Vonda N. McIntyre

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Vonda N. McIntyre
BornVonda Neel McIntyre
(1948-08-28)August 28, 1948
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedApril 1, 2019(2019-04-01) (aged 70)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, writer
GenreScience fiction

Vonda Neel McIntyre (August 28, 1948 – April 1, 2019) was an American science fiction writer and biologist.


Vonda N. McIntyre was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of H. Neel and Vonda B. Keith McIntyre.[1] She spent her early childhood on the east coast of the United States and in The Hague, Netherlands, before her family settled in Seattle in the early 1960s.

In 1970, she earned a Bachelor of Science, with honors, in Biology, from the University of Washington.[2] That same year, she attended the Clarion Writers Workshop. McIntyre went on to do graduate work at University of Washington in genetics.[2]

She enjoyed crafting crocheted marine creatures to contribute to the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project of the Institute For Figuring.[3]

McIntyre died on April 1, 2019, at her home in Seattle, Washington, of metastatic pancreatic cancer.[4][5]


In 1971, McIntyre founded the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Seattle, Washington, with the support of Clarion founder Robin Scott Wilson. She contributed to the workshop until 1973.[6]

McIntyre won her first Nebula Award in 1973, for the novelette '"Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand". This later became part of the novel Dreamsnake (1978), which was rejected by the first editor who saw it, but went on to win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.[7] McIntyre was the third woman to receive the Hugo Award.[8][year needed]

McIntyre's debut novel, The Exile Waiting, was published in 1975. In 1976, McIntyre co-edited Aurora: Beyond Equality, a feminist/humanist science fiction anthology, with Susan Janice Anderson.[9]

She also wrote a number of Star Trek and Star Wars novels, including Enterprise: The First Adventure and The Entropy Effect. She wrote the novelizations of the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. McIntyre invented the first name of the Star Trek character Hikaru Sulu, which became canon after Peter David, author of the comic book adaptation, visited the set of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and convinced director Nicholas Meyer to insert the name into the film's script.[10]

While taking part in a science fiction convention panel on sci-fi in TV, McIntyre became exasperated at a fellow panelist's extreme negativity toward existing science fiction TV shows. She asked the panel and audience if they had managed to see Starfarers, which she claimed was an amazing SF miniseries that had almost no viewers due to bad scheduling on the part of the network. No such show existed, but after reflecting on the plot she described, McIntyre felt it would make a good novel, and went on to write Starfarers as well as its three sequels, later referring to it as "my Best SF TV Series Never Made".[11]

McIntyre's novel The Moon and the Sun, set in the court of Louis XIV of France, was rejected initially.[7][12] In 1997, Pocket Books picked up the novel, and in 2013 Pandemonium Pictures began to produce The King's Daughter, featuring Pierce Brosnan as the Sun King.[13]

She was able to complete a final novel, Curve of the World, shortly before her death in 2019.[14]

Recurring motifs[edit]

Several elements reappear throughout McIntyre's works.

Divers are humans who have been genetically modified to live underwater, although they retain their ability to breathe air as well. Their traits include gills, insulating fur, webbing on the fingers and toes to aid swimming, the ability to produce and hear sounds in the range used by cetaceans for communication, and retractable penises for males. Divers appear in Superluminal, the Starfarers series, and are referenced in the Star Trek IV novelization.

Biocontrol is a learned ability to control aspects of one's own physiology that are normally autonomic. Its most important use is for birth control; practitioners apparently change the body temperature around their testes or ovaries so as to render their genetic material unviable. A character's experiences learning biocontrol are a plot thread in Dreamsnake; it is also mentioned in the Aztecs, Starfarers series, and the Voyage Home novelization.

In the Wrath of Khan novelization, one of the characters discusses a computer game he has written, named "Boojum Hunt." In Barbary, a character refers to a computer game named "Snarks and Boojums." Both are references to Lewis Carroll's poem The Hunting of the Snark.

Awards and tributes[edit]


Memorial scholarships[edit]

In 2019, Clarion West established the Vonda N. McIntyre Memorial Scholarship, to enable women writers and writers of color to attend the Clarion West Writers Workshop and Writing the Other established the Vonda N. McIntyre Sentient Squid Memorial Scholarship, to help authors at any point in their career path and from every background, including those who don’t have the money to pay for writing workshops.


  1. ^ Sandomir, Richard (April 5, 2019). "Vonda N. McIntyre, 70, Champion of Women in Science Fiction, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 7, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Kelleghan, Fiona (January 1999). "McINTYRE, Vonda N.". In Benbow-Pfalzgraf, Taryn (ed.). American Women Writers: From Colonial Times to the Present: a Critical Reference Guide. 3 (2nd ed.). Detroit: St. James Press. pp. 118–19. ISBN 9781558624320.
  3. ^ "Contributors". Crochet Coral Reef. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  4. ^ Glyer, Mike (April 1, 2019). "Science Fiction Author Vonda N. McIntyre, Official Obituary". File 770. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  5. ^ "Vonda N. McIntyre (1948-2019)". Locus. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  6. ^ "Our Mission". Clarion West Writers Workshop. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  7. ^ a b McIntyre, Vonda N. [@vondanmcintyre] (July 8, 2012). "Both Dreamsnake and The Moon and the Sun were rejected by the first editors who saw them. #feministSF" (Tweet). Retrieved November 15, 2013 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ "Hugo Awards by Year". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  9. ^ "Summary Bibliography: Vonda N. McIntyre". ISFDB. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  10. ^ "The Comics Buyer's Guide". Comics Buyer's Guide. No. 1614. March 2006. p. 10.
  11. ^ McIntyre, Vonda N. (October 18, 2009). "Casting Starfarers". bookviewcafe.com. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  12. ^ "Title: The Moon and the Sun". ISFDB. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  13. ^ Groves, Don (August 9, 2013). "Australia attracts The Moon & the Sun". IF Magazine. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  14. ^ "Vonda N. McIntyre, 1948-2019". Tor.com. April 2, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2019.

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