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Lupoff, Richard A

Entry updated 21 November 2022. Tagged: Author, Editor.

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(1935-2020) US author who worked in computers until he became a full-time writer in 1970; he also used the pseudonym Addison Steele. He was first active in sf Fandom; the fanzine Xero, which he co-edited with his wife Pat, won a Hugo in 1963. A series of articles therein about Comics later formed the core of All in Color for a Dime (anth 1970), which Lupoff co-edited with Don Thompson; contributors included Harlan Ellison, Ron Goulart and Ted White. He contributed a long-running book-review column to the fanzine Algol. Lupoff was also an expert on Edgar Rice Burroughs, and as fiction editor of Canaveral Press in the early 1960s he supervised the republication of many of Burroughs's works. His Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure (1965; rev 1968; rev 1975) is probably the best short introduction; Barsoom: Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Martian Vision (1976) is also useful.

After The Case of the Doctor Who Had No Business, or The Adventure of the Second Anonymous Narrator (1966 chap), a Recursive tale involving Burroughs and Arthur Conan Doyle's Dr Watson, Lupoff's first published fiction was the novel One Million Centuries (1967; rev 1981), a colourful adventure of the Far Future in a pastiche style (the object being in this case Burroughs) which would mark most of his career. Pastiche and recursiveness feed naturally into one another, and it is at times difficult, despite his clear and abundant intelligence, to identify a unique Lupoff voice. His short stories include a series of Parodies of other sf writers published in Fantastic under the pseudonym Ova Hamlet and assembled as The Ova Hamlet Papers (coll 1979 chap); several were earlier incorporated into Sacred Locomotive Flies (fixup 1971). Terrors (coll 2005) also contains parodic takes on H P Lovecraft and others. One of Lupoff's most notable stories is the satirical "With the Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama" (in Again, Dangerous Visions 1972 ed Harlan Ellison), which eventually became the fine Space War Blues (fixup 1978), a nearly surrealist tale of race wars (see Race in SF) fought in space between human colonies; this and Sword of the Demon (1977), a novel based and styled on Japanese mythology, came very close to giving him a recognizable profile in the field, but his chameleon facility won out, and each new story bore a new facet usually borrowed with a grin. Another memorable short, "12:01 PM" (December 1973 F&SF), traps its protagonist in an hour-long Time Loop, always resetting to the time of the title with even death offering no release; this became a short Oscar-nominated film, 12:01 PM (1991) directed by Jonathan Heap, and was very loosely adapted as a longer made-for-tv feature: 12:01 (1993) directed by Jack Sholder (again see 12:01 PM). Lupoff's other 1970s novels are various but insufficiently memorable. The Triune Man (1976) deals with the split personality of a comic-strip artist. Overpopulation, ecocatastrophe and sf in-jokes are coped with in The Crack in the Sky (1976; vt Fool's Hill 1978), shipwreck on a dehydrated planet in Sandworld (1976), and a female werewolf in Lisa Kane (1976).

Two series dominated the 1980s. The Twin Planet books – Circumpolar! (1984) and Countersolar! (1987) – carry pastiche to the point of Magic Realism. The first, in its depiction of an Alternate-History Earth – with a Symmesian hole ingeniously implanted in the centre of its doughnut shape (see Hollow Earth) – has evoked comparisons with the work of James P Blaylock, with historical figures contending in a race across the gap. The second, located in the same Earth but emphasizing Steampunk elements such as flying-wing Airships, and set partly on the Titanic as she nears the end of her long career, carries Albert Einstein and others to a romantic Counter-Earth described in Planetary Romance terms. The Sun's End sequence – Sun's End (1984) and Galaxy's End (1988) with a third volume projected – is of greater interest, exploiting the fascination with Japanese culture that Lupoff first showed in Sword of the Demon in a complex Space-Opera venue – although this does not prevent a certain amount of nostalgic pastiche of early-twentieth-century cultural modes and icons. Other titles of interest include Lovecraft's Books (1985), an Alternate History tale that plays teasingly at avoiding World War Two; and The Forever City (1987; exp vt as coll, Deep Space 2009), set in a galaxy-roaming World Ship.

But there still remained in Lupoff's work, though always expressed with good humour, a sense of focus frustrated, of ambition deferred. [MJE/JC]

see also: Cities; Cyborgs; First Fandom Hall of Fame; Suspended Animation.

Richard Allen Lupoff

born New York: 21 February 1935

died Berkeley, California: 22 October 2020



Buck Rogers

Twin Planet

Sun's End

Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon

Hobart Lindsey/Marvia Plum

Chase and Delacroix

individual titles

collections and stories

  • The Ova Hamlet Papers (San Francisco, California: Pennyfarthing Press, 1979) [coll: chap: pb/Trina Robbins]
  • Nebogipfel at the End of Time (San Francisco, California: Underwood-Miller, 1979) [novella: chap: pb/Carl Christensen]
  • Stroka Prospekt (West Branch, Iowa: Toothpaste Press, 1982) [novella: chap: hb/Ann Mikolowski]
  • Before ... 12.01 ... And After (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fedogen and Bremer, 1996) [coll: hb/George Barr]
  • Claremont Tales (Urbana, Illinois: Golden Gryphon Press, 2001) [coll: hb/Nicholas Jainschigg]
  • Claremont Tales II (Urbana, Illinois: Golden Gryphon Press, 2001) [coll: hb/Nicholas Jainschigg]
  • Terrors (Lake Orion, Michigan: Elder Signs Press, 2005) [coll: pb/Steven Gilberts]
  • The Compleat Ova Hamlet (Vancleave, Mississippi: Ramble House, 2007) [coll: illus/pb/Trina Robbins]
  • Visions (Polar Bluff, Missouri: Mythos Books, 2009) [coll: hb/Steven Gilberts]
    • Visions (New York: Hippocampus Press, 2012) [coll: exp of the above: one story added: pb/Steven Gilberts]
  • Dreams (Polar Bluff, Missouri: Mythos Books, 2011) [coll: hb/Steven Gilberts]
    • Dreams (New York: Hippocampus Press, 2012) [coll: exp of the above: one story added: pb/Steven Gilberts]
  • Dreamer's Dozen (Sunrise, Florida: Bold Venture Press, 2015) [coll: pb/Albert René Maigan]
  • The Doom that Came to Dunwich (no place given: Endeavour /Venture Press, 2017) [coll: pb/]

nonfiction (selected)

works as editor


What If?

individual titles as editor

  • The Reader's Guide to Barsoom and Amtor (New York: Richard A Lupoff, 1963) [nonfiction: anth: chap: Edgar Rice Burroughs: pb/]
  • All in Color for a Dime (New York: Arlington House, 1970) as Dick Lupoff, with Don Thompson [nonfiction: anth: Comics: hb/]
  • The Comic-Book Book (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1973) with Don Thompson [nonfiction: anth: hb/]
    • The Comic-Book Book (Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications, 1998) [anth: exp of the above: pb/photomontage of comic-book covers]
  • The Best of XERO (San Francisco, California: Tachyon Publications, 2004) as Dick Lupoff, with Pat Lupoff [nonfiction: anth: Xero: hb/Larry Ivie]
  • The Two-Timers (Vancleave, Mississippi: Ramble House/Surinam Turtle Press, 1981) with Fender Tucker [anth: pb/]


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