Today’s Birthday Boy

This photo of Geis, taken in 1983 by Rick Hawes, shows him at the age of 56.

This photo of Geis, taken in 1983 by Rick Hawes, shows him at the age of 56.

Born July 19, 1927: Richard E. Geis

Dick Geis was an urbane, funny fanwriter with a genius for getting pros involved in his fanzine and presiding over their personal feuds in his pages. Today we’d call those kerfuffles.

Whether titled Psychotic, Science Fiction Review or The Alien Critic it was the same winning recipe. His humorous editorials, everybody else’s problems, and tons of book reviews. It was a semiprozine before the term was invented.

Geis earned 34 Hugo nominations, including a streak where he was a Fan Writer Hugo nominee every year 1973-1986. He won 7 Best Fan Writer Hugos and 6 Best Fanzine Hugos.

While I was in junior high school in the 1960s, a local librarian started a science fiction discussion group. We were never in contact with mainstream fandom, though we had a few hints about it. Merely seeing an ad for Science Fiction Review inspired us to publish a fanzine. We modeled it on Analog and I wrote the Campbell-wannabe editorials.

I wrote a lot of letters of comment to Geis, and sent him my own fanpublishing efforts. Geis was the first to note my inability to choose a felicitous title and even made several suggestions for a replacement, the only one I remember being Back Space. I demurred, and within a few years was publishing another zine with a dubious title, File 770.

He was a legendary recluse. We never met – he stopped attending LASFS poker games about a year before I joined the club. However, when Geis was looking for a Hugo accepter in 1974 Bruce Pelz lined me up for the job. Geis won, so I got to carry the rocket around to parties the rest of the night.

Porter: Appreciation for Richard E. Geis (1927-2013)

This photo of Geis, taken in 1983 by Rick Hawes, shows him at the age of 56.

By Andrew Porter: Hugo award winning fanwriter and fanzine publisher Richard E. Geis died February 4th in Portland, Oregon. He was 85. No cause of death is known.

His death is recorded here.

Richard E. Geis was one of the finest fan writers and fanzine publishers SF fandom ever produced. His own writings, primarily in his schizophrenic “Alter-Ego” editorial role in his numerous fanzines, which were notoriously wont to change their names in mid-publication, are famous in the field. They gained him numerous Hugo Award nominations and many wins. His fanzines, which became focal point fanzines attracting numerous contributions from the finest writers, professional and fannish, and artists, also gained him numerous Hugo nominations and wins.

Geis was a Fan Writer Hugo nominee in 1970 and 1971, and every year from 1973 to 1986, winning Best Fan Writer Hugos in 1982 and 1983. His fanzines were Hugo nominees from 1968 to 1971, and 1974 to 1983. His Science Fiction Review won the Fanzine Hugo in 1969, 1970, 1977 and 1979. The Alien Critic won the Fanzine Hugo in 1974 (tied with Andrew Porter’s Algol), and in 1975. Altogether, he received 30 nominations for the Hugo award, winning eight times.

Geis was a legendary recluse, living his early and later life in Portland, Oregon, and in Venice, California, during his period of hyper-activity in the 1960s and 70s. Even when he lived in the Los Angeles area, he did not attend local fan meetings or conventions. I met him, once, in 1975, in Portland, at his home, while travelling the West Coast after WesterCon, accompanied by Jon Singer.

Geis was also known for his soft-core pornographic novels, of which he claimed authorship of 110, most done as work-for-hire for the major paperback erotic publishers of the day. Many were done under the name Peggy Swenson. He had another four novels published in other genres.

Many of his recent writings are available on