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  • Gateway

Star Songs of an Old Primate

James Tiptree Jr.

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Fiction, Science fiction

An SF Gateway eBook: bringing the classics to the future.

A marvelous medley of Tiptree's best, including:

"YOUR HAPLOID HEART" - When Ian Suitlov and Pax Patton landed on Esthaa to check for humans, the job wasn't as easy as it appeared. Though the natives seemed human enough, only cross breeding would be conclusive proof. But how were they to prove anything, when sex was punishable by death?

"THE PSYCHOLOGIST WHO WOULDN'T DO AWFUL THINGS TO RATS" - Dr Tilly Lipsitz hated his name, loved his rats... and would be out of a job if he didn't come up with a real zinger of an experiment soon. He didn't have much in mind until he took a midnight trip to his lab and learned more than he would have thought possible.

"SHE WAITS FOR ALL MEN BORN" - She had eyes that could not see, but without sight she had powers that went far beyond those of all who came upon her.

Your Haploid Heart (1969)
And So On, and So On (1971)
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (1974)
A Momentary Taste of Being (1975)
Houston, Houston, Do You Read? (1976)
The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Awful Things to Rats (1976)
She Waits for All Men Born (1976)

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James Tiptree Jr.

James Tiptree Jr (1915-1987)
Alice Hastings Bradley Sheldon wrote most of her fiction as James Tiptree, Jr - she was making a point about sexist assumptions and also keeping her US government employers from knowing her business. Most of her books are collections of short stories, of which Her Smoke Rose Up Forever is considered to be her best selection. Sheldon's best stories combine radical feminism with a tough-minded tragic view of life; even virtuous characters are exposed as unwitting beneficiaries of disgusting socio-economic systems. Even good men are complicit in women's oppression, as in her most famous stories 'The Women Men Don't See' and 'Houston, Houston, Do you Read?' or in ecocide. Much of her work, even at its most tragic, has an attractively ironic tone which sometimes becomes straightforwardly comedy - it is important to stress that Tiptree's deep seriousness never becomes sombre or pompous. Her two novels Up the Walls of the World and Brightness Falls from the Air are both remarkable transfigurations of stock space opera material - the former deals with a vast destroying being, sympathetic aliens at risk of destruction by it and human telepaths trying to make contact across the gulf of stars. She died tragically in 1987.

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