We already know the science fiction world lost another giant with the passing of Vonda N. McIntyre on April 1, but like everyone else here at BVC, I lost a friend and colleague. I first got to know her through her work, especially her Nebula and Hugo Award-winning novel, Dreamsnake, which was feminist and compassionate and insightful, and also heartbreakingly beautiful. Only years later did we become friends. It was a shock to hear that she’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and a huge shock when she was gone, just two months later. 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 after that, when I was going it mostly alone publishing my backlist in ebook form, she invited me to apply for membership in Book View Café, 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, and just general mutual support. 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 greatly.
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 out there right now, smiling at that, perhaps having gone to visit M87 in person!