R.I.P. Vonda N. McIntyre
April 2, 2019 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Vonda McIntyre, the science fiction author who helped found the Clarion West Writers Workshop has died at age 70. (previously)
posted by rmd1023 (64 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
When I was a young nerd, her novel Dreamsnake (which started life as a Nebula-winning novelette Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand), blew my mind.

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posted by rmd1023 at 10:19 AM on April 2 [15 favorites]


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posted by allthinky at 10:19 AM on April 2


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posted by Foosnark at 10:21 AM on April 2


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I'd just finally gotten around to reading Dreamsnake last year.

It's good.
posted by kyrademon at 10:25 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


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posted by Zonker at 10:26 AM on April 2


(She also gave Hikaru Sulu his first name. If you like Star Trek novels, The Entropy Effect is one of the best.)
posted by kyrademon at 10:26 AM on April 2 [11 favorites]


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posted by briank at 10:28 AM on April 2


When I was a young nerd, her novel Dreamsnake (which started life as a Nebula-winning novelette Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand), blew my mind.


ditto.

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posted by infini at 10:29 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


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posted by gauche at 10:30 AM on April 2


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posted by sammyo at 10:31 AM on April 2


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Coincidentally, I went looking for her Starfarers novels on Amazon the other days, and was unhappy to discover they're OOP and not available as ebooks (unless it's on Book View Café, which I forgot to check).
posted by suelac at 10:33 AM on April 2


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posted by LobsterMitten at 10:35 AM on April 2


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posted by allandsome at 10:39 AM on April 2


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posted by offalark at 10:44 AM on April 2


When I was a kid her book The Crystal Star was absolutely my favorite Star Wars novel. It was just so much fun. In junior high I probably read it, no joke, a hundred times. A few years ago I found a signed hardcover copy, so I got to re-read it after many years -- and it's still a delight. Thank you, Vonda.

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posted by goodbyewaffles at 10:49 AM on April 2


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posted by ZeusHumms at 10:50 AM on April 2


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I mostly knew her through her Star Wars and Star Trek novels.
posted by Alensin at 10:50 AM on April 2


Same here, and her novelization of the Star Trek TOS movies (II, III and IV, specifically) were one of the things that let me know, in the pre-DVD and Blu-Ray extras and YouTube era, that the movies had deleted scenes, since there were always details that didn't make it to the theatrical cut.

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posted by Halloween Jack at 10:53 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


I remember loving her adaptation of Star Trek III. There was an affair between Kirk's son David and Saavak that McIntyre handled really well in the novel. And The Entropy Effect is, of course, a classic.

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posted by vibrotronica at 11:01 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


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Oh, I quote this bit from Dreamsnake all the time:

"Can any of you cry?" she said. "Can any of you cry for me and my despair, or for them and their guilt, or for small things and their pain?"

I never thought of it as having much of an impact on me, but since that scene springs to mind so often, clearly, it did.
posted by crush at 11:04 AM on April 2 [5 favorites]


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posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:10 AM on April 2


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posted by praemunire at 11:17 AM on April 2


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posted by Faint of Butt at 11:22 AM on April 2


I remember being very nonplussed by Dreamsnake as a young lad; it was very different from what I had read up to that point.

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posted by GenjiandProust at 11:23 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


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posted by twidget at 11:24 AM on April 2


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posted by tavella at 11:31 AM on April 2


Dreamsnake was one of the very first books I remember checking out of the "adult" section of the library (as opposed to the children's section). My SF experience to that date had mostly involved Heinlein's efforts for Boy's Life. Dreamsnake was like nothing I had ever read and blew my 13 year old mind completely.
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posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 11:36 AM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Sorry to see her go as I was just beginning to familiarise myself with her work (I only had a passing acquaintance with her Star Trek work). As part of a New Year's resolution to read more by women this year, I read Dreamsnake just recently in February. I was really taken by it, even giving it to my partner to read. While I think it is very much of its time, I found that I connected to it a lot more then I thought I would. I'm hoping to enjoy the Exile Waiting next.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:43 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


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posted by Splunge at 11:47 AM on April 2


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Ahh, hell. After hearing about her cancer diagnosis, I kinda expected to hear this news sooner rather than later, but my heart still sank with a thump when I loaded MeFi and saw this headline. As a kid Vonda McIntyre was always one of the few older female SFF authors whose works I would reliably see in new and used bookstores, a rare sight in the barely-internet era when it wasn't so easy to hop online and discover then buy an author's entire bibliography.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:48 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


suelac, the Starfarers quartet is indeed available in ebook form from BookViewCafe. Everything on Vonda McIntyre's Book View Cafe page is worth reading. I have a huge soft spot for The Moon and the Sun, a science fantasy involving a mermaid in the Versailles court of Louis XIV.

Her essay-story "A Modest Proposal" was published in the journal Nature, where you can read it online or listen to it as a podcast. "The strange creatures that lived there, and died, were never any use to human beings."
posted by nicebookrack at 11:48 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


I went on to read the novellas, and would keep an eye out for her in Delhi's used bookstores that littered the pavements
posted by infini at 12:07 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


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posted by mordax at 12:08 PM on April 2


I really enjoyed her work. I really wouldn't be surprised if Entropy Effect was the first Trek fiction book I read. It's not in print any longer and not on Kindle, but her Enterprise: the First Adventure was absolutely amazing, and did a great job of showing Kirk and Spock before they were friends, when they were just feeling each other out, and when their various personality quirks were far from established and still very green. I also thought her novelization of Star Trek IV was bloody brilliant.
posted by WCityMike at 12:39 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


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posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:41 PM on April 2


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posted by clew at 12:55 PM on April 2


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Besides her considerable skill as a novelist, she was also a great short fiction writer. "Mountains of Sunset, Mountains of Dawn" has really stuck with me since I read it in, I think, the brilliant anthology Norton Book of Science Fiction.
posted by Kattullus at 1:07 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


I read The Moon and the Sun last year and it absolutely blew my mind. I need to catch up with her other writing.

RIP
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:08 PM on April 2


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posted by Chrysostom at 1:15 PM on April 2


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posted by Sphinx at 1:31 PM on April 2


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She's been on my to-read list for a while. Here's a Bogi Takács review from last month.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 1:40 PM on April 2


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posted by Silverstone at 2:22 PM on April 2


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posted by nfalkner at 2:53 PM on April 2


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posted by suetanvil at 2:58 PM on April 2


While I knew about her non-Trek books, I'd only ever read the Trek books. _Entropy Effect_ completely blew my mind at the age of 14 - Sulu, my favorite character from the show, was PROMINENTLY FEATURED AND IMPORTANT. _Enterprise_ didn't impinge on my consciousness as much (I can't recall a single thing from it, although I know I read it), but _Entropy Effect_ has stuck with me for almost 40 years.

Hearing about her passing is a gut punch.

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posted by hanov3r at 3:00 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


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posted by Token Meme at 5:15 PM on April 2


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posted by mixedmetaphors at 5:25 PM on April 2


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posted by R343L at 6:03 PM on April 2


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The Starfarers series was such a favorite of mine as a young SFF nerd. I still find myself thinking about the Four Worlds cultures from time to time, not entirely sure why. But also I think those books taught me how much a place, Seattle in this case, could affect an entire perspective of the world.
posted by traveler_ at 6:30 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Besides being the first place I saw Sulu's given name used, her superb novel The Entropy Effect presaged Sulu's later rise to captain's rank.

And her novelization of The Wrath of Khan make the character of Saavik much more interesting than she ever managed to be in the movies, exploring the conflicted nature of her Vulcan-Romulan parentage, which I don't think is even mentioned in the movies.
posted by Gelatin at 6:37 PM on April 2 [4 favorites]


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posted by dipping_sauce at 7:00 PM on April 2


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posted by bryon at 9:14 PM on April 2


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Such a good heart. In the 1980s she once gave a talk on Sci-Fi for new writers at KeyCon in Winnipeg. The notes she gave to each participant were done on an electric typewriter, with addenda she wrote on the theme of the convention. She also took extra time for one-on-one questions from several people afterwards. Still have those notes.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:20 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


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posted by Coaticass at 11:03 PM on April 2


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posted by filtergik at 4:30 AM on April 3


One of my favorite SF authors. RIP and thank you for all the great stories!
posted by Lynsey at 11:43 AM on April 3


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posted by mmoncur at 10:08 PM on April 3


I met her once at a WordPress meetup in Seattle. She was lovely and gracious; she introduced herself to me as "Hello, I'm Vonda McIntyre, and yes, I did write that book you're thinking of", which was part of the graciousness. She could see it in my eyes before I could say anything.
posted by mephron at 1:38 PM on April 4 [3 favorites]


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posted by TwoStride at 3:56 PM on April 4


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posted by Ilira at 1:00 PM on April 9


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