Robert A. W. Lowndes

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Name: Robert A. W. Lowndes
Also Known As: "Doc" Lowndes, other pseudonyms
Occupation: Author
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Robert A. W. Lowndes was a fan, zine editor and pro author who was active in early science fiction fandom. He was a member of the Futurians, and heavily involved with the debates following The Great Exclusion Act that barred him along with five other Futurians from entry at Worldcon 1939.

Lowndes was a user of Ackermanese, the jargon used by Forrest J Ackerman, and many of his letters in early letterzines employ it heavily. Several issues of his zine Le Vombiteur were published entirely in Ackermanese, until, as he reported in a 1939 letter to Voice of the Imagi-Nation, he had to abandon it because John B. Michel refused to mimeograph future issues unless he switched to "orthodox" spelling.[1]


In the aftermath of Donald A. Wollheim and John B. Michel's Mutation or Death speech in 1937, followed by the Great Exclusion Act in 1939, there was heated debate among fans on the subject of Michelism, the leftist ideology that would later be called Futurianism. Lowndes had argued as early as 1938 that the Michelist label was better abandoned (A Better Case Against Michelism). He felt that the movement was too important to be named for any one fan, and also thought that its goals would be better served by shedding the direct link to Communism that Michelism had taken on for many fans.

He corresponded heavily with Jack Speer after the publication of Speer's Fairly Complete Case Against Michelism, both publicly and privately, and eventually convinced Speer that Michelism was not necessarily synonymous with Communism. However, in 1944 he wrote an open letter to members of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association asking for a ban on racist expression within the FAPA's mailings: "Some members seem to feel that this racist plank is directed against Jack Speer, who has been outspoken in racial attacks.... Since Jack does make such attacks, this article would affect him."[2]


  • Afterthoughts [1945] (for VAPA)
  • Agenbite of Inwit [1942–46] (for VAPA and FAPA)
  • Chartreuse and Shocking Pink [1944]
  • Extu [1976]
  • Future Fiction (from December 1940)[4]
  • Le Vombiteur [1938–40]
  • Open Letter to All Members of FAPA [1944] (for FAPA)
  • Science Fiction Weekly [1940]
  • Storm Over Philadelphia [1939]
  • Vagabondia [1941] (for FAPA)
  • Vagrant [1938–40]
  • Venal [1946]
  • Vombiteur Litteraire [1939]
  • V-R Record Review [1945] (with James Blish)

Notable Works



  1. ^ Lowndes in Voice of the Imagi-Nation 3, page 6 (September 1939): "Michel positibly refuses to mimeo Levy for me unles I spel orthodoxly, & sine, othrwis Levy wuld be no mor, as it is impossibl for me to keep going with hecto, I must yield.... But ... by th grace of GhuGhu, we shal includ at least 1 item in each forthcoming FAPA mailing dedicatd to th glorius revolution in speling!"
  2. ^ An Open Letter to All Members of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, October 5 1944.
  3. ^ List compiled at the Doc Lowndes entry on Fancyclopedia
  4. ^ Voice of the Imagination issue 16 page 18 (July 1941)