Donald Allen Wollheim

1914 - 1990

American writer and editor

For 50 years, Donald Wollheim was one of the most important editorial influences on science fiction. Perhaps the most dynamic member of the genre's embryonic fandom in the 1930s, he published innumerable fanzines, founded the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA), and in 1938 co-founded the Futurians, a New York fan group, and became deeply involved in its pursuits.

In 1941 Wollheim became editor of Cosmic Stories and Stirring Science Stories, both of which he produced creditably on a minute budget. He also compiled two pioneering science fiction anthologies, and wrote science fiction of his own under a variety of pseudonyms. After World War II he worked for Avon Books, and subsequently moved to Ace Books. During his 20-year tenure at Ace he oversaw one of the most dynamic groups of US science fiction authors ever assembled, and won a 1964 Hugo award for his work.

Wollheim's own writing through the 1960s consisted largely of novels, among which those he published for children (as David Grinnell) were particularly popular. In 1972, he founded DAW Books, where he cast off many of the editorial constraints that had plagued his later career at Ace. Strongly encouraging authors who were comfortable with science fantasy, he allowed them considerable latitude to write at varying lengths, and even to explore moderately taboo topics.

Though by 1985 ill health spurred Wollheim's retirement from running DAW, he remained active until his passing, annually compiling the World's Best Science Fiction anthology, as he had done (under various titles) since 1965.

Selected Bibliography:

Donald Wollheim Presents the World's Best Science Fiction (Anthologies, Various Titles, 1965-1990)
The Pocket Book of Science Fiction (Anthology, 1943)
Mike Mars Series (as David Grinnell)