Neat Sheets: The Poetry of James Tiptree, Jr.
by James Tiptree, Jr.
Available Format(s): Chapbook
As James Tiptree, Jr., Alice Sheldon wrote many of the best science-fiction stories to appear in the 1970s and 1980s, winning all the major awards the field had to offer. The emotional, vigorous poetry in this chapbook dates from an earlier period in Tiptree’s career, the late 1940s and early 1950s, around the same time that her first article, “The Lucky Ones,” appeared in The New Yorker. Neat Sheets: The Poetry of James Tiptree, Jr. is a must for Tiptree lovers, shedding new light on one of science fiction’s most enigmatic personalities and one of its greatest writers.
“James Tiptree was one of the best short-story writers of the last half of the twentieth century.”
“[The] phrases such as ‘I am burned to a fine white bone of truth’ and ‘“Life” is just another name for agony’ speak of pure Sheldonian anguish. Read and weep.”
—Asimov’s Science Fiction
“Some of the poems are powerful and lucid. Others probably had private meaning. They form a footnote to a significant career.”
—Aboriginal Science Fiction
James Tiptree, Jr., was born Alice Bradley in 1915 in Chicago, Illinois. When she began writing science fiction in 1968, she used a pseudonym to maintain her privacy. Alice Bradley Sheldon became the reclusive, enigmatic genius James Tiptree, Jr. His adventures and writing—gleaned from the details of Sheldon’s life—were convincingly masculine; when Sheldon finally revealed herself, her ruse was met with both surprise and delight. In 2006, interest in Tiptree’s life and work were rekindled with the publication of Julie Phillips’s definitive biography James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Washington State Book Award, and a Hugo Award.
Praise for Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
“You need to read James Tiptree, Jr. If you’ve never read her, and you’ve any interest in SF, you need to rectify that anomaly. But even if, like me, you have read her, perhaps a while ago, you need to reread her. Tachyon’s handsomely produced catch-all collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever is the perfect place to begin: a lovely piece of book production, from its attractive John Picacio cover art through each of its eighteen indispensable stories printed across well-laid-out pages. It’s a beaut, and you need to read it. Or to reread it.”
“Her Smoke Rose Up Forever showcases what are undoubtedly the best of Tiptree’s stories.”
“The stories of Alice Sheldon, who wrote as James Tiptree, Jr. (Up the Walls of the World) until her death in 1987, have been heretofore available mostly in out-of-print collections. Thus the 18 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 ensured 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 the Hugo and Nebula award–winning ‘Houston, Houston, Do You Read?’ astronauts flying by the sun slip forward 500 years and encounter a culture that successfully questions gender roles in ours.”
“One of the first hardbacks I ever bought and still one of my most-read.”
Visit the James Titpree, Jr. website.