Reviews: McIntyre, Vonda N.

I Ran So Far Away

Starfarers — Vonda N. McIntyre
Starfarers, book 1

1989’s Starfarers is the first volume in Vonda N. McIntyre’s Starfarers Quartet.

The near approach of a cosmic string1 offers humanity superluminal access to Tau Ceti. A light-sail spaceship can hitchhike on the string to explore the nearest star system. A consortium of nations builds the Starfarer as a traveling university, one that will send back dividends of new knowledge that will more than pay for its creation.

That is, if it is allowed to do what it is designed to do. Some of its government supporters have other notions of best use.

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Don’t matter if I fall from the sky

Fireflood and Other Stories — Vonda N. McIntyre

1979’s Fireflood and Other Stories was Vonda N. McIntyre’s first and (as far as I know) only collection 1. It contains most of her early works, excepting only six pieces. It is one of the reliable comfort reads to which I return every decade or so.

Well, “comfort” is the wrong word. Don’t look to early McIntyre for warm, happy feels.

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Not a Tiptree Review

Dreamsnake — Vonda N. McIntyre

Vonda N. McIntyre’s 1978 Dreamsnake is an expansion of the story begun in her 1973 novelette Of Mist and Grass and Sand. Of Mist won a Nebula and was nominated for a Hugo. Dreamsnake won both the Best Novel Hugo and the Best Novel Nebula, it placed first in the 1979 Best Novel Locus Award, was nominated for a Ditmar and was denied a stab at the Tiptree on a mere technicality (that being that the Tiptree Award was still thirteen years in the future); as it was, the novel made the Tiptree Retrospective Shortlist.

Nuclear war left much of the Earth uninhabitable, although not before the first starships left Earth and founded the Sphere. Little is left of the civilization that gave humanity the stars, and what is left is isolationist. Denied access to the knowledge and resources of the Sphere, Terrans are forced to make do with what is available on depleted, battered Earth.

Snake is a Healer, a wandering doctor who relies on bio-engineered snakes rather than conventional medicine. Earth is vast, communities isolated; cultural misunderstanding is inevitable. A momentary lapse on Snake’s part costs her her dreamsnake and quite possibly, her standing in the Healers. Dreamsnakes are valuable and nigh-irreplaceable.

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The Exile Waiting

Vonda N. McIntyre

When I began rereading this, I had only the vaguest of recollections about it, that it was in some way connected to the author’s more famous “Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand” and Dreamsnake, that it was set in the last city on a barren Earth abandoned by the civilized peoples of the Sphere and that was about all. I therefore had a certain level of trepidation because while I had fond memories of having had fond memories of this, the lack of specifics meant there was no assurance the suck fairy would not have visited it. I am happy to say that I can see why I liked this so much almost forty years ago.

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