Rachel Pollack (1945-2023) OBITUARY
Rachel Pollack (1945-2023)
The Fantasy Hive was saddened to hear of the passing of American science fiction and fantasy author and trans rights activist Rachel Pollack, from lymphoma. Pollack was a pioneering trans activist who helped to draw up the first trans manifesto, a well-respected expert on the tarot and occult practices, and a remarkable and original writer of novels, short stories and comics. Her passing is a great loss to all the communities she was a part of, and the Hive’s thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.
Pollack published her first genre short story ‘Pandora’s Bust’ in 1971, and her first novel, the space opera Golden Vanity in 1980. In 1988 she published her masterpiece, the fantastical novel Unquenchable Fire, which imagines an alternate America transfigured by spirits and shamanism. It won the Arthur C. Clarke award. Temporary Agency (1994), set in the same world, was nominated for the Nebula Award, and the stand-alone fantasy Godmother Night (1996) won the World Fantasy Award. Between 1993 and 1995 she wrote for the DC comic Doom Patrol, following Grant Morrison’s legendary run. For the series, Pollack created Kate Godwin, the first trans superhero in mainstream comics.
Across genres an media, Pollack’s writing is remarkable. Her speculative fiction is infused with her passion for spiritualism, effortlessly mixing the fantastical with sharply observed characters and vivid explorations of everyday life. Her work is both powerfully moving and effortlessly surprising.
Pollack was an engaged and friendly member of her communities. She lectured on the Tarot and in creative writing. She helped her friend Neil Gaiman when he consulted the Tarot for his writing, and with her friend and fellow author and trans rights activist Roz Kaveney she was a tireless campaigner for trans rights and an inspirational figure to multiple generations of queer fans, authors and activists. She will be remembered by everyone who was inspired by her work and her life.