Correction: Elinor Busby Was the First Woman To Win A Hugo

Elinor Busby. Photo by Earl Kemp, Corflu, Las Vegas, April 2008.

Elinor Busby made history as the first woman Hugo winner when Cry of the Nameless, which she co-edited, topped the Best Fanzine category in 1960.

  • Cry of the Nameless ed. by F. M. Busby, Elinor Busby, Burnett Toskey and Wally Weber

I’ve corrected my obituary for Pat Lupoff to reflect that she was second, as co-editor of the Best Amateur Magazine winner in 1963. (The category title varied as the rules changed in the early years of the Hugo.)

  • Xero ed. by Richard A. Lupoff and Pat Lupoff

Evidently this wasn’t the first time I’ve made this mistake either – see the note at the end of “Dark Carnival, a Science Fiction Landmark” from 2013.

Four women won fan Hugos – all in the Best Fanzine / Amateur Magazine category – before a woman won in any other category.

The third woman to win was Juanita Coulson, in 1965, co-editor of the fanzine Yandro.

  • Yandro ed. by Robert Coulson and Juanita Coulson

The fourth woman was Felice Rolfe, in 1967, co-editor of the fanzine Niekas.

  • Niekas ed. by Edmund R. Meskys and Felice Rolfe

The first woman to win a Hugo in a fiction category was Anne McCaffrey, whose Weyr Search tied with Philip Jose Farmer’s Riders of the Purple Wage for Best Novella in 1968.

Pat Lupoff (1937-2018)

Pat and Dick Lupoff in 1958

Pat Lupoff, the second woman to win a Hugo award, died October 17. She and Richard (Dick) Lupoff, whom she married in 1958, and Bhob Stewart co-edited the 1963 Best Fanzine Hugo winner Xero.

Xero’s discussion of comics sparked other fans to create their own specialty comics fanzines and organize the spinoff comics fandom of the Sixties that has grown so huge today. And when a collection of articles from their historic zine, The Best of Xero, was published in 2004, John Hertz’ review described the fanzine’s early days and named some of now-famous contributors:

Pat & Dick Lupoff typed stencils in their Manhattan apartment, printed them on a machine in Noreen & Larry Shaw’s basement, collated by hand, and lugged the results to s-f cons or stuffed them in mailboxes. The machine had not been given by Damon Knight, A.J. Budrys explained in a letter after a while, but lent. Eventually drawings could be scanned by electro-stencil, a higher tech. Colored ink joined colored paper, sometimes wildly colored. Xero could be spectacular.

…You’ll also see Anthony Boucher, Harlan Ellison, Ethel Lindsay, Fred Pohl, Rick Sneary, Bob Tucker as “Hoy Ping Pong”, Harry Warner — fans and pros mixing it up. Roger Ebert, later a movie critic, contributed poetry, often free-style, or formal and funny…

The Best of Xero won the Best Related Book Hugo in 2005.

Even before starting Xero, the Lupoffs paid tribute to comics in their iconic costumes for the 1960 Worldcon masquerade, as Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel.

The Lupoffs also hosted meetings of the (Second) Futurian Society of New York in their Manhattan apartment in the early Sixties — til the guests’ manners became intolerable, and the couple helped found a schismatic new group, the Fanoclasts.

Pat and Dick had their first child, Kenneth, in 1961.

Pat and Dick Lupoff in 2011

Update 10/21/2018: Corrected to show that Pat Lupoff was the second woman to win a Hugo, the first having been Elinor Busby, co-editor of Cry of the Nameless, the Hugo-winning fanzine in 1960.

Dark Carnival, a Science Fiction Landmark

Michael Chabon and child, Jack Rems, Ayelet Waldman, Pat and Dick Lupoff.

Michael Chabon and child, Jack Rems, Ayelet Waldman, Pat and Dick Lupoff.

These days the second woman ever to win a Hugo Award, Pat Lupoff, works in Berkeley’s Dark Carnival bookstore. She and the bookstore’s owner were interviewed by KALW radio on August 13.

JACK REMS: My name is Jack Rems. I’m the owner of Dark Carnival Bookstore and Escapist Comics in Berkeley. It’s the oldest science fiction store in this part of the world. We opened in 1976.

PAT LUPOFF: My name is Pat Lupoff. Hey Jack, how long have I worked here? Do you know?

REMS: I don’t really know.

LUPOFF: I think I’ve worked here about six years.

Rems says the best book in the store is The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies.

Cry of the Nameless with F. M. Busby, Burnett Toskey, and Wally Weber. Pat and Dick Lupoff started the fanzine Xero in 1960, which won a Hugo in 1963, resulting in Pat becoming the second female Hugo winner.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Update 08/18/2013: Somebody would have noticed eventually that Elinor was really first….