In Memoriam: andrew j. offutt

sfwa_square_logoFormer SFWA President andrew j. offutt (b.1934) died on April 30.  Offutt began publishing in 1954 when his story “And Gone Tomorrow” was published in If. Although he had previously published novels under the house names J. X. Williams and John Cleve, his first science fiction novel published using his own name was Evil is Live Spelled Backwards in 1970.  He followed this up in the 1970s with a series of Howardesque novels in the Cormac Mac Art series as well as three Conan the Barbarian novels.  Offutt was one of the original Thieves’ World authors, creating the character of Hanse Shadowspawn, who also appeared in two spin-off novels. Offutt returned to the series when Lynn Abbey relaunched it in the early 2000s. Although most of his novels published under his own name were fantasies, including the War of the Gods on Earth series and the War of the Wizards, co-written with his frequent collaborator Richard Lyon, Offutt continued to write science fiction under the name John Cleve through the mid-1980s.  In addition to writing, Offutt edited five volumes of the Swords Against Darkness series between 1977 and 1979, which included Charles de Lint’s first professional sale.  Offutt served as toastmaster at the 1974 Worldcon banquet and the following year was named guest of honor at Midwestcon, the only guest of honor that con has ever named.  He was also the semi-permanent toastmaster, along with Wilson Tucker, at Chambanacon and was the toastmaster at DeepSouthCon in 1986 when he was presented with the Phoenix Award.  Offutt served two terms as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1976 to 1978.

2 Responses

  1. Morgan Alreth

    A truly regretful loss. I went to college with Mr. Offutt’s son, although I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Offutt himself. His anthologies were an important influence on my writing. His comments on the stories in the Swords Against Darkness series were in some ways more interesting than the stories. I hate to hear this.

  2. Brian K. Lowe

    I had only one interaction with Mr. Offutt, many years ago when he was editing Swords Against Darkness. Knowing no better, I sent him a manuscript. He not only returned it, he gave me a personal rejection, with encouraging comments, that kept me going for years. It was far and beyond the call of duty; the act of a gentleman and a teacher.