Richard A. Lupoff (1935-2020)
Writer and fan Richard A. Lupoff, 85, died October 22, 2020. Lupoff wrote numerous works of SF, and was best known in fandom for co-editing fanzine Xero with his wife Pat Lupoff and Bhob Stewart; the ‘zine won a Hugo Award in 1963.
Richard Allen Lupoff was born February 21, 1935 in New York. He met Pat on a blind date in 1957, and they were married the following year. The Lupoffs were active in comics and SF fandom starting in the 1960s, hosting meetings of the (Second) Futurian Society in Manhattan and helping to found the Fanoclasts. Before becoming a full-time writer in 1970 he worked in the computer industry, including for IBM. The Lupoffs soon settled in Northern California.
A series of Lupoff’s articles on comics from Xero became the basis for essay collection All in Color for a Dime (1970, co-edited with Don Thompson). The Best of Xero, with Pat Lupoff, appeared in 2004 and was a finalist for the Best Related Book Hugo Award.
Lupoff’s debut novel was SF adventure One Million Centuries (1967). He published numerous novels in the ‘70s, including Sacred Locomotive Flies (1971), Nebula Award finalist Sword of the Demon (1977), The Triune Man (1976), The Crack in the Sky (1976; as Fool’s Hill, 1978), Sandworld (1976), Lisa Kane (1976), and Space War Blues (1978), the latter expanding his Nebula Award-nominated story “With the Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama” from Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). Into the Aether (1974) was adapted as comic The Adventures of Professor Thintwhistle and His Incredible Aether Flyer with Steve Stiles for Heavy Metal in 1980, collected in 1991.
In the ‘80s he wrote the Twin Planet series, Circumpolar! (1984) and Countersolar! (1987) terms. The Sun’s End series had Sun’s End (1984) and Galaxy’s End (1988). Standalones include alternate history Lovecraft’s Book (1985) and SF The Forever City (1987). An early version of Lovecraft’s Book, long thought lost, was discovered and published as Marblehead in 2007.
A master of pastiche, Lupoff wrote a series of short parodies of other SF writer under the name Ova Hamlet, collected as The Oval Hamlet Papers (1975). Notable stories include Hugo Award finalist “After the Dreamtime” (1974) and Hugo and Nebula Award nominee “Sail the Tide of Mourning” (1975). His time-loop story “12:01 PM” (1973) became short film 12:01 PM (1990) and TV movie 12:01 (1993). Some of his stories were collected in Before… 12.01… And After (1996), Claremont Tales (2001), Claremont Tales II (2001), Terrors (2005), Visions (2009; expanded 2012), Dreams (2011; expanded 2012), Dreamer’s Dozen (2015), and The Doom that Came to Dunwich (2017).
Lupoff was an expert on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, helping to bring his work back into print in the ‘60s and writing about him extensively. He also wrote Buck Rogers tie-ins under the name Addison E. Steele. He contributed novels to Philip José Farmer’s shared world project The Dungeon and to Daniel Pinkwater’s Melvinge of the Metaverse series. His non-fiction includes The Reader’s Guide to Barsoom and Amtor (1963), Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure (1965), Barsoom: Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Martian Vision (1976), essay collection Writer at Large (1998), autobiographies Writer, Volume 1 (2014) and Writer, Volume 2 (2014), Where Memory Hides: A Writer’s Life (2016), Writer, Volume Three (2016), and Writer, Volume Four (2020).
He edited numerous collections and anthologies, including The Comic-Book Book (1973, with Don Thompson, expanded 1998), What If? #1: Stories that Should Have Won the Hugo (1980) and two additional volumes in 1981, and The Two-Timers (1981, with Fender Tucker). He co-hosted literary-focused radio show Probabilities in Berkeley CA from 1977 to 1995, when it was renamed Cover to Cover; he left the show in 2001.
Lupoff was predeceased by his wife Pat in 2018. They had three children.
7 thoughts on “Richard A. Lupoff (1935-2020)”
Oh, damn. I am so sad to hear this. After reading a short story of his a few years ago, I enjoyed it enough to randomly pick up a copy of The Triune Man, which has since become, for me, a definitive novel on the Holocaust I highly recommend to others. I hope more folks discover the joys of his writing in honor of his passing.
Wonderful writer, wonderful man. His novel MARBLEHEAD is fantastic, as are many of his stories (my favorite is “Fourth Avenue Interlude”). He was also a master of the difficult art of pastiche. I’m so happy that I knew him, if only slightly, and worked with him on a couple of projects. The world dims a bit at his passing.
I once had him and Pat autograph a copy of The Best of Xero for Yamaga Hiroyuki. I gave them a copy of Yamaga-san’s first movie, The Wings of Honneamise as a thank you.
A real gentleman, I sold him a book, wrote to him and asked for a signed book plate or permission tosend a postpaid book of his. He responded by sending me one of his later mysteries signed.
So sorry to learn that both Pat and Richard Lupoff have died in the last two years.
I have and thoroughly enjoyed “The Best of Xero”(2004) and the “What if?Stories that should have won the Hugo” books.
All write very well thought out and very interestingly written.
May they both rest in perfect peace-unless there is better…
I first met Dick and Pat in NYC through the Fanoclasts, in the late ’60s. In 1970 we were both writing reviews for Crawdaddy, then a tabloid edited by Peter Stafford (also gone now). Dick and I happened to be at the Crawdaddy office at the same time one day, hoping to get paid. Instead, he asked me if I’d like to help his family move from Poughkeepsie to Berkeley – they had two old Volvos, and needed help driving one. I was delighted to sign on for that trip, which was great fun, and which introduced me to the Bay Area, where I’d settle a couple of years later. I not only got to stay with Dick and Pat for a while, but was introduced to Bay Area fandom, which welcomed me warmly.
After I moved to San Francisco, I got together with the Lupoffs a few times, but we gradually lost touch for a long time. We made contact again through mutual fannish friends in the early 2000s, but didn’t see each other for several more years. In the 2010s, I was playing with a trio called Smooth Toad, which had a regular gig at Diesel Books on College Avenue. To my great surprise and delight, Dick and Pat showed up one night, and came back again for more of the Toads, and also for an evening of short plays by Samuel Beckett that I was part of. As always, it was a pleasure to be in their company.
Dick and Pat were always warm and funny and generous, and I was blessed to have shared so many good times with them. I liked Dick’s books, too, and he even sneaked a caricature of me into at least one of them!
Left out of the above is Dick’s reprinting the works of Gelett Burgess under the Surinam Turtle Press imprint in conjunction with Fender Tucker. He helped me format the capstone volume of that series, “A Gelett Burgess Sampler: Ethics and Aesthetics”, 2012. I am grateful for Dick approving my project and helping me achieve it. See my author’s page on Amazon if interested in exploring this amazing character, Gelett Burgess.