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Friday, January 12, 2024

Robert Shea's pal, Richard Lupoff [UPDATED With New Photos]

Richard Lupoff. (Creative Commons photo via Wikipedia.)

Richard Lupoff (1935-2020) was a science fiction and mystery author, a science fiction fan who published an award-winning fanzine, and an expert on Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.P. Lovecraft. He also, I found out yesterday, was a friend of Robert Shea.

Here is a relevant bit from an introduction to The Organ Reader, an anthology of work from an underground newspaper:

"The Organ was a leading light of what was then known as “the counterculture,” but nonconformist attitudes notwithstanding, it had to get to the printer on time. One night long after our children were asleep and Pat and I had retired to our own room, the phone rang. I picked it up groggily, noting that my bedside clock read 1:30 AM, and heard the weary voice of Gerard van der Leun.

" 'We’re putting the issue together. It has to go to the printer first thing in the morning. We need some copy cut, and everybody is just too exhausted to do it. Can you come in and lend a hand?'

"Pat and I dragged ourselves out of bed and pulled on some clothing. Our oldest kid was approaching puberty and was a thoroughly responsible youngster. We felt we could leave him in charge of his sleeping siblings for a couple of hours. We climbed into our Volvo station wagon, crossed the Bay Bridge, and parked at the Chicken Factory.

"Organ had obtained a piece by Bob Shea, an old East Coast friend of ours, and Robert Anton Wilson, already regarded in some circles as a burgeoning guru. Shea and Wilson had worked together for Hugh Hefner at Playboy. They came away from that experience as conspiracy mavens, resulting eventually in a series of books starting with the now-classic Illuminatus Trilogy. The layouts for their Organ essay had been made and the article was too long by a couple of column-inches. There was no way to set new type at the office and no time to have it done in the morning. The article had to be cut. Literally. Gerard handed me a repro proof and a razor blade and told me what needed to be done."

This fits with what else is known about Shea, who knew many SF figures, including Algis Budrys and magazine editor Larry Shaw. Shea knew many such people as a member of the Hydra Club. 

UPDATE: Below are Lupoff book autographs Eric Wagner sent, see the comments:

1 comment:

Eric Wagner said...

As a kid I loved comic books, and very few books about comic books existed at the time. I devoured Dick Lupoff's "All in Color for a Dime", so much so that when I got him to autograph my copy, the pages had begun to fall out.

In eighth grade I considered Edgar Rice Burroughs my favorite author. My mom got me an autographed copy of Lupoff's first book on Burroughs for Christmas in 1976. I met Lupoff a few months lates, and he treated me very kindly and respectfully. I loved Burroughs's Venus book, and I asked him why didn't seem to like them as much as he did Burroughs's Mars books. He handled my eighth grade earnestness very gently.