Canadian-born John Clute first landed in London in 1964 in the very docks on which ExCeL London now stands. He married Judith Clute in 1964; and has been resident in London, in the same Camden Town flat, since 1969. He has visited the USA frequently, since 1996 with his partner Elizabeth Hand in Maine.
He was one of the eight founding editors of Interzone magazine in 1982 – Malcolm Edwards was one of the others – and was Associate Editor of the Hugo-winning first edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction under general editor Peter Nicholls. He co-edited the second edition with Nicholls, which won the Hugo, Locus, British SF Special and the Eaton Grand Master Awards; and is co-editor of the third edition, online since 2011 and now more than a million words longer than at its launch, with David Langford (Nicholls remains as Editor Emeritus) and with Graham Sleight serving as Managing Editor. The online version has won the British SF Award for nonfiction, the 2012 Eurocon, and a Hugo Award for 2012.
John has also co-edited the Encyclopedia of Fantasy with John Grant, which won the Hugo, Locus, Mythopoeic, and Eaton Awards, and on his own wrote Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia, which is a companion to SF rather than an encyclopedia; it won the 1996 Hugo and Locus Awards. Another work, The Book of End Times: Grappling with The Millennium, appeared in 1999.
He has been publishing articles on and reviews of speculative fiction since the 1960s. His criticism and reviews have been assembled in Strokes: Essays and Reviews 1966-1986; Look at the Evidence: Essays and Reviews; Scores: Reviews 1993-2003; Canary Fever: Reviews; and Stay.
The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror argues that horror is central to 21st century fantastika; the central pieces assembled in Pardon This Intrusion: Fantastika in the World Storm further this argument, suggesting that a central task for Fantastika in the 21st century is to dissolve the cultural amnesia that has arguably consumed the Western world since World War Two. He has published several short stories and two novels, The Disinheriting Party in 1977, which is not SF; and Appleseed in 2007, which is.
He received a Pilgrim Award from the SFRA in 1994, was Distinguished Guest Scholar at the 1999 International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts, and received an SFWA Solstice Award in 2012. He has been described as “an integral part of science fiction's history” and “perhaps the foremost reader-critic of SF in our time, and one of the best the genre has ever known.”