Nonfiction and Editing

I write just a bunch of nonfiction and edit things, too - here's a bibliography of that. Whenever something is available online, they're linked below. Here's a list of my nonfiction and editing projects.

You can also check out a bunch of the essays and short pieces I've written on this site's Essays page.

Selected Nonfiction and Editing Bibliography


Goodbye, Dad: Remembering James Gunn

Locus Magazine, February 2021 (print and online).

My mentor of nearly 30 years died on December 23, 2020. I wrote this in memory of him. I miss him every. Single. Day.

I also wrote a short, illustrated memorial you can find here.

Literal Metaphors, Science Fiction, and How to Save the Human Species

The Astounding Analog Companion, November 2018.

Analog just published my essay, "Literal Metaphors, Science Fiction, and How to Save the Human Species" on their Astounding Analog Companion (available online here).

It's a companion piece for my novella/novelette - "Ashes of Exploding Suns, Monuments to Dust" - in the November / December issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact magazine (pdf available for free download on the AnLab Award finalists page).

I'm very interested to hear what people think of the piece (and the story if you read it!), particularly the Sad and Rabid Puppies, because it's ostensibly just the kind of thing they like: A space opera spanning vast distances and times, packed with super-tech (I invented a new method of moving stars!), interstellar war, and other elements of hard SF - even a protagonist who's a spaceship captain...

But it subverts the conventional space opera and military narrative to tell an (ultimately) optimistic tale of social justice and hope for humanity. Plus (though I only provide clues and see no reason to call this out in the text) the ace protagonist's gender is never revealed, because they're the first-person narrator in a non-patriarchal society (so why bring their gender into it at all?) and there's no romance, plus aces need better representation in hard SF and I feel the metaphor performs double-duty for this narrative.

Gender only plays an important role in the imperialist "Original Man" humans of Sol System - that's our Earthly culture projected into the far future, clinging to obsolete social and political concepts while the "Descendent Species" scattered across the stars have moved on in varying ways.

What prompted the essay was getting a letter from a reader who wrote a deeply insightful, thoughtful, and kind analysis of what I was hoping to do with my story. He asked if I'd intended for the protagonist's struggles with their parents to parallel the narrative of the Descendent Species to Original Man.

Read on my blog for more non-spoilery excerpt, or see the full thing at The Astounding Analog Companion.


Virtual Reality in Science Fiction

Short presentation (with panel discussion) for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library's super-cool Virtual Reality Experience event. Several regional gaming, educational, and VR-research groups brought gear for attendees to demo after the talk.

Topeka, KS, Feb. 2, 2018.

The Power of Narrative

Presentation and short workshop on narrative structures and techniques for NPR's Harvest Public Media and KCUR writing staff.

University of Missouri, Kansas City, May 15, 2018.

James Gunn:
    Science Fiction's Dad

Available now! Introduction to the first-ever book about James Gunn: Saving the World Through Science Fiction: James Gunn, Writer, Teacher and Scholar (by Michael Page).

H.G. Wells once said that the world was in a race between education and catastrophe, and called for an "open conspiracy" of people of good will to create a better world. SF Grand Master and Hall of Famer James Gunn has always seen science fiction as a major part of that education, and has devoted his career to not only writing it, but also propagating his understanding of how to write as well as understand it. He has profoundly influenced the field through his humanistic approach, emphasizing in his writing and teaching how humanity responds to change rather than about technology or science itself. Sixty years of nonstop effort have made Gunn one of the most influential figures in SF.

For the University of Illinois Press in the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series, published by McFarland & Co, April 2017.

Positive Feedback Loops:
    Science and Science Fiction

Keynote address for the University of Iowa Medical Scientist Training Program's annual research event - which had an SF theme this year!

University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, August 28–29, 2015.

Stories from a Perilous Youth:
    A Memoir

Underway! A humorous memoir of surviving a dramatic childhood. Writing sections as stories come to mind. During a visit to Lawrence when he won the Sturgeon Award, after telling one another stories late into the night, author Andy Duncan prompted me to start writing them down. Blame him.

Updates as I make progress!

Frederik Pohl:
    Mr. Science Fiction (A Love Story)

Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, issue 117 (Spring-Summer 2014).

I've known and worked with Fred Pohl since 1992, when I moved to Lawrence, Kansas, to study SF writing and the literature and teaching thereof. Having the opportunity to study with two of my literary heroes - SF Grand Masters Frederik Pohl and James Gunn - humbles me beyond expression. Part of what I tried to express in this feature essay is how important Fred was for me as a writer and person. Rest in peace, Fred; you changed our world for the better.

Frederik Pohl Memorial

This is a short variant of the Foundation essay for Elizabeth Anne Hull's Fredzine: The Frederik Pohl Memorial 'Zine, shared with attendees of the Frederik Pohl Memorial Celebration, on August 2, 2014.

James Gunn: Science Fiction's Mentor

2013 WorldCon Souvenir Book, September 2013.

Science on Tap:
    Science Fiction as Mythologies for a Changing Age

The University of Kansas Natural History Museum hosts a science discussion and lecture series of informal "science café events called "Science on Tap" presented at a local brewery. For this summer's event, I gave a short presentation and then led a conversation about SF as the mythology of our time.

July 23, 2013, at the Free State Brewing Company in Lawrence, KS.

James Gunn:
    The Man Who Taught Us All Science Fiction

James Gunn's Ad Astra #2, July 2013.

Science Fiction Studies at the University of Kansas

SFRA Review, Number 305 Summer 2013.

Updated February 2022 and available on this site's Essays section here.

James Gunn:
    Inspiring the Future

LoneStarCon3 Progress Report 4, August.

Science Fiction:
    Mythologies for a Changing Age

Keynote address for the UCO Liberal Arts Symposium, February 29, 2012.

John W Campbell: The Man Who Invented Modern Fantasy
    and the Golden Age of Science Fiction

Argentus 11 (links to the .pdf), 14 November 2011.

Full text of article here - I've served as a juror for the (soon to be renamed) John W Campbell Memorial Award (for best SF novel) since 2002, and currently chair the committee. Campbell was a problematic man, but also almost single-handedly shaped what we now call "the Golden Age of science fiction."

I've updated the essay on this website to reflect contemporary understanding of the man and his influence on the genre.

Neptune, Triton, and the Sensawunda;
    or Why I Set My Novel (Partly) at the Edge of the Solar System

Argentus: Neptune (links to the .pdf), 11 July 2011.

James Gunn and James Gunn's original Center for the Study of Science Fiction

Sense of Wonder: A Century of Science Fiction, June 1, 2011.

Piracy, freedom, and making a living as a writer

SFWA website, Nov. 26, 2010.

Science Fiction: Stories for a Changing World

Libraries Unlimited, July 2010.

Science Fiction Research Collections
    at the University of Kansas

Science Fiction Studies, July 2010.

Don't-Miss Speculative Fiction Events

World Literature Today, May/June 2010.

The Literature of Change

World Literature Today, May/June 2010.

Science Fiction on the Web

World Literature Today, May/June 2010.

Teaching and Scholarly Resources on the Web

World Literature Today, May/June 2010.

(Editor) World Literature Today:
    International Science Fiction Issue

World Literature Today, May/June 2010 (also built the special website issue).

Science Fiction

Post-War Literature, 1945-1970 of Resource Guide to American Literature, Bruccoli Clark Layman, June 2010 (with James Gunn).

The Joy Of Small Cons:
    Campbell Conference 2009

Abyss & Apex Magazine, Issue 32: 4th Quarter 2009.

Combined SFRA and Campbell Conference

Locus magazine, September 2008.

Robert A. Heinlein Centennial

Locus magazine, September 2007

Toto, We're in Kansas After All:
    The 2003 Campbell & Sturgeon Awards

The New York Review of Science Fiction, Dragon Press, August 2003.


Analog Science Fiction & Fact, October 1999.

James Gunn

Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers, St. James Press, 1996.

A Call to Arms

Analog Science Fiction & Fact, January 1996.

James Gunn and The Dreamers:
    Epitomes of an Evolving Science Fiction

Extrapolation, Magazine of the Science Fiction Research Association, Winter 1995.





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