Saturday, August 26, 2006

(Maybe) Last Chance To Get Your Copy
of A Marvelous SF Story Collection

James Tiptree, Jr., appeared on the science fiction scene in the late 1960s, writing fast-paced, action-filled stories about rocket ships, alien sex, and intergalactic bureaucratic anxiety. He was a brilliant and original talent, with a voice like no one else's: knowing, intense, utterly convinced of its authority and the urgency of its message...

And her performance as Tiptree, with its reversal of everything we expect about men and women writers, may be her greatest achievement, her greatest influence of all.
Julie Phillips, The NY Times

Since I own the hardcover, hard-to-find, out-of-print version of this collection that came out years ago, I didn't much pay attention to it when the paperback version came out.

Well, now the paperback is becoming scarce. So, I'm giving you a heads up on HER SMOKE ROSE UP FOREVER, a collection of stories by the late James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon).

Tiptree/Sheldon was a master of the science fiction short story form and won two Hugos and three Nebulas. Her obsession with certain themes (death, notably, and the relationship between the sexes) is as evident as her talent. Robert Silverberg tagged the writing "ineluctably male" in an introduction to one of Tiptree's books, and he's been chided for it thoroughly. Still amusing, though, in light of "The Women Men Don't See." I forget who--Karen Joy Fowler--said that story was or should have been the tip-off that Tiptree was no man.

I'll add that she has some of the best titles ever. I appreciate this gift, as I am a total goof at coming up with titles. I just stink at it.

Here is the table of contents:

Introduction by Michael Swanwick

•The Last Flight of Doctor Ain
•The Screwfly Solution
•And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side
•The Girl Who Was Plugged In
•The Man Who Walked Home
•And I Have Come Upon This Place By Lost Ways
•The Women Men Don't See
•Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light
•Houston, Houston, Do You Read?
•With Delicate Mad Hands
•A Momentary Taste of Being
•We Who Stole the Dream
•Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
•Love Is the Plan and the Plan Is Death
•On the Last Afternoon
•She Waits for All Men Born
•Slow Music
•And So On, and So On

SF Site reviewed the anthology. A snippet:

It's a tribute to the author's artistry that these stories still read not as shrill polemics, but as emotional dramas with characters who are confronted by uncomfortable truths. It's that ability, to place harsh truths in stories of artistic beauty, that places Tiptree among the great SF short story writers of all time.

If you haven't picked up your copy, time is probably short. Hop to it.

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