Jack Williamson

From Fancyclopedia 3
Jump to navigation Jump to search

(April 29, 1908 – November 10, 2006)

Jack Williamson, a U.S. SF writer who for 31 years held the title of Most Senior SF Writer, discovered Amazing as a young man, but never really hooked up with fandom. By the 1930s he was an established pro writing mostly hard adventure sf such as The Legion of Space, originally serialized in Astounding Stories in 1934, then published in book form (with some revisions) by Fantasy Press in 1947 in an edition of 2,970 copies.

The Legion of Space was better-than-average pulp sf, but it was still very definitely pulp sf. It was populated by figures cut from an especially high grade of cardboard with Shakespearean overtones and was very popular with fans. For example, the Strangers Club did a play with takeoffs on Legion and characters from it were often used at early masquerades.

Williamson wrote classics such as The Humanoids and "Darker Than You Think." He coined the word terraform. He was one of the western pros who were (pseudonymously) characters in Anthony Boucher's Rocket to the Morgue -- Joe Henderson in his case.

As by far the oldest writer still active when he was in his late 80s, he was approached by a young man at a con for an autograph. The young man said, "Mr. Williamson, I really enjoyed your latest book, and I hope that ten years from now I'll still be reading them!" Williamson, looked at him and said, "Well, if you take care of yourself, I don't see any reason you wouldn't be able to."

He also published as Will Stewart and Nils O. Sonderland.

Williamson was born in the Arizona Territory and moved to New Mexico in a covered wagon where he lived for most of the rest of his life. Mostly self-educated, he eventually earned a Ph.D. in English and became a professor at Eastern New Mexico University which established the Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library in his memory.

He wrote his autobiography, Wonder's Child: My Life in Science Fiction, in 1984 (Bluejay Books). Other works about him include The Work of Jack Williamson: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide (which received a nomination for the 1999 Best Related Book Hugo) and Seventy-Five: The Diamond Anniversary of a Science Fiction Pioneer, both by Richard A. Hauptmann.

The Jack Williamson Lectureship was named after him.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:



Person Reasonator 19082006
This is a biography page. Please extend it by adding more information about the person, such as fanzines and apazines published, awards, clubs, conventions worked on, GoHships, impact on fandom, external links, anecdotes, etc. See Standards for People and The Naming of Names.