Vonda McIntyre, a science-fiction writer whose tales featured female protagonists — among them the healer in a post-apocalyptic earth who cures the ill with snake venom — and who also wrote five “Star Trek” novels, died on Monday at her home in Seattle. She was 70.Frances Collin, her agent, said the cause was pancreatic cancer.
A short story, “Of Mist, Grass, and Sand” (1973), introduced readers to Snake, a healer who travels to remote lands after a nuclear holocaust to heal sick people with venom from her genetically engineered rattlesnake (Sand) and cobra (Mist), and to ease their pain with her rare alien dreamsnake (Grass). Snake is asked to save the life of a young nomad boy, Stavin, who has a brain tumor.
McIntyre's story won a Nebula Award in 1973 for best novelette from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, competing against veteran male writers like Harlan Ellison and Theodore Sturgeon. When she expanded the story into a dark novel about Snake’s continuing quests, “Dreamsnake”(1978), she won another Nebula and a Hugo Award from the World Science Fiction Society.
Vonda Neel McIntyre was born on Aug. 28, 1948, in Louisville, Ky., and moved to the Seattle area with her parents, H. Neel McIntyre, and Vonda (Keith) McIntyre, as a teenager. She began reading science fiction in the 1950s but could not always relate to the male-centered stories written by men. By 1966, as “Star Trek” began its three-season run on NBC, she found a passion.
She said on several occasions that she began writing a “Star Trek” script as she watched the first episode in 1966.
The script was rejected, but she eventually turned it into “The Entropy Effect” (1981), an original “Star Trek” novel.
Now a part of the Trekkie literary universe, she was hired by Pocket Books to write the novelizations of the films “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” all based on their screenplays.
She also wrote another original “Star Trek” novel, “Enterprise: The First Adventure” (1986).