Jody Scott was an award-winning American writer whose novels garnered extensive critical praise and peer acclaim, though most of her works remained unpublished during her lifetime. Scott was a satirist who employed speculative and mainstream fiction to critique society and question the nature of reality. Her scifi series The Benaroya Chronicles (consisting of the novels Passing for Human, I, Vampire and Devil-May-Care) became cult classics of satire in the 1980's and were widely hailed for their hilarity and originality.
In the 1990's Scott ceased submitting works for publication although she never stopped writing. Her last published work was in 1991, a poem in the anthology Now We Are Sick, edited by Neil Gaiman and Stephen Jones.
Born Joann Margaret Huguelet on Jan 13, 1923 in Chicago, to Joseph and Anne Huguelet, Jody was the oldest of three siblings. Her father along with his five brothers established the Huguelet Brothers Garage in 1906. He died in 1941 when Jody was just 18 years old and the family struggled financially for many years thereafter.
At that time Jody was interested in painting, but unable to afford college became a model at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she palled around with Ted Gorey, Anthony Holland and Joan Mitchell.
Also around this time Jody married Don Scott, a gay friend she'd met while working as a mail girl at Kemper Insurance. They embarked on an adventure to hitchhike along route 66 from Chicago to L.A., and while in Texas were thrown in jail for being gay. ("I was arrested with my buddy Don Scott for hitchhiking and slapped around then thrown in jail for eight days; how stupid can 'The Law' be? Its reasoning was: my gay friend, close pal of Leonard Bernstein and Tennessee Williams, had long hair, therefore we must be criminals.")
Later she managed to attend North Park College, Northwestern U. and U.C. Berkeley, studying pre-med, before eventually dropping out to pursue writing. ("Enough of this crap. If you wanna be a writer never, NEVER go to college or you'll come out a brainwashed zombie who offends nobody but writes like everyone else or as Monty Python used to say: 'Dull, dull, dull!' - the L's sounding like W's.")
Jody worked many jobs in the 1940's and 50's (sardine packer, orthopedist's office assistant, factory hand, cabbage puller, blue movie maker, headline writer for the Monterey Herald- "that's where I got my spare, lean style"), and lived for six months in Guatemala where she met Gore Vidal who'd recently purchased a house there ("in Antigua enjoyed a night alone with Gore Vidal at his house both madly talking"), before moving to Berkely CA to join George Leite in running Circle Magazine and daliel's bookstore, both influential precursors to the beat generation. She lived with George and his wife Nancy for many years.
Jody and George also co-authored the novel cure it with honey, winner of the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for best first novel in 1952.
During the 1950's, Circle, daliel's and the relationship with George and Nancy all came to an end, and she was briefly married to the painter OT Wood with whom she had a child. Around 1960 she moved to Seattle WA, where she resided the rest of her life.
Over the five decades Jody lived in Seattle she built a business and produced the bulk of her oeuvre. She had two significant relationships during this time, with Noel Wickman and with Mary Whealen, her spouse from 1977 until her death.
Scott died of heart failure on Dec 24, 2007, and is survived by her spouse Mary Whealen who remains the copyright holder and executor of Scott's literary output.
Her papers are housed at the Eaton Archive at the University of California at Riverside, which is the largest speculative fiction archive in the U.S.
What other writers say about Jody Scott
"Marvelous characters... I nominated you for a Guggenheim."
"A gifted modernist writer... a delightful iconoclast." --Robert Coover
"Wonderful time-travel and voice." -- Russell Banks
"Quite unlike anything anyone else has ever done." --Neil Gaiman
"Scott is a superb social satirist." -- Samuel Delany
"Jody Scott's amazing ability to look askance and detached at humanity and human affairs, all the while passionately involved."
"The greatest employment of science fiction in the service of satire; we've had notable satirists---but Scott alone refuses to sentimentalize.... The best unknown sf writer." --Barry N. Malzberg
"Jody Scott is like a mad cabby who knows most of the streets in town and knows where the laughs are – get into her rig and she'll take you on a fast and furious spin through America's ideological terrain."
“Passing for Human and I, Vampire [are] two stunningly fine novels— ahead of their time for lesbian fantasy/sf and ahead of the genre in literary merit.’ -–Jessica Amanda Salmonson
"Serious and brilliant fun." --Bruce Boston, Berkeley Poets Journal
“I liked I, Vampire enough to check it off on the Nebula ballot. I'm still of the humble opinion that it is the equal (in a couple of cases, the superior) of the books that are apparently on the final ballot.”
"A Viennese light opera of a novel." --A.J. Budrys
"[I, Vampire] has a marvelous verve to it, and [Sterling O'Blivion's] just the sort of character I like... I also, by the way, enjoyed Passing For Human." --Ian Watson
"Somehow Jody Scott has created a universe that tears across all the usual genre categories and makes brilliant, vicious fun of just about everything. It’s delicious craziness with some serious wisdom shining through." --Ernest Hogan