Howard Waldrop (September 15, 1946 – January 14, 2024) was an American science fiction author who worked primarily in short fiction. He received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2021.

Howard Waldrop
Waldrop in 2007
Waldrop in 2007
Born(1946-09-15)September 15, 1946
Houston, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedJanuary 14, 2024(2024-01-14) (aged 77)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
OccupationFiction writer
GenreScience fiction
Notable works"The Ugly Chickens", "Night of the Cooters"
Notable awardsNebula Award (1980)
World Fantasy Award (1981)

Personal life


Though born in Houston, Mississippi,[1] Waldrop spent most of his life in Texas. He moved to Washington state for several years, but returned to Austin. As a child, he corresponded with A Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin about their shared love of comic books. He was an avid fly fisherman. He was a member of the Turkey City Writer's Workshop, attended the Rio Hondo Writing Workshop,[2] and taught at the Clarion Workshop.[3]

Waldrop died from a stroke in Austin, on January 14, 2024, at the age of 77.[4][5]

Professional life


Waldrop was a frequent attendee of ArmadilloCon, the local science fiction convention held annually in Austin. He was the Toastmaster at the inaugural ArmadilloCon #1 (1979) and again at ArmadilloCon #29 (2007); he was Guest of Honor at ArmadilloCon #5 (1983).[6]

Waldrop was one of three writer Guests of Honor at the 1995 World Fantasy Convention[7] held in Baltimore and at Readercon 15[8] held in Burlington, Massachusetts, in 2003.[9]

Waldrop was Professional Writer Guest of Honor at Loscon 46 in Los Angeles, California, in 2019.[10]

In 2004 he started writing movie reviews with Lawrence Person for Locus Online.[11]



Waldrop's stories combine elements such as alternative history, American popular culture, the American South, old movies (and character actors), classical mythology, and rock 'n' roll music. His style is sometimes obscure or elliptical: Night of the Cooters is a pastiche of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds told from the perspective of a small town Texas sheriff (a homage to Slim Pickens) who faces a Martian cylinder crashing down near his town; "Heirs of the Perisphere" involves robotic Disney characters waking up in the far future; "Fin de Cyclé" describes the Dreyfus affair from the perspective of bicycle enthusiasts.

Waldrop's work is frequently out-of-print, though still available for sale online; several of his books have been reprinted in omnibus editions.

Several of his stories have been nominated for the genre's awards; "The Ugly Chickens" — about the extinction of the dodo — won a Nebula Award for best novelette in 1980, and also a World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction in 1981; this is perhaps his best known work. In 2021, he won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.[12]



Novels & novellas

  • The Texas-Israeli War: 1999 (with Jake Saunders, 1974) (Ballantine mass market, 1986, ISBN 0-345-33994-0)
  • Them Bones (Ace, 1984, ISBN 0-441-80557-4)
  • A Dozen Tough Jobs (novella) (Mark V Ziesing hardcover, 1989, ISBN 0-929480-01-5)
  • The Search for Tom Purdue (announced)[1]
  • The Moone World (announced)[2]

Short story collections


Short stories



  • The Soul-Catcher (self-published, 1967)
  • You Could Go Home Again (Cheap Street signed/numbered/tray cased very limited hardcover edition, 1993)
  • Custer's Last Jump (with Steven Utley) (Ticonderoga Publications, 1996)
  • Flying Saucer Rock and Roll (Cheap Street signed/numbered tray cased very limited hardcover edition, 2001)
  • A Better World's in Birth! (Golden Gryphon, 2003)
  • The Horse of a Different Color (You Rode In On)/The King of Where-I-Go (WSFA, 2006); saddle-stitched trade paperback given out to members of the 2005 Capclave, though not printed in time to be distributed there (not available/sold separately after publication)


  1. ^ Clute, John; Nicholls, Peter (July 22, 2021). "Waldrop, Howard". In Clute, John; et al. (eds.). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (3rd ed.). Gollancz.
  2. ^ "Waldrop, Howard. (2004, August 1). The 1954 Racing Form, Sci-Fi Style".
  3. ^ "Clarion Workshop Writers 2003". Archived from the original on August 17, 2003.
  4. ^ "Howard Waldrop: 1946–2024".
  5. ^ "Howard Waldrop (1946–2024)". Locus. January 15, 2024. Retrieved January 15, 2024.
  6. ^ "Con History".
  7. ^ "History of the World Fantasy Conventions". Archived from the original on December 31, 2008.
  8. ^ "Readercon15 Program". Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  9. ^ " ReaderCon 15".
  10. ^ "2019 Loscon Guests of Honor Announced". September 15, 2018.
  11. ^ "Lawrence Person's Bibliography".
  12. ^ "Howard Waldrop Awards". Science Fiction Awards Database. Locus Science Fiction Foundation. December 21, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Howard Waldrop - Old Earth Books".
  14. ^ DeNardo, John (February 14, 2013). "TOC: Old Mars Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois". SF Signal. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  15. ^ Bedford, Robert H. (October 8, 2013). "Mars as We Thought it Could Be: Old Mars, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois". Macmillan. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  16. ^ "2014 Locus Awards Winners". Locus. June 28, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.