Losing Vonda

Vonda N. McIntyreWe 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.

For more complete tributes to her life and career, see the Guardian and New York Times obituaries.

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:

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!

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About Jeffrey A. Carver

Jeffrey A. Carver grew up on the Lake Erie shores of Huron, Ohio, but eventually settled in the Boston area, where he lives with his family. Currently he's writing a new volume in his popular series The Chaos Chronicles. Another of his favorite places to spin tales is his Star Rigger universe; one story in that world, Eternity's End, was a finalist for the Nebula Award. Among his stand-alone works are The Rapture Effect, and Battlestar Galactica, a novelization of the SciFi Channel's miniseries. By many accounts, his work is hard science fiction, but his greatest love remains character, story, and a healthy sense of wonder. His short work is collected in Going Alien and Reality and Other Fictions. As a teacher, Carver once hosted an educational TV series on the writing of SF and fantasy. A course that grew out of that is online, free to all, at writesf.com. In person, he's taught at MIT, Odyssey, and the New England Young Writer's Conference; and he is cofounder of the Ultimate SF Writing Workshop, in the Boston area. Visit his website and blog to learn more about his work.

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