World-Renowned Science Fiction Writer Jack Williamson Passes Away

Date: 11/10/2006
Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253

Jack Williamson

PORTALES—World-renowned science fiction pioneer Jack Williamson, 98, passed away at 3:22 p.m. today (Friday, Nov. 10) in the study of his Portales home.

According to his granddaughter, Betty Williamson, he told her many times, "I have lived a wonderful life and I will die with no regrets."

A Professor Emeritus of English at Eastern New Mexico University, Williamson was a science fiction author, critic and educator.  Earning his B.A. and M.A. from ENMU, Williamson joined the English faculty in 1960, later earning his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado with a dissertation on H.G. Wells.

Already a well-known science fiction author when he joined the faculty, Williamson continued to publish steadily since his first story in 1928, "The Metal Man." His honors in the field of science fiction are legion, including Hugo and Nebula awards, and lifetime achievement awards from the World Fantasy Convention and the Horror Writers of America.

Williamson was named a Grand Master of Science Fiction in 1975, only the second (after Robert Heinlein in 1974) to be so honored. Williamson's "The Ultimate Earth," a section of his fifty-fourth novel, Terraforming Earth (2001) was singled out for Hugo and Nebula awards in 2002.

He continued to write and sell novels, stories and anthologies until close to his death. He also team-taught a course at ENMU each spring, sharing his knowledge with the next generation of students.

Williamson endowed scholarships in English and modern languages as well as for students in science and the humanities. He underwrote the ENMU literary magazine, El Portal, a publication that he supported as an ENMU faculty member as its advisor.

The Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library at ENMU has one of the top science fiction collections in the world. The collection now includes thousands of volumes of science fiction works, both fiction and non-fiction. It includes books, SF pulps dating back to the early 1900's, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and many other items. Many of these were donated from Williamson's personal collection.

The Jack Williamson Lectureship Series, sponsored by ENMU, honored Williamson for his contributions. This annual event was held each spring since Williamson's retirement from ENMU in 1977. The Lectureship has attracted many famous writers and critics in science fiction and fantasy.

Memorial services are pending.