American science fiction writer (1908-2006). As a child, he traveled with his family in a covered wagon to New Mexico, and he grew up on a farm outside of Portales, New Mexico, where he lived most of his life. He discovered science fiction through the pages of "Amazing Stories" magazine and wrote his first short story for the classic sci-fi mag in 1928 -- "The Metal Man" was about a pilot who is exposed to gases that cause him to turn into a metal statue. He said he didn't even know the story was going to be published until he saw it on the front cover of the magazine one month.

Williamson wrote almost constantly. He took breaks to serve as a meteorologist during World War II and to earn his doctorate in English, but he wrote more than 100 short stories and at least 50 books, including "The Girl from Mars" (written all the way back in 1929!), "The Legion of Space," "Darker than You Think," "The Humanoids," "One Against the Legion," "The Cometeers," "The Moon Children," "Silicon Dagger" (published in 1999), "Terraforming Earth" (published in 2002), and many others. He is credited with inventing the term "genetic engineering" in his 1951 novel "Dragon's Island." He also wrote an autobiography called "Wonder's Child: My Life in Science Fiction" in 1985. He actually won the Hugo and Nebula Awards during his last decade, making him by far the oldest winner of those awards. 

Williamson taught courses in science fiction and creative writing almost every year at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. He died on November 10, 2006 of natural causes.

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