R.I.P. Julian May

News came that writer Julian May died on October 17, 2017. The cause of her death wasn’t disclosed.

I already published a homage to Julian May on her 80th birthday on July 10, 2011, which contained the most important references to her life and her career as a writer. In fact, the length of that career, the amount of works published, often under some pseudonym or in collaboration, and the variety of genres embraced sometimes also mixing them, would require a very long article to list all of her work.

Julian May published her first professional work, a short story titled “Dune Roller”, in 1951 and the last works she published were the fantasy Boreal Moon trilogy composed by “Conqueror’s Moon” (2004), “Ironcrown Moon” (2005) and “Sorcerer’s Moon” (2006). Over the course of those 55 years she has written anything and in particular more than 250 books for children and young adults, especially essays and encyclopaedia articles, during about half of her career.

Julian May seemed to have abandoned science fiction literature forever but in the late 1970s she starting thinking about the ideas that eventually produced the works for which she’s best known, the Saga of Pliocene Exile and the Galactic Milieu Series. In fact, they’re two parts of the same series: the first one is set in the past and is told with tones typical of the fantasy genre, the second one is set after World War II in a story-arc that embraces a few centuries and is told with tones much more typical of science fiction.

This series has become Julian May’s most famous work and that’s inevitable because, in terms of extent, also from the number of themes’ point of view, and ambition far surpasses all her others. The novels that make it up were developed over almost twenty years and for once the number of books didn’t grow to exploit its fame but to be able to tell a great story in its entirety.

It may seem paradoxical that a writer who produced a few hundred works is remembered above all for one series but in that of Pliocene Exile / Galactic Milieu she put all her skills. Certainly this series is enough for her to have a place in the history of science fiction.

2 Comments


  1. I enjoyed her books immensely, they took me out of my crazy world and into another. Plus, they got me through plenty a plane ride. More importantly, Julian helped provide me the confidence to explore my own imagination to write my own books, Heart in the Cloud and Head in the Cloud. If you were to read them you would probably say, huh? This is not much like a Julian May book and this would be true. That is not the point, it was the permission to explore the imagination and get it down on paper, or digital ink.

    So thank you Julian, you will be missed.

    Jack

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