JUDITH JOSEPHINE GROSSMAN (January 21, 1923 – September 12, 1997), who took the pen-name JUDITH MERRIL about 1945, was an American and then Canadian science fiction writer, editor and political activist, and one of the first women to be widely influential in those roles.
Although Judith Merril's first paid writing was in other genres, in her first few years of writing published science fiction she wrote her three novels (all but the first in collaboration with C.M. Kornbluth ) and some stories. Her roughly four decades in that genre also included writing 26 published short stories, and editing a similar number of anthologies .
* 1 Early years * 2 American science fiction writing and editing * 3 Canadian years * 4 Selected works * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 External links
Merril was born in
In 1939, Judith graduated from Morris High School in the Bronx at 16
and rethought her politics under the influence of the
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (August 23), shifting to a Trotskyist
outlook. She married Dan Zissman the next year, less than four months
into a relationship that started when they met at a
of July picnic in
AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION WRITING AND EDITING
The opening installment of Mars Child, by Merril and Cyril Kornbluth , took the cover of the May 1951 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction Another Merril–Kornbluth collaboration, the novelette "Sea-Change", was the cover story for the second issue of Dynamic Science Fiction in 1953. It has apparently never been reprinted. Merril's "The Deep Down Dragon" was the cover story for the August 1961 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction Merril's novelette "The Shrine of Temptation" took the cover of the April 1962 issue of Fantastic , featuring George Barr\'s first professional cover art Merril's novelette "The Lonely" was the cover story on the October 1963 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow
Under her married name Merril edited a five-page SF fanzine dated May 1945, including a letter "On Ezra Pound" by Don Zissman . She edited, and published with Larry Shaw and Dan Zissman, a 20-page fanzine dated January 1946, Science*Fiction No. 1, including an editorial by her entitled "The Hills and the Heights". ISFDB notes, "A single issue fanzine from Judy Zissman (aka Judith Merril). It was clearly intended to continue, and many of the contents of the next issue are described, but a 2nd issue was never released—likely as a result of the collapse of her marriage to Don Zissman."
Merril began editing science fiction short story anthologies in 1950—especially a popular "Year's Best" story-anthology series that ran from 1956 to 1967—and published her last in 1985. In her editorial introductions, talks and other writings, she actively argued that science fiction should no longer be isolated but become part of the literary mainstream. Early in her editing career, Anthony Boucher described her as "a practically flawless anthologist". She also had an important role as Books Editor for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F"> However, "disaffected authors began griping about a 'Milford Mafia' that was endangering SF's unique virtues by imposing literary standards essentially alien to the field."
One anthology project Merril began in the early 1960s under contract to Lion Books in Chicago was aborted, but inspired her publisher's editor Harlan Ellison to go forward with his own version of the project, which yielded Dangerous Visions (Doubleday, 1967). As an initiator of the New Wave movement, she edited the 1968 anthology England Swings SF , whose stories she collected while living in England for a year.
In 1966 Ellison wrote an episode entitled "The Pieces of Fate Affair" for The Man from UNCLE using the names of friends as characters. One of these was a THRUSH agent who was also a literary critic named "Judith Merle" played by Grayson Hall . Merrill's daughter saw the episode and brought a lawsuit against the series for defamation of character . The audio track was later adjusted renaming Hall's character "Jody Moore" and the episode was kept out of syndication for many years.
In the late 1960s, Merril moved to Toronto, Canada, citing what she
called undemocratic suppression of
Anti-Vietnam War activities by the
U.S. government. She was a founding resident of
In 1970 she began an endowment at the
From 1978 to 1981 Merril introduced Canadian broadcasts of Doctor Who . As the "Undoctor", Merril presented short (3-7 minute) philosophical commentaries on the show's themes.
Merril was an active organizer and promoter of science fiction in Canada. For example, she founded the Hydra North network of writers. In 1985 she launched and edited the first Tesseract an occasional anthology of Canadian science fiction from Press Porcépic (Toronto) that helped to define a particularly Canadian version of the genre.
In the early 1980s, Merril donated to the National Archives of Canada her voluminous collection of correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, and Japanese science-fiction material – eventually the Judith Merril Fonds.
Merril became a Canadian citizen in 1976 and became active in its Writers\' Union . When the Union debated at its annual meeting whether people could write about other genders and ethnic groups, she exclaimed "Who will speak for the aliens?", which closed the debate.
From the mid-1970s until her death, Merril spent much time in the Canadian peace movement, including traveling to Ottawa dressed as a witch in order to hex Parliament for allowing American cruise missile testing over Canada.
She also remained active in the SF world as a commentator and mentor.
Her lifetime of work was honoured by the International Authors
Festival at the Harbourfront Centre,
In contemplation of her death, she left a sizable sum of money to hold a celebratory/memorial party at the Bamboo Club in Toronto. An organized editor to the end, she prepared detailed lists of who should call whom when she finally died.
* Human? (Chicago: Lion Books, 1954), anthology * SF: The Year\'s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy (1956) * SF \'57: The Year\'s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy (1957) * SF \'58: The Year\'s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy (1958) * SF \'59: The Year\'s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy (1959) * The 5th Annual of the Year's Best S-F (1960) * The 6th Annual of the Year's Best S-F (1961) * The 7th Annual of the Year's Best S-F (1962) * The 8th Annual of the Year's Best S-F (1963) * The 9th Annual of the Year's Best S-F (1964) * The 10th Annual of the Year's Best S-F (1965) * The 11th Annual of the Year\'s Best S-F (1966) * SF12 (1968) * England Swings SF (Doubleday, 1968) * Tesseracts, (Toronto: Press Porcépic, 1985) – volume 1 in the series Tesseracts: Canadian Science Fiction
That Only a Mother ", Astounding (June 1948); anthologized in The
Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One (1970), Women of Wonder
Space Mail (1980)
Shadow on the Hearth (1950)
* Outpost Mars (Abelard Press, 1952), as by Cyril Judd (C. M.
Kornbluth and Merril) – from the 1951 serial Mars Child – later
title, Sin in Space LCCN 52-10246
Gunner Cade (Simon anthologized in
Tomorrow, the Stars (1952)
* Out of Bounds: Seven Stories (
Pyramid Books , 1960)
* The Tomorrow People (Pyramid, 1960)
* "The Lonely"
Worlds of Tomorrow (magazine) (October 1963);
Space Mail (1980)
* Daughters of Earth: Three Novels (1968); later issued with
subtitle Three Short Novels and with title Daughters of Earth and
* Survival Ship and Other Stories (1973)
* The Best of
Shadow on the Hearth and both Cyril Judd novels were reissued in an omnibus edition, Spaced Out: Three Novels of Tomorrow, ed. Elisabeth Carey (NESFA, 2008) Reviews
Merril wrote the "Books" column of the monthly Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction , March 1965 to February 1969.
* ^ "A version of this story" Outpost Mars was published as Mars Child in three parts, Galaxy , May to July 1951. Gunner Cade