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For the Extended Family and the Universe: Judith Merril and Science Fiction Autobiography

From: Biography
Volume 30, Number 1, Winter 2007
pp. 1-21 | 10.1353/bio.2007.0026

Abstract

This article, in exploring why so few SF writers produce compelling or innovative autobiographies, examines Judith Merril's controversial memoir, Better to Have Loved, written in collaboration with her granddaughter, Emily Pohl-Weary. The memoir authorship and form have no equal in SF circles. Merril (1923–1997) was a central, socially radical powerhouse in the extraordinary "man's world" of modern science fiction, tracing her career through New York City, London, Tokyo, and Toronto between the 1940s and 1990s. Her fractured, nonlinear, and collaborative memoir that "tells it like it was" reflects precisely how she interacted with science fiction all her life.