The "triple threat": author, scholar, and teacher of science fiction.
July 12, 1923
As an author, James Gunn writes insightful science fiction that examines how humanity will tackle the problems the future may bring. As a scholar, he devoted his career to promoting and advancing the study of science fiction.
Gunn began writing science fiction in 1948 while in graduate school, after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He has published more than 100 short stories, ten novels, and numerous works of criticism. His fiction has been adapted for radio and television, and has been reprinted worldwide. Gunn also edited the very influential Road to Science Fiction anthologies, which trace science fiction from its origins in mythology to contemporary works. These collections are often used in the classroom.
In 1982 Gunn established the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas as a focus for the numerous sf programs he offered at UK. The Center offers coursework in sf, workshops, seminars, and MA and MFA studies. It oversees the John W. Campbell and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards. In 1996 the Center established the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame to honor the field’s most influential talents.
He served as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1971–1972 and president of the Science Fiction Research Association from 1980–1982. The Science Fiction Writers of America named him a Grand Master in 2007.