One of the things that I’ve found distinctly interesting about the Golden Age of SF is how the authors shape the field that they’re in, but also how much one can extrapolate a larger picture out of an author’s life. An excellent example of this is Judith Merril, through whom one can find an excellent viewpoint of the shifts in publishing, as well as a number of similarly-high-profiled authors writing at the same time. This is the first of probably a couple of posts about Merril – her career as a whole will likely require more space. Indeed, the Futurians themselves warrant a couple of posts of their own.
Merril was an interesting author to research. I remember reading some of her short fiction when I was in high school (Including, I *think* ‘Only A Mother’), and rediscovering her was a rewarding process. Frustratingly, most of my usual sourses really didn’t examine Merril’s contributions to the field, or did so in passing. However, there are some very good sources on her that I was able to draw upon.
Judith Merril, 74, Science Fiction Editor and Writer, Gerald Jonas. This is Merril’s obituary, and provided a good snapshot of her life.
Better to Have Loved: the Life of Judith Merril, Judith Merril & Emily Pohl-Weary. This autobiography is a fantastic look at the life of Merril, as well as an excellent source for reading up on the Furturians, the Golden Age and a wide smattering of authors. It’s a little scattered at points, but there’s a great number of letters, recollections and sections about her early life.
The Way the Future Was, Frederik Pohl. Pohl’s autobiography doesn’t discuss Merril in great depth, but it does mention her frequently and provide some good context for her work in the early 1950s.
The Futurians: The Story of the Great Science Fiction ‘Family’ of the 30’s that Produced Today’s Top SF Writers and Editors, Damon Knight. Knight was one of the Futurians, and the book is a good, personal look at the rise and fall of the group, and Merril shows up quite a bit.