Locus Online




July 1998

Paul Lehr, 1930 - 1998

Artist Paul Lehr died on Tuesday, July 27th, of pancreatic cancer.

Lehr sold his first SF painting to Satellite in 1958, and subsequently provided hundreds of covers for SF books and magazines, as well as non-SF magazines such as Life, Time, Saturday Evening Post, and Playboy.

Lehr was one of two artists, along with Richard Powers, who dominated SF paperback covers in the 1950s and 1960s with abstract, surrealistic art that came to signify the genre without depicting specific scenes from the books they illustrated. Lehr's work often features enormous egg-like objects, barren future landscapes, and tiny human figures dwarfed by their surroundings. One of his most famous paintings, depicting a huge buglike object against a green background, appeared for many years on the Berkley paperback edition of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

Lehr's popularity faded with the trend toward realism in SF illustration in the 1970s, though he enjoyed a brief resurgence at the end of the decade with 11 covers on Analog from 1978 to 1984. He was twice nominated for the Hugo Award, in 1980 and 1981.

More recently Lehr's art appeared on 10 covers of Tomorrow magazine from 1993 to 1996, and on the cover of Vincent Di Fate's Infinite Worlds, published last year. A gallery of his work appeared in the September 1997 Science Fiction Age with commentary by Di Fate.

(Wed 29 Jul 98)

Best SF and Fantasy Novels

Frank Herbert's Dune and J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings still rank as the all-time favorite science fiction and fantasy novels, respectively, according to this year's poll of Locus readers.

Locus Magazine polled its readers for all-time best novel twice before, in 1975 and 1987. Herbert and Tolkien both won in 1987, while Herbert won in 1975 in a single category covering both SF and fantasy. The complete 1987 and 1975 results are here.

Top positions in this year's poll, which was restricted to titles published before 1990, are:

Best SF Novel (before 1990)
1. Dune, Frank Herbert (1965)
2. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein (1966)
3. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)

Best Fantasy Novel (before 1990)
1. The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien (1954)
2. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)
3. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe (1980)

(Dates for Tolkien and Wolfe indicate the first book publication of the first novel in the series.)

The complete results of 53 SF titles and 36 fantasy titles, with point and vote totals and relative ranking in the earlier polls, will be published in the August issue of Locus Magazine. The issue is scheduled for mailing to subscribers by the end of July, and will be on sale at this year's World Science Fiction Convention, BucConeer, in early August.

(Wed 22 Jul 98)

Robert A. W. Lowndes, 1916 - 1998

Robert A(ugustine) W(ard) ''Doc'' Lowndes died on Tuesday, July 14th in Newport, Rhode Island, of renal cancer, at the age of 81.

Lowndes was a member of the Futurians fan group in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He wrote stories beginning in 1940 under various pseudonyms and often with collaborators, including Donald A. Wollheim and James Blish.

Lowndes was active as an editor for three decades from 1940 to 1970. He began with Future Fiction and Science Fiction Quarterly for Columbia Publications from 1941 to 1943, then in the 1950s with Dynamic Science Fiction (1952-4) and Science Fiction Stories (1954-60, becoming The Original Science Fiction Stories in 1955), also for Columbia. In the 1960s he worked for Health Knowledge Inc., editing fantasy magazines including The Magazine of Horror, Startling Mystery Stories, and Famous Science Fiction; all were defunct by 1970. He was also editor of Avalon Books' SF line from 1955-67, and edited magazines for Gernsback Publications, including Sexology.

As writer Lowndes collaborated with James Blish on The Duplicated Man (magazine version 1953, book 1959). He wrote three solo novels, juvenile The Mystery of the Third Mine (1953), Believers' World (magazine version 1952, book 1959), and The Puzzle Planet (1961). His literary columns were collected as Three Faces of Science Fiction in 1973, and he edited The Best of James Blish in 1979.

He is survived a stepson, a brother, a sister, and four grandchildren. A memorial service was held July 19th at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Newport. Donations may be made to Visiting Nurse Health Services, Hospice Program, 1984 East Main Road, Portsmouth RI 02871.

Links: The complete text of Lowndes' story ''The Martians Are Coming'', from the March 1941 Cosmic Stories, is online courtesy of the Virginia Tech Speculative Fiction Project. Fantastic Collectibles' gallery of Future Science Fiction includes a number of cover scans, though none from the period of Lowndes' editorship.

(Mon 20 Jul 98)

Campbell, Sturgeon Winners

Joe Haldeman has won the 1998 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Forever Peace (Ace), while Michael F. Flynn has won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for ''House of Dreams'' (Asimov's Oct/Nov 1997). The awards were presented at a banquet Friday evening, July 10th, preceding the weekend Campbell Conference in Lawrence, Kansas, under the supervision of James Gunn, director of the J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction.

Runners-up for the Campbell Award for best science fiction novel of 1997 are Greg Bear's Slant (Tor), second, and Paul Preuss's Secret Passages (Tor), third.

First runner-up for the Sturgeon Award for best short science fiction of 1997 is Allen Steele's ''...Where Angels Fear to Tread'' (Asimov's Oct/Nov 1997). The second runner-up is Brian Stableford's ''Coming to Grips with the Great Plague'' (Omni Online Dec 1997).

Michael F. Flynn was present to accept his award. Ace editor Susan Allison accepted for Joe Haldeman, who was in Germany.

The 1998 inductees to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, announced in May, were formally named during the awards ceremony. They are Robert Heinlein, C. L. Moore, Hal Clement, and Frederik Pohl.

Greg Bear has been a runner-up three times before in the 26 year history of the Campbell Award, for Blood Music (1985), Queen of Angels (1990), and Moving Mars (1993). Neither Haldeman or Preuss has previously won or placed. Brian Stableford was a runner-up for the Sturgeon Award two years ago for ''The Age of Innocence''; neither Flynn or Steele has previously won or placed.

(Fri 10 Jul 98, amended Mon 13 Jul 98)

Locus Awards

The 1998 Locus Awards were presented at a banquet Friday evening, July 3rd, at Westercon in San Diego, California. Winners received plaques, while publishers of the winning works (book publishers and magazines, as indicated) received certificates.

Science Fiction Novel
The Rise of Endymion, Dan Simmons (Bantam Spectra)

Fantasy Novel
Earthquake Weather, Tim Powers (Tor)

First Novel
The Great Wheel, Ian R. MacLeod (Harcourt Brace)

''...Where Angels Fear to Tread'', Allen Steele (Asimov's Oct/Nov 1997)

''Newsletter'', Connie Willis (Asimov's Dec 1997)

Short Story
''Itsy Bitsy Spider'', James Patrick Kelly (Asimov's Jun 1997)

The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, John Clute & John Grant, editors (Orbit; St. Martin's)

Art Book
Infinite Worlds, Vincent di Fate (Penguin Studio)

Slippage, Harlan Ellison (Mark V. Ziesing; Houghton Mifflin)

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fourteenth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, editor (St. Martin's)

Michael Whelan

Gardner Dozois


Winners Powers, Steele, Willis, Ellison, Dozois, and Tom Doherty (for Tor) were on hand to receive their awards. Locus Awards are given to the first-place winners of each category in the annual poll of Locus Magazine's readers. This is the 27th annual Locus Poll. Complete results of this year's voting will appear in the magazine's August issue.

Harlan Ellison won his 18th Locus Award this year. Previous wins include 13 for works of short fiction, from ''The Region Between'' in 1971 to ''Mefisto in Onyx'' in 1994 (the latter included in Slippage), and wins for the anthology Again, Dangerous Visions in 1973 and the collection Angry Candy in 1989.

Connie Willis has now won 7 Locus Awards, all for works of fiction, including Doomsday Book and the novellas Remake and Bellwether.

Michael Whelan and Gardner Dozois tie for most Locus Awards ever at 20 each. Whelan has won as best artist 18 times previously; he also won for The Art of Michael Whelan as best art book of 1993. Dozois won for his Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, and now Fourteenth annual year's best anthologies, and 10 times, consecutively, as best editor.

Dan Simmons 10th Locus Award, this year, gives him wins for 3 of the 4 Hyperion books, Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion (which placed 2nd last year) and now The Rise of Endymion.

Steele previously won for best first novel, Orbital Decay, in 1990. Clute has won three times before in the non-fiction category. Powers won twice previously for novels Last Call and Expiration Date.

Vincent di Fate, James Patrick Kelly, Ian R. MacLeod, and John Grant are first-time Locus Award winners this year.

Tor Books has now won 11 times, consecutively, as best publisher, while Asimov's Science Fiction has won 11 times, consecutively, as best magazine.

(posted Fri 3 Jul, amended Mon 6 Jul)

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