Updates: Vonda N. McIntyre (August 28, 1948 – April 1, 2019)

Vonda N. McIntyre (August 28, 1948 – April 1, 2019) passed away yesterday from pancreatic cancer. McIntyre, best known for her Hugo and Nebula-winning SF novel Dreamsnake (1978) and her Star Trek Novels and film adaptations (1981-2004) (bibliography), published her first SF story “Breaking Point” in in the February 1970 issue of Venture Science Fiction Magazine. John Clute in SF Encyclopedia describes her two best-known SF novels:

Dreamsnake (fixup 1978), her best-known novel to date, for which she won another Nebula as well as a Hugo and a Locus Award. The female protagonist of both story and book is a healer in a desolated primitive venue, the violent and destructive superstitions of whose inhabitants lead to her losing her healer snake, with which she was linked through complex imprinting. The book version goes on to recount her quest for a replacement snake, a search through a strongly depicted Ruined Earth environment which includes grueling experiences in the City that had previously served as the central venue for McIntyre’s first novel, The Exile Waiting (1975; rev 1976). That book likewise features a female protagonist with singular empathic powers: she is a sneak thief – the plot is complicated – who manages to escape Earth’s last city with a Japanese poet from the stars and a virtuous “pseudosib” (the bad “twin” having been killed in the city) and in due course escapes Earth entirely, with the prognosis that she will become a successful starfarer.”

Unfortunately, I have only read her short fiction in various collections—for example, her evocative and heartrending “Screwtap” (1976). Dreamsnake (1978), much to my dismay, remains the one Hugo-award winning novel published between 1953-1990 I’ve not read… Shame on me!

Read her books. Write reviews. Talk about them. I plan to.

Let me know any fond memories (I talked to her only infrequently on twitter) or your favorite novel or short story…. I look forward to your comments.

(Larry Kresek’s cover for the 1976 edition of The Exile Waiting (1975), Vonda N. McIntyre)

(Stephen F. Fabian’s cover for the 1st edition of Superluminal (1983), Vonda N. McIntyre)

(N. Taylor Blanchard’s cover for the 1st edition of Barbary (1986), Vonda N. McIntyre)

(Charles Shields’ cover for the 1st edition of Fireflood and Other Stories (1979), Vonda N. McIntyre)

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17 thoughts on “Updates: Vonda N. McIntyre (August 28, 1948 – April 1, 2019)”

    1. Have you read her first published Star Trek novel — The Entropy Effect (1981)?

      I recently purchased a bunch of Alan Dean Foster’s Star Trek animated series adaptations — I don’t know why…. but, it seemed like a good idea at the time — might as well buy one of McIntyre’s!

      1. I don’t think I got around to that one. The one I remember best was Enterprise: The First Adventure. It had some genuinely good (at least to me, at fifteen) sci-fi worldbuilding beyond the usual Star Trek stuff. Extragalactic aliens with a musical language? I think that was part of it. I haven’t revisited it in many a year, so I hope it holds up.

        A friend of mine has all the Foster adaptations but I haven’t read any of them. As a kid I had the first Blish adaptation and read it to tatters.

        1. I bought the Foster adaptations because of the cool covers — more seriously, I had plans for a read-through series of posts…. we’ll see if they come to fruition.

  1. Wow, I had no idea. I loved her books, though probably was most affected by her guide on how to prepare a manuscript for publication. She really dd it all. Now I’m a bit sad.

    1. Yeah, as I’m also on twitter, I saw the news a few weeks ago that she had entered hospice care — I knew it was coming. Doesn’t make it any easier!

      Do you have a favorite work of her fiction?

      1. Fav work is a good question. I don’t, but do associate her with just a fury of reading in middle school. I don’t think I’ve read anything of hers in actually the last ten years, but will have to rectify that soon. Do you have a strong recommendation for one or two novels?

  2. I remember reading her stuff as it first came out. She was a new breed of writer, not one that made her reputation in the magazines, but mostly in the bookzines and original anthologies of the time, including the first Clarion anthology. She was also one of the whole new way of young authors that I was exposed to, like Glen Cook, Doris Piserchia, George R. R. Martin, Joe Haldeman, Jack Haldeman, Barry Malzberg, Charles L. Grant, David Drake, Jerry Pournelle, Dean Koontz, Lisa Tuttle, John Varley, Karl Edward Wagner, etc. This may have been because of the new wave of editors like Ben Bova, Jim Baen, Ted White, and anthologists like Roger Elwood, Terry Carr, Robert Silverberg (New Dimensions [1971]), David Gerrold, Samuel R. Delany, etc. This was my second Golden Age, as my birthday and Christmas presents were subs to all of the sf magazines, and packages of original anthologies. Hard to believe that she was only ten years older than me. Now excuse me, I have to curl into a ball and feel old.

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