Vonda N. McIntyre, 1948-2019

We are deeply saddened to report the passing of author Vonda N. McIntyre on April 1, 2019.

McIntyre was born in Louisville, Kentucky on August 28, 1948, but her family settled in Seattle, Washington by the 1960s. She was an author and founder of the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop in 1971, which she began after attending the Clarion Writers Workshop in 1970. McIntyre was the third woman to receive a Hugo Award, and was a long-standing champion of feminist SFF. She won her first Nebula Award for the novelette “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand”, and her Starfarers series had an incredible genesis: She made up the conceit on the spot while sitting on a panel at a convention, out of frustration at the general negativity she found around SF television. She convinced the entire audience of the panel that they had missed out on a great science fiction series, and then decided to write it.

To many SFF fans, McIntyre was well known for her Star Trek novels, which included novelizations for films Wrath of Khan, Search For Spock, and The Voyage Home, as well as the much beloved Original Series novel, The Entropy Effect. She was responsible for giving Hikaru Sulu his first name, a detail that made its way into canon in The Undiscovered Country. She also wrote the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel, The Crystal Star. She won SFWA’s Service Award in 2010, and her novel The Moon and Sun was adapted to film under the title of The King’s Daughter.

McIntyre believed in learning to write through experimentation, and was a great proponent of writers giving themselves the freedom to try new things:

Something that worries me about some of the writers’ workshops I’ve seen recently is that people go in there with this relentlessly professional attitude, when they should be experimenting. When I think of all the different weird stuff we wrote at the Clarion Workshop in 1970, I think there’s still people who go to workshops to do that, but I also think there’s a contingent that goes there to be relentlessly professional, and I wish they wouldn’t do it.

Vonda McIntyre died at home in Seattle, Washington of pancreatic cancer. She was writing up to the end, completing a novel titled Curve of the World shortly before her passing. Her neighbor and friend Jane Hawkins noted her drive, saying, “All her docs know she has a book she wants to finish. Even the doc she hadn’t seen before!”

She will be dearly missed.

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