Jack Williamson

(April 29, 1908 – November 10, 2006)

US SF writer who for 31 years held the title of Most Senior SF Writer. 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 PhD in English and became a professor at Eastern New Mexico University which has established the Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library in his memory. He wrote his autobiography, Wonder's Child -- My Life in Science Fiction in 1984.

He discovered Amazing as a young man, but never really hooked up with fandom. By the 30s he was an established pro writing mostly hard adventure sf such as The legion of Space, but also classics such as The Humanoids and "Darker Than You Think." He coined the word "terraforming". He was one of the western pros who were (pseudonymously) characters in Anthony Boucher's Rocket to the Morgue — Joe Henderson in his case.

He was GoH at Suncon, the 1977 Worldcon. He won the 1985 Best Non-Fiction Book Hugo, and the 2001 Best Novella Hugo.

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."

At the time of his death, an appreciation of Williamson by Jon D. Swartz, together with a list of Williamson's novels, was published in Scientifiction: The First Fandom Report (New Series #12, 4th Quarter 2006).

Other Awards, Honors and GoHships:

For much more on his pro career and writing, see http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/williamson_jack


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