R.I.P. James Gunn

James Gunn in 2005
James Gunn in 2005

Writer James Gunn passed away yesterday, December 23, 2020. Last Saturday he was taken to the emergency room for heart problems, and those are probably what caused his death. Statements from the University of Kansas, where he was a professor emeritus, mentioned generic natural causes.

James Edwin Gunn (photo ¬©James Gunn) was born on July 12, 1923 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. I already wrote a tribute on the occasion of his 90th birthday that traced his life and career, which by then were already very long. It’s one of the cases in which an entire book could be written to analyze his literary works, his work as an anthology editor, his work at the University of Kansas, and his travels around the world during which he spread science fiction.

Even in the later years of his life, James Gunn continued to be active. As a writer, he completed the Transcendental Machine trilogy by publishing the sequels to the first novel: “Transgalactic” in 2016 and “Transformation” in 2017. In 2017 he also published an autobiography, “Star-Begotten: A Life Lived in Science Fiction”. He was a fairly prolific writer, albeit far from the levels of some of his colleagues, but he used to say that writing was a difficult activity that came with hard work.

In 2015 came the announcement that James Gunn would be inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. It was no surprise, but other important people in the field of science fiction received this honor only after their death.

Over the course of his very long career, James Gunn has received various awards for both his work as a writer and as an editor of science fiction anthologies and essays. He’s been important in various ways in the field of science fiction and leaves a strong legacy.

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