(1929-2010) US writer, editor, publisher and military engineer (with the US Army 1946-1973, retiring with the rank of Colonel). He began publishing fiction of genre interest with "Faithful Messenger" for If in 1969, and wrote a spoof cookery book (suggested by Damon Knight's famous 1950 Galaxy story), To Serve Man: A Cookbook for People (1976) as Karl Würf; but his main sf activities were as an editor and publisher. He began his active involvement with sf and fantasy in 1959 as editor of the famous FanzineAmra (1959-1982), which specialized in Sword and Sorcery, particularly the work of Robert E Howard; it won Hugos in 1964 and 1968. Scithers published two Mirage Press anthologies drawn from it: The Conan Swordbook: 27 Examinations of Heroic Fantasy (anth 1969) and The Conan Grimoire (anth 1972), both with L Sprague de Camp, cofounder with him of the Hyborean Legion, a group devoted to Howard studies; earlier, De Camp alone had been responsible for the Amra-derived The Conan Reader (anth 1968). In 1973 Scithers founded the Owlswick Press (see Small Presses and Limited Editions), which continued intermittently to publish sf and other material of quality until 1993.
Scithers became the founding editor of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (now Asimov's Science Fiction) in 1977; it was the first sf magazine since the beginning of the 1950s to establish itself as a dominant force; he continued as editor until the beginning of 1982, also editing several anthologies drawn from it [see Checklist below] and winning Hugos for Best Professional Editor in 1979 and 1980. He then edited the troubled Amazing Stories from late 1982 until 1986; more recently, with John Gregory Betancourt (until 1990) and Darrell Schweitzer, who had been assistant editor of both Asimov's and Amazing during Scithers's tenures, he restarted Weird Tales, which had been variously (but unfruitfully) revived more than once since ceasing regular publication in 1954; the new series (the numbering has been continuous over all incarnations) began with #290 in 1987, with all but the most recent edited by all three (each taking the lead role in turn); #300 was edited by Schweitzer alone; see Checklist for those "issues" marketed as anthologies. Also with Schweitzer, Scithers edited two anthologies of Club Stories: Tales from the Spaceport Bar (anth 1987) and Another Round at the Spaceport Bar (anth 1989).
In all his projects, which were very various, Scithers managed to combine energy-efficient verve with a transparent love of fantasy and sf. He was given a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2002. [JC]
born Washington, District of Columbia: 14 May 1929
died Rockville, Maryland: 19 April 2010
Al Azif (The Necronomicon) (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Owlswick Press, 1974) with Bob Dills, both anonymous [nonfiction: graph: spoof rendering of nonexistent text cited by H P Lovecraft in his Cthulhu Mythos: preface by L Sprague de Camp: hb/nonpictorial]
To Serve Man: A Cookbook for People (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Owlswick Press, 1976) as Karl Würf [nonfiction: spoof cookbook: hb/Roy G Krenkel]
On Writing Science Fiction (The Editors Strike Back!) (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Owlswick Press, 1981) with John M Ford and Darrell Schweitzer [nonfiction: coll: hb/uncredited]
Constructing Scientifiction & Fantasy (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR Hobbies, 1982) with John Ashmead and Darrell Schweitzer [nonfiction: coll: chap: pb/]
works as editor
Asimov's Choice: Astronauts & Androids (New York: Davis Publications, 1977) edited anonymously [anth: Androids: Asimov's Choice: pb/Kelly Freas]