Offutt, Andrew J. 1934(?)–
OFFUTT, Andrew J. 1934(?)–
(John Cleve, Jeff Douglas, Andrew Jefferson Offutt, V, J.X. Williams, a house pseudonym)
Born August 16, 1934 (some sources cite 1937), in Louisville, KY; son of Andrew J. (a state supervisor) and Helen Offutt; married Mary Joe (Jodie) McCabe, October 19, 1957; children: Christopher John, Andrew Jefferson VI, Mary Scott, Melissa Joe. Education: University of Louisville, B.A., 1955, M.A., Ph.D. Religion: "Hominist (from ad majorem hominis gloriam)." Hobbies and other interests: Collecting illustrated books, watercolor drawing, ancient arms and armor, movies, and graphic and comic art.
Procter & Gamble, section sales representative for food sales, 1955-62; National Executive Life Insurance Co., Lexington, KY, sales representative, 1962-63; Coastal States Life Insurance Co., Morehead, KY, manager of three agencies, 1963-70; freelance writer, 1971—. Former host of weekly FM radio program, Offutt Raps. Past president of Lexington Big Brothers and two Toastmasters clubs.
Science Fiction Writers of America (president, 1976-78).
First prize from Worlds of If short story contest, 1954; nominations for Nebula Award, Science Fiction Writers of America, and Hugo Award, World Science Fiction Convention, 1972-73, both for The Castle Keeps.
Evil Is Live Spelled Backwards, Paperback Library (New York, NY), 1970.
The Great 24-Hour Thing, Orpheus Books (Los Angeles, CA), 1971.
The Castle Keeps, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1972.
Messenger of Zhuvastou, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1972.
Holly Would, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1973.
The Galactic Rejects, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1973.
Ardor on Aros, Dell (New York, NY), 1973.
Operation: Super Ms., Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1974.
(With D. Bruce Berry) The Genetic Bomb, Warner Paperback (New York, NY), 1975.
Chieftain of Andor, Dell (New York, NY), 1976, published as Clansman of Andor, Magnum Publications (London, England), 1978.
My Lord Barbarian, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1977.
King Dragon, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1980.
Shadowspawn, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Deathknight, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1990.
The Shadow of Sorcery, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Ghor, Kin-Slayer: The Saga of Genseric's Fifth-born Son, Necessary Records, 1997.
"cormac mac art" fiction series
The Sword of the Gael, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1975.
The Undying Wizard, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1976.
The Sign of the Moonbow, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1977.
The Mists of Doom, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1977.
(With Keith J. Taylor) The Tower of Death, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1979.
(With Keith J. Taylor) When Death Birds Fly, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1982.
"war among the gods" fiction series
The Iron Lords, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1979.
Shadows Out of Hell, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.
The Lady of the Snowmist, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1983.
Shadows Out of Hell, Volume II, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1983.
"war of the wizards" fiction series
(With Richard K. Lyon) The Demon in the Mirror, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1978.
(With Richard K. Lyon) The Eyes of Sarsis, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1980.
(With Richard K. Lyon) Web of the Spider, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1981.
"conan" fiction series
Conan and the Sorcerer, Sunridge Press (New York, NY), 1978.
Conan the Mercenary, Sunridge Press (New York, NY), 1979.
The Sword of Skelos, Bantam (New York, NY), 1979, reprinted, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2002.
fiction under pseudonym john cleve
Mongol!, Brandon House (North Hollywood, CA), 1969.
Call Me Calamity, Tower/Midwood (New York, NY), 1970.
Barbarana, Brandon House (North Hollywood, CA), 1970.
Jodinareh, Brandon House (North Hollywood, CA), 1970.
(With D. Bruce Berry) Pleasure Us!, Bee-Line (New York, NY), 1971.
Manlib, Orpheus Series (New York, NY), 1974.
The Sexorcist, Orpheus Series (New York, NY), 1974, published as Unholy Revelry, Bee-Line (New York, NY), 1976.
The Juice of Love, Midwood (New York, NY), 1975.
Lady Beth: A Victorian Classic, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1984.
Saladin's Spy, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1986.
"crusader" fiction series
The Accursed Tower, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1974.
The Passionate Princess, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1974.
Julanar the Lioness, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1975.
My Lady Queen, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1975.
under pseudonym john cleve; "spaceways" fiction series
Of Alien Bondage, Playboy Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1982.
Corundum's Woman, Playboy Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1982.
Escape from Macho, Playboy Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1982.
Satana Enslaved, Playboy Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1982.
(With George W. Proctor) Master of Misfit, Playboy Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1982.
Purrfect Plunder, Playboy Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1982.
(With George W. Proctor) The Manhuntress, Playboy Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1982.
Under Twin Suns, Playboy Paperbacks (New York, NY), 1982.
In Quest of Qalara, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.
(With George W. Proctor) The Yoke of Shen, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.
(With Jack C. Haldeman II and Vol Haldeman) The Ice-world Connection, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.
(With G.C. Edmondson) Star Slaver, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.
(With Victor Koman) Jonuta Rising, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.
(With Robin Kincaid) Assignment: Hellhole, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1983.
(With Roland Green) Starship Sapphire, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1984.
(With Victor Koman) The Carnadyne Hoard, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1984.
(With Robin Kincaid) Race across the Stars, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1984.
(With Dwight V. Swain) The Planet Murderer, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1984.
King of the Slavers, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1985.
(Under house pseudonym J.X. Williams) The Sex Pill, Pleasure Reader (San Diego, CA), 1968.
(With D. Bruce Berry; under pseudonym Jeff Douglas) The Balling Machine, Orpheus Series (New York, NY), 1971.
The Black Sorcerer of the Black Castle (satire), Hall (Aberdeen, MD), 1976.
(Editor) Swords against Darkness (anthology), Volumes 1-5, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1977–79.
Author of a novelette, published serially in ten volumes of the Thieves' World anthologies. Also author of several dozen other books under undisclosed pseudonyms. Contributor of over forty short stories, novelettes, and articles to Writer's Digest, Analog, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and other publications.
Andrew J. Offutt has written a wide variety of science fiction and fantasy during his career. His books include heroic fantasies featuring the popular character Conan the Barbarian, science fiction novels of social commentary, satirical fiction, and the "Spaceways" series of sexy science fiction adventures. Offutt "is a writer who … can write with depth and is also a writer who can tell a good action/adventure story," according to C.W. Sullivan III in the St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers.
Probably Offutt's most popular works are his heroic fantasy novels, which Sullivan divided into two groups. The first group includes those whose settings and characters are wholly invented by Offutt, while the second is based on characters first created by Robert E. Howard, a pulp writer of the 1930s whose Conan the Barbarian character enjoys continuing popularity.
In the first group are such novels as Messenger of Zhuvastou, set on an alien planet much like early imperial Rome. Sullivan found that "the description of the planet and the portrayal of the heroic adventure are well-integrated so that the reader is able to envision quite clearly the [imaginary] world." The second group of novels includes not only those featuring Conan, but a series about another Howard character, Cormac mac Art, a character Howard borrowed from Irish mythology. In his own novels about Cormac, Sullivan wrote, "Offutt skillfully mixes historical material from his own research with the literary history created by Howard to provide a cogent background for the adventures of Cormac mac Art and his Viking comrade, Wulfhere Skull-Splitter." Although his heroic fantasies are serious in tone, Offutt has also written more lighthearted works which poke gentle fun at the genre. Ardor on Ardos and The Black Sorcerer of the Black Castle are parodies of the typical heroic adventure novel.
Offutt's more serious science fiction works include The Castle Keeps, set in a dystopian future in which overpopulation and pollution have made America a dangerous place to live. In this novel the Andrews family is forced to live in a fortified country home and fight off gangs of armed thugs who roam the backwoods. The story has some parallels with Offutt's own life. He and his family live in rural Kentucky, "miles from even a small town," as Jay Kay Klein explained in Analog. The Offutt home, named the "Funny Farm" by the author, is set in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Offutt's more recent offering, Deathknight, was described as genuinely original and worthwhile by Gary Westfahl of the St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers. Set in the distant future, the novel depicts life on a distant planet. The survivors of a global disaster renounce technology and set up a new feudal society held together by mysterious warriors called Deathknights. The story's hero and his companion, a headstrong young woman, discover and stop a plan to undermine the Deathknights, install a new empire, and pursue technological progress. Westfahl noted that this novel succeeds because Offutt meticulously and convincingly develops his medieval world and makes his characters complex and involving; also, Offutt remarkably departs from the usual pattern of such novels by sympathizing with those who would still reject science, not those who would restore it.
Offutt once told CA: "I grew up on a farm with thirty-five Holstein cattle, two coonhounds, and six acres of tobacco—and hay fever. Once I left the educational system, I began educating myself. Tacitus, Gibbon, Freud, Havelock Ellis, Stendahl, Vardis Fisher, and Ayn Rand all helped, with writing lessons from Twain, Ruark, Heinlein. School served its purpose: It prepared me for employment. Later, being an insurance executive—having my three-piece suits made, driving the Mercedes up and down the highways from motel to motel, getting my hair cut at 11:15 every Friday, fighting the agents' crisis-of-the-day syndrome—had me drinking Alka Seltzer twice a day. In 1971 I got out of it and began writing full time."
During his first two years of full-time writing, Offutt wore out a Selectric typing element, "something the IBM people assured me was impossible. I was writing seven days a week. That isn't impossible, it's just not credible." He wrote in longhand and typed his work soon after it was written "while I can still read it; my penmanship started off plain bad and has tapered off since." Since 1984, he has composed on a personal computer, "which makes writing six to twelve drafts easier. Does it save time? Nope. One can revise more."
Offutt claims he began writing at the age of eight because of "the usual writer's background of unhappy childhood. Teachers made fun of my drawing; for turning my spelling words-into-sentences exercises into stories. … [I] sought refuge in reading and writing fantasy and then, once I'd read all the Tarzan books and discovered that [Edgar Rice] Burroughs had written a Mars series, I discovered science fiction.
"My constant longtime love affairs are with this language, with fantasy and science fiction, and with [my wife] Jodie. She is the sort of sane, unselfish, loving person all writers—cracked, egoistic, selfish, that's us—should link with. Mainly because of her, I no longer have to write; the compulsion's gone."
Offutt reads over twenty magazines a month "ranging from Science News and Human Nature and National Geographic through Book Digest and Heavy Metal through Savage Sword of Conan—and, until 1985, I read fifteen or twenty 'comic' books a month—all uncomical. We take lots of vitamins and no newspapers; the latter is obviously unnecessary to human life, while the former is totally necessary, and carefully removed from most of our store-boughten foods."
Offutt has been guest of honor at over 200 science fiction/fantasy conventions. He has been toastmaster at over 200 others, including the World Science Fiction Convention and the World Fantasy Convention. He has spoken at universities and writer's workshops and was affiliated with the Writer's Digest Criticism Service.
Offutt considers himself "the luckiest guy on the planet; I don't work; I do my hobby full time and am well, well paid for it. It's almost enough to give a person religion."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1991.
Analog, August, 1982, Jay Kay Klein, "Biolog," p. 47.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1993, review of The Shadow of Sorcery, p. 45.