George H. Scithers: 1929-2010
We regret to announce the passing of George Scithers, who died Monday after suffering a heart attack on Saturday at the age of 80. He was an award winning editor, winning the Hugo award four times, and a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2002.
Scithers’ first published fiction, the story “Faithful Messenger,” appeared in If magazine in 1969. His involvement in the field, however, dates back to 1957, when he began submitting to the fanzine Yandro. Two years later, he began publishing the Hugo Award-winning fanzine Amra. The term “swords and sorcery” first appeared there, and Amra became a leading proponent of the genre. Several of the articles originally published in Amra were later re-printed as part of two volumes about Conan the Barbarian which Scithers co-edited with L. Sprague de Camp.
In 1963, Scithers chaired Discon I, the 21st Worldcon, held in Washington, D.C.. He was a regular parliamentarian for business meetings of the World Science Fiction Society (the people behind WorldCon) and authored an invaluable guide to running science fiction conventions, The Con-Committee Chairman’s Guide.
In 1973, Scithers founded Owlswick Press, a small independent publishing company.
In 1977, he was named the first editor for Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, staying in that position until 1982 and winning two more Hugo Awards for his work there. After leaving IASFM, Scithers took the helm at Amazing Stories, and edited that magazine until 1986.
In 1988, he worked with John Gregory Betancourt and Darrell Schweitzer to re-establish Weird Tales, the magazine that had introduced one of his earliest interests, Conan the Barbarian, to the world, which won him a World Fantasy Award in 1992.
He was the first publisher of many SF and fantasy talents, including Esther Friesner.
For a good look at the man, here’s an essay about George Scithers written when he was Fan Guest of Honor at the Millenium Philcon in 2001.