William Rotsler

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William Rotsler
Charles William Rotsler

(1926-07-03)July 3, 1926[1]
DiedOctober 18, 1997(1997-10-18) (aged 71)[1]
Other namesBill Rotsler
AwardsHugo Award for Best Fan Artist (1975, 1979, 1996, and 1997)
Inkpot Award (1978)[2]

Charles William Rotsler (July 3, 1926 – October 18, 1997) was an American artist, cartoonist, pornographer and science fiction author. Rotsler was a four-time Hugo Award winner and one-time Nebula Award nominee.

Rotsler's papers including dozens of matted color drawings, unpublished manuscripts and sketchbooks of original artwork are part of the Eaton collection at University of California, Riverside.[3][4]



From 1958, Rotsler was involved in the pornography industry, first as a stills photographer on the set of adult films, and later as a film director and actor.

In 1966, Rotsler created Adam Film Quarterly, later called Adam Film World, as a sibling magazine to Knight Publishing's Adam magazine.[5] Adam Film Quarterly featured female nudity but only simulated sex acts.[6] The magazine also provided commentary about simulated pornography, which other media outlets would not cover.[5][7]

As a byproduct of his coverage of sexploitation films, Rostler earned a reputation as writer—creating novelizations of sexploitation films for his magazine—and as a pornographic photographer.[8]

Because of Adam Film Quarterly's success, Rotsler began using pseudonyms for his appearances including "Shannon Carse", "Cord Heller", "Clay McCord", and "Merrill Dakota". He even interviewed himself as these characters in Adam Film Quarterly.[9] Rotsler said, "On the 'lesser' productions, I'd direct as Shannon Carse and if I acted, I'd be Barney Boone. If I acted in a Rotsler-directed film, I'd be Shannon Carse."[10]

Rotsler wrote, directed, or acted in some two dozen pornographic films during his career with Boxoffice International Pictures.[11] In the 1980s, he was cameraman for the Hollywood segments for the French series Destination Series, hosted by Bill Warren. Rotsler occasionally appeared on camera. He also wrote Contemporary Erotic Cinema in 1973, published by Ballantine and Penthouse, about pornographic movies from an aesthetic point of view.[12]

Science fiction[edit]

Among Rotsler's earliest fan art was the cover illustration to The Acolyte 14, 1946

Rotsler was a popular cartoonist for a large number of science fiction fanzines. His first cover illustration appeared on National Fantasy Fan, vol. 7, issue 2, published in 1948.[11]

In 1969, Harlan Ellison encouraged Rotsler to write science fiction stories.

He won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist four times: 1975, 1979, 1996, and 1997.[13] He also won a "retro-Hugo" for his work in 1946 and was runner-up for 1951.[14] Rotsler was a well-known attendee at West Coast science fiction conventions where he would give away his illustrations.[15] He is also the author of "Rotsler's Rules for Costuming", which address the cosplay often found at these conventions.[16][17] He quipped that "people are making rules for themselves and always finding loop-holes."[18] Through his illustrations Rotsler also helped perpetuate the image of science fiction fans wearing propeller beanies.[19]

As an author, Rotsler's best-known story, "Patron of the Arts" (1972), was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula award for best novelette; it was expanded to novel length in 1974 under the same title.[20] In 1982, Rotsler published several Star Trek ties-ins for children for Wanderer Books. He is credited with the first use of Nyota as Uhura's first name.[21] Rotsler was the source of the title of Harlan Ellison's short story "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1967). This was adopted, with permission, from a caption of a Rotsler cartoon of a rag doll with no mouth.[22]

The Rotsler Award, named for Rotsler, is given annually at Loscon by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests to recognize "lifetime work of outstanding fan artists." The award comes with a US$300 honorarium.[23][24]


Title Year Role Notes Source
Agony of Love 1966 The Beatnik (credited as Shannon Carse) director, writer, and producer [25]
The Girl with the Hungry Eyes 1967 Brian (credited as Shannon Carse) director, writer, and producer [11][26]
Mantis in Lace 1968 director [11]
The Enormous Midnight 1968 director [27][28]
Shannon's Women 1969 Shannon credited as Shannon Carse [29]
House of Pain and Pleasure 1969 director [27][30]
Street of a Thousand Pleasures 1972 director [11]


  • Contemporary Erotic Cinema (1973)
  • Patron of the Arts (1974), expanded from a 1972 novelette of the same name.
  • To the Land of the Electric Angel (1976)
  • Futureworld (1976), novelization as by John Ryder Hall
  • Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977), novelization as by John Ryder Hall
  • Zandra (1978)
  • The Far Frontier (1980)
  • Shiva Descending (1980), with Gregory Benford
  • Blackhawk (1982), based on the DC comic series of the same name.
  • Vice Squad (1982), novelization
  • The Hidden Worlds of Zandra (1983)
  • Science Fictionisms (1995)

Marvel Novel Series (1979)[edit]

No. Title Date ISBN
6 And Call My Killer … Modok! May 1979 0-671-82089-3
7 Nightmare! June 1979 0-671-82088-5

Rotsler and his collaborator, Sharman DiVono, also enjoyed a humorous appearance in Daredevil (Marvel Comics series) #142 and #143 (1977). "Bill" Rotsler and his girlfriend Sharman, dressed as Tarzan and Jane, are in Rotsler's Manhattan rooftop recreation of an African jungle when they are attacked by the super-villains Cobra and Mr. Hyde, who want to steal his rare book collection.

Tom Swift (1981–1982)[edit]

Co-author Sharman DiVono and Rotsler were jointly credited as Victor Appleton.

1 The City in the Stars July 1981 0-671-41120-9
2 Terror on the Moons of Jupiter 0-671-41182-9
3 The Alien Probe 0-671-42538-2
4 War in Outer Space 0-671-42539-0
5 The Astral Fortress January 1982 0-671-43369-5
6 The Rescue Mission February 1982 0-671-43370-9

Star Trek tie-ins (1982–1984)[edit]

The Wrath of Khan (1982)[edit]

Edited and co-written by Wendy Barish, who is not credited.

  • Star Trek II: Biographies (reference). First reference to Uhura's forename, Nyota. The remaining contents are not canon.
  • Distress Call (gamebook)
  • Star Trek II: Short Stories (anthology)

The Search for Spock (1984)[edit]

  • Star Trek III: Short Stories (anthology)
  • The Vulcan Treasure (gamebook)


  1. ^ a b Lubell, Samuel (ed.). "William Rotsler Dies". The WSFA Journal. Washington Science Fiction Association. ISSN 0894-5411.
  2. ^ Inkpot Award
  3. ^ Milenkiewicz, Eric (November 2013). "William "Bill" Rotsler" (PDF). The Eaton Journal of Archival Research in Science Fiction. 1 (2): 117.
  4. ^ "Guide to the William Rotsler papers". Online Archive of California. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Church 2014, pp. 111–113.
  6. ^ Church 2014, p. 106.
  7. ^ Church 2014, pp. 113, 115, 124–125, 128.
  8. ^ Resnick, Mike (2002). Once a Fan... Wildside Press. p. 290. ISBN 9781592240197.
  9. ^ Church 2014, pp. 132–133.
  10. ^ Warren, Bill (Summer 1994). "William Rotsler's Women". Psychotronic Video. pp. 65–66.
  11. ^ a b c d e Church 2014, p. 128.
  12. ^ Baxter, John (2005). A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict. Macmillan. p. 294. ISBN 9781466839892.
  13. ^ "Hugo Awards Winners by Category". Locus. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013.
  14. ^ "1951 Retro Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. July 26, 2007. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  15. ^ Fahnestalk, Steve (February 6, 2015). "Rotsler Revival: Review of The Far Frontier and Patron of the Arts". Amazing Stories.
  16. ^ "Costuming Dawns". Starlog. No. 143. June 1989. p. 54.
  17. ^ "ROTSLER'S RULES FOR MASQUERADES" (PDF). Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  18. ^ Crisp, Tom (2009). The Book of Bill: Choice Words Memorable Men. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 9780740779121.
  19. ^ Schweitzer, Darrell, ed. (2002). Speaking of the Fantastic. Wildside Press. p. 134. ISBN 9781592240012.
  20. ^ "Title: Patron of the Arts". www.isfdb.org. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  21. ^ Davidson, Steve (January 30, 2015). "Amazing Things: DPS Publishes Rotsler's The Far Frontier". Amazing Stories.
  22. ^ Robinson, Tasha (June 8, 2008). "Harlan Ellison, Part Two". The A.V. Club.
  23. ^ "About the Rotsler Award". Southern California Institute for Fan Interests. May 13, 2014.
  24. ^ "LASFS History". Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. May 18, 2014.
  25. ^ Munden 1997, p. 14.
  26. ^ Munden 1997, p. 405.
  27. ^ a b Church 2014, p. 132.
  28. ^ Munden 1997, p. 303.
  29. ^ Munden 1997, p. 105.
  30. ^ Munden 1997, p. 499.

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