DeepSouthCon has presented the Phoenix Award annually since 1970. The first Rebel Award was presented to Richard C. Meredith. The 1980 award was presented on August 23 at DeepSouthCon 18/ASFICon in Atlanta, Georgia, which was chaired by Cliff Biggers.
While Piers Anthony may currently be best known for his series of Xanth novels, in 1980, when he was presented with the Phoenix Award, the series was just getting started. A Spell for Chameleon had appeared in 1977 and been awarded the British Fantasy Award and nominated for the Balrog Award. Castle Roogna followed it in 1978 and The Source of Magic appeared in 1979, and that was all: a trilogy.
Anthony had published numerous successful series up to that point, including the Omnivore/Orn/OX series between 1968 and 1976, the first four volumes of the Cluster series and the Tarot trilogy. His Battle Circle trilogy had appeared between 1968 and 1975 and the Chthon duology was published in 1967 and 1975. In 1980, he had just published Split Infinity, the first novel in his Apprentice Adept series.
Anthony was born in the United Kingdom with the name Piers Anthony Dilligham Jacobs. He became a US citizen when he was 24 years old after coming to the US for his education and in 1963, he published his first short story, “Possible to Rue” in the April 1963 issue of Fantastic. Anthony wrote both science fiction and fantasy, frequently blurring the lines between the two forms and his first novel, Chthon was science fiction, while his second was Sos the Rope, a post-apocalyptic fantasy. Even after the advent of the popularity of the Xanth series, Anthony continued to switch back and forth between the genres.
One of the features of the Xanth novels is Anthony’s love and reliance on puns, which often find their way into other works. He recycled the pun of the title Isle of View from the Xanth series for his stand-alone novel Isle of Women, which began his five volume Geodyssey series which explored the history of the world through the eyes of individuals who are reborn at various points in humanity’s history.
While Anthony is known for series, he has also written numerous stand-alone novels and has collaborated with other authors. His realization that his books, especially the Xanth novels, made a difference in people’s lives has caused him to write about those people who he has touched as well as reach out to help other aspiring authors.
Anthony’s own work seems to waver between light entertainment to more philosophical musings on the nature of humanity and its mythologies. This variance can often take place within the span of a single series, especially when he series stretches beyond the originally planned length.
DeepSouthCon does not release a list of the names of authors who were considered for the Phoenix Award.
Steven H Silver is a sixteen-time Hugo Award nominee and was the publisher of the Hugo-nominated fanzine Argentus as well as the editor and publisher of ISFiC Press for 8 years. He has also edited books for DAW, NESFA Press, and ZNB. He began publishing short fiction in 2008 and his most recently published story is “Webinar: Web Sites” in The Tangled Web. His most recent anthology, Alternate Peace was published in June. Steven has chaired the first Midwest Construction, Windycon three times, and the SFWA Nebula Conference 6 times, as well as serving as the Event Coordinator for SFWA. He was programming chair for Chicon 2000 and Vice Chair of Chicon 7.