Generation Ship Short Story Review: Julian May’s “Star of Wonder” (1953)

This is the 16th post in my series of vintage generation ship short fiction reviews. Today I have an interesting formulation of the generation ship–its component parts dispersed across multiple vessels–that did not appear on Simone Caroti’s list that spurred this project.

As a reminder for anyone stopping by, all of the stories I’ll review in the series are available online via the link below in the review.

You are welcome to read and discuss along with me as I explore humanity’s visions of generational voyage. And thanks go out to all who have joined already. I also have compiled an extensive index of generation ship SF if you wish to track down my earlier reviews on the topic and any that you might want to read on your own.

Previously: Fred Saberhagen’s “The Long Way Home” in Galaxy Magazine, ed. H. L. Gold (June 1961). You can read it online here..

Next Up: TBD

2/5 (Bad)

Julian May’s “Star of Wonder” first appeared in the February 1953 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories, ed. Samuel Mines. You can read it online here.

After getting involved with SF fandom in her teens, Julian May (1931-2017) published two short stories in the 1950s before returning in the 1980s with the multi-volume Saga of the Pliocene Exile sequence (1981-1984). In between, according to Wikipedia, May worked with her husband T. E. Dikty in publishing, wrote children’s fiction and nonfiction, Buck Rogers comic strips, and even Catholic catechism for publishers affiliated with the Franciscans. Of her two 50s SF tales, “Dune Roller” in the December 1951 issue of Astounding Science Fiction remains by the best known (I suspect for good reason). It received both a TV adaptation for Tales of Tomorrow and film version.

Continue reading

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CCXXVIII (Julian May, C. H. Cherryh, Neal Barrett Jr., and William Greenleaf)

1. Julian May’s The Many-Colored Land (1981), winner of the 1982 Locus Award for Best SF novel (Nebula-nominee and third in Hugo voting), does not have a premise that grabs me (time-travel to the Pliocene Era of Earth). But count me intrigued! And her novel is graced with a fun map that I’ll post in a future Monday Maps and Diagrams post.

2. Kirby’s cover has serious problems… check it out. It’s an alien worm? Neal Barrett Jr.’s Stress Pattern (1974) seems to blend Dune with a more anthropological mystery take on SF à la Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s The World Menders (1971)?

3. More early C. J. Cherryh! My recent review of Port Eternity (1982).

4. I’ll confess, I’m a fan of stranded on alien planet survival tales… don’t have high hopes for this one but I adore the James Gurney (of Dinotopia fame) cover.

Let me know what books/covers intrigue you. Which have you read? Disliked? Enjoyed?


1. The Many-Colored Land, Julian May (1981)

(Michael Whelan’s cover for the 1983 edition) Continue reading