American author, editor, pulp luminary and scholar Robert Weinberg passed away on September 25, 2016. He had been undergoing dialysis for kidney failure. He was 70 years old.
His first story was published in 1967 and launched a career that included 16 novels, over 150 anthologies, magazines, comics, and books that established him as a noted authority on genre fiction. He won World Fantasy Awards in 1978 and 1989 for his books The Weird Tales Story and A Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction Artists. Weinberg was a huge collector of classic science fiction art and forged relationships with many artists from the golden age of pulp. His company Weinberg Books was a primary source of collectibles for many years — it’s hard to find a genre magazine from the 1980s that doesn’t carry an advertisement for his company.
Weinberg’s career as a novelist began in 1988 with The Devil’s Auction. It was originally published in hardcover by Owlswick Press, followed by a 1990 paperback edition from Leisure Books, who also published his second novel The Armageddon Box in 1991. Two more occult horror novels followed from Pocket Books in 1991 and 1992, The Black Lodge and Dead Man’s Kiss. In 1995, Weinberg’s fiction career received a boost when he joined forces with White Wolf to write a trilogy of novels based on their game system Vampire: The Masquerade; three novels which composed The Masquerade of the Red Death were published between 1995 and 1996. Bloodwar, Unholy Allies, and The Unbeholden met with a great deal of popularity and went on to be published in several other countries, reaching a huge audience that remain loyal to the books even today. White Wolf contracted Weinberg to follow up with a second trilogy of books known as The Horizon War. Those books were published between 1996 and 1998.
In the late 1990s, Weinberg was approached by Marvel Comics to write for the X-Men series, Cable, on which worked for 18 issues. After his run on Cable ended, he went on to write Nightside, a original comic title of his own creation, featuring a recurring character, Sydney Taine. Nightside was also published by Marvel and won a Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Comic in 2002. During this time, Bob had begun to buy short stories by Lois Gresh for many of the anthologies he had been editing. This led to a collaboration between the two authors on The Termination Node, a cyber-thriller that was published by Del Rey in 1999. This began a long time partnership with Gresh that extended to a series of pseudoscience books based on worlds of fiction.
I met Bob in person once, over a decade ago, when he was Guest of Honor at Robert E. Howard Days in 2004. I had joined the Horror Writers Association in early 2003 and knew Bob’s name since he was active on the message boards and gave a lot of advice to new writers. When I introduced myself to him in Cross Plains, he was cordial and happy to discuss everything from pulp fiction to the Texas heat. I had no way of knowing then that he would emerge as an guiding light in my wife’s fiction career. He mentored her, gave her valuable business advice, and worked with her on multiple pieces of fiction. He read our 2007 novella Blood Coven and was able to spot my own writing style as it blended with Angeline’s, and gave me some specific tips for improving my prose and overall approach to story. These were valuable contributions to our progress. We traded books over the intervening years. Angeline and I have much of Bob’s work in our collection personally inscribed.
Bob’s reach and accomplishments is long and varied. He posted a Biography on his website a few years ago which is not only a wealth of information on the man and his history in genre fiction, but the rest of his site serves as a valuable resource to those looking for images of rare books and general information on pulps and pulp writers. There are photographs on the site proving that Bob was not only associated with some of the greatest genre fiction creators and artists of the modern era, but also a fan devoted to preserving and documenting the history of the genre for generations to come.
Bob received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the HWA in 2007. He became editor at the legendary Arkham House publishing company late in life, after the death of April Derleth in 2011. Bob died on September 25, 2016 in Oak Forest, Illinois after several years of battling complicated illness.