Like most genre writers in the seventies, McIntyre started with short fiction. She won her first Nebula Award in 1973, two years before publishing her first novel, The Exile Waiting. She later adapted that award-winning short, "Of Mist, and Grass, and Sand", into a novel called Dreamsnake. Initially rejected by her publisher, the novel went on to win both another Nebula and a Hugo, making her only the third woman to have won the Hugo.
But maybe you're here to hear about the media franchise tie-ins. Yes, she wrote a novel based on Star Trek: The Original Series, called The Entropy Effect, and it was popular enough that she was hired to do the novelizations of several of the Star Trek movies: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. She is also responsible for giving Ensign Sulu of the original series his first name, Hikaru—until then, he'd simply been "Sulu". She also wrote an early Star Wars novel, The Crystal Star.
In addition to writing, she was also co-editor of an anthology of feminist SF called Aurora: Beyond Equality, and a founder of the west coast branch of the famous Clarion writers workshop. Robert A. Heinlein included her in the dedications in his novel Friday.
In her spare time, she contributed to the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef
Works with a page on this Wiki:
- Dreamsnake (1978)
- The Crystal Star (1994, Star Wars novel)
- Lythande series (short story "Looking for Satan")
Selected other works:
- The Exile Waiting (1975)
- The Entropy Effect (1981, Star Trek novel)
- Superluminal (1983)
- Enterprise: The First Adventure (1986, Star Trek novel)
- The Starfarers series:
- Starfarers (1989)
- Transition (1991)
- Metaphase (1992)
- Nautilus (1994)
- The Moon and the Sun (1997)
Tropes in her other works:
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: The Starfarer series has the squidmoths. The juveniles exchange gamete packets with each other and keep the packets they receive (the packets can stay fresh for a long time). At some point the juvenile consciously chooses to undergo a metamorphosis, consumes the collected gamete packets, lays fertile eggs, and dies.
- Cessation of Existence: In The Exile Waiting a character learns that this is what happens after death, through being telepathically linked to someone at the time of their death.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Lucien de Barenton, Count de Chretien, in The Moon and the Sun. A sharp-witted, cosmopolitan seventeenth-century aristocrat with a colorful love life, who respects all of his girlfriends as people and eventually settles down with the heroine.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: McIntyre has gone on record as stating that Satoshi Lono from the Starfarers series would look like a young George Takei.
- Exotic Equipment: The "divers" (which appear in several of her works): The men have internal testes and a retractable penis, mainly for the sake of streamlining.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: The Starfarer series has at least one married triad (Victoria Fraser MacKenzie, Stephen Thomas Gregory, and Satoshi Lono).
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The short story "Aztecs" (later incorporated into Superluminal) had a variation where the subjective measurement of time was affected; people conscious through the trip tended to die of old age. Passengers were thus kept in suspended animation for the trip to keep them safe. For the captain, however, the trick is to ensure the captain has no method of marking the passage of time. No clocks, and the captain has to have his heart removed and replaced with a quiet rotary pump, ensuring they have no heartbeat they can use to measure time with. Most captains keep the ashes of their own hearts to remind them of the permanency of this... hence the title of the original short story.
- Master of Your Domain: In the Starfarers quartet, some biofeedback ability, including the ability to render oneself temporarily sterile by altering the temperature of one's genitalia, is standard for most adults.
- Mermaid Problem: averted:
- The sea people in The Moon and the Sun are aquatic humanoid mammals (and, apart from their aquatic adaptations, have a lot of anatomical similarity to humans), not hybrid creatures. They have two "tails" (actually hind limbs adapted for swimming) and human-like genitalia. (In fact, Sherzad shocks a 17th-century human crowd by flashing them at one point.)
- Similarly, McIntyre's genetically-engineered "divers" (which appear in a number of her novels) are more like humans with a few seal or otter traits (fur, claws, webbed hands) than traditional merfolk.
- Mix-and-Match Man: In the novella Screwtop, one of the inmates of a prison camp is a mixed-race human "tetraparental", which means his genes have been spliced together from four parents, resulting in black-and-beige marbled skin and patches of black and blond hair of different textures.
- Multipurpose Monocultured Crop: A short story depicts Earth as having exactly two species: humanity and a plant that can be processed into literally anything imaginable — food, construction, fuel, and everything else. What happened to everything else? Humanity essentially exterminated every other species, down to the microflora, so the plant would never have any competition. We then dutifully recorded every genome and proceeded to sit on them with no intention of ever using the data, leaving humanity alone with the plant.
- Renaissance Man: Marie-Josephe Delacroix in The Moon and the Sun is a Renaissance woman—her areas of expertise include mathematics, "natural philosophy" (i.e., natural sciences), and music. She can also draw reasonably well, which is a very useful ability for a scientifically inclined person to have in the days before photography.
- Unscaled Merfolk:
- Her "divers" (which appear in multiple works, including Superluminal, the Starfarers series, and are mentioned in the Star Trek IV adaptation) are, quite simply, humans genetically engineered for aquatic life.
- Her historical fantasy novel The Moon and the Sun has the similar (but naturally-occurring) humanlike "sea people."