Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Aaron's Book of the Week :: The Green Girl by Jack Williamson

The Green GirlThe Book of the Week is The Green Girl by Jack Williamson, who passed away Friday at the age of 98.

Jack Williamson made a great many contributions to the world of science fiction and fantasy, including such classics as Darker Than You Think and The Humanoids. He coined the term "terraforming" and wrote the first stories involving the modern concepts of androids and anti-matter (which he called "contraterrene" or "C-T" matter). But Williamson will probably forever be best remembered for the incredible longevity of his career. Jack Williamson sold his first story in 1928 and was an established author with dozens of published works to his credit before Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein even made their first sales. (Isaac Asimov was thrilled to receive a congratulatory post card from Williamson after Asimov's first story was published.) Yet he continued to write impressive and important fiction into the 21st Century, publishing works in nine different decades. He won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella for his story "The Ultimate Earth," published in 2000, 72 years after his first story.

Williamson held a PhD in English literature from the University of Colorado and taught full-time at Eastern New Mexico University from 1960 to 1977. After that, he taught part-time and organized the Jack Williamson Lectureship Series, an annual program inspiring a new generation of writers since 1977. Jack Williamson was the second person ever named "Grand Master" by the Science Fiction Writers of America (Heinlein was the first). He was also named Grand Master by the World Horror Society, received the World Fantasy Award for life achievement, and has been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

As you can see from the Book of the Week, Avon Fantasy Novel #2 printed in 1950, Jack Williamson was one of the authors who helped science fiction and fantasy break into the new paperback fiction market. He was already very familiar to SF readers at the time thanks to his pulp fiction, an example of which we will see next week.

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