Alternate Worlds, by James Gunn


Orthodox Herbertarian

Over the last sixty years James Gunn has been pretty active in just about all fields of SF. He has written more than his fair share of fiction and several of his major works can still be found on the shelf in bookstores. He edited and wrote a large share of an encyclopedia, several teaching aids, a handful of television scripts (for The Immortals, a show whose concept came from one of his own fiction works), and a genre history, and he did a lot of the work to launch the Center for the Study of Science Fiction in Kansas. He started organizations that preside over some of the more important genre-related awards, he still writes and teaches, and I know personally that he takes time to answer each and every e-mail and letter that he receives. He is, in short, a driving force in the American genre, and he has been such for over sixty years. When it comes to reference books I, like most I suppose, tend to use them only when I have a specific question. Lately I have come to the realization that these books, often packed with unsung virtues, are worth reading and reviewing. Within the last two weeks I have finally read from cover to cover one of his most important non-fiction genre related works, Alternate Worlds: The Illustrated History of Science Fiction, a coffee table sized genre history/criticism volume with scads of photos of authors and pulp illustrations. I’m still kicking myself for not doing this years ago...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..