Julian May biography

Julian May portrait image to appear alongside the Julian May biography.

Born in Chicago, Illinois on July 10, 1931, Julian May discovered science fiction pulp magazines at the age of sixteen. She got involved in the world of science fiction fandom, exchanging letters with other fans. She eventually formalized her club as Science Fiction International and became publisher of its fanzine. At a convention she met future husband Ted Dikty (they were married from 1953 until his death in 1991) who would, in later life, serve as her editor and literary agent.

May’s first short story, ‘Dune Roller’, was published in 1951. She meanwhile continued her interest in the world of sci-fi fandom, chairing the 10th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicon Illinois. In 1953 her second science fiction short story, ‘Star of Wonder’, was published in Thrilling Wonder Stories magazine. But the need to produce more substantial income led May to largely abandon science fiction writing in favour of a position as science editor for a Chicago encyclopaedia publisher. Between 1953 and 1957 she produced roughly seven thousand encyclopaedia articles. During this time she also managed to slip in the occasional comic strip (Buck Rogers), technical manual, as well as a catechism (produced jointly with a doctor of theology).

In 1957, May and husband Ted Ditky co-founded Publication Associates, a production service for educational publishers. She herself began writing (and publishing) a plethora of juvenile non-fiction works, many of them on science and nature topics, as well as a number of biographies. May used a number of pseudonyms, including Ian Thorne, under which name she later (in the 1970s and ‘80s) created a string of chapter books based on classic monster characters including adaptations of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, as well as the more science fiction oriented Godzilla and It Came from Outer Space.

In 1976 May once again became involved in writing for the adult science fiction genre after attending a science conviction (May’s husband was involved in publishing sci-fi related non-fiction). She created a diamond-studded silver space suit, which she wore to this event, and supposedly the costume inspired her later creation of the Galactic Milieu stories. But May chose to temporarily side step her Galactic Milieu series to create the Saga of the Pliocene Exiles; a related series that she imagined would have broader appeal. In 1982 she published ‘The Many Colored Land’, followed by ‘The Golden Torc’ in 1982 with both books, and two later sequels, enjoying great popular success. In 1987 she at last published her first book in the Galactic Milieu series. May’s collaboration with Marion Zimmer Bradley and Andre Norton on Black Trillium led to three sequels in what is now the Trillium saga. Her latest work is the fantasy trilogy The Boreal Moon Tale. Julian May now lives in Seattle.

Julian May books reviewed

Julian May bibliography

The Saga of Pliocene Exile

  • The Many-Colored Land (1981)
  • The Golden Torc (1982)
  • The Nonborn King (1983)
  • The Adversary (1984)

The Galactic Milieu Series

  • Intervention: A Root Tale to the Galactic Milieu and a Vinculum between it and The Saga of Pliocene Exile (1987)
  • Metaconcert (1989)
  • Jack the Bodiless (1991)
  • Diamond Mask (1994)
  • Magnificat (1996)

The Rampart Worlds

  • Perseus Spur (1999)
  • Orion Arm (1999)
  • Sagittarius Whorl: An Adventure of the Rampart Worlds (2001)

Boreal Moon

  • Conqueror's Moon (2004)
  • Ironcrown Moon (2005)
  • Sorcerer's Moon (2006)