The science fiction world lost another giant with the passing of Vonda N. McIntyre on April 1, and I lost a friend and colleague. Vonda was probably best known for her Nebula and Hugo Award-winning novel, Dreamsnake, which was feminist and compassionate and insightful, and also heartbreakingly beautiful. But she wrote lots of other books, as well, including several Star Trek novels, and The Moon and the Sun, filmed in 2014 as The King’s Daughter with Pierce Brosnan and William Hurt, but not yet released. Vonda died two months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and she finished writing her last novel, Curve of the World, just days before leaving us.
Though I had met Vonda once or twice before, we first really got to know each other at the Launchpad Astronomy Workshop, where we were classmates in the first session, in 2007. A few years later, when I was going it mostly alone publishing my backlist in ebook form, she invited me to apply for membership in Book View Café, the writer-coop of which she was a founding member and one of the most active volunteers. That’s where I really saw her tireless efforts helping others. We worked together on picky ebook-formatting questions, and on customer support, a job that I took over from her. We only met in person on one more occasion, I think—at Sasquan, the SF Worldcon in Spokane, in 2015, where she was Co-Guest of Honor. But with the magic of the internet and BVC, she felt like an essential part of my book-publishing community. I miss her already.
Here’s something Vonda would have loved to see, if only she’d been with us a little longer, the first picture of a black hole:
I like to think she’s somewhere right now, smiling at that, perhaps having gone to visit M87 in person!