Home > Writers of Interest > Writers of interest – James Tiptree, Jr.

Writers of interest – James Tiptree, Jr.


It occurred to me last night that all the writers I’ve written about on this blog so far are men! Here I am, a so-called egalitarian thinker, but 90% of my favourite authors are male. I wonder why this is? One of my favourite female authors, Alice Sheldon, used to be a man. Erm, kinda. If you don’t know who James Tiptree Jr aka Alice Sheldon is, it’s not hard to find out. The best place to learn about Sheldon’s life is in the biography James Tiptree Jr: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Philips. Check out some reviews of this outstanding book, including one by yours truly.


This is the best biography I’ve ever read. If you’ve read some of Tiptree’s stories and appreciated them, you need to read this biography. If you’ve never read Tiptree, trust me, you can’t go wrong with this. You don’t even need to be interested in SF to get into this book. For some reason, Amazon have slashed the price of this book to $6.99, and that’s for the hardcover. This is literally the best $7 you can spend!

OK, so that’s the biography of a life, but what about the work itself? It turns out that there is just ONE essential volume of stories that everyone interested in Tiptree/Sheldon needs to own. It’s called Her Smoke Rose Up Forever and it was re-issued by Tachyon a few years ago. The first edition came out in 1990 or so, but it’s out of print now.

I’ve just realised that you can get both of these books for $US17.84 plus postage. I’m not kidding – you can’t go wrong with this. Just to prove I didn’t make this up, if you look at my PKD bookshelf at the top of the page, you can see Tiptree on the end. I’ve got the biography, as well as the original edition of Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. Tiptree published several volumes of short stories and a couple of undistinguished novels, but the cream is in Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. Read “Her Smoke Rose Up Forever” and “A Momentary Taste of Being” and then get back to me.

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