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Dear Friends of Jim Gunn -

SFWA has announced Jim's Grand Master honors here. Yay!

I hope y'all had a good Thanksgiving.

EDITS: Check out this great First Contact (with a Master) story from Brad Denton, one of Gunn's brightest proteges.

I had an experience similar to Brad's when I first met Jim.

James Gunn was (and is) one of my heroes, a Great Man, who spent serious effort going through several of my piece-of-crap stories in order to teach me how to write a proper story, and his genius in story-telling and critical analysis shone like a light in dark places, revealing all my errors and mis-steps while also suggesting how to successfully write what I was really trying to say.

I took his criticisms - given as kindly as one could possibly imagine - as he meant them, and tried again with something else. Again Jim found missed opportunities and things to improve. And so on. Every time I hear him critique someone’s story, I learn something new. He is truly a genius, and if I can grow up to be half of the scholar-author-teacher that James Gunn is, I’ll be most pleased. He is a true gentleman, and if you've ever met him, you know what I mean.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 24th, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC)
As I wrote earlier (although hotmail's not working), it's well deserved.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 29th, 2006 05:56 am (UTC)
I love this story!
Nov. 25th, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC)
Very cool, and absolutely deserved.

My own first experience with Professor Gunn--and despite not being in his class for many years now, and the fact that he always signs things to me as "Jim," I still call him "Professor Gunn" because he deserves that title far more than most--was a bit different.

It was 1986, I think. I was living in Overland Park, KS at the time and getting ready to start my senior year in high school. I heard about the Campbell Conference, and talked my parents into letting me go. They drove me up to KU and dropped me off, and I spent the day listening to Gunn, Pohl, and others discuss science fiction. Afterward I got Gunn to sign a copy of the Listeners for me, and Pohl to sign Gateway. Both of them were very cordial about it, and very nice to a poor awestruck high school student.

A year later I started at KU, and that spring I enrolled in Gunn's Fiction Writing I class. He remembered me, of course. I was thrilled.

I took three classes with him, plus my Honors Thesis for undergrad and Independent Study during grad school. I've worked as his assistant on the Campbell Conference and he was co-chair on my (abortive) Ph.D. committee.

We have certainly disagreed over the years. I remember a spirited debate about the merits of fantasy one summer, with the other workshop students watching in disbelief as I dared argue with him. But I've always admired him immensely, and valued his opinion intensely. And I've always hoped to some day be the sort of writer and teacher he is.

To this day I count Gunn's commenting on one story that "the first fourteen pages are among the best writing I've ever seen from you" as highly as raves from most others. And his once telling me that I had it in me to be a professional writer is one of the things that has kept me going all these years.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )