Robert A. W. Lowndes

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Robert Lowndes
Doc Lowndes FT.jpg
Robert A. W. Lowndes in 1953
Born ( 1916 -09-04)September 4, 1916
Died July 14, 1998 ( 1998 -07-14) (aged 81)
Occupation Editor, writer
Genre Science fiction
Notable works editor of Future Science Fiction, Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Quarterly
Notable awards First Fandom Hall of Fame award, 1991

Robert Augustine Ward "Doc" Lowndes (September 4, 1916 – July 14, 1998) was an American science fiction author, editor and fan. He was known best as the editor of Future Science Fiction, Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Quarterly, among many other crime-fiction, western, sports-fiction, and other pulp and digest sized magazines for Columbia Publications. Among the most famous writers he was first to publish at Columbia was mystery writer Edward D. Hoch, who in turn would contribute to Lowndes's fiction magazines as long as he was editing them.

Lowndes was also a horror enthusiast—as a young fan, he received two letters of encouragement from H. P. Lovecraft in 1937.[1] He wrote a number of dark fantasy stories such as "The Abyss" (1941) and "The Leapers" (1942), inspired by Lovecraft. In 1963, Lowndes initiated the Magazine of Horror (1963–1971) for Health Knowledge Inc., which mixed reprints with new stories.[2] The magazine was popular and spawned several companion magazines: Startling Mystery Stories, Famous Science Fiction (both 1966) Weird Terror Tales (1969) and Bizarre Fantasy Fiction (1970). Lowndes also edited two non-fantastic-fiction magazines for the company, Thrilling Western Magazine (1967) and World Wide Adventure (1967), along with the speculative nonfiction titles they published.[2] However, the collapse of Health Knowledge in 1971 ended these magazines.[3] Startling Mystery Stories was notable for carrying the first stories of Stephen King and F. Paul Wilson.[4] Lowndes subsequently went on to work on the Gernsback Publications' non-fiction magazine, Sexology.[2]

Lowndes was a principal member of the Futurians.[5] In 1991 he received the First Fandom Hall of Fame award. He was a Methodist.[6]


Lowndes's "Intervention" (written under his Michael Sherman byline) was the cover story on the February 1952 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly


  • Mystery of the Third Mine, Philadelphia, Winston, 1953, 201p.
  • The Duplicated Man (with James Blish), New York, Avalon, 1959 (first magazine publication 1953)
  • Believer's World, Avalon Books, 1961 (serialized in 1952), 224p.
  • The Puzzle Planet, Ace Books, Ace Double D-485, 1961

Short stories[edit]

  • The Abyss and other Dark Places, UK, Logos Press, 1998 (Chapbook).


  • Three Faces of Science Fiction: SF as Instruction, Propaganda, and Delight, Boston, NESFA Press, 1973, 96p.
  • Orchids for Doc: The Literary Adventures and Autobiography of Robert A.W. "Doc" Lowndes (with Jeffrey M. Elliot), Borgo Press, Borgo Bioviews No 7, ISBN 0-89370-344-3,
  • The Gernsback Days: A Study of the Evolution of Modern Science Fiction from 1911 to 1936 (with Mike Ashley), Wildside Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8095-1054-5 hardcover, ISBN 0-8095-1055-3 paperback, 500p.
  • "Introduction" in Dracula; New York: Airmont Publishing Company, Inc., 1965.


  • Blish, James and Robert Lowndes. The Best of James Blish. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979. ISBN 0-345-25600-X


  1. ^ A H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001 (pg. 158).
  2. ^ a b c Mike Ashley, 'Transformations: the story of the science-fiction magazines from 1950 to 1970. Liverpool University Press, 2005 (p.289)
  3. ^ Peter Nicholls and John Clute, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, page 738.
  4. ^ John Clute and John Grant, Encyclopedia of Fantasy, page 611.
  5. ^ Pohl, Frederik (May 8, 2009). "The Quadrumvirate". The Way the Future Blogs. Frederik Pohl. Retrieved May 8, 2009. 
  6. ^
  • Mike Ashley and Boden Clarke. The Work of Robert A.W. Lowndes: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide, Borgo Press, 1997, ISBN 0-8095-0504-5

External links[edit]