(1918-1997) US book-collector and author who, although she never worked as a full-time writer, published a sizeable number of highly professional, shapely stories, beginning in February 1952 with "Minister without Portfolio" for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction she was as strongly associated with that magazine as was Zenna Henderson. A Cupful of Space (coll 1961), which collects all her work through 1961, reflects this association in the high proportion of stories included from that magazine; The Clingerman Files: Collected Works (coll 2017) assembles everything from the previous volume plus a considerable body of unpublished work.
Clingerman's fiction tends to wed a literate tone to subject matters whose ominousness is perhaps more submerged than the horrors under the skin made explicit in the work of Shirley Jackson, but equally as deadly. Married women are most vividly portrayed in stories like "The Wild Wood" (January 1957 F&SF) or "A Red Heart and Blue Roses" (original to her collection); they suffer constant violations of body space, male intrusiveness, the impostures of Aliens, and allow this to happen, horrifically. "Stickeney and the Critic" (February 1953 F&SF) breaks from the overriding male-generated claustrophobia (see Women in SF) to dramatize hilariously the fate of a literary critic whose pratings are exactly to the taste of a hungry Monster. It had long been thought that Clingerman may have ceased writing around 1975 at the behest of her husband, but this now seems unlikely. In 2014 she was posthumously given a Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award. [JC]
see also: Women SF Writers.
Mildred McElroy Clingerman
born Allen, Oklahoma: 14 March 1918
died Collin, Texas: 26 February 1997
Previous versions of this entry