"Fear of the unknown is a terrible fear." -- Joan D. Vinge
Joan D. Vinge () (born 2 April 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland as Joan Carol Dennison) is an American science fiction author. She is known for such works as her Hugo Award-winning novel The Snow Queen and its sequels, her series about the telepath named Cat, and her Heaven's Chronicles books.
"And so The Snow Queen also became a story about the need to seek equilibrium, in our own lives, with the natural world, even within the universe at large.""As for the historical inspirations I drew on in writing The Snow Queen, I suppose I would call them more cross-cultural inspirations, though they frequently involve past societies as well as present day ones.""Besides, wouldn't it be wonderful if no one ever had to worry about the random cruelty of fatal illness or the woes of old age attacking them or their loved ones?""Beyond that, I seem to be compelled to write science fiction, rather than fantasy or mysteries or some other genre more likely to climb onto bestseller lists even though I enjoy reading a wide variety of literature, both fiction and nonfiction.""But our society does not grant nontraditional forms of intelligence equal recognition, no matter how much it would help us get along or truly enrich our lives.""Each time, storytellers clothed the naked body of the myth in their own traditions, so that listeners could relate more easily to its deeper meaning.""Everything born has to die, in order to make room for the future.""For every path you choose, there is another you must abandon, usually forever.""Here was a fragment of Goddess myth that, through all its permutations, had somehow escaped being turned on its head. It was the perfect springboard for the sort of novel I wanted to write.""Humans are upsetting a fragile balance that their own human ancestors established.""Humans may be the only creatures on Earth who spend significant time thinking about the fact that someday their lives will end.""I wanted to show those characters discovering it is possible to find common ground, as they make their way through a plotline that I hope is engrossing enough to keep the reader a willing participant.""I was thinking about what I wanted to write next, after my first novel, and had decided that I wanted to write a story with a lot of strong female characters in it.""Moon is also a naive native girl when she sets out for Carbuncle.""Myth is, after all, the neverending story.""Perhaps the thing that makes humans truly unique on Earth is that we are never satisfied with our situation; maybe that is what's taken us so far.""Probably I chose immortality because mortality is a universal human obsession.""Studying anthropology, I developed a kind of holistic view of human existence, in which the dichotomies you listed are all necessary and vital aspects of life.""The contradictions are what make human behavior so maddening and yet so fascinating, all at the same time.""The ecosystem of our world is a closed system: it would run out of gas, collapse of its own weight.""The futures and ultimate fates of the characters in The Snow Queen are profoundly changed by choices made in their own minds or hearts, as well as choices unexpectedly forced on them by things beyond their control.""The mers were also designed to reproduce only at long intervals, in order to maintain the natural balance of the environment in which they were placed.""There's no such thing as a free lunch, at least on the karmic level.""These days too many of us seem inclined to cover our ears, close our eyes, and blindly follow the most narrow, conservative tenets of religion; or else seek comfort in the ancient traditions of New Age ritual.""Throughout the ages, stories with certain basic themes have recurred over and over, in widely disparate cultures; emerging like the goddess Venus from the sea of our unconscious.""We are all born with a unique genetic blueprint, which lays out the basic characteristics of our personality as well as our physical health and appearance... And yet, we all know that life experiences do change us.""What does immortality mean to me? That we all want more time; and we want it to be quality time.""What I do not want to write is didactic political tracts."
Vinge studied art in college, but eventually changed to a major in anthropology, and received a B.A. degree from San Diego State University in 1971.
Vinge has been married twice: first to fellow SF author Vernor Vinge, and then to SF editor James Frenkel. Vinge and Frenkel have two children, and live in Madison, Wisconsin. She has taught at the Clarion Workshop several times, both East and West. Besides writing, Vinge also makes and sells dolls.
Robert A. Heinlein in part dedicated his 1982 novel Friday to Joan.
On March 2, 2002, Vinge was severely injured in a car accident that left her with "minor but debilitating" brain damage that, along with her fibromyalgia, left her unable to write. She recovered to the point of being able to resume writing around the beginning of 2007. 
Vinge's first published story, "Tin Soldier", a novelette, appeared in Orbit 14 in 1974. Stories have also appeared in Analog, Millennial Women, Asimov's Science Fiction, Omni Magazine, and several "Best of the Year" anthologies.
Several of her stories have won major awards: Her novel The Snow Queen won the 1981 Hugo Award for Best science fiction Novel. "Eyes of Amber" won the 1977 Hugo Award for Best Novelette. She has also been nominated for several other Hugo and Nebula Awards, as well as for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her novel Psion was named a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association.
In March 2007, a new edition of her novel Psion was released, which includes a sequel novella, "Psiren", together in one volume.
At the time of her accident in 2002, Vinge had been working on a new, independent novel called Ladysmith, set in Bronze Age Europe; she resumed writing Ladysmith once she was able to begin writing again in 2007.