SF Author Julian May Dead At 86

Author Julian May has died, her agent Russell Galen announced.  Ms. May was 86 years old.  She wrote nearly 300 books, both fiction and non-fiction.

‘My client Julian May has died at the age of 86. She was a force of nature, a fighter, and a taker of no bulllshit, working right up to the last minute on a TV adaptation of her best-known work, the “Saga of Pliocene Exile” series. And she introduced me to single malt Scotch at her home on Bainbridge Island, WA years ago. Lifting a glass of Talisker in her honor tonight.’

SF/F writer Julian May

Author and editor Julian May was best known in SF/F fandom as the author of the Saga of Pliocene Exile series, the Galactic Milieu series, and the Trillium series.  Between 1956 and 1981 she wrote over 250 books for children, mostly non-fiction books introducing young readers to science and history.

Born in Chicago July 10, 1931, Julian May was active in fandom from a young age.  As a teenager, she published the fanzine Interim Newsletter.  She had letters printed in Astounding Magazine when she was only 17.  She wrote and sold her first story, “Dune Roller,” to John Campbell, editor of Astounding, when she was 19.  She met her husband, editor and publisher T. E. Ditky, at a science fiction convention.  She was chairman of the 10th World Science Fiction Convention in 1952, at an age when most fans would only be gophers. From the mid-50’s to the early 70’s, she gafiated as she concentrated on bearing and raising three children and writing for her husband’s company, Publication Associates.  She also wrote encyclopedia articles at this time.  She resumed an active role in fandom in the 70’s and began writing science fiction and fantasy again.  May was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention (Sasquan) in 2015.  Her husband had been inducted posthumously in 2013.

During her long literary career, Julian May used several different pen names, including Lee N. Falconer (Gazetteer of the Hyborian World of Conan), J. C. May (“Dune Roller”), Ian Thorne (The Blob, The Deadly Mantis, etc.), Bob Cunningham, George Zanderbergen, Jean Wright Thorne, John Feilen, and Matthew G Grant,.  Her books had multiple nominations for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards.  The Many Colored Land won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1982.  At the time of her death she was working on a television adaption of her popular Saga of Pliocene Exile series.

Julian May, 1931 – 2017.  RIP

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About Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book R is for Renaissance Faire, as well as short stories in Alternative Truths,  Swords and Sorceress #30, Supernatural Colorado, Barbarian Crowns, and Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid. Her articles have appeared on Krypton Radio’s website, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.

2 Comments

  1. A giant has passed. She was one of my cornerstone writers. Her Saga of the Pliocene is one of my favorites.

  2. One of my favourite authors. Sad news, I’ll have to re-read the saga of the exiles again in her honour 🙁

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