The Thunder Child

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Web Magazine and Sourcebooks

Radio Drama
Science Faction

Burns in the City
"Stand By For Mars!"
Burns in the City

Search hundreds of pages of The Thunder Child for practically any science fiction topic you're looking for.

Your search results will open in a new window. If you don't find what you're looking for, you can also search the web.

Searching! Searching! Searching!

Click here for Index of Burns in the City Articles
You can contact Jim at

Ali On His 70th: Still the Greatest of All Time

by James H. Burns

I'll always be grateful that I got to meet Muhammad Ali when he was still in the full height of all his many powers. The occasion was an odd one--a 1978 press party at the Warner Communications building on Fifth Avenue, heralding Superman Vs Muhammad Ali, a special edition "deluxe" comic book volume that DC Comics produced (in which aliens compel the two titans to tussle, "to save the Earth")...

But I've also been surprised that what Ali said to me has been lost through the decades.

All of the major sports TV anchors of the day were there, along with a few print journalists, and most of them were all giving Ali a generally hard time. There was no apparent prejudice among that rarified assemblage, but it was felt by some at that particular time that the Champ wasn't perhaps appropriately honoring his legacy, at least in the ring.

(Ali had just lost the World Heavyweight championship to Leon Spinks a few months before, although he would regain it, in a September re-match. Before the Spinks bout, some also felt that Ali wasn't doing enough to defend his boxing title (that he was, in their opinion, "fighting meatballs").)

In my youthful exuberance, I certainly felt that "The greatest of all time" was far more worthy of respect.

At the press conference, I raised my hand, Ali called on me, and I asked,

"Muhammad, does it ever bother you that you seem to maybe be given a harder time than another champion might be afforded, in your circumstances?"

Ali looked me in the eye, and said something which some might argue, still resonates:

"No, because this is the first time in America a black man has been paid this kind of attention."

James H. Burns

(James H. (Jim) Burns was a pioneer of the second wave of fantasy and science fiction movie magazines, being one of the first writers for Starlog(and several other late 1970s publications), and a contributing editor to Fantastic Films, and Prevue. (He wrote the earliest of thesearticles, when he was thirteen...!)

Jim was also a key figure in many of the era's North Eastern American comic book and Star Trek conventions. Burns was one of the field's first writers to cross over to such mainstream fare as Gentleman's Quarterly, Esquire, and American Film, while still contributing to such genre stalwarts as Cinefantastique, Starburst, Heavy Metal and Twilight Zone magazines.

More recently, Jim has made several contributions to Off-Broadway, and Broadway productions, become active in radio, and written Op-Eds, or features, for Newsday, The Village Voice, and The New York Times.)

Recommended Reading

[Home Page] [Contact Us] [Triskelion] [TechnoOcean] [Daily Space] [Store] [Site Map]

To see our animated navigation bars, please download the Flash Player from Adobe.

All text © 2006-2014The Thunder Child unless otherwise credited.
All illustrations retain original copyright.
Please contact us with any concerns as to correct attribution.
Any questions, comments or concerns contact The Thunder Child.