James Gunn, KU English professor emeritus, is now in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
Gunn is in elite company with Theodore Sturgeon, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov and others. The 2015 induction class also includes writer Kurt Vonnegut, filmmaker Georges Méliès, and artists John Schoenherr and Jack Gaughan.
“Twenty years ago, when Robin Wayne Bailey came to me and said science fiction needs a hall of fame,” Gunn said at the induction ceremony, “it never occurred to me that I would be standing here in Seattle joining this illustrious group.”
Gunn’s career spans eight decades, starting in the 1940s, and he’s not done yet. Two brand new short stories have just been accepted for publication. “New Earth” will be published in “Asimov’s Science Fiction,” and “Saving the World” will be published in “Analog Science Fiction and Fact.” It seems fitting that in the year Gunn enters the hall of fame “Analog” will publish one of his short stories. When the magazine began in the 1930s, it was known as “Astounding Stories,” and was one of the first to publish Gunn’s writing.
Among the honors bestowed upon Gunn are the Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association and the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He is a past president of both organizations. Gunn said the hall of fame induction is a signal honor.
“I've had a great many honors in the science-fiction world,” Gunn said, “and this represents the final honor to wind up a career.”
But don’t take that quote to mean his career is over by any stretch of the imagination. Gunn’s most recently published novel, “Transcendental,” is the first in a trilogy. The sequel, “Transgalactic,” is on the way, and he just received a contract for the third volume.
“I feel that writing is what I do," Gunn said, "and as long as I can do it well enough that publishers are willing to publish it, I will continue to do what has brought a central core of meaning to my life.”