In Memoriam – Katherine MacLean

Katherine MacLean (b.1925) died on September 1st. MacLean began publishing science fiction in 1949 when her short story “Defense Mechanism” appeared in the October issue of Astounding.  Her first novel, Cosmic Checkmate, was co-written with Charles V. De Vet, and appeared in 1962 with her first solo novel, The Man in the Bird Cage, appearing in 1971.

Although she wrote five novels, the majority of MacLean’s work was in the short form. A laboratory technician, much of her fiction focused on the way technological advances impacted society. Her story “The Snowball Effect” was a look at social engineering and many of her stories explored psi powers and humanity’s negative reaction to change. Her novelette “Second Game” won her a Hugo nomination in 1959. MacLean’s short fiction has been collected in the volumes The DiploidsThe Trouble with You Earth People, and Science Fiction Collection.

In 1972, MacLean won the Nebula Award for her novella “The Missing Man,” which she subsequently expanded into a novel of the same title, which also was nominated for the Nebula. She was selected by Wiscon to be the first guest of honor when the convention started in 1977. SFWA recognized her as an Author Emeritus in 2003. In 2011, she was awarded the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award.