40th Annual Jack Williamson Lectureship

Jack Williamson 2016 lectureship poster

The 2016 Jack Williamson Lectureship at Eastern New Mexico University, the fortieth in the series, will feature “The Many Faces of Victor Milán.”

Milan has been publishing sf since the 1980s. His six-volume series The Dinosaur Lords melds the prehistoric creatures with the middle ages.

The event will take place April 7-8 at ENMU in Portales. Connie Willis once again will be the MC.

The Clovis News Journal interviewed lectureship coordinator Patrice Caldwell:

“I think the way Jack wrote and the stature that he had in the field says a lot about how important science fiction has become to the American culture, and certainly how important it is today,” she said. “American culture is basically linked to the hip with science fiction and to its issues and its concerns and its challenges. I think Jack Williamson saw that in 1928, and he saw it in 2005, and all the way through his very long career, and I think that’s why this is an event that we need to keep happening, because it reminds us all of this very essential dialogue between science, the humanities and the culture that those two forces are creating.”

This week’s episode of Lorene Mills’ Report From Santa Fe will be a “Special Science Fiction-Oriented Episode Honoring JACK WILLIAMSON (1908-2006), Multi-Award-Winning, Internationally Renowned N.M. Author, and ‘Dean of Science Fiction.’” The show will air on several New Mexico stations between April 2-4.

2015 Jack Williamson
Lecture Schedule

jwlec2015Highlights of events planned for the 2015 Jack Williamson Lectureship at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales (April 7-10) have been summarized in an e-mail from Williamson publisher Stephen Haffner.

Readings from the Words of Jack Williamson
Tuesday, April 7th, 6 p.m. ENMU, Jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building 112

Reading with Visiting Authors
Thursday, April 9th, 6 p.m. ENMU, Jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building 112

Reading by Guest of Honor, Paolo Bacigalupi
Friday, April 10th, 9:30 – 11 a.m. ENMU, Jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building 112

Lectureship Luncheon
Friday, April 10th, 11:45 a.m. ENMU, Campus Union Ballroom (lunch tickets are $10). Reservations for the lectureship luncheon can be made by calling 575.562.2315 or emailing Patrice.Caldwell@enmu.edu. The price is $10, payable at the door.  Reservations must be received by Monday, April 6th.

science-fiction-libraryWilliamson Lectureship Panels
Friday, April 10th, 3 – 6 p.m. ENMU Golden Library Special Collections. Everyone is welcome to attend the panels at Special Collections in Golden Library from 3-6 p.m. where writers, guests, and audience will discuss and debate topics in science fiction and fantasy.

Young Writers Workshop
Saturday, April 11th, 10 a.m. Noon Portales Public Library (reservations required). For aspiring young writers, a special workshop will be offered by authors Connie Willis and Steven Gould at the Portales Public Library on Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to Noon. Participants are encouraged to reserve a space by contacting the Portales Library, 218 S Avenue B, in Portales, at (575) 356-3940.

 

Haffner also sent out links to the recording of a 1977 interview with Jack Williamson and Frederik Pohl and to this video of Dr. Christopher Stasheff’s 2003 video interview with Jack Williamson, introduced by John Pomeranz of Fast Forward.

And thanks to the Haffner Press a great deal of good material by and about Jack Williamson is available to add to your collection:

At The Human Limit, The Collected Stories of Jack Williamson, Volume Eight: With a foreword by award-winning author and long-time friend of Williamson, Connie Willis, At the Human Limit represents the changing state of mid-20th Century American Science Fiction and concludes the documentation of Williamson’s unparalleled career.

Seventy-Five: The Diamond Anniversary of a Science Fiction Pioneer celebrates the first seventy-five years of Jack Williamson’s career in Science Fiction. From “The Metal Man” in 1928 to his recent Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novella “The Ultimate Earth,” inside are some of the best of Williamson’s stories, including excerpts of such classic novels as The Legion of Space, Golden Blood and The Legion of Time.

The Worlds of Jack Williamson: A Centennial Tribute (1908-2008) celebrates the 100th birthday of one of the Grand Masters of science fiction. While Jack Williamson passed away in 2006 at the age of 98, his incredible body of work continues to be enjoyed by legions of fans and admirers.

In Memory of Wonder’s Child honors the career of Grand Master Jack Williamson with memorial appreciations from friends, family and some of the most prominent members of the science fiction field.  Also included are Williamson’s 1939 pulp story “Nonstop to Mars,” his last work “The Mists of Time” from 2006, a facsimile reproduction of his 1928 editorial “Scientifiction, Searchlight of Science,” and pages from his 1950s newspaper comic strip, Beyond Mars.

35 Years of the Williamson Lectureship: This book collects transcripts of speeches and presentations from a variety of Lectureship guests from its first 35 years.

2015 Jack Williamson Lectureship

Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi will be Guest of Honor at the 39th Annual Jack Williamson Lectureship this spring at Eastern New Mexico University. Williamson publisher Stephen Haffner broke the news in his December newsletter.

Bacigalupi is the bestselling author of  The Windup Girl, Shipbreaker and The Drowned Cities. His newest book is The Doubt Factory.

Jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building

Jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building

Fans will also be pleased to hear that the Jack Williamson Liberal Arts Building on the ENMU campus in Portales has been renovated and faculty and staff were expected to resume using it this month.  Work began in summer 2013.

According to the Portales News-Tribune, the classroom facilities have been upgraded:

[Bradbury Stamm Superintendent David Burks] said the facility now has new classrooms with power and data ports available at every desk and table for students and teachers to utilize. He said many of the rooms have been outfitted with new projectors and automatic projector screens as well as dry erase boards.

…Other notable additions to the facility include a separate area for the Sodexo cafe that is larger and contains seting inside and out. Skylights have also been added to the hallways to increase the lighting in the building.

“The skylights have really brightened up in here; before this building was like a dungeon,” Burks said.

The exterior of the Jack Williamson Liberal Arts building seen as workers pour concrete and lay bricks outside the facility’s west entrance.

The exterior of the Jack Williamson
Liberal Arts building seen as workers pour concrete and lay bricks outside the facility’s west entrance.

[Thanks to Stephen Haffner for the story.]

2012 Williamson Lectureship

Daniel Abraham and Carrie Vaughn will be the guests of honor at the 36th annual Jack Williamson Lecture, to be held March 29-30 at Eastern New Mexico University. This year’s theme is Urban Fantasy. All events except the luncheon are free.

Daniel Abraham writes epic fantasy set on other worlds (The Long Price Quartet and The Dagger and the Coin series) and as “MLN Hanover” he writes urban fantasy set in something very like our world (The Black Sun’s Daughter series.)

Carrie Vaughn is the New York Times bestselling author of the “Kitty Norville” series (the 10th novel, Kitty Steals the Show is due Spring 2012).

Connie Willis, Misstress of Ceremonies for the event, is herself fresh from winning the Nebula and Hugo Awards for the newest novel in her Oxford time travel series (published as two volumes: Blackout and All Clear).

See the schedule and full press release following the jump.

Still available from Haffner Press is Thirty-Five Years of the Jack Williamson Lectureship, a collection of transcribed speeches and presentations by a variety of Lectureship guests since its beginning.

[Thanks to Stephen Haffner for the story.]

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He Was the Dean

Promotional copy for the new Murray Leinster biography says he was known as “The Dean of Science Fiction.”

I should not have been surprised: I read this in Sam Moskowitz’ Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction way back in the Seventies. However, I’d managed to forget it since. Or possibly repressed it, because as a young fan my fannish loyalties were to that rival claimant of the title: Robert A. Heinlein.

Heinlein acquired the title “Dean of Science Fiction” sometime around 1960, says J. Daniel Gifford in Robert A. Heinlein: A Reader’s Companion.

How? Thomas Clareson suggests in his essay for Voices for the Future (1976) that whoever wrote the jacket copy on his books was responsible:

Today Heinlein is known to many, thanks to paperback advertising techniques at least, as the “Dean” of science fiction writers, not so much because of his length of service as because of his relationship to the corporate body of science fiction.

Certainly a book cover was the first place I saw Heinlein called “Dean.” On the other hand, Leinster was called “Dean” in 1949 by no less an authority than Time Magazine

In the U.S., Will F. Jenkins, a 27-year veteran, who also writes under the pen name of Murray Leinster, is regarded as the dean of writers in the field.

Leinster was rather humble about the whole thing. In his introduction to Great Stories of Science Fiction (1951) he explained that he was sometimes called “’Dean’ of science fiction writers by virtue of my having outlived a number of better men. This wholly accidental distinction is perhaps the reason I was given the opportunity to compile this book.”

And as Leinster makes clear, the term “Dean” was primarily associated with seniority, length of service in the sf field. Lester Del Rey in The World of Science Fiction, a survey of the genre published in 1980, echoed the choice of Leinster:

…Murray Leinster, whose work remained popular in science fiction for more than fifty years and who was rightly named “the Dean of science fiction writers.”

I don’t know whether Heinlein liked being called “Dean” or thought it mattered at all. Maybe Bill Patterson can answer this in a later volume of his Heinlein bio. From a fan’s viewpoint I thought the name suited RAH because so many of his stories involved mentoring, the acquiring of self-discipline, or were delivered in the voice of a respected elder who has things to say about life, like Lazarus Long.

After Leinster died in 1975 some of the writers who acknowledged him as the “Dean” thought the title deserved to be perpetuated, which meant picking a successor. Isaac Asimov made it clear he preferred length of service as the criterion for naming someone the “Dean.” In his 1979 essay for IASFM “The Dean of Science Fiction,” Heinlein was not a finalist. Asimov listed Jack Williamson, Clifford D. Simak, L. Sprague de Camp and Lester Del Rey. And just a few years later – even while all four were still alive – Asimov seemed to have narrowed his list to two, saying in The Hugo Winners: 1980-1982 (1986) “the only writer who can possibly compete with [Clifford D. Simak] as ‘dean of science fiction’ is Jack Williamson, who is four years younger than Cliff but has been publishing three years longer.”

Both Simak and Heinlein died in 1988. Del Rey died in 1993. De Camp died in 2000.

Williamson seems to have been the writer most people felt comfortable calling the “Dean” in later years. Several of his peers labeled him by some version of the title both before and after Heinlein died. Interestingly, when Algis Budrys dubbed Williamson the “Dean of Science Fiction” in a 1985 essay for The Science Fiction Yearbook the usage even passed muster with the volume’s editor, Jerry Pournelle, a good friend of Heinlein’s. Williamson lived on until 2006, continuing to produce, his last novel The Stonehenge Gate published just the year before he died.

Some others regarded Arthur C. Clarke as the true heir to the title. Gerald K. O’Neill in The High Frontier (1989) called Clarke the dean of science fiction, and so did a contributor to a 1989 volume of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Clarke passed away in 2008.

People outside the field have always bandied the title about – Ray Bradbury was called the Dean on a TV show in the Sixties. Now he practically qualifies, though not quite – I imagine Fred Pohl has the edge in years as a professional writer.

Other specialties in the science fiction field have their “Deans.” Google tells me Frank Kelly Freas was called the “dean of science fiction artists,” though I must say I managed to go my entire time in fandom up to today without ever hearing him called that.

The New York Times once referred to Donald Wollheim as the “Dean” of science fiction editors, according to a 1981 article in The Bloomsbury Review.  Campbell had been so-called at least as early as 1947 — in Samuel Stephenson Smith’s How to Double Your Vocabulary, of all places — but he’d been dead almost ten years before The Bloomsbury Review took up the subject.

And let’s not forget that in Ann Arbor in 1975, Dean McLaughlin, author of “Hawk Among the Sparrows,” was who trufans called “Dean of Science Fiction.”

Of course, many will have become aware that no woman author’s name has been mentioned at any point, even in touching on the most recent decade. Ursula K. LeGuin regularly offers wisdom about topical issues in the field, and until death ended her long career Andre Norton was respected and influential, so there are women who might have been nominated to the role. However, I suspect the whole notion of a “Dean of Science Fiction,” which was never more than of anecdotal significance, is fading from fannish awareness too rapidly for a real sense of injustice to take hold.

[Thanks to John Lorentz, Google Ngram and Steven H Silver’s SF Site for help with this story.]

Special Jack Williamson Edition Coming

A special edition of The Worlds of Jack Williamson, a 720-page collection with specially commissioned artwork by Vincent DifFate, is available for order from Haffner Press.

It is signed by all living contributiors: Frederik Pohl, James Gunn, Alfred D. Stewart, PhD, Alan C. Elms, PhD, Stephen Haffner, and Vincent Di Fate, and contributor Vicky L. Medley signed the heading to her contribution, “Queens of Space,” prior to her passing in 2008.

The full text of the press release appears after the jump.

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Mars Geological Features Named for Williamson, Zelazny, C.S. Lewis & Fredric Brown

Jack Williamson, Roger Zelazny, C.S. Lewis and Fredric Brown recently had features on Mars named after them by officials of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Rover project.

Patricia Rogers of Albuquerque made the announcement during the 32nd Annual Jack Williamson Lectureship at Eastern New Mexico University. Melinda Snodgrass says that when they heard “the first two were our own Jack Williamson and Roger Zelazny. It had most of us in tears.”

“The features named for Jack and Roger are on Mitchelltree Ridge near the Columbia Hills,” said Rogers. It was her suggestion that led to the naming of craters on Mars after sf writers.

In November 2006, Rogers heard a lecture by Dr. Larry Crumpler at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. Crumpler is Vulcanologist on the staff of the Museum and also part of JPL’s team for the Mars Rovers.

“He is also one of the folks who get to name features on Mars, especially at the Spirit site,” said Rogers. “During his talk that evening he mentioned a feature named Clovis, then said the Spirit Rover’s next move was to head south. I sat there and thought, ‘Hummm – what is south of Clovis… Portales. And who lived in Portales… Jack Williamson. It sure would be cool if a feature on Mars was named after Jack.'” She spoke to Crumpler after the lecture and he was receptive to the idea.

Whether these names, or any others given to Mars’ features by the JPL scientists, will become permanent remains to be seen. As Dr. Tim Parker, a JPL geologist working on the rover mission, explained in a 2004 interview “We give names to features near the rovers for convenience. But it’s important to remember they’re all unofficial.”

The International Astronomical Union is ultimately responsible for naming land features on planets and their moons. For example, the Gazette of Planetary Names explains, large craters, approximately 60 km and larger, are named for deceased scientists who have contributed to the study of Mars; writers and others who have contributed to the lore of Mars.

JPL previously accorded Williamson and Zelazny a less exclusive honor by including their names among over 1 million placed on a microchip aboard the Stardust spacecraft that visited Comet Wild 2 in 2004.

Jack Williamson Centennial Tribute

Stephen Haffner, publisher of The Worlds of Jack Williamson: A Centennial Tribute (1908-2008) plans to have copies back from the printer in time for the book’s April 11 debut at the 2008 Williamson Lectureship, given at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico. Speakers at this year’s Lectureship are Steven Gould, Christopher Stasheff, and Connie Willis. (Click to see photos of the 2007 Lectureship.)

Haffner announces that all copies paid-for in advance of publication will be shipped with a 12-page booklet by Jack Williamson, The Cat That Loved Shakespeare, originally written as his holiday contribution for his local writer’s group.

At the Lectureship regents at ENMU will receive a check from Haffner Press for proceeds earned from the sales of their 2007 memorial tribute to Jack Williamson, In Memory of Wonder’s Child. Copies are still available of the 112-page perfect bound chapbook, which includes tributes from some of the major SF writers with their thoughts on the passing of Jack Williamson.

Behind the cut is the text of the Haffner press release, with The Worlds of Jack Williamson table of contents. Thanks to Andrew Porter for the information.

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