James Gunn (author)

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James Edwin Gunn
James Gunn writer.jpg
Gunn in 2005
Born James Edwin Gunn
July 1923 (age 91–92)
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Pen name Edwin James[1]
Occupation Professor of English, critic, fiction writer
Language English
Nationality American
Education B.S., Journalism; M.A., English
Alma mater University of Kansas
Period 1948–present
Genre Science fiction
Subject Isaac Asimov, history of science fiction
Notable works
Notable awards (below)

James Edwin Gunn (born July 12, 1923) is an American science fiction author, editor, scholar, and anthologist. His work from the 1960s and 1970s is considered his most significant fiction, and his six Road to Science Fiction anthologies are considered his most important scholarly books[citation needed] although he won the Hugo Award for "Best Related Work" in 1983 and was finalist in 1989 for other books.[2] The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America made him its 24th Grand Master in 2007.[3]

James Gunn is a professor emeritus of English, and the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, both at the University of Kansas.[4][5]


Gunn served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, after which he attended the University of Kansas, earning a Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1947 and a Masters of Arts in English in 1951. Gunn went on to become a faculty member of the University of Kansas, where he served as the university's director of public relations and as a Professor of English, specializing in science fiction and fiction writing. He is now a professor emeritus and director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, which awards the annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award at the Campbell Conference in Lawrence, Kansas, every summer.

He served as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America[6] from 1971–1972 and was President of the Science Fiction Research Association from 1980–1982. SFWA honored him as a Grand Master of Science Fiction in 2007.[7]


Gunn began his career as a science fiction author in 1949, making his first short story sale to Thrilling Wonder Stories.[7] He has had almost 100 stories published in magazines and anthologies and has authored 28 books and edited 10. Many of his stories and books have been reprinted around the world.[5]

From 1949 to 1952, Gunn wrote ten short stories published as by Edwin James, a pseudonym derived from his full name.[5] The two earliest, "Paradox" and "Communication", were published in 1949 magazines edited by Sam Merwin, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Startling Stories.[1] His first published novels were Star Bridge (Gnome Press, 1955), by Gunn and Jack Williamson, and This Fortress World (Gnome, 1955).[1]

In 1996, Gunn wrote a novelization of the unproduced episode of Star Trek, "The Joy Machine", scripted by Theodore Sturgeon.


His stories also have been adapted into radioplays and teleplays:

  • NBC Radio's X Minus One - "Cave of Night", February 1, 1956.
  • Desilu Playhouse's 1959 "Man in Orbit", based on Gunn's "The Cave of Night".
  • ABC-TV's Movie of the Week "The Immortal" (1969) and an hour-long television series The Immortal in 1970, based on Gunn's The Immortals.[5]
  • An episode of the USSR science fiction TV series This Fantastic World, filmed in 1989 and entitled "Psychodynamics of the Witchcraft" was based on James Gunn's 1953 story "Wherever You May Be".[8]
  • Mystery drama If the bride is a witch (Russia, 2002) based on "Wherever You May Be".

Selected works[edit]



Gunn's anthologies include The Road to Science Fiction, six volumes 1977 to 1998. The first four are organized chronologically covering Gilgamesh to 1981 or "Forever" (Mentor New American Library, 1977 to 1982). The last two feature "The British Way" and "Around the World" (White Wolf Publishing, 1998).[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d James Gunn at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved April 5, 2013. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Gunn, James E.". The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index of Literary Nominees. Locus Publications. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ Gunn biography at CSSF
  5. ^ a b c d Niccum, Jon (April 11, 2008). "Top Gunn: Renowned science fiction author finds fresh ways to cultivate genre". Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence, KS). Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ The End of the Dreams, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, Book Club Edition, 1975 (Jacket cover)
  7. ^ a b c Burnes, Brian (August 16, 2013). "For James Gunn, science-fiction’s golden age has lasted eight decades". The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, MO: The McClatchy Company). Retrieved August 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ (Russian) State Fund of Television and Radio Programs
  9. ^ a b "Isaac Asimov Novel Wins a Hugo Award". The New York Times. Associated Press. September 6, 1983. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Long List of Hugo Awards, 1976". New England Science Fiction Association. 1976. Retrieved August 17, 2013. 


Further reading[edit]

James E. Gunn (2004) The Listeners, BenBella Books, ISBN 1-932100-12-1 (Carl Sagan stated about The Listeners: "One of the very best fictional portrayals of contact with extraterrestrial intelligence ever written.")

External links[edit]