Journal

Journal entry by Jeanne Gomoll

Stephanie Ann Smith has collected many of the wonderful things visitors have written about Vonda here on the CarringBridge site. In fact, she has archived ALL the messages. Stephanie asks that you give her permission to use your comments. She will erase from her files anything people want to keep private. Contact Stephanie at: ssmith@ufl.edu

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Journal entry by Jeanne Gomoll

Stephanie Ann Smith and I are collecting memories of Vonda from folks who loved Vonda. We plan to collect the material into a book and would like to see it made available both as a free electronic document and as a print-on-demand physical book. We are looking for stories, poems, artwork, photos, tributes, ANYTHING you would like to contribute. Please send them to me at jg@unionstreetdesign.com or 2825 Union Street, Madison, WI 53704. I will keep you up-to-date on the publication here. Thank you!

Journal entry by Jeanne Gomoll

SCIENCE FICTION AUTHOR VONDA N. MCINTYRE

 

Award-winning Seattle science fiction author Vonda N. McIntyre died April 1, 2019, of pancreatic cancer. She was 70.

 

McIntyre wrote novels, short stories and media tie-in books, edited a groundbreaking anthology of feminist SF, and founded the Clarion West Writing Workshop. She won the Nebula in 1973 for the novelette “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand”, and followed this up by winning the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards for her 1979 novel Dreamsnake. She won the Nebula again for her 1996 novel The Moon and the Sun. Many of her other short stories were also nominated for awards. In media fiction, she will probably be most remembered as the author who gave Ensign Sulu a first name (Hikaru) in her Star Trek novel The Entropy Effect: that name was later written into one of the Star Trek films. With Susan Janice Anderson, McIntyre edited one of the first feminist science fiction anthologies (Aurora: Beyond Equality, 1976). She was a participant in the Women in Science Fiction Symposium edited by Jeffrey D. Smith (Khatru #3/4, 1975 – reprinted with additional material as by Jeanne Gomoll, lulu.com, 2008) with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany, James Tiptree Jr. and others. She edited the Nebula Awards Showcase volume for 2004. Her Nebula-winning fantasy novel The Moon and the Sun has been made into an as-yet-unreleased film, The King's Daughter, starring Pierce Brosnan. Much of the film was shot in Versailles, and McIntyre delighted in telling how kind Brosnan was to her when she visited the set.

 

McIntyre founded Book View Café, an online publishing collective for member authors to sell their ebooks. When she developed some joint problems in her hands, she began making what she called “beaded sea creatures," which she regularly gave to friends and charity auctions. She had a lively correspondence with Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner about them, and some of them are in the Smithsonian Institution.

 

Vonda Neel McIntyre was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1948. Her family moved to Seattle in the early 1960s, and she earned a BS in biology from the University of Washington. She went on to graduate school in genetics at UW. In 1970, she attended the Clarion SF Writing Workshop – and in 1971, with the blessing of Clarion founder Robin Scott Wilson, she founded the Clarion West Writing Workshop in Seattle. McIntyre continued to be involved with the workshop throughout her life. She enjoyed a close friendship with Ursula K. Le Guin throughout her career that including various editing and publishing ventures. 

 

The Seattle science fiction community recalls McIntyre as the "fairy godmother" to hundreds of Clarion West graduates, many of whom have gone on to be bright stars in the publishing world. "Vonda was one of Clarion West's founders, and has always been our fairy godmother, bringing comfort and whimsy to class after class with her impromptu visits and gifts of crocheted sea creatures," said novelist Nisi Shawl, a Clarion West board member. "She was the Good Witch of the Northwest, a fearless public reader and a stellar private writer who is missed by all."

 

 

Vonda N. McIntyre did ten times as much behind the scenes in the science fiction community as she did out in the open. Her award-winning stories, her media tie-ins, and her editing were all quite visible, and important: more important in the long run will be her legacy of support for individuals and institutions. 

 

With the aid of Clarion founder Robin Scott Wilson, she started (and ran for three years) Clarion West; when Marilyn Holt and JT Stewart decided to restart it in the 1980s, she continued to advise and support the workshop. Most of Clarion West’s archives were stored in Vonda’s basement. She was a regular donor of both money and items for their auctions.

 

She was the webmaster for Book View Café. As Michael Capobianco said on File 770, ”Although Vonda wasn’t actually the webmaster for SFWA’s web page, she did work tirelessly behind the scenes creating and helping maintain web pages for a large number of SFWA members. She also edited SFWA’s Nebula Awards Report for three years. She received the Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award in 2010 for her volunteer work.”

 

She supported more writers than anyone realizes. Her friendship and support for Ursula K. Le Guin is well known: they published holiday cards together, and each regularly mentioned the other. She also was strong writing support for James Tiptree Jr., Paul Preuss, Molly Gloss, Nicola Griffith, Nisi Shawl, Octavia E. Butler, and just about anyone else who she met who wrote. She also listened to and cared for folks who didn’t write. She was a quiet, tireless force helping bring women’s voices forth in the SF community. 

 

Her beaded sea creatures are almost pure Vonda. When she began to develop some pain in her hands from arthritis, she decided to take her crocheting skills and create beaded shapes reminiscent of nudibranchs and fractal patterns to give her the needed exercise to keep her hands supple. She began giving them to friends, donating them to charity auctions, and talking with people about them. She had a lively correspondence with Martin Gardner about them. The Smithsonian has examples of her work as well. They are a significant expression of certain mathematical formulas.

 

Vonda also helped out in small ways. Greg Bear commented about how happy Vonda was to wheel him around when he was temporarily in a wheelchair at the memorial for Karen K. Anderson, his mother-in-law. Every convention organizer who ever had her as a guest was pleased with her smile and her kindness to people working on the convention. She would not accept mistreatment, but never attacked. She had stories about all her friends, and would tell them whenever it was appropriate. 

 

She was a Guest of Honor at Sasquan, the 73rdWorld Science Fiction Convention, in 2015, and a frequent guest at other conventions.

 

The SF community lost a major pillar today.

 

A memorial service will be arranged in Seattle. McIntyre requested that, in lieu of flowers, people make memorial donations to one of their favorite charities. 

Journal entry by Jeanne Gomoll

Vonda N. McIntyre died at 6:25 pm, Pacific Time, in no pain and surrounded by friends. The funeral home has collected her body which will be cremated. Vonda was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on February 7; her death came swiftly, just short of two months later. Vonda's posse and local friends will get together for a brief gathering within the next couple days. A reception that is open to the public will be scheduled within about a month and will be announced here on CaringBridge as soon as the details are known. Good-bye, Vonda.

Journal entry by Jeanne Gomoll

Vonda seemed to enjoy the many visitors who came by to see her Sunday. But she is now mostly unresponsive. She is not sleeping anymore, but does not seem aware either. She is drifting away from us. Someone is with her at all times. Jane Hawkins has been at her side from midnight to 8 am, every night since Wednesday. Hugs to all of you.

Journal entry by Jeanne Gomoll

The archivist from University of Oregon picked up Vonda’s papers last week. (This is where Ursula's papers now reside.)

Vonda's appetite is waning and she has adopted the rule that a tiny appetite is not to be wasted on anything that is not delicious. Raspberries, apparently, fall into this category.  Her strength is waning and she has some difficulty walking. But please note, Vonda very much enjoys long hugs. When you visit, please give her a hug for me.

Journal entry by Jeanne Gomoll

Vonda is feeling pain infrequently but is receiving pain killer medication when she does. She currently seems to need only about 1/10th the amount she has been prescribed. She is sleeping much of the time; she gets more tired and needs more sleep each day. But when she is awake, she is alert and chats with visitors.
 
Thursday, Vonda’s posse sprung into action around some paperwork issues that needed to be dealt with immediately. Jane Hawkins says that she only has to send out a single message to “Vonda’s posse," and several people immediately respond. Eileen Gunn observes: “ Vonda’s logistics could mount an invasion of Russia.” So it is good to know that Vonda is being well cared for.

Journal entry by Jeanne Gomoll

A hospice nurse is visiting regularly to check on Vonda and renew meds. Hospice delivered a hospital bed Monday and she moved into it Wednesday morning. Vonda’s Seattle Posse, as they call themselves, have signed up for shifts so that there is always an awake person around Vonda. The goal is comfort for her, which currently involves things like heating up her hot pad or applying CBD ointment to her back or giving her some painkiller. 
 
Vonda is most often sleeping, not taking pain meds much, eating maybe a couple hundred calories a day. She seems mostly comfortable.

Journal entry by Jane Hawkins

I'm Vonda's neighbor, Jane Hawkins. I'll be trying to organize people who want to assist Vonda, or who just want to visit a while. My contact information: 206-634-3828  janehawkins@gmail.com For now, Vonda doesn't need a lot of help -- rides to various medical encounters, meals, laundry, and so on. If you want to assist, please shoot me an email describing what might work for you. If you want to visit, I hope you'll consider going through me to get it scheduled. Poor lady hasn't a lot of energy.
Vonda N.’s Story

Site created on February 17, 2019

Just two months after Vonda N. McIntyre was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she died peacefully at home on April 1, 2019 at 6:25 pm. She was 70 years old. Hospice made regular visits, but her friends, "Vonda's Posse," as they called themselves, provided most of her care. During her last days, there was someone near her around the clock. Vonda spent the last weeks of her life finishing her novel, Curve of the World, and enjoying visits with friends, including many who traveled to Seattle to say good-bye.

A private memorial will be held for close friends on Sunday, April 7. A formal, larger memorial gathering is now being planned and is expected to take place in the next month or two. When the final plans are known, details will be published here on CaringBridge.

Stephanie Ann Smith and Jeanne Gomoll will collaborate on a book full of memories from those who knew and loved Vonda. Submissions will be accepted through May 11. Publication details will be published here on CaringBridge.

Several wonderful obituaries have been published, including Vonda's official obit by Tom Whitmore, which you can find in the 4/4/19 Journal entry, here on CaringBridge. We are all pleased to see Vonda's accomplishments lauded by the New York Times, The Guardian, Geekwire and File 770.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/05/obituaries/vonda-n-mcintyre-dead.html

https://www.geekwire.com/2019/vonda-n-mcintyre-1948-2019-seattle-science-fiction-star-dies-cancer/

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/04/vonda-mcintyre-obituary

http://file770.com/science-fiction-author-vonda-n-mcintyre-official-obituary/

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