Saving the World Through Science Fiction

James Gunn, Writer, Teacher and Scholar

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About the Book

One of the major figures in science fiction for more than sixty years, James Gunn has been instrumental in making the genre one of the most vibrant and engaging areas of literary scholarship. His genre history Alternate Worlds and his The Road to Science Fiction anthologies introduced countless readers to science fiction. He founded the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction in 1982. But Gunn has also been one of the genre’s leading writers. His classic novels Star Bridge (with Jack Williamson), The Joy Makers, The Immortals and The Listeners helped shape the field. Now in his nineties, he remains a prominent voice. His forthcoming novel is Transformation. Drawing on materials from Gunn’s archives and personal interviews with him, this study is the first to examine the life, career and writing of this science fiction grandmaster.

About the Author(s)

Michael R. Page is a lecturer in the English department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Bibliographic Details

Michael R. Page

Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 296
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6309-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2822-6
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword: “Science Fiction’s Dad”
Christopher McKitterick 1
Preface 9
One. James Gunn: A Life in Science Fiction 17
Two. Early Stories to This Fortress World and Star Bridge 77
Three. The Joy Makers to The Burning 132
Four. The Listeners to Crisis! 188
Five. The Joy Machine to the Transcendental Trilogy 225
Six. The Scholarship 252
Chapter Notes 261
Bibliography 269
Index 273

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Groundbreaking…recommended” —The Midwest Book Review
  • “James Gunn’s influence in the science fiction field, as author, editor, teacher and critic, has continued for decades, rising recently to the SFWA Grand Master Award. He has been in my mind from my first days, with his graceful novels and stories, and later a colleague with whom I have engaged in countless spirited discussions. This journey through his work is a fine introduction to a fiercely independent talent.”—George Zebrowski, John W. Campbell Award Winner for Brute Orbits and the classic Macrolife
  • “A book devoted to the life and work of James Gunn, anthologist, scholar, and one of science fiction’s most eloquent and influential writers, is long overdue. Michael Page offers us an informative account of Gunn’s life and the ways in which it has shaped his work, along with summaries and analyses of his most important stories and novels; Page also notes the ways in which Gunn directly affected the genre and some of its most important writers. Saving the World Through Science Fiction is an essential guide to anyone interested in the history of science fiction and paints a fine portrait of a man whose influence deserves to be much more widely known.”—Pamela Sargent, Pilgrim Award-winning editor of the Women of Wonder anthologies