(Alice Hastings Bradley [Geburtsname]; Alice Bradley Sheldon [Ehename]; James Tiptree, Jr. [Pseudonym]; Raccoona Sheldon [Pseudonym])
born August 24, 1915 in Chicago, Illinois
died May 19, 1987 in Maclean, Virginia
US science fiction writer
35th death anniversary on May 19, 2022
“Who, what is Tiptree?” asked Robert Silverberg in the preface to a short story collection by James Tiptree, Jr. He also gave the answer: “a man who has seen much of the world and understood a lot.” He was right about almost everything. Tiptree received a great deal of attention from the start, was long considered a “token man” on the subject of women in SF (science fiction), hailed awards and nominations, but one thing remained hidden: identity.
Through Tiptree's extensive correspondence with fans, one of them finally managed to uncover the secret: Tiptree was a woman. This also threw a whole new light on the understanding of “male” and “female” writing. “But the most wonderful thing about him is that he is also Alice Sheldon,” writes Ursula K. LeGuin.
Alice's mother was a writer and multi-faceted. She accompanied her husband on African travels and collected and translated folk legends. Alice Hastings Bradley was taken on these trips; later she went to school in Chicago and Lausanne. During World War II, she joined the Army as an officer. She was the first woman in the U.S. Army to work in the field of photo intelligence in espionage.
In 1945, at the end of the war, she transferred to Europe, where she married her commanding officer, Huntingdon D. Sheldon, the same year, and lived with him until their joint suicide. Alice helped to build the CIA. In 1955, she left the Army because she disliked the CIA's increasing clandestine warfare. She studied psychology, earning a doctorate in 1967 on the structure and organization of perception. She then retired from academic life. She placed great value on her privacy and kept mostly shyly in the background.
She wrote her first science fiction short stories for pleasure while working on her dissertation; they were immediately accepted for publication. With a sharp eye, Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree analyzes the relationship between humans and aliens, between women and men. Award-winning are the stories in which she passionately and in an almost cynical way addresses the oppression of women.
Text from 1996
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version), edited by Almut Nitzsche, May 2022
For additional information please consult the German version.
Author: Almuth Heuner
James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips. Seite zum Buch. Available online at http://jamestiptreejr.com/, checked on 5/12/2022.
Internet Archive: Sci-Fi Radio : Free Download & Streaming. No. 17: Houston, Houston, do you read? (55:32 min) und No. 21: Yanqui Doodle (27:49 min). Available online at https://archive.org/details/Sci-fiRadio, checked on 5/12/2022.
Internet Speculative Fiction Database: James Tiptree, Jr. – Summary Bibliography. Available online at http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?57, checked on 5/12/2022.
Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek: Tiptree, James. Publikationen von und über Alice B. Sheldon. Available online at http://d-nb.info/gnd/108695751, checked on 5/12/2022.
OpenLibrary: James Tiptree Jr. Available online at https://openlibrary.org/authors/OL2677446A/James_Tiptree_Jr., checked on 5/12/2022.
Science Fiction Encyclopedia: Authors : Tiptree, James, Jr. Available online at http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/tiptree_james_jr, checked on 5/12/2022.
Tiptree, James: Beam Us Home. Available online at https://web.archive.org/web/20080208172158/www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/tiptree3/index.html, checked on 5/12/2022.
Tiptree, James: Love is the Plan The Plan is Death. Available online at https://web.archive.org/web/20050415031819/http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/tiptree/tiptree1.html, checked on 5/12/2022.
Tiptree, James: Painwise. Available online at https://web.archive.org/web/20080217013204/www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/tiptree4/index.html, checked on 5/12/2022.
Tiptree, James: The screwfly solution. Available online at https://web.archive.org/web/20080220093234/www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/sheldon/sheldon1.html, checked on 5/12/2022.
Tiptree, James: The women men don't see. Available online at https://web.archive.org/web/20080119040143/http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/tiptree2/tiptree21.html, checked on 5/12/2022.
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