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These Darkly Complex Short Stories And Novellas Touch Upon Human Nature And Perception, Metaphysics And Epistemology, And Gender And Sexuality, Foreshadowing A World In Which Biological Tendencies Bring About The Downfall Of Humankind Revisions From The Author S Notes Are Included, Allowing A Deeper View Into Her World And A Better Understanding Of Her Work The Nebula Award Winning Short Story Love Is The Plan, The Plan Is Death, The Hugo Award Winning Novella The Girl Who Was Plugged In, And The Hugo And Nebula Award Winning Novella Houston, Houston, Do You Read Are IncludedThe Stories Of Alice Sheldon, Who Wrote As James Tiptree Jr Up The Walls Of The World Until Her Death In , Have Been Heretofore Available Mostly In Out Of Print Collections Thus The Accomplished Stories Here Will Be Welcomed By New Readers And Old Fans The Screwfly Solution Describes A Chilling, Elegant Answer To The Population Problem In Love Is The Plan The Plan Is Death, The Title Tells The Tale Species Survival Insured By Imprinted Drives But The Story S Force Is In Its Exquisite, Lyrical Prose And Its Suggestion That Personal Uniqueness Is Possible Even Within Biological Imperatives The Girl Who Was Plugged In Is A Future Boy Meets Girl Story With A Twist Unexpected By The Players The Women Men Don T See Displays Tiptree S Keen Insight And Ability To Depict Singularity Within The Ordinary In Hugo And Nebula Award Winning Houston, Houston, Do You Read Astronauts Flying By The Sun Slip Forward Years And Encounter A Culture That Successfully Questions Gender Roles In OursContentsIntroduction By Michael SwanwickThe 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 The Plan Is Death On The Last Afternoon She Waits For All Men Born Slow Music And So On, And So On


10 thoughts on “Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

  1. says:

    Ahead lies only the irreversible long decline For the first time we know there is nothing beyond ourselves when do you know that the book you ve just read is one of your favorite books that an author you ve been reading is one of your favorite authors probably a variety of factors come into play for me, the love affair often begins when i realize that the author or book has a few specific attributes genuine compassion and empathy for human beings combined with a dark and despairing view of the human condition itself an imagination so fertile and original that it verges on nuts James Tiptree Jr and the stories contained in this collection have such traits it s a beautiful thing when that kind of connection between reader and story happens and when, on top of that, the author s personal story is both fascinating and moving LOVE if you know nothing about the author, look her up under her pen name or her real name, Alice Sheldon a truly fascinating and complex individual.Tiptree has been pegged as a feminist author, from the good ole days of the 70s, and is sometimes described as a so called Angry Feminist well, the shoe sorta fits she is definitely angry her stories about gender imbalance are filled with brutal men, disempowered women, and a barely simmering undercurrent of rage at the injustice of it all i have absolutely no problem with this and i don t think being considered a feminist is remotely insulting however, the idea that Tiptree writes primarily about the issues of women is not just limiting similar to likewise limiting descriptions of Angela Carter or Margaret Atwood it is incorrect Tiptree writes about gender, about change, about society, about life, about death the whole kit kaboodle she is not a single issue writer and her stories are overflowing with marvelous idea after marvelous idea of which the relationship between the genders is just one of many concerns she writes with passion, fierce conviction, and is possessed of a remarkable generosity of spirit towards her doomed characters and despairing situations despair that should probably be addressed the stories in this collection are bleak and deeply tragic don t look for happy endings when reading Tiptree one of the positive endings has its effervescent narrator joyfully accepting his slow death and consumption by his beloved life partner another has a pair of characters excitedly exit the dull, restrictive confines of earth, forever.all of the stories contained within this collection are gems some are beautifully polished and glitter with their brilliance others are rough hewn, less pretty to the eye but valuable nonetheless each one is deeply intelligent each one is a distillation and expansion of a particular thesis or set of ideas each story is overflowing with wit, smarts, sadness, and life each story stands completely on its own here are some of my favorites special thanks to BunWat for helping my wee little brain fully understand the ramifications of several of these stories The Screwfly Solution something insidious is turning men against women Tiptree takes her basic idea and spins it in directions that are full of tension and slowly ratcheting unease the mid stream change in narrators is an ingenious decision.The Girl Who Was Plugged In a sad pop culture addict becomes a glorious celebrity beautiful face of sinister corporate interests a buzzing, dizzying use of slangy language and a dense narrative full of extreme emotional highs and lows.The Women Men Don t See are women a separate species apparently only time and opportunity will tell perhaps Tiptree s most famous tale, this story about the secret nature of women is warm, wise, deviously sardonic, and has one of the most nihilistically hopeful endings i ve ever read.Houston, Houston, Do You Read three astronauts are flung far into the future, to discover that the world has changed, possibly for the better but for them, definitely for the worse i loved the depiction of this futuristic society, in many ways a personal dream come true minus, ahem, a few key aspects i smiled and laughed so much while reading this one oh, the tragic fate of assholes With Delicate Mad Hands a physically unattractive woman takes control of a ship to search for destiny and fulfill her most secret dreams it should be mentioned that the highly sympathetic woman in question is a murderous psychopath this novella is equal parts nuts n bolts thriller, xenographic study of a bizarre planet full of unusual and unusually loveable alien species, and psychological portrait of a disturbed and downtrodden woman a rapturously annhilating mystery in space.A Momentary Taste of Being a suspenseful, well detailed and richly characterized novella about a scout ship s search for a colony site for an overpopulated earth featuring disturbing mind control, creepy incestuous undertones, a hyper sexualized alien invasion , a terrifying transcendence my favorite story in the collection.We Who Stole the Dream tonight the aliens revolt against disgusting, oppressive humans, of course HUMANS OUT OF THE GALAXY NOW Love Is the Plan the Plan is Death a hopeful tale of a charmingly high spirited, forward thinking young lad learning about life, death, and love slowly coming to understand that the increasing length of the cold seasons equals increasing danger fighting against tradition and culture to protect his and his loved ones future it should also be noted that the endearing hero in question is a gigantic, savagely violent alien spider monster.Slow Music two of the final inhabitants of earth struggle to decide if they want to stay themselves and continue the human race, or transcend into the great beyond a great twist ending a mournful saga in miniature A Mournful Saga in Miniature that phrase could also be used to describe each and every one of these glorious stories i was enchanted by the despairing, empathetic tragedy and lightly percolating wit of the visions contained within this book in many ways i am reminded of an equally dark and wonderful classic scifi writer the ineffable Cordwainer Smith two beautiful writers and two amazing human beings.i love you, Alice Sheldon and your stories, so full of dark yet wistful tragedy The lutroid s nictitating membranes filmed his eyes After a moment he said formally, You carry despair as your gift


  2. says:

    James Tiptree Jr wrote short stories like a goddamned ninja Each of these well selected pieces feel perfectly machined, a clockwork of unknowable complexity and beauty There is humor, sadness, and stunning beauty here, as well as moments of utter darkness, Tipree has stared into the void, and it permeates her worldview and her voice.


  3. says:

    If you re into stuff like this, you can read the full review.Capellanus Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr.It s a great question isn t it and one I don t remember C.S Lewis posing but I guess the kind of society would be a ruling class one, whereas I doubt whether the same freedoms and female agency would be envisaged or countenanced for the rest of society While the female in what Lewis saw as the allegory of love was attributed with powerful choice and discretion, I tend to see the elevated role of the woman in these traditions as operating a kind of chivalrous choreography, affording exercise of knightly qualities and an iconic object of knightly desire that doesn t quite sit comfortably with me though I admit I love the concept of gentilesse.


  4. says:

    John Clute said, I felt that simply to read a Tiptree story was to yank it, bleeding, from its dark home Tiptree herself said one of her pieces was screaming from the heart I had these two sentences up on the screen all day, and I finally realized I wasn t reviewing because I was hoping they would give me perspective, a master key to this book so I could talk about it as a whole Respond to the chorus these stories are But I can t yet So the disconnected things I do have Thematically, you could pick a Tiptree story out of a lineup in about three sentences It ll be the one about biological drives winning out over fragile psychology It ll be the one delivered in a calm, reporting style while something screams underneath until its voice breaks It ll be the one about how sex and death are two sides of the same coin It ll probably be the one where most of the human race bites it.It ll be about men and women It s bizarre to say of a science fiction collection, but my immediate association is Virginia Woolf Tiptree and Woolf had the same preoccupation with thinking about the sexes as distorting gravitational pulls on each other mostly men on women, obviously The sort of gender essentialist thinking that is obsessed with counterfactuals what if all men died out this way Or that And all the time they re talking about women, you re just like, oh, sweetie It s okay We know you re talking about how you hurt Anyway This book blew my mind Not every story not even most of them But the ones that did I came to myself last Saturday, standing out at our elevator bank with an armful of recycling and my pulse going at 150, with no memory of how I d gotten there All I remembered was the last ten minutes of The Screwfly Solution playing in my ear, and I couldn t breathe.Right Some actual stories The Screwfly Solution The one that really socked me This is classic Tiptree with all the letters and reports layered between the reader and the screaming, bloody thing that s happening It is I think the story that gets most keenly, most viscerally at those things I was talking about up there sex and death, biological imperatives, dying and dying and dying And a way of talking about gendered violence that Tiptree picked up, looking around her 1970 s world and reading her 1970 s newspapers, and mimicked down the years to me, where it sounds well It s dead accurate, okay Read it here A Momentary Taste of being A long space opera colony ship thing I spent the first 80% thinking it was nice, but wondering what the hell all these cogs and gears were doing, because I couldn t see the structure And the structure put itself together as fast as a Marine assembling his rifle, and then it did other things And I said oh, very meekly, and went away Nihilist was invented for this story The Girl Who Was Plugged In a story that would have been a sentimental offensive mess from someone else But Tiptree hit the style, the telling so right This is about a depressed and possibly disabled girl in an underground bunker, living the dream life through a corporate designed body Of course she falls in love Of course As the narrator says, you really can skip this part But the narrator lies And I have Come Upon This Place by Lost Ways Ick A total didactic flop, all frustrated academic rage and bureaucratic restraints on research Houston, Houston, Do You Read I have very mixed feelings about this one Utterly absorbing to read, but one central premise that a women s only society would be different in those particular ways struck me as nonsense But there is something here that is psychologically true and screwed up, and the execution is, of course, flawless.I ll stop now.Except no, wait, have one The Women Men Don t See.


  5. says:

    This is going to be a long review because this book took me two months to finish I had this anthology for several years before I cracked it My podcast co host mentioned one story from it and I decided to thumb through it too, and I was hooked These stories command attention in a way hardly anything I read does I had to read several of them multiple times I couldn t skim I had to ask questions and think about them, and several are still swirling in my head I had to take breaks in between to think and reflect, and I couldn t read than one at a time These are the best kinds of stories, and I have a lot to say I ll just go ahead and put it all behind a spoiler cut But first, a line from the last page of the last story, not a spoiler You carry despair as your gift view spoiler The Girl Who Was Plugged In is my favorite story of the entire anthology I know it won a bunch of awards, and for good reason It is thought provoking and terribly sad and I can t get the ending out of my head It is about a girl who is plugged into a virtual reality, with her brain and emotions running a physical avatar She falls in love but it s impossible So gut wrenching I say a bit about it on the Reading Envy podcast, Episode 2 She loves him back with her whole heart Except Except that it s really P Burke five thousand miles away who loves Paul P Burke the monster down in a dungeon smelling of electrode paste A caricature of a woman burning, melting, obsessed with true love Trying over twenty double thousand miles of hard vacuum to reach her beloved through girl flesh numbed by an invisible film Feeling his arms around the body he thinks is hers, fighting through shadows to give herself to him Trying to taste and smell him through beautiful dead nostrils, to love him back with a body that goes dead in the heart of the fire Houston, Houston, Do You Read was probably the most disturbing story in the anthology, especially the idea of the night side of people Phew I d like to forget it, actually I suppose that points to the ability Tiptree has to create such a visceral reaction With Delicate Mad Hands is a story that keeps getting intense and strange I kept thinking we d hit the limit and on it would go, until you re talking about Pig Empires I read this one another time because I was convinced I had dreamed it, that surely there wasn t such a weird story in the universe No, there it was This was probably my second favorite Tiptree aka Alice Sheldon takes the revenge fantasy where it has never gone before.We Who Stole the Dream probably has the most imaginative world building I think I like Tiptree best when her stories are in space or virtual space This is a great example of a space story, with themes of oppression, war, slavery, genocide Another good one is A Momentary Taste of Being On the Last Afternoon, on the other hand, seems to be set maybe in Florida although it could be another planet and these sea cow like creatures are wiping out humanity with their mating cycles not by mating with them, they just have this enormous size hard to explain It was a good example of humanity being minimized by uncontrollable nature, another theme she seems to use a lot I wanted to skim this story because the creatures made me uncomfortable, especially the Nonion head that the patriarch is always talking to Man is an animal whose dreams come true and kill him hide spoiler


  6. says:

    i borrowed her smoke rose up forever from my mother i saved her from it, so it wouldn t distract her from the bar, the horrible, horrible hurdle baby lawyers have to throw themselves over and now that i ve returned it, i feel i must go purchase a copy, so i can share a little tiptree with everybody.except it isn t really by james tiptree jr at all that s the pen name of alice bradley sheldon and i have to say, i have no idea how she pulled this off the stories are sparkling and poetic but always, always, inexorably feminist allegories wonderful, shocking ones i have no idea how anyone ever thought you were a man, mr tiptree and in the wikipedia article it says The pseudonym was successfully maintained until the late 1970s This is partly due to the fact that though it was widely known that Tiptree was a pseudonym, it was generally understood that its use was intended to protect the professional reputation of an intelligence community official Readers, editors and correspondents were permitted to assume gender, and almost invariably they assumed male that s hilarious in 1975 she wrote What women do is survive We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world machine Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us Men are aggressive and powerful and they run the world When the next real crisis upsets them, our so called rights will vanish like like smoke We ll be back where we always were property And whatever has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was The Women Men Don t Seebut that s not all she also had a gift for some most wrenching turns of the screw, ones only science fiction can offer her stories are often demonstrations of our smallness when she sends humanity into the universe, it is usually our ineptitude that looms largest our small fumbling attempts to understand the universe betray us our attempts to understand ourselves even betray us This is of great scientific interest Friend But you won t believe it, of course You re on your way here now, aren t you Nothing will stop you, you have your reasons saving the race, building a new world, national honor, personal glory, scientific truth, dreams, hopes, plans does every little sperm have its reasons, thrashing up the pipe A Momentary Taste of Beingat least her universes would have to notice us before they could betray us A vast impersonal tonnage fell upon him and the stars raveled away from his brain On the Last Afternoonalways fragile, our relations with the tiptree cosmos i do not see how anyone could not have seen the truth, she was so obsessed with describing the nests her characters built to fly through space and the single thing that occurs to me, is how lucky i am, that i live in a culture lush with female voices in all genres she knew it herself when she chose the pseudonym I ve had too many experiences in my life of being the first woman in some damned occupation.interview, 1983i hear that, sister the introduction said don t read it i beg you, not only is he silly, he spoils them your works were zen k ans i say only if zen k ans are also primal screams.


  7. says:

    4.5 stars James Tiptree jr was a respected science fiction writer and notably reclusive, who turned out to be a woman, Alice Sheldon And somehow in the years I read alot of sf slipped entirely under my radar until awhile back I found mark monday s review of this book, and decided I had to read it Thanks mark It was great diving into sf again, and I now have many in the genre mentally lined up to read or reread These stories collectively knocked me out The imagination at work, the inventiveness of structure and storytelling, are stunning And an upfront feminism in many of the stories, wellI think about when they were written, mostly the 1970s, but the ideas and commentary on the world are bracing now, almost nothing seems dated Tiptree Sheldon also likes to start stories midstride, as though the reader is joining something well underway and it s up to you to catch up and figure out any jargon, place names, technology, as though she doesn t have the patience to slow it down and explain it to you Sink or swim One slight weakness, the only reason this just misses five stars, is occasionally leaning too hard on existential ideas at the expense of narrative But that s just my personal taste Even the comparatively lesser stories have moments or ideas or sheer inventiveness that amazes She is particularly adept at cutting observation in a minor key, lines that are tossed out almost as asides In my favorite of these stories, The Women Men Don t See, the character Ruth s retort to another character, I m used to it might read as a throwaway but in context what she is saying is devastating Anyway, some brief remarks on the stories The Last Flight of Doctor Ain Very subtle, so much so I had to reread some of it to pick up on the clues Reminiscent of the French sci fi short La Jetee, with a potent stinger of an ending not the last to be found here.The Screwfly Solution A stone classic Epistolary story of what can only be described as a misogyny virus that leads to mass murder of females Bleak yet matter of fact in the telling, which only makes it unsettling And a pitiless final line And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill s Side Cautionary tale in the form of a bitter monologue Interstellar trade imbalance and sex with aliens Man s insatiable nature as the path to his undoing Tiptree, cold as ice.The Girl Who was Plugged In Something about advertising and avatars and exploitation of those at the bottom Overlong, didn t quite cohere for me.The Man Who Walked Home You don t want to be the Chuck Yeager or John Glenn of time travel Let them work out the kinks first John Delgano was a pioneer, and it went rather badly.And I Have Come Upon This Place by Lost Ways Another bleak tale of a scientist who bucks convention and whose instincts are true, but this is Tiptree You think he s rewarded Ha ha ha ha ha.The Women Men Don t See My favorite story in this collection, an anguished and defiant cry against the patriarchy Begins as an adventure tale about a small plane crash and goes to places you can t imagine Breathtaking in its vision and inventiveness.Your Faces, O My Sisters Your Faces Filled of Light Starts out jaunty and filled with wonder, but the darkness slowly creeps in, and it becomes profoundly sad Yet the spirit of the protagonist somehow keeps the telling from complete bleakness.Houston, Houston, Do You Read A space opera that goes along as they often do, but with something just out of reach, something off that you can t quite grasp And then the story arrives at an impasse how else to put it between the male and the female, and something has to give Brilliantly told and merciless at the end.With Delicate Mad Hands Another space adventure, gripping in the telling, that becomes the strangest of love stories A lovely thing of wild imagination.A Momentary Taste of Being The longest piece in the book, a novella really at 86 pages, and for me among the weakest Reminds me in a way of the deeply flawed movie Event Horizon, an arresting concept that eventually collapses into incoherence.We Who Stole the Dream Meet the new boss, same as the old boss About a successful slave revolt Terrans, that is, us, as the masters and a diminutive alien race as the slaves and its aftermath Exciting and deftly written, though you will guess where it s headed.Her Smoke Rose Up Forever The best of the very existential pieces Scenes from a life, not much of a narrative per se, but a succession of striking images, and a certain emotional pull nonetheless.Love is the Plan the Plan is Death Um..no I truly have no idea what the hell this was As a reader, sometimes you re the windshield, sometimes you re the bug.On the Last Afternoon A human colony on an alien world, a threat from giant anthropoid creatures, a possibly sentient and telepathic plant Sounds great, but the narrative is frustratingly kept at a distance, and the point of it all remains opaque.She Waits for All Men Born A child who is Death Whoa Fatalistic only begins to describe this If you remember the mid 60s series The Outer Limits, this would have made a stellar episode of that.Slow Music A na ve man meets a na ve woman at what might be the end of Earth history, there is a River from the stars that beckons, possibly offering an interdimensional immortality I think This has a lovely poignant ending but is too meandering getting to that point.And So On, and So On A four page vignette about the ennui of reaching the limits of our galaxy.


  8. says:

    James Tiptree, Jr was the pseudonym for Alice B Sheldon, a brilliantly evocative, fiercely intelligent, and thoroughly inventive writer who kept her true identity secret for much of her career The incredibly diverse stories in this collection are fueled by many bracingly cathartic and moving energies a vital and vibrant rage at the disastrously unjust treatment of women throughout human history an unceasingly curious obsession with the effects of animalistic, predetermined urges on both human beings and other sentient creatures and an almost desperate hunger to discover what is left behind us when we are gone The writing itself is explosively poetic and propulsive, alternately mournful and darkly funny, and unforgettable.


  9. says:

    The best stories in this collection are brilliant and devastating science fiction I was particularly grabbed by the slow build up of tension in A Momentary Taste of Being perfectly paced and pitched, with just enough depth given to the protagonist to make his struggle against the tragedy very moving Some of the shorter stories seemed like capsule sketches of one of Tiptree s real name, Alice Sheldon bleak points She usually needs a longish short story of which there a good number to put enough meat on her ideas Though the brief and terrifying The Last Flight of Doctor Ain proves she could put lightning into a truly short short story when she tried Houston, Houston, Do You Read was probably my second favorite story, excellently sketched characters and a fresh, precise take on several familiar sf themes it s hard to even start describing any of the stories without being spoiler y Sheldon s view is almost overwhelmingly bleak, but somehow not bitter perhaps her precision has something to do with that This almost completely consistent bleakness made it so that I was surprised by the one story that had a sentimental ending I won t spoil which one that is One aspect that did distract me while reading was knowing her double identity Tiptree was secretive about personal details, but practically no one doubted he was male Tiptree was often lauded at the time for being an obviously masculine science fiction writer who nevertheless could tackle subtle feminist themes, and I was occasionally distracted by thinking of the balancing act Sheldon was doing It would have been very interesting to have read the stories without foreknowledge of her double identity, and then learn of it.I am fascinated enough with her double identity and other aspects of her life for example, she and her husband worked for the CIA that I m going to read her biography next.


  10. says:

    I think about the stories in this collection so often Besides Jemisin I don t think I have found stories that have affected me so deeply and that I think about so often Will probably reread soon Side note I have some notes on this so eventually I write a full review.____________________So good RTC