The Best of Xero

Pat & Dick Lupoff, eds.

2005 Hugo Award nominee 

From modest beginnings to the 1963 Hugo Award for Best Fanzine, Xero was a fascinating and controversial convergence of writers, artists, and a burgeoning fan community. Pat & Dick Lupoff reprint an array of these excellent essays, memoirs, and ongoing debates on popular culture.


The Best of Xero

by Pat & Dick Lupoff, eds.

ISBN: HC ISBN: 978-1-892391-11-7 ; Paper ISBN: 978-0-9648320-8-4

Published: 2005

Available Format(s): Hardcover and Trade Paperback

From modest beginnings to the 1963 Hugo Award for Best Fanzine, Xero was a fascinating and controversial convergence of writers, artists, and a burgeoning fan community. Collected here from Pat & Dick Lupoff’s legendary fanzine are an array of excellent essays, memoirs, and ongoing debates on science fiction, mysteries, comic books, and popular culture as well as the revolving letters of comment that are virtual forerunners of the Internet.

Highlights of The Best of Xero include Harlan Ellison’s prescient take on the movie Psycho, Donald Westlake’s humorous denouncement of the science-fiction field, James Blish’s nostalgic look back on his scriptwriting stint for the Captain Video serial, Lin Carter’s spot-on parody of Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu novels; and Don Thompson’s detailed analysis of the origins of ultrapowerful and mysterious comic-book heroes Dr. Fate and The Spectre.

The Best of Xero also features original comics and illustrations from Xero and an introduction by film critic and Xero contributor Roger Ebert.

“We live in the world that fandom made, and Xero helped invent fandom as we know it. This collection is a delight: nostalgic, poignant, informative, still provocative, and still, above all, a reliable source of fun.”
—Michael Chabon, award-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Summerland.

“And, finally, a book that has afforded me more entertainment than anything else I’ve read all summer: The Best of Xero.”
—Elizabeth Hand, Fantasy & Science Fiction

“I have just read Xero 8 and I think it is the best fanzine I have read yet, but I’ll probably change my mind when I get around to reading more fanzines.”
—Andy Zerbe, Xero 9

Pat and Dick Lupoff produced and edited the Hugo Award-winning fanzine Xero from its inception in 1960 through its last issue in 1962. Richard A. Lupoff went on to a long writing and editing career, publishing more than thirty novels and numerous volumes of short stories. Pat Lupoff works at Dark Carnival, a science-fiction and fantasy specialty bookstore, and has been a book buyer and seller for more than twenty years.

Roger Ebert was the resident poet of Xero and also published his own fanzine, Stymie. He was perhaps better known for his role as a culturally iconic film critic.

Visit the Pat & Dick Lupoff, eds., website.

Fandom grew out of and fed a world-view that was dubious of received opinion, sarcastic, anarchic, geeky before that was fashionable. In those years it was heretical to take comic books or Captain Video seriously. Pop culture was not yet an academic subject.... For that matter, we were online before there was online...fanzines were web pages before there was a web, and locs were message threads and bulletin boards before there was cyberspace. Someday an academic will write a study proving that the style, tone, and much of the language of the online world developed in a direct linear fashion from science fiction fandom—not to mention the unorthodox incorporation of ersatz letters and numbers in spelling, later to influence the naming of computer companies and programs. Fanzines acted uncannily like mimeographed versions of Usenet groups, forums, message boards, and Web pages—seven to such universal design strategies as IYGTFUI (If You’ve Got the Font, Use It).

—Roger Ebert, Ebert and Roeper and Chicago Sun-Times film critic