Since the time he was a teenager, White has been a prolific contributor to science fiction fanzines, and in 1968 he won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. His skill as an essayist is evident in "The Bet", a memoir of a tense day in 1960 when a dispute over a record owned by music critic Linda Solomon prompted fellow science fiction writer Harlan Ellison to bet his entire record collection against a single record in White's collection, and then renege on the deal.
Despite his considerable professional credits, White maintains that his achievements in fandom mean more to him than anything else he has done. In 1953, he edited and published Zip, the first of many fanzines he published over the following decades. In 1956–57, he co-edited Stellar with Larry Stark, followed by Void when he joined the founding editors, Gregory Benford and James Benford (1960), Minac, Egoboo and others. In addition to helping others publish their own fanzines, he was a regular columnist in Yandro and Richard E. Geis' Psychotic/SF Review. He also has been active in numerous fan events, such as organizing the 1967 World Science Fiction Convention in New York as co-chairman. As of 2018, he was still active on several of the fandom- and fanzine-oriented electronic mailing lists.
From 1977 into 1979, as Dr. Progresso, he did the Friday afternoon Dr. Progresso radio show on WGTB-FM (90.1).
In 1959, at the age of 21, White moved from Falls Church, Virginia, to New York City with his first wife, Sylvia Dees White. That year, he began writing music criticism for Metronome and a column for Tom Wilson's Jazz Guide (later 33 Guide). As a music critic, he expanded into jazz writing and journalism for Rogue, along with LP liner notes, concert reviews and interviews. He was the only person to record an interview with Eric Dolphy (who died in 1964). Moving online, White became the music editor of the Collecting Channel website in 1999, and he maintains his own website of music commentary under his Dr. Progresso pseudonym.
"Phoenix", a 1963 collaboration with Marion Zimmer Bradley, was White's first professionally published story, which he later expanded into the novel Phoenix Prime, beginning the Qanar series of books. His first novel, Invasion from 2500 (1964), was written in collaboration with Terry Carr under the pseudonym Norman Edwards. Between 1964 and 1978 he wrote two science fiction series and 11 standalone novels, including one Captain America novel. Two of the novels were written in collaboration with Dave van Arnam, one with David Bischoff and one, using White's Doc Phoenix character, with Marv Wolfman.