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.
(Stephen F. Fabian’s cover for the 1st edition of Superluminal (1983), Vonda N. McIntyre)
(Charles Shields’ cover for the 1st edition of Fireflood and Other Stories (1979), Vonda N. McIntyre)
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