Melinda M. Snodgrass Collection

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TxAM-CRS C000456

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Melinda M. Snodgrass Collection


  • 2019 (Creation)


1 Box

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Biographical history

Melinda Marilyn Snodgrass was born in Los Angeles in 1951, and her family moved to New Mexico when she was five months old. Under her father's tutelage, she was given every possible opportunity - she learned to ride, shoot, swim and fly fish, she sat in on his business meetings and traveled with him from a young age. She inherited her father's musical ability and studied ballet, voice, and piano. She starred with the Civic Light Opera, and also performed the role of Gretel with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Hansel and Gretel. Her love of music took her to Vienna, Austria where she studied voice at the Conservatorium der Stadt Wien.

However, rather than pursuing a musical career, she returned to America to finish her college degrees, majoring in History (Magna Cum Laude) and minoring in music at the University of New Mexico. After graduating, she entered the New Mexico School of Law where her foci were Constitutional law, jurisprudence, and legal history.

After graduation, she practiced law for three years working first for Sandia National Laboratories, and then with a corporate law firm, but discovered that while she loved the law she wasn't terribly fond of lawyers. At the urging of author Victor Milan, she tried writing and never looked back. In 1984 she published her first book, the Star Trek novel The Tears of the Singers. Since then, Snodgrass has published a number of novels and short stories, including the Circuit Trilogy (1986-1988) about a Federal Court judge riding circuit in the solar system, two fantasies from Avon, one co-written with Victor Milan, and then in 1984 she and friend/fellow author George R.R. Martin created the Wild Cards Series, a shared world "mosaic universe" anthology with a focus on the real impact of superheroes in our world. The series continues today, and is scheduled to debut as a Hulu television series. Snodgrass herself, in addition to writing stories for the series and being one of its co-editors, wrote the novel Double Solitaire as part of the series in 1992.

At Martin's urging, Snodgrass entered the world of Hollywood, where she served as story editor for the 2nd and 3rd seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. While in this role, she also wrote several scripts for the show, including one of its most famous and well-received episodes, 'The Measure of a Man' . She worked on a number of other shows as well, including Reasonable Doubts and The Profiler, and wrote episodes for The Antagonists, Sliders, Strange Luck, and Odyssey 5, to name only a few. She also scripted an adaptation of Star Blazers for Disney. She has written six pilots - one of which, Star Command, aired on the UPN network.

In recent years, Snodgrass has completed the Edge trilogy (2008-2015), a series of contemporary fantasies that explore the tensions between science and rationality and religion and superstition. Her three-volume White Fang Law fantasy series, about a vampiric law firm, was originally written under the pen name Phillipa Bornikova and came out between 2012-2018. She is currently working on a military space opera series, The Imperials Saga, which debuted in 2016 with The High Ground and as of 2023 consists of four additional books.

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Scope and content

This collection contains manuscript materials from Melinda M. Snodgrass, including typescript, story outline, and notes for the Wild Cards novel Three Kings (co-written and edited by Snodgrass).

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Donated by Melinda Snodgrass, August 5, 2009.

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General note

Wild Cards is the general title given to the shared superhuman universe of novels created and primarily edited by George R.R. Martin. The first book, Wild Cards, was released in 1987, set mostly in the early days of the wild card epidemic, and continues to run (as of this writing) through 29 subsequent books (the latest being 2022's Full House), having been brought up to the present day. The series is governed by the Wild Cards Trust, a collective of authors that share the universe not only through their own stories but with their own created recurring characters that can be used by other authors. Besides Martin, authors include or have included, among others: Melinda M. Snodgrass, Howard Waldrop, Lewis Shiner, Stephen Leigh, Walter Jon Williams, Walton Simons, John J. Miller, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Victor Milan, Carrie Vaughn, William Wu, and Caroline Spector.

Wild Cards begins in 1946, when a humanoid alien species called the Takisians releases an experimental virus upon Earth, as a test. (The entire Wild Cards series is an exploration of the subsequent wide-reaching social, political, and historical effects of this virus on humanity.) The "wild card" virus (called so by humans because its effects are unpredictable and never affect two people in the same way) rapidly disseminates across the entire planet.

People who contract the virus suffer one of three possible fates. The vast majority of victims die in horrible ways (called "drawing the Black Queen). Of those that survive, most become "jokers", developing serious, often crippling and often dramatic deformities - in many parts of the world, including the United States, jokers suffer discrimination, prejudice, and marginalization. A tiny percentage of virus victims (c. 1%) become "aces", developing powers that often rise to the level of superhuman. In the traditional comic book manner, some aces become superheroes, and others become villains.

Although stories in the series occur in various parts of the world, the primary setting, especially in the earlier books, is New York City, including its joker ghetto 'Jokertown'. The series is notable not only for its colorful fights between aces and aces (and aces and jokers), but its less dramatic but emotionally fraught explorations of how the presence of superheroes, supervillains, and a dramatically different underclass would affect the development of the "real world".

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Archivist's note

Created by Jeremy Brett, July, 2019.

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