Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
May, Julian

Working name of US writer Julian May Dikty (1931-    ), who began publishing work of genre interest with "Dune Roller" for Astounding Science Fiction in 1951, but who concentrated for the next 30 years on a wide variety of publishing enterprises. With her husband, T E Dikty (1920-1991), she was an important sf Small-Press publisher; under her own name and several pseudonyms she wrote some 200 books, mostly nonfiction texts for children. Of her work during this period, some titles are of fantasy interest, including a variety of movie ties as by Ian Thorne and A Gazeteer of the Hyborian World of Conan (1977) as by Lee N Falconer.

In 1981 JM returned to adult sf and fantasy with the extremely impressive and influential Saga of Pliocene Exile: The Many-Colored Land (1981) and The Golden Torc (1982), assembled as The Many-Colored Land & The Golden Torc (omni 1982), plus The Nonborn King (1983) and The Adversary (1984), assembled as The Nonborn King & The Adversary (omni 1984), and The Pliocene Companion (1984), a guide to the sequence. Whether or not the sequence is sf or fantasy is debatable; the issue hardly matters, for JM's main narrative is complex, florid and thoroughly engrossing. Subsequently came related works that are certainly sf, prequelling the Saga: Intervention (1987; vt in 2 vols as The Surveillance 1988 and The Metaconcert 1988) and the Galactic Milieu sequence, which follows on immediately, and so far constitutes Jack the Bodiless (1992), Diamond Mask (1994) and «Magnificat» (1996).

Intervention recounts the rise in the early 21st century of the psi-powered Remillard family, who bring down upon Earth the Great Intervention, an imposition of alien supervision of our struggling civilization. This imposition is ultimately challenged, in the Galactic Milieu books, by the Remillard family, who lose the fight and are sent into exile through a one-way Portal – described in Technofantasy terms – into the world of the Saga of Pliocene Exile. Here, as The Many-Colored Land begins, they find that Pliocene Earth has been turned into a vast arena for the combative but playful Agon between two subraces – known as the Tanu and the Firvulag – of a galaxy-spanning civilization. The Remillard family's interactions with these godlike but frivolous beings are told in terms – if the vast Frame Story is forgotten – more or less indistinguishable from fantasy. Between them, the two subraces are a Cauldron of Story out of which most human Myths and Legends have grown – e.g., Underground kingdoms occupied by Shapeshifters, creatures who prefigure all the denizens of Faerie, and visions of the Wild Hunt conducted by Heroes on flying horses. The relationship between humans and aliens flickers between Godgame activities and the psychic depths of Jungian Psychology. Throughout, the play of sf with and against fantasy is of great interest. The Saga is a quintessential late-genre accomplishment.

Of rather less import is the Technofantasy Trillium sequence, partly in collaboration with Marion Zimmer Bradley and Andre Norton: Black Trillium (1991) with Bradley and Norton; Blood Trillium (1992 UK) by JM alone; Golden Trillium (1993) by Norton alone; Lady of the Trillium (1995) by Bradley alone. The series follows the interlinked lives and careers of triplet Princesses, each of whom must search a Fantasyland (possibly a far-future colonized planet) for one Talisman; all three relics, when brought together, will bring back health to the Land. [JC]

as Ian Thorne: Frankenstein * (1977 chap), movie tie; Godzilla (1977 chap), nonfiction; Dracula * (1977 chap), movie tie; King Kong (1977 chap), nonfiction; Mad Scientists (1977 chap), nonfiction; The Wolf Man * (1977 chap), movie tie; The Mummy * (1981 chap), movie tie; Frankenstein Meets Wolfman * (1981 chap), movie tie; Creature from the Black Lagoon * (1981 chap), movie tie; The Blob * (1982 chap), movie tie; The Deadly Mantis * (1982 chap), movie tie; It Came from Outer Space * (1982 chap), movie tie.

Julian May Dikty

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.