The Saga of Pliocene Exile Critical Essays

Julian May


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Saga of Pliocene Exile, the first section of a much longer series, was more than twenty years in the making, proceeding while Julian May earned her living writing encyclopedia articles and nonfiction texts for children. Her only previous science fiction was the story “Dune Roller,” published by Astounding Science-Fiction magazine in 1951. Prequels to the saga include the duology Intervention (1987; published in 1988 as The Surveillance and The Metaconcert), Jack the Bodiless (1992), and Diamond Mask (1994), referred to as the Galactic Milieu books. Further volumes were projected to follow Diamond Mask. Intervention details Earth’s near-demise and rescue by five alien races in 2013. The Milieu books, with their concept of spiritual/psychic Unity based heavily upon the theology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, chronicles humanity’s metapsychic growth and the failed Metapsychic Rebellion of 2083.

As May wrote and researched more than 7,000 articles and more than 250 textbooks, publishing them under her own name and eight pseudonyms, she kept a huge running file of ideas and facts for “The Novel.” Because of her immersion in science, technology, and history, the Saga of Pliocene Exile makes scientific and technological sense; it fits easily into the science-fiction genre. Because of May’s extensive use of mythology, archetypes, legend, heroic motifs, and folklore, the saga also fits within fantasy literature.


(The entire section is 624 words.)