Roberta Gellis (1927-2016)

Roberta Gellis

Roberta Gellis

Roberta Gellis (1927-2016), an author of fantasy fiction and sf/f novels as well as a prolific romance writer, died May 6.

She wrote her two earliest sf novels, The Space Guardian (1978) and Offworld (1979) under the name Max Daniels. Later, under her own name, she co-authored several fantasy novels with Mercedes Lackey.

The family obituary supplies more details about her achievements.

She worked both as a freelance scientific copy editor and as a research chemist for Foster D. Snell for many years, where she and her inventing partner developed aerosolized shaving foam and pink hair dye, among other creations, before she entered a second career as a best-selling author. Starting with Knight’s Honor in 1964, Roberta was the author of nearly fifty novels. These included more than twenty historical romances, including the Roselynde Chronicles and the Heiress Series, a number of medieval murder mysteries, and several historical fantasies. Other novels ranged from space opera to gothic romance to a mystery featuring the much-maligned Lucrezia Borgia as an amateur detective. She mostly wrote under her own name, but occasionally wrote as Max Daniels, Leah Jacobs, and Priscilla Hamilton. She won numerous awards for her writing, including a 1983 award from Romantic Times for Best Historical Series and a 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America.

Already well advanced in her writing career, Gellis’ first genre short fiction sale was to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine and appeared in 1994. Her last sf/f story, the novelette “Renaissance Faire” (2005), was published in a collection co-edited by Andre Norton and Jean Rabe.

3 thoughts on “Roberta Gellis (1927-2016)

  1. My wife Hilde has probably read most of Gellis’ novels. She highly recommends them.

    When I put together the OLYMPUS anthology in 1998, Gellis was one of the authors I sought out for a story.

  2. Roberta was a program participant at Lunacon in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. She was a splendid guest and good person as well as being a capable writer, and would happily give good advice to people who asked about writing and selling. She was a consummate pro who knew whereof she spoke, and people who listened would learn a good deal.

  3. AFTER inventing aerosol shaving foam and pink hair dye!

    RIP, ma’am; the world is better for have having you in it.

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