus of Weird Tales, he lectured at the Library of Congress in 2008. Wildside Press published his most recent book, Cat Tales: Fantastic Feline Fiction, in 2008.
George H. Scithers
|Born||May 14, 1929|
|Died||19 April 2010 (aged 80)|
|Notable works||Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales|
|Notable awards||Hugo Award (1978, 1980) Best Professional Editor|
Hugo Award (1964, 1968) Best Fanzine
World Fantasy Award (2002) Life Achievement
World Fantasy Award (1992) Special Award
Scithers' first published fiction, the story "Faithful Messenger", appeared in If magazine in 1969. His involvement in the field, however, dates back to 1957, when he began submitting to the fanzine Yandro. Two years later, he began publishing the Hugo Award-winning fanzine Amra. The term Swords and sorcery first appeared there, and Amra became a leading proponent of the subgenre. Several of the articles originally published in Amra were later re-printed as part of two volumes about Conan the Barbarian which Scithers co-edited with L. Sprague de Camp.
In 1963, Scithers chaired Discon I, the 21st Worldcon, held in Washington, D.C. He was a regular parliamentarian for business meetings of the World Science Fiction Society and authored a guide to running science fiction conventions, The Con-Committee Chairman's Guide based on his experiences chairing DisCon 1 in 1963.
In 1973, Scithers founded Owlswick Press, a small independent publishing company. In 1976, Owlswick published Scithers' book (under the pseudonym Karl Würf), To Serve Man: A Cookbook for People (including recipes for "Boiled Leg of Man", "Texas Chili with Cowboy", and "Person Kebabs").
In 1977, he was named the first editor for Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (IASFM). He remained in that position until 1982 and won two more Hugo Awards for his work there. After leaving IASFM, Scithers took the helm at Amazing Stories and edited that magazine until 1986.
In 1988, he worked with John Gregory Betancourt and Darrell Schweitzer to re-establish Weird Tales, the magazine that had introduced one of his earliest interests, Conan the Barbarian, to the world. In 1992, he and Schweitzer won a World Fantasy Award for their work on Weird Tales.
Scithers served in the Korean War with the United States Army. He was a member of the all-male literary banqueting club the Trap Door Spiders, which served as the basis of Isaac Asimov's fictional group of mystery solvers the Black Widowers. He was also very fond of owls and trains. He resided in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania where Weird Tales was edited in his basement, followed by Rockville, Maryland.
Scithers died April 19, 2010, two days after suffering a heart attack.
The 36th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), also known as IguanaCon II, was held August 30–September 4, 1978, at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Adams House, Phoenix Convention Center, and Phoenix Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Despite the name, this was the first "IguanaCon".
The original committee chairman was Greg Brown, who served for the first eighteen months of the convention committee's existence; he was replaced for the final six months prior to the convention and during the convention itself by Tim Kyger. Gary Farber was the de facto vice-chairman as well as director of operations during the convention.
The guests of honor were Harlan Ellison (pro) and Bill Bowers (fan). Josef Nesvadba had been announced as the European guest of honor for IguanaCon, but he could not get travel papers and did not attend. The toastmaster was F. M. Busby. Total attendance was approximately 4,700.38th World Science Fiction Convention
The 38th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), also known as Noreascon Two, was held August 29–September 1, 1980, at the Sheraton-Boston Hotel and Hynes Civic Auditorium in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The supporting organization was Massachusetts Convention Fandom, Inc.
The chairman was Leslie Turek. The guests of honor were Damon Knight (pro), Kate Wilhelm (pro), and Bruce Pelz (fan). The toastmaster was Robert Silverberg. Total attendance was approximately 5,850.Another Round at the Spaceport Bar
Another Round at the Spaceport Bar is an anthology of science fiction club tales edited by George H. Scithers and Darrell Schweitzer. It was first published in paperback by Avon Books in April 1989. The first British edition was issued in paperback by New English Library in January 1992.Asimov's SF Adventure Magazine
Asimov's SF Adventure Magazine was a science fiction magazine which lasted from late 1978 to late 1979. It was published by Davis Publications out of New York City and was edited by George H. Scithers. After releasing only four issues, Asimov's SF Adventure Magazine ceased publication.Azazel (Asimov)
Azazel is a character created by Isaac Asimov and featured in a series of fantasy short stories. Azazel is a two-centimeter-tall demon (or extraterrestrial), named after the Biblical demon.
Some of these stories were collected in Azazel, first published in 1988. The stories take the form of conversations between an unnamed writer (whom Asimov identifies in the collection introduction as himself) and a shiftless friend named George (named in "The Two-Centimeter Demon" as George Bitternut). At these meetings George tells how he is able to conjure up Azazel and their adventures together. George's greatest goal in life is a free lunch (or dinner, or ride, etc.), but Azazel is constrained so that he cannot directly benefit George. George can only call upon Azazel for favors to various friends, which invariably go awry. The stories' theme about a demon or alien that grants wishes echoes an earlier work by Lester del Rey, titled "No Strings Attached" from 1954.
"Getting Even" (1980) was the first story featuring Azazel, and was also the first "Union Club Mystery". Asimov stated that this story was omitted from both The Union Club Mysteries (1983) and the Azazel collection because it did not match the later stories in either series. However, it does appear in another anthology, Tales from the Spaceport Bar."Perfectly Formal" (1991) was a story within a story, purportedly written by a robot called Cal. It appeared in a story (also called "Cal") about a robot who learns to write stories. "Cal" appeared in the collection Gold.Disclave
Disclave was a science fiction convention run by the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA) in or near Washington, D.C., in the spring of nearly every year from 1950 through 1997. By many counts, it was the third-oldest science fiction convention.
At first it was intermittent and small, with an attendance as low as 22 people (in 1953). From 1965 on, it happened every year. From 1971 on, it lasted the three days of Memorial Day weekend. For a notable section of the SF community, that weekend was considered Disclave's; even after the final session, several years passed before a similar mid-Atlantic group (Balticon) began meeting on Memorial Day.
The highest attendance was 1485 (in 1979), 85 more members than in 1981 when Isaac Asimov was the Guest of Honor. Some other Guests of Honor have been Lois McMaster Bujold, Gene Wolfe, George R. R. Martin, Connie Willis and William Gibson. Notable chairs were Jay Haldeman, Alexis A. Gilliland and Jack Chalker.
In the early 1990s, more and more non-members of Disclave came to the hotel in conjunction with the convention.
In 1997, a fire sprinkler was broken, flooding much of the hotel. Although an investigation determined that neither Disclave nor WSFA were responsible, "the Disclave flood" was forever associated with the convention. The 1998 Disclave, scheduled for a different hotel on a different weekend, was canceled six weeks before the convention by the hotel. 1997 was the last Disclave.After Disclave, WSFA planned the structure and focus of their next convention. The first Capclave was held in 2001.Elinor Mavor
Elinor Mavor (born c. 1936) was the editor of Amazing Stories and Fantastic from early 1979 until late 1982. She had done illustrations and production work for several magazines, working for Arthur Bernhard. She had also been an editor at Bill of Fare, a restaurant trade magazine. When Ted White resigned from Bernhard's UPD in November 1978, Mavor became the editor of both Bernhard's science fiction magazines. She had read a good deal of science fiction but knew nothing about the world of science fiction magazines.For the first few issues Mavor used the pseudonym of "Omar Gohagen", as she was unsure whether a woman editor could be accepted by the readership. Her tenure saw the magazines improve in the quality of the graphics, but she was unable to make the magazines successful. In 1980, Fantastic was merged with Amazing; and in May 1982, TSR, Inc. acquired Amazing from Bernhard, who was retiring. By this time the circulation had dropped to only about 11,000. George H. Scithers took over as editor for TSR.In 1995 she wrote about some of her experiences at Amazing Stories in her introduction to Wayne Wightman's short story collection, Ganglion & Other Stories (published by Tachyon Publications).Exposition (narrative)
Narrative exposition is the insertion of important background information within a story; for example, information about the setting, characters' backstories, prior plot events, historical context, etc. In a specifically literary context, exposition appears in the form of expository writing embedded within the narrative. Exposition is one of four rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse), along with description, argumentation, and narration, as elucidated by Alexander Bain and John Genung. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms, and each has its own purpose and conventions. There are several ways to accomplish exposition.Footprints on Sand
Footprints on Sand: a Literary Sampler is a 1981 collection of writings by science fiction authors L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de Camp, illustrated by C. H. Burnett, published by Advent. The collection was compiled to celebrate the de Camps' appearance as joint Guests of Honor at the June 12–14, 1981 X-Con science fiction convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was limited to 1000 copies.
The book opens with a series of tributes to the de Camps by Robert A. Heinlein, Lin Carter, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Andrew J. Offutt, Patricia Jackson, and George H. Scithers. The bulk of the work consists of various short works by the de Camps themselves representing the range of their work in fantasy, science fiction, juvenile fiction, poetry and non-fiction.Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor
The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially known as the Science Fiction Achievement Award. The award has been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing". The Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor is given each year for editors of magazines, novels, anthologies, or other works related to science fiction or fantasy. The award supplanted a previous award for professional magazine.
The award was first presented in 1973, and was given annually through 2006. Beginning in 2007, the award was split into two categories, that of Best Editor (Short Form) and Best Editor (Long Form). The Short Form award is for editors of anthologies, collections or magazines, while the Long Form award is for editors of novels. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for years 50, 75, or 100 years prior in which no awards were given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been awarded for 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1951, and 1954, and in each case an award for professional editor was given.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. The works on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of works that can be nominated. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held near Labor Day, and are held in a different city around the world each year. Members are permitted to vote "no award", if they feel that none of the nominees is deserving of the award that year, and in the case that "no award" takes the majority the Hugo is not given in that category. This happened in both the Short Form and Long Form categories in 2015.During the 52 nomination years, 64 editors have been nominated for the original Best Professional Editor, the Short Form, or the Long Form award, including Retro Hugos. Of these, Gardner Dozois has received the most awards, with 15 original awards out of 19 nominations for the original category and one for the Short Form. The only other editors to win more than three awards are Ben Bova, who won 6 of 8 nominations for the original award, Ellen Datlow, who won 7 of 17 nominations, split between the original and short form awards, and John W. Campbell, Jr. with 6 out of 6 nominations for the Retro Hugo awards. The two editors who have won three times are Edward L. Ferman with 3 out of 20 original nominations and Patrick Nielsen Hayden with 3 out of 3 Long Form nominations. Stanley Schmidt has received the most nominations, at 27 original and 7 Short Form, winning one Short Form.John Gregory Betancourt
John Gregory Betancourt (born October 25, 1963) is an American writer of science fiction, fantasy and mystery novels, as well as short stories. He is also known as the founder and publisher, with his wife Kim Betancourt, of Wildside Press in 1989. Nearly a decade later, they entered the print on demand (PoD) market and greatly expanded their production. In addition to publishing new novels and short stories, they have undertaken projects to publish new editions of collections of stories that appeared in historic magazines.
Prior to establishing the new business, Betancourt worked as an assistant editor at Amazing Stories and editor of Horror: The Newsmagazine of the Horror Field, the revived Weird Tales magazine, the first issue of H. P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror (which he subsequently hired Marvin Kaye to edit), Cat Tales magazine (which he subsequently hired George H. Scithers to edit), and Adventure Tales magazine. He worked as a Senior Editor for Byron Preiss Visual Publications (1989–1996) and iBooks.
Betancourt wrote four Star Trek novels and the new Chronicles of Amber prequel series, as well as a dozen original novels. His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in such diverse publications as Writer's Digest, The Washington Post, and Amazing Stories.Keith Taylor (author)
Keith John Taylor (born 26 December 1946) is an Australian science fiction and fantasy writer.Tales from the Spaceport Bar
Tales from the Spaceport Bar is an anthology of science fiction club tales edited by George H. Scithers and Darrell Schweitzer. It was first published in paperback by Avon Books in January 1987. The first British edition was issued in paperback by New English Library in 1988.The Blade of Conan
The Blade of Conan is a 1979 collection of essays edited by L. Sprague de Camp, published in paperback by Ace Books. The material was originally published as articles in George H. Scithers' fanzine Amra. The book is a companion to Ace’s later volume of material from Amra, The Spell of Conan (1980). Most of the material in the two volumes, together with some additional material, was reprinted from three previous books issued in hardcover by Mirage Press; de Camp’s collection The Conan Reader (1968), and the de Camp and Scithers-edited anthologies The Conan Swordbook (1969). and The Conan Grimoire (1972).The Conan Grimoire
The Conan Grimoire is a 1972 collection of essays, poetry and fiction edited by L. Sprague de Camp and George H. Scithers, published in hardcover by Mirage Press. The essays were originally published as articles in Scithers' fanzine Amra. The book is a companion to Mirage’s previous two volumes of material from Amra, The Conan Reader (1968) and The Conan Swordbook (1969). Most of the material in the three volumes, together with some additional material, was later reprinted in two de Camp-edited paperback anthologies from Ace Books; The Blade of Conan (1979) and The Spell of Conan (1980).The Conan Reader
The Conan Reader is a 1968 essay collection by L. Sprague de Camp, published in hardcover by Mirage Press. The essays were originally published as articles in George H. Scithers' fanzine Amra. Mirage subsequently published two companion volumes of essays from Amra, The Conan Swordbook (1969) and The Conan Grimoire (1972). Most of the material in the three volumes, together with some additional material, was later reprinted in two de Camp-edited paperback anthologies from Ace Books; The Blade of Conan (1979) and The Spell of Conan (1980).The Conan Swordbook
The Conan Swordbook is a 1969 collection of essays edited by L. Sprague de Camp and George H. Scithers, published in hardcover by Mirage Press. The essays were originally published as articles in Scithers' fanzine Amra. The book is a companion to Mirage’s other two volumes of material from Amra, The Conan Reader (1968) and The Conan Grimoire (1972). Most of the material in the three volumes, together with some additional material, was later reprinted in two de Camp-edited paperback anthologies from Ace Books; The Blade of Conan (1979) and The Spell of Conan (1980).The Spell of Conan
The Spell of Conan is a 1980 collection of essays, poems and fiction edited by L. Sprague de Camp, published in paperback by Ace Books. The material was originally published as articles in George H. Scithers' fanzine Amra. The book is a companion to Ace's earlier volume of material from Amra, The Blade of Conan (1979). Most of the material in the two volumes, together with some additional material, was reprinted from three previous books issued in hardcover by Mirage Press; de Camp's collection The Conan Reader (1968), and the de Camp and Scithers-edited anthologies The Conan Swordbook (1969). and The Conan Grimoire (1972).