Robert A. W. Lowndes

Robert Augustine Ward "Doc" Lowndes (September 4, 1916 – July 14, 1998) was an American science fiction author, editor and fan. He was known best as the editor of Future Science Fiction, Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Quarterly, among many other crime-fiction, western, sports-fiction, and other pulp and digest sized magazines for Columbia Publications. Among the most famous writers he was first to publish at Columbia was mystery writer Edward D. Hoch, who in turn would contribute to Lowndes's fiction magazines as long as he was editing them. Lowndes was a principal member of the Futurians.[1] His first story, "The Outpost at Altark" for Super Science in 1940, was written in collaboration with fellow Futurian Donald A. Wollheim, uncredited.

Robert Lowndes
Robert A. W. Lowndes in 1953
Robert A. W. Lowndes in 1953
BornSeptember 4, 1916
DiedJuly 14, 1998 (aged 81)
OccupationEditor, writer
GenreScience fiction
Notable workseditor of Future Science Fiction, Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Quarterly
Notable awardsFirst Fandom Hall of Fame Award, 1991

Lovecraftian work

Lowndes was also a horror enthusiast—as a young fan, he received two letters of encouragement from H. P. Lovecraft in 1937.[2] The two Lovecraft letters are reprinted in Crypt of Cthulhu Volume 8, No 3 (Whole number 62)(Candlemas 1989), a special issue devoted to Lowndes. He wrote a number of dark fantasy stories such as "The Abyss" (1941) (reprinted in "Revelations from Yuggoth" No 2 (May 1988) and "The Leapers" (1942), inspired by Lovecraft. The Crypt of Cthulhu tribute issue also reprints Lowndes' Lovecraftian stories "Leapers" (a shorter version, first published as by 'Carol Grey' appeared in the Dec 1942 issue of Future Fantasy and Science Fiction; a revised version appeared in "The Magazine of Horror"; and the Crypt of Cthulhu version represents a third and final revision, with a new intro by Lowndes explaining its publication history) and "Settler's Wall" (a shorter version of the latter as "The Long Wall" by 'Wilfred Owen Morley' was published in the March 1942 issue of Stirring Science Stories and was twice revised for later publication). The Lowndes tribute issue also includes two Lovecraftian poems, "The Burrowers Beneath" and "Forbidden Books" (which also appeared under the 'Wilfred Owen Morley' pseudonym in Stirring Science Stories for April and July 1941 respectively); along with two critical articles by Lowndes which first appeared in Magazine of Horror, and an essay on Lowndes - "Lowndes, Lovecraft and the Health Knowledge Years" by Mike Ashley.

Lowndes also wrote a series of poems inspired by Lovecraft's Fungi from Yuggoth - "The Annals of Arkya", which he followed up with "The New Annals of Arkya." The 12-sonnet sequence "Annals of Arkya"was reprinted in Crypt of Cthulhu 10, No 3 (Whole number 78) (St John's Eve, 1991). These have also been reprinted in an issue of Shawn Ramsey's "Revelations from Yuggoth". His nonfiction "A Tribute to H. P. Lovecraft" appears in Peter Cannon, ed. Lovecraft Remembered (Arkham House, 1988).

The Health Knowledge magazines

In 1963, Lowndes initiated the Magazine of Horror (1963–1971) for Health Knowledge Inc., which mixed reprints with new stories.[3] The magazine was popular and spawned several companion magazines: Startling Mystery Stories, Famous Science Fiction (both 1966) Weird Terror Tales (1969) and Bizarre Fantasy Fiction (1970). Lowndes also edited two non-fantastic-fiction magazines for the company, Thrilling Western Magazine (1967) and World Wide Adventure (1967), along with the speculative nonfiction titles they published.[3] However, the collapse of Health Knowledge in 1971 ended these magazines.[4] Startling Mystery Stories was notable for carrying the first stories of Stephen King and F. Paul Wilson.[5] Lowndes subsequently went on to work on the Gernsback Publications' non-fiction magazine, Sexology.[3]

In 1991 he received the First Fandom Hall of Fame award. He was a Methodist.[6]

Works

Science fiction quarterly 195202
Lowndes's "Intervention" (written under his Michael Sherman byline) was the cover story on the February 1952 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly

Novels

  • Mystery of the Third Mine, Philadelphia, Winston, 1953, 201p. (Juvenile).
  • The Duplicated Man (with James Blish), New York, Avalon, 1959 (first magazine publication 1953)
  • Believer's World, Avalon Books, 1961 (serialized in 1952), 224p.(expanded from the 1952 appearance in Space magazine as "A Matter of Faith" as by Michael Sherman).
  • The Puzzle Planet, Ace Books, Ace Double D-485, 1961

Short stories

  • The Abyss and other Dark Places, UK, Logos Press, 1998 (Chapbook). Edited by Stephen Sennitt.

Non-fiction

  • Three Faces of Science Fiction: SF as Instruction, Propaganda, and Delight, Boston, NESFA Press, 1973, 96p. Collects Lowndes' literary columns from Famous Science Fiction.
  • Orchids for Doc: The Literary Adventures and Autobiography of Robert A.W. "Doc" Lowndes (with Jeffrey M. Elliot), Borgo Press, Borgo Bioviews No 7, ISBN 0-89370-344-3, Note: According to the Internet Science Fiction Database, this volume was never published.
  • The Gernsback Days: A Study of the Evolution of Modern Science Fiction from 1911 to 1936 (with Mike Ashley), Wildside Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8095-1054-5 hardcover, ISBN 0-8095-1055-3 paperback, 500p.
  • "Introduction" in Dracula; New York: Airmont Publishing Company, Inc., 1965.
  • "Introduction" for The Time Chariot, Avalon Books, 1966.

Editor

  • Blish, James and Robert Lowndes. The Best of James Blish. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979. ISBN 0-345-25600-X

References

  1. ^ Pohl, Frederik (May 8, 2009). "The Quadrumvirate". The Way the Future Blogs. Frederik Pohl. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  2. ^ An H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001 (pg. 158).
  3. ^ a b c Mike Ashley, Transformations: the story of the science-fiction magazines from 1950 to 1970. Liverpool University Press, 2005 (p.289)
  4. ^ Peter Nicholls and John Clute, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, page 738.
  5. ^ John Clute and John Grant, Encyclopedia of Fantasy, page 611.
  6. ^ "Famous Methodists". www.adherents.com.
  • Mike Ashley and Boden Clarke. The Work of Robert A.W. Lowndes: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide, Borgo Press, 1997, ISBN 0-8095-0504-5
  • Crypt of Cthulhu Volume 8, No 3 (Whole number 62)(Candlemas 1983). Special Robert A.W. Lowndes issue.

External links

1st World Science Fiction Convention

The First World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) was held in the Caravan Hall in New York from July 2 to July 4, 1939, in conjunction with the New York World's Fair, which was themed as "The World of Tomorrow". The convention was later named "Nycon I" by Forrest J Ackerman. The event had 200 participants.

2nd World Science Fiction Convention

The 2nd World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), also known as Chicon I, was held September 1–2, 1940, at the Hotel Chicagoan in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The event had 128 participants.The guest of honor at the second Worldcon was E. E. "Doc" Smith. Also attending were Robert A. Heinlein, Jack Williamson, and Forrest J Ackerman. The event was chaired by Mark Reinsberg with Erle Korshak (secretary) and Bob Tucker (treasurer) as equal partners. It was organized by fans Russ Hodgkins, T. Bruce Yerke, and Walt Daugherty. This was the first Worldcon to include a masquerade.

Amateur press association

An amateur press association (APA) is a group of people who produce individual pages or magazines that are sent to a Central Mailer for collation and distribution to all members of the group.

Columbia Publications

Columbia Publications was an American publisher of pulp magazines featuring the genres of science fiction, westerns, detective stories, romance, and sports fiction. The company published such writers as Isaac Asimov, Louis L'Amour, Arthur C. Clarke, Randall Garrett, Edward D. Hoch, and William Tenn; Robert A. W. Lowndes was an important early editor for such writers as Carol Emshwiller, Edward D. Hoch and Kate Wilhelm.

Operating from the mid-1930s to 1960, Columbia's most notable magazines were the science fiction pulps Future Science Fiction, Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Quarterly. Other long-running titles included Double Action Western Magazine, Real Western, Western Action, Famous Western, Today's Love Stories, Super Sports, and Double Action Detective and Mystery Stories. In addition to pulp magazines, the company also published some paperback novels, primarily in the science fiction genre.

Columbia Publications was the most prolific of a number of pulp imprints operated in the 1930s by Louis Silberkleit. Nominally, their offices were in Springfield, Massachusetts and Holyoke, Massachusetts (the addresses of their printers, binders, and mailers for subscriptions), but they were actually produced out of 60 Hudson Street in New York City.

Crypt of Cthulhu

Crypt of Cthulhu is an American fanzine devoted to the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. It was published as part of the Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association for a short time, and was formally established in 1981 by Robert M. Price, who edited it throughout its subsequent run.

Described by its editor as "a bizarre miscegenation; half Lovecraft Studies rip-off, half humor magazine, a 'pulp thriller and theological journal,'" it was a great deal more than that. Lovecraft scholarship was always a mainstay, with articles contributed by Steve Behrends, Edward P. Berglund, Peter Cannon, Stefan Dziemianowicz, S. T. Joshi, Robert A. W. Lowndes, Dirk W. Mosig, Will Murray, Darrell Schweitzer, Colin Wilson and Price himself. However the magazine published stories and poems too: resurrected, newly discovered, or in a few cases newly written, by Lovecraft and other such Weird Tales veterans as R. H. Barlow, Robert Bloch, Hugh B. Cave, August Derleth, C. M. Eddy, Jr., Robert E. Howard, Carl Jacobi, Henry Kuttner, Frank Belknap Long, E. Hoffmann Price, Duane W. Rimel, Richard F. Searight, Clark Ashton Smith and Wilfred Blanch Talman. It also had stories and poems by newer writers paying tribute to the old, including Ramsey Campbell, Lin Carter, John Glasby, C. J. Henderson, T. E. D. Klein, Thomas Ligotti, Brian Lumley, Gary Myers and Richard L. Tierney. Several issues were devoted to showcasing one or another of such authors. Its contents were illustrated by such artists of the fantastic as Thomas Brown, Jason C. Eckhardt, Stephen E. Fabian, D. L. Hutchinson, Robert H. Knox, Allen Koszowski, Gavin O'Keefe and Gahan Wilson. Its reviews covered genre books, films and games.

The magazine's run initial run encompassed 107 issues over a span of 20 years. The first 75 issues (dated Hallowmas 1981 through Michaelmas 1990), were published by Price under his own Cryptic Publications imprint. The next 26 issues, (dated Hallowmas 1990 through Eastertide 1999 and numbered 76 through 101) were published by Necronomicon Press. The last 6 issues, (dated Lammas 1999 through Eastertide 2001 and numbered 102 through 107), were published by Mythos Books. The magazine was inactive after 2001; however, Necronomicon Press revived it in 2017 with issue 108 (dated Hallomas 2017).

Cyril M. Kornbluth

Cyril M. Kornbluth (July 2, 1923 – March 21, 1958) was an American science fiction author and a member of the Futurians. He used a variety of pen-names, including Cecil Corwin, S. D. Gottesman, Edward J. Bellin, Kenneth Falconer, Walter C. Davies, Simon Eisner, Jordan Park, Arthur Cooke, Paul Dennis Lavond, and Scott Mariner. The "M" in Kornbluth's name may have been in tribute to his wife, Mary Byers; Kornbluth's colleague and collaborator Frederik Pohl confirmed Kornbluth's lack of any actual middle name in at least one interview.

Futurians

The Futurians were a group of science fiction (SF) fans, many of whom became editors and writers as well. The Futurians were based in New York City and were a major force in the development of science fiction writing and science fiction fandom in the years 1937–1945.

How Many Miles to Babylon?

"How Many Miles to Babylon" is an English language nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 8148.

James Blish

James Benjamin Blish (23 May 1921 – 30 July 1975) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is best known for his Cities in Flight novels, and his series of Star Trek novelizations written with his wife, J. A. Lawrence. He is credited with creating the term gas giant to refer to large planetary bodies.

Blish was a member of the Futurians. His first published stories appeared in Super Science Stories and Amazing Stories.

Blish wrote literary criticism of science fiction using the pen-name William Atheling Jr. His other pen names included: Donald Laverty, John MacDougal, and Arthur Lloyd Merlyn.

Mike Ashley (writer)

Michael Raymond Donald Ashley (born 1948) is a British bibliographer, author and editor of science fiction, mystery, and fantasy.

He edits the long-running Mammoth Book series of short story anthologies, each arranged around a particular theme in mystery, fantasy, or science fiction. He has a special interest in fiction magazines and has written a multi-volume History of the Science Fiction Magazine and a study of British fiction magazines, The Age of the Storytellers. He won the Edgar Award for The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Modern Crime Fiction. In addition to the books listed below he edited and prepared for publication the novel The Enchantresses (1997) by Vera Chapman. He has contributed to many reference works including The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (as Contributing Editor) and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (as Contributing Editor of the third edition). He wrote the books to accompany the British Library's exhibitions, Taking Liberties in 2008 and Out of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It in 2011.

He lives in Chatham, Kent, England.

NESFA Press

NESFA Press is the publishing arm of the New England Science Fiction Association, Inc. The NESFA Press primarily produces three types of books:

Books honoring the guest(s) of honor at their annual convention, Boskone, and at some Worldcons and other conventions.

Books in the NESFA's Choice series, which bring back into print the works of deserving classic SF writers such as James Schmitz, Cordwainer Smith, C. M. Kornbluth, and Zenna Henderson.

Reference books on science fiction and science fiction fandom.

Science Fiction Quarterly

Science Fiction Quarterly was an American pulp science fiction magazine that was published from 1940 to 1943 and again from 1951 to 1958. Charles Hornig served as editor for the first two issues; Robert A. W. Lowndes edited the remainder. Science Fiction Quarterly was launched by publisher Louis Silberkleit during a boom in science fiction magazines at the end of the 1930s. Silberkleit launched two other science fiction titles (Science Fiction and Future Fiction) at about the same time: all three ceased publication before the end of World War II, falling prey to slow sales and paper shortages. In 1950 and 1951, as the market improved, Silberkleit relaunched Future Fiction and Science Fiction Quarterly. By the time Science Fiction Quarterly ceased publication in 1958, it was the last surviving science fiction pulp.

Science Fiction Quarterly's policy was to reprint a novel in each issue as the lead story, and Silberkleit was able to obtain reprint rights to two early science fiction novels and several of Ray Cummings' books. Both Hornig and Lowndes were given minuscule budgets, and Hornig in particular had trouble finding good material to print. Lowndes did somewhat better, as he was able to call on his friends in the Futurians, a group of aspiring writers that included Isaac Asimov, James Blish, and Donald Wollheim. The second incarnation of the magazine also had a policy of running a lead novel, though in practice the lead stories were often well short of novel length. Among the better-known stories published by the magazine were "Second Dawn", by Arthur C. Clarke; "The Last Question", by Isaac Asimov; and "Common Time", by James Blish.

The Puzzle Planet

The Puzzle Planet is a science-fiction novel by Robert A. W. Lowndes. It was published in 1961 by Ace Books as one of their double novels (# D-485). According to the author, it marks the first attempt to create a proper science-fiction murder mystery.

The Strange High House in the Mist

"The Strange High House in the Mist" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft. Written on November 9, 1926, it was first published in the October 1931 issue of Weird Tales. It concerns a character traveling to the titular house which is perched on the top of a cliff which seems inaccessible both by land and sea, yet is apparently inhabited.

Weird Tales (anthology series)

Weird Tales was a series of paperback anthologies, a revival of the classic fantasy and horror magazine of the same title, published by Zebra Books from 1980 to 1983 under the editorship of Lin Carter. It was issued more or less annually, though the first two volumes were issued simultaneously and there was a year’s gap between the third and fourth. It was preceded and succeeded by versions of the title in standard magazine form.

Each volume featured thirteen or fourteen novelettes, short stories and poems, including both new works by various fantasy authors and reprints from authors associated with the original Weird Tales, together with an editorial and introductory notes to the individual pieces by the editor. Authors whose works were featured included Robert Aickman, James Anderson, Robert H. Barlow, Robert Bloch, Hannes Bok, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Payne Brennan, Diane and John Brizzolara, Ramsey Campbell, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, August Derleth, Nictzin Dyalhis, Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, Robert E. Howard, Carl Jacobi, David H. Keller, Marc Laidlaw, Tanith Lee, Frank Belknap Long, Jr., H. P. Lovecraft, Robert A. W. Lowndes, Brian Lumley, Gary Myers, R. Faraday Nelson, Frank Owen, Gerald W. Page, Seabury Quinn, Anthony M. Rud, Charles Sheffield, Clark Ashton Smith, Stuart H. Stock, Steve Rasnic Tem, Evangeline Walton, Donald Wandrei, and Manly Wade Wellman, as well as Carter himself.

Carter habitually padded out the volumes he edited with a few his own works, whether written singly or in collaboration (the latter generally "posthumous collaborations" with Clark Ashton Smith in which he wrote stories on the basis of unused titles or story ideas from Smith’s notebooks).

Weird Tales 1

Weird Tales #1 is an anthology edited by Lin Carter, the first in his paperback revival of the classic fantasy and horror magazine Weird Tales. It is also numbered vol. 48, no. 1 (Spring 1981) in continuation of the numbering of the original magazine. The anthology was first published in paperback by American publisher Zebra Books in December 1980, and reprinted in 1983.

The book collects fourteen novelettes, short stories and poems by various fantasy authors, including both new works by various fantasy authors and reprints from authors associated with the original Weird Tales, together with an editorial and introductory notes to the individual pieces by the editor. The pieces include a "posthumous collaboration" (the story by Smith and Carter).

Weird Tales 2

Weird Tales #2 is an anthology edited by Lin Carter, the second in his paperback revival of the American fantasy and horror magazine Weird Tales. It is also numbered vol. 48, no. 2 (Spring 1981) in continuation of the numbering of the original magazine. The anthology was first published in paperback by Zebra Books in December 1980, simultaneously with the first volume in the anthology series.

The book collects fourteen novelettes, short stories and poems by various fantasy authors, including both new works by various fantasy authors and reprints from authors associated with the original Weird Tales, together with an editorial and introductory notes to the individual pieces by the editor. The pieces include a "posthumous collaboration" (the story by Smith and Carter).

Weird Tales 3

Weird Tales #3 is an anthology edited by Lin Carter, the third in his paperback revival of the classic fantasy and horror magazine Weird Tales. It was first published in paperback by Zebra Books in 1981.

The book collects fourteen novelettes, short stories and poems by various fantasy authors, including both new works by various fantasy authors and reprints from authors associated with the original Weird Tales, together with an editorial and introductory notes to the individual pieces by the editor.

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