Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Best of Xero

Xero was an SF fanzine published by Dick and Pat Lupoff that ran for 10 issues from 1960-63. I wish I'd been astute enough to subscribe to fanzines in those days. I'd have made the acquaintance of some wonderful folks like those who wrote for Xero, including Roger Ebert (known as Rog in those days), Ed Gorman, Harlan Ellison, Avram Davidson, James Blish, Lin Carter, Roy Thomas, Donald E. Westlake, and many others. But I didn't get into fandom until much, much later, so I missed out on considerable fun.

The Best of Xero is so good that it makes me wish the Lupoffs had just reprinted the entire run. There's a very funny Sax Rohmer parody by Lin Carter (and his book reviews are fun, too), a great article on comic books by Thomas, a review of Psycho (the movie, not the book) by Ellison, a parody of "My Last Duchess" by Ebert, and other wonderful stuff, far too much to mention.

Some of it I'd read before, including Westlake's notorious farewell to science fiction writing, but I hadn't read the responses to it, nor had I read Westlake's follow-up. All of it's just as interesting now as it must have been 45 years ago.

Roger Ebert's new introduction is great, but I've spoken often about my fondness for introductions.

All I can say is that if you have any interest in fandom and its history you should own this book. Unless, of course, you're lucky enough to own a complete run of Xero.

5 comments:

Ed Gorman said...

The day that the latest Xero hit my mailbox back in the early 60s was a joyous one. There had never been a fanzine that looked like it, read like it or seemed so hip in an unpretentious way. Ebert and I hitched a ride with Wilson Tucker and went to the Midwestcon in (I believe) 61 where we met the Lupofffs, Pat and Dick. They were every bit as cool as their fanzine. And Dick turned out to be one hell of a good professional writer, too. There was so much going on in fandom back then--Habbukuk, that massive beat/hipster/sf fanzine out of San Francisco; and the wonderful Yandro coming from the Buck and Juanita Coulson evey month; and the resurgence of both comic book fandom (thanks to Xero) and Edgar Rice Burroughs fandom. Something for every taste. And just a few years after that Roger Ebert was already on his way to becoming famous. What a time that was.

Todd Mason said...

If I had anything to do with nudging you toward picking this up, Bill, I'm glad. Meanwhile, what I treasure most about the book are Avram Davidson's contributions, but it is most agreeable throughout...and, you know, between fanzine auctions and the ongoing online projects, I suspect you can find a run of XERO, eventually, with increasing ease. I hope so, anyway.

Bill Crider said...

Some of Davidson's contributions are hilarious, but then it's all good.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Hey Bill, where's the link on how to get a copy?

Bill Crider said...

Link added to post, Jeff.