An omnibus edition of the only two novels James Tiptree, Jr ever wrote - the perfect introduction to a major talent.
Alice Hastings Bradley Sheldon - better known to the world as science fiction writer James Tiptree, Jr - produced just two novels, in a glittering but tragically short career. Gollancz is delighted to present them together in this omnibus edition:
UP THE WALLS OF THE WORLD
A secret US navy research project is founded to investigate the existence of paranormal powers, bringing together a variety of men and women who have shown indications of telepathic ability. As a result of the experiment they make mental contact with the Tyrenni, strange alien beings resembling winged squids who dwell in the upper atmosphere of their tempestuous world.
The aliens' world, Tyree, is being threatened by a huge being, the Destroyer, which is moving inexorably towards them, obliterating whole solar systems in its path. When the Tyrenni realise that it threatens to exterminate life on Tyree, they are forced into the decision - contrary to all their moral beliefs - to take over the bodies of their human contacts in order to preserve their race.
BRIGHTNESS FALLS FROM THE AIR
Sixteen humans have come together on Damien, a distant world where once, dreams were stolen and atrocities took place. They have gathered to view the last rising of a manmade nova, the testament to a war none can forget.
Soon, time will warp and masks will fall. Soon, violence will erupt anew - along with treachery, horror, murder, release and love.
Soon, some will find justice . . . and others, judgement. Soon.
Now, sixteen humans have gathered - to await the light of the Murdered Star.
Will leave you crying, hoping, jubilant, and in awe. This is surely a book that must not be missed. - Baltimore Sun
A cause for celebration! - Locus
[Tiptree] can show you the human in the alien and the alien in the human, and make both utterly real. - Washington Post
Brightness Falls from the Air is a gripping novel . . . demonstrating just how good science fiction can be. - Toronto Star
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.