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Science Fiction Author Said to Have Inspired SETI Dies

Five board game pawns, each wearing a Carnival/Mardi Gras mask with eyes looking out from them.
Credit: Pixabay/Alexas_Fotos


During the week, people the world over have been partying like mad for Mardi Gras/Carnival. At least as much as the plague (Covid-19) will allow. And, depending on where they can gather, this year everybody celebrating is probably required to wear masks (if you know what I mean). Myself, instead of partying like mad, has been working like mad to catch up on some projects such as my newsletter and one of the short stories that I plan to include in my upcoming book of short fiction. More on that in a bit. But I wanted to talk about an author who died in late December who I just discovered and found really fascinating--James E. Gunn.

James E. Gunn

Although many media outlets announced it only earlier this week, James E. Gunn died back on 23 December 2020 in Lawrence, Kansas. He is not to be confused with the director of “Guardians of the Galaxy” who also holds the same name only without the middle initial “E.”. James E. Gunn, the author, was best known for his science fiction novels such as “The Immortals” (1962) and “The Listeners” (1972). His last novel was published in 2017, titled “Transformation”. 

What I found so interesting was the influence “The Listeners” had on many. The novel involves scientists who pick up signals from space that they believe may come from alien life. It inspired Carl Sagan to write his novel about communication with aliens, “Contact”, which was adapted into a film in the 1990s.  According to “Deadline”, the novel influenced the SETI Institute’s research for extraterrestrial life.  In 2015, Gunn was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, which he had contributed to its creation

Yours truly hasn’t read any of this awesome author’s work but would like to eventually read “The Listeners” and “Transformation”. This latter one is part of a trilogy of novels known as “The Transcendental Machine” which I’ve only read about but haven’t gotten around to actually reading yet. 

Project Progress

Now for the latest on my current projects. . . 

Newsletter: I just inserted the content into the template of my upcoming newsletter, “Night Creatures’ Call”. I’ve selected the concept sketch that I want to use for the logo. Now I need to make the final image that will go on the newsletter. Now accepting signups for subscriptions. 

“Circa Sixty Years Dead” Ebook: I’m in the process of looking for a formatter for the manuscript to my short story, “Circa Sixty Years Dead”, so I can publish it through Smashwords as an ebook. Right now you can purchase the book (electronic and print versions) at Amazon. However, once it’s been available through Smashwords I’ll be offering exclusive discounts on it as one of the benefits at my Patreon page. If you haven’t subscribed to my Patreon page to enjoy these benefits you can do that here

Current Short Story Project: I finished a second draft to my most current short story I’m working on that I’m tentatively calling “The Simulator”. Currently, I’m working on developing the main character. The story involves a game app that causes people to get killed in real life. I plan to include it in my upcoming short fiction collection that will have the theme of deadly mobile apps.  I haven’t come up with the name for the collection yet but I’ve noted “Bad Apps” as a possibility. 

That’s all for this post. To be filled in on where I’m at during the week, visit my Facebook page! Have you read any of James E. Gunn’s science fiction? What do you think of “Bad Apps” as a title for a collection of short stories about deadly and evil mobile apps? Please feel free to leave your responses in the box below.

Until next time . . .

A cartoon of an alien piloting a flying saucer.
Credit: Pixabay


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