During the last couple of decades the name Mildred Clingerman has popped up in prominent spots around the science fiction universe. Her works have been included in several significant anthologies and even in textbooks; indeed, her story “Wild Wood” is one of the more memorable entries in the late David G. Hartwell’s landmark collection of Christmas fantasy tales. In 2014 she received a posthumous Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award, joining such previous honorees as R. A. Lafferty, Leigh Brackett, and the collaborative team Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore. And two years ago her family assembled The Clingerman Files, a book collecting most of the science fiction stories that appeared during her lifetime, along with two dozen unpublished tales found in her papers.
The Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award was initiated in 2001, and to date has handed out nineteen awards to honor underread science fiction and fantasy authors. Five of those awards (26%) have gone to women. I met one of them, Katherine MacLean, at the WisCon feminist science fiction and fantasy convention some time after the turn of the millennium. As time goes on, I’ve come to cherish that contact and our brief conversation about science fiction. If things had been different when MacLean was writing, she would certainly have been better-known. As it was, MacLean was one of three women in 1959 to be nominated for a Hugo award (none of them won that year).
Science fiction started out as a male abode; the names of early SF writers shows this clearly. While there were women writing in the genre from early on, the numbers were swamped by male names. Over time, this changed.
Mildred Clingerman started publishing in 1952, and her complete works—including much unpublished material—appears in the anthology, The Clingerman Files. Continue reading
You may never have been exposed to the stories of Mildred Clingerman. If that’s the case, prepare to be delighted.
Mildred Clingerman was an Arizona-based science fiction and fantasy writer who lived from 1918–1997. Between 1952 and 1962, seventeen of her stories appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (two additional tales appeared in 1975). Sixteen of those early stories were compiled in her 1961 collection A Cupful of Space. Clingerman’s stories were very popular and immediately began appearing in anthologies, a process that continued well into this century. Her tales are frequently published in literary collections aimed at the education market. Continue reading
Mildred Clingerman (1918-1997) was a writer I grew up on, and loved. Although her heyday came during the 1950s, before I began reading SF, I would run across her memorable tales reprinted in anthologies–and also in their original venues, as I began to accumulate back issues of SF magazines. Associated most tightly with The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, she cropped up at steady intervals with gemlike stories that ensured her byline would stick in the reader’s mind. Continue reading