Somehow I made it into my 30's without ever really being aware of James Tiptree, Jr. I don't know how this occurred, especially since now I'm realizing how many authors I love have won the James Tiptree, Jr literary award.
Alice Sheldon, best known in the literary world as James Tiptree, Jr, led an amazing life that ended in tragedy. His/her stories are original, powerful, and often unsettling. Science Fiction set in a "now" or far in the future, close to home or far flung.
For me the biggest challenge came in the size of the volume - it appears my attention span for short story collections is shorter than the size such a comprehensive collection calls for. It's a book that would have worked better for me not to have a month's framing to read it, but one to read stories then have time to take a break as they bounced around in my head. That being said, I'm very happy I included it as the Virtual Speculation pick for June. This is definitely on my "to recommend" SF reading list now.
- What themes did you notice in the stories? How were they handled? What stood out to you?
- Alice Sheldon published both as a woman and as a man, using a female name for stories that might betray "James" as a woman. What makes a writing style masculine or feminine?
- Alice's reasons for writing as James have been reasonably well stated - which ones would apply to an author today?
- How do her stories hold up some fifty years after they were written? What shows their age, and what could be written today?
- Did you have a favorite story? What drew you to it? Were there stories that you disliked? What pushed you away?