‘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.’
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