James E. Gunn (writer)

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James E. Gunn
James Gunn writer.jpg
Gunn in 2005
Born James Edwin Gunn
(1923-07-12) July 12, 1923 (age 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 writer, 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 a finalist in 1989 for other nonfiction books.[2] The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America made him its 24th Grand Master in 2007[3] and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2015.[4]

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.[5][6]

Biography[edit]

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[7] 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.[8]

On June 12, 2015, Locus announced the selection of Gunn and four others for induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, along with "a 'lightning-fast' fundraiser to cover [Gunn's] travel expenses so he can attend the June 27, 2015 induction ceremony in Seattle".[4]

Writing[edit]

Gunn began his career as a science fiction writer in 1949, making his first short story sale to Thrilling Wonder Stories.[8] He has had almost 100 stories published in magazines and anthologies and has written 28 books and edited 10. Many of his stories and books have been reprinted around the world.[6]

From 1949 to 1952, Gunn wrote ten short stories published as by Edwin James, a pseudonym derived from his full name.[6] The first two in print, "Communication" and "Paradox" (that first sale), were published in September and October 1949 by editor Sam Merwin in Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories.[1] His novels were first published by Gnome Press in 1955, Star Bridge, written by Gunn and Jack Williamson, and This Fortress World.[1]

Scribner's published Gunn's novel The Listeners in 1972[9] and it was runner-up for the first annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.[2] Carl Sagan called it "one of the very best fictional portrayals of contact with extraterrestrial intelligence ever written."[citation needed] According to the publisher of a 2004 edition, "this book predicted and inspired the creation of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)—the organization dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life."[10]

In 1996, Gunn wrote a novelization of "The Joy Machine", an unproduced episode of Star Trek scripted by Theodore Sturgeon.[citation needed][clarification needed]

Adaptations[edit]

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[6]
  • 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"[11]
  • Mystery drama If the bride is a witch (Russia, 2002) based on "Wherever You May Be"

Selected works[edit]

Fiction[edit]

  • Star Bridge, Gunn and Jack Williamson (Gnome Press, 1955)
  • This Fortress World (Gnome, 1955)
  • Station in Space (Bantam Books, 1958), stories
  • The Joy Makers (Bantam, 1961)
  • Future Imperfect (Bantam, 1964), stories
  • The Immortals (Bantam, 1964), four stories; revised and expanded ed. comprising five stories, Pocket Books, 2004[1]
  • The Immortal (Bantam, 1970) – novelization from the TV series The Immortal[1]
  • The Witching Hour (Dell, 1970), stories
  • The Listeners (Scribner's, 1972), stories[9][10] – October 1972 collection of six novelettes, five previously published (September 1968 to September 1972); "The 'Computer Run's between each story average 8 pages long"[12]
  • Breaking Point (Walker & Co., 1972), stories
  • The Burning (Dell, 1972), stories
  • Some Dreams Are Nightmares (Scribner's, 1974), stories
  • The End of the Dreams (Scribner's, 1975), stories
  • The Magicians (Scribner's, 1976) – expanded from a novella, "Sine of the Magus" (Beyond Fantasy Fiction, May 1954)[1]
  • Kampus (Bantam, 1977)
  • The Dreamers (Simon & Schuster, 1981)
  • Crisis! (Tor Books, 1986) – fix-up of six stories published 1978 to 1985[1]
  • The Millennium Blues (e-reads.com, 2000; Easton Press, 2001)
  • Human Voices (Five Star Books, 2002)
  • Gift from the Stars (Easton, 2005)
  • Transcendental (Tor, 2013)[8]

Nonfiction[edit]

Gunn's anthologies include The Road to Science Fiction, six volumes 1977 to 1998. The first four volumes, published by Mentor New American Library from 1977 to 1982, are organized chronologically and cover Gilgamesh to 1981 or "Forever" (volume 4, From Here to Forever). The last two volumes, published by White Wolf, Inc. in 1998, feature "The British Way" and "Around the World".[1]

Awards[edit]

Gunn's 1972 novel The Listeners was runner-up for the 1973 Campbell Memorial Award.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h James E. Gunn at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-04-05. 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 h i j k "Gunn, James". The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index of Literary Nominees. Locus Publications (locusmag.com). Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  3. ^ a b "Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (sfwa.org). Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  4. ^ a b c "2015 SF&F Hall of Fame Inductees & James Gunn Fundraiser". June 12, 2015. Locus Science Fiction Foundation. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  5. ^ "James Gunn: CSSF Founding Director". Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction (CSSF); University of Kansas (sfcenter.ku.edu). Updated December 2, 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  6. ^ 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 2013-08-17. 
  7. ^ The End of the Dreams, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, Book Club Edition, 1975 (jacket cover).
  8. ^ 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 2013-08-17. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b "The listeners" (first edition). LC Online Catalog; Library of Congress (catalog.loc.gov). Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  10. ^ a b "The listeners" (1st BenBella Books ed., 2004). LC Online Catalog. Retrieved 2015-07-16. With linked publisher description.
  11. ^ (Russian) State Fund of Television and Radio Programs
  12. ^ The Listeners (first edition) publication contents at ISFDB. Retrieved 2015-07-16.
  13. ^ a b "Isaac Asimov Novel Wins a Hugo Award". The New York Times. Associated Press. September 6, 1983. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  14. ^ "The Long List of Hugo Awards, 1976". New England Science Fiction Association (nesfa.org). 1976. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 

Citations

External links[edit]