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Up the Walls of the World

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  510 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Up the Walls of the World is a 1978 sf novel by the American Alice Sheldon who wrote under the pen name of James Tiptree, Jr. It was the 1st novel she published having until then worked & built a reputation only in the field of short stories.
The book explores the possibility that telepathy & other psychic phenomena are real. It sympathetically describes an Earth i
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1st 1984 by Ace (first published February 1st 1975)
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Dune by Frank HerbertFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyThe Foundation Trilogy by Isaac AsimovRendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Golden Age & New Wave SF
227 books — 241 voters
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan PoeThe Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins GilmanThe Valley of Unknowing by Philip SingtonLittle Dorrit by Charles DickensThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Walls
142 books — 30 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nate D
Mar 24, 2015 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Plenyas and up
Recommended to Nate D by: long-range scans
If you've ever wanted to experience perceptions and sensations of minds of very different biological order meeting, intertwining, and attempting to sort out reality from within post-body psychic spaces, all with a meticulous fidelity to exploring what this might actually be like and how it would work, then you've come to the right place. Possibly the only place.

Of course, there's also Joanna Russ' slightly earlier experiential novel of psi phenomena, And Chaos Died, but where Russ renders this
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Chadwick
Jul 28, 2008 Chadwick rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This is one of those books that make me say, yes that's what science fiction should be. Meditations upon gender and species, the nature and scale of existence, all culminating in a glorious affirmation of the place that love occupies in a scientific universe.

This is one of those books where a plot summary just doesn't do much justice, but here goes. There are three narrative threads that become more and more entwined as the novel climaxes: on our planet, a group of extremely damaged individuals
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by Ax
Sep 07, 2016 by Ax rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantascienza
Fusioni

Un Distruttore — Fredda e sola, la malvagia presenza vaga per le correnti stellari. È immensa, nera e quasi immateriale. I suoi poteri superano quelli di qualsiasi altra cosa senziente — sta spegnendo mondi nell'Universo. Presto toccherà anche al pianeta Tyree, abitato da una razza pacifica, le cui forme ricordano quelle di mante volanti, e dotata di notevoli poteri mentali.
Per la sua stessa sopravvivenza dovrà tentare di ricreare il proprio mondo in qualche altra parte della galassia. In
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Greg Lehman
Oct 02, 2014 Greg Lehman rated it it was amazing
This was my introduction to Alice Sheldon, after a poem by Roberto Bolaño made it obvious that I needed to check her out. I was subsequently floored by this novel. I liked the science fiction I'd read before, but here I found some of the wildest ideas I'd ever encountered told in a way that was both very clear and relatable. "World" contains aliens so bizarre that I can't think of any to compare them to in literature or film, with a culture that is wholly their own and thoroughly mapped out. The ...more
Alexandra
Sep 24, 2015 Alexandra rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely bonkers. Mad. And completely wonderful.

This was Tiptree's first novel, but naturally enough many of the concerns and interests of his short stories are present here as well. I am so sad that he did not write more novels; this made me so happy, as did Brightness Falls from the Air, that I do wonder what else could have come from that amazing brain.

Let's start by talking about the authorial situation and get that out of the way. This was published in 1978. Tiptree had been
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M. Fenn
Sep 18, 2013 M. Fenn rated it it was amazing
I came to Up the Walls of the World knowing very little of James Tiptree, Jr. I knew that the author’s real name was Alice Bradley Sheldon and that her publisher kept her identity secret until 1977 (the year before Up the Walls of the World was released). The science fiction community argued over who Tiptree was (some sort of government spy perhaps) and what gender (both Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison assumed male).

But that’s all I knew. I’d never read her stuff, even though several of her
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Nicolas
Ce roman est étonnant, déroutant, différent de beaucoup de choses que j'au pu lire.
On y suit les destins entremêlés d'une bande d'extra-lucides divers, d'une race d'extra-terrestres ressemblant à un mélange de raies et de calamars volant dans l'athmosphère, et d'une espèce de créature de l'espace informe, mais proche dans l'esprit de la créature de cauchemar du 5ème élément. Ils se rencontreront forcément, et leur destin en sera changé.
C'est un roman très étrange, et les tyrennis, ces extra-terr
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Gregg Wingo
Dec 16, 2015 Gregg Wingo rated it really liked it
James Tiptree, Jr. was a man of mystery so much so that he was actually a woman research psychologist, teacher, and former CIA agent and analyst. Dr. Alice Sheldon nee Bradley wrote primarily from the male perspective and successfully hid her sexual identity from the general public for over ten years. Although published in "The New Yorker" in 1946 under her actual name, Alice Bradley, it was only in 1967 as a science fiction writer that she became a successful writer.

Until "Up the Walls of the W
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Raj
Mar 13, 2010 Raj rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
A small group of military personnel are experimenting with telepathy and accidentally get in contact with an alien race called the Tyrenni. Their world is under threat from a giant being destroying whole solar systems, and they realise that their only hope of survival is to take over their human contacts.

This was a great book. I've heard people say that Tiptree's novels aren't as good as her[1:] short stories, then I'd love to read some of those, since this book was amazing. Her characters were
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Natasha Hurley-Walker
Aug 15, 2013 Natasha Hurley-Walker rated it really liked it
A joyous story of first contact. I haven't read about such weird, wonderful yet beautifully real aliens since The Gods Themselves. As a physicist, I loved the world of Tyree, and the radio wave perceptions of the inhabitants. ESP is the magic wand of the story, but it is used really well, and the latent-psychic human characters are as damaged as you would expect. Dann's perspective is especially brilliantly written, slowly evolving from drugged fugue to brave selflessness. Just fantastic classic ...more
Paul
Jan 18, 2009 Paul rated it it was amazing
James Tiptree Jr (the pseudonym of Alice Bradley Sheldon) is the best Science Fiction writer ever. Her short stories explore the dark side of human destiny, the alien and incomprehensible. I disliked all of the novels I've read by her, but hold the short stories up as some of the best in the genre.
scherzo♫
Apr 22, 2013 scherzo♫ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: otherwhere
Brimming with ideas and imagination, interesting human and alien characters, outer space and alien world are vividly described.
K D
Nov 30, 2013 K D rated it it was amazing
Amazing.
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jan 16, 2017 Michael Burnam-Fink rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2017
I couldn't imagine a more 70s piece of science fiction if it showed up and challenged me to a disco dance competition, and I own a replica Zardoz mask. Tiptree weaves a tripart plot about telepathy, alien minds, and salvation.

THE DESTROYER is some kind of immense and ancient interstellar war-machine on an endless journey between systems, obliterating intelligent life by forcing their stars to go nova. It speaks in ITALICS ALL CAPS. Tyree is a gas giant world soon to be targeted by THE DESTROYER,
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Christian Schwoerke
Oct 12, 2015 Christian Schwoerke rated it really liked it
This novel is a departure for James Tiptree, Jr., a writer more noted for her taut, dour short stories. In this novel she expands on her darker themes of gender, exogamy, failures to communicate either ideas or emotion, and entropy (that life is only a flicker in darkness, soon to be extinguished), and then finds for each of them sort of lighter facet, even introducing something akin to hope.

Three separate beings converge, first in conflict, then in cooperation, and the dark forces of small ind
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Alex
Dec 03, 2016 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
She's among my favorite writers, but this was a bit of a slough. The concepts are ingenious, including an Avatar-like system of transferring consciousness, and using it to rescue the population of a dying planet. But at the end of the day, if your reader isn't compelled to turn the pages, something needed editing. More present action, fewer characters, less abstraction would've made it a better read. Of course I still love me some Alice Sheldon!
Kirk Naylor
Jan 16, 2017 Kirk Naylor rated it really liked it
A little slow on the uptake, but builds to a satisfying, open-ended conclusion. Visionary and interesting to the end.
Dave Higgins
Jun 14, 2013 Dave Higgins rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Unlike many stories of first contact this book does neither rushes the development of a basic comprehension of language and motivation nor makes the possibility of confusion the sole plot.

The story is built from three narratives: a being journeys from star to star, knowing that it has been separated from its fellows but able to remember neither what happened nor its purpose, seeking contact in a galaxy apparently lacking in intelligent life; on Tyree airborne mantas discover a being, the Destroy
...more
Gardy (Elisa G)
Mentre l'esercito statunitense sperimenta l'utilizzo di telepati che teme e discrimina, una lontana specie aliena prepara l'invasione delle menti umane, nel tentativo di salvare parte della sua civiltà dall'attacco dei Distruttori, leviatani alieni che cancellano ogni forma di vita sul loro cammino interstellare.

Il primo romanzo di James Tiptree jr. condivide con il successivo e ultimo una valutazione globale inferiore ai suoi capolavori sulla forma breve, ma anche un proliferare di idee ed ide
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Bill
Sep 16, 2016 Bill rated it it was amazing
Great Sci Fi book. It's been a while since I read this and would love to find another copy.
Eija
Hieman hankala lukea, ehkä en ollut kovin vastaanottavainen tarinalle tätä lukiessa… Täytyy nostaa naiskirjailijalle kuitenkin hattua, kun on saanut tuollaista tekstiä aikaiseksi 70-luvulla. En tarkoita todellakaan sitä, että väheksyisin naiskirjailijoita, vaan uskomukseni mukaan 70 luvulle tultaessa ei olisi ollut kovin montaa naiskirjailijaa, jotka noin ansiokkaasti kirjoittaa ”kovaa” scifiä. Hävittäjä ei ole tyystin kovaa ja vaikka mielestäni cyberpunkahtavia piirteitäkin siinä esiintyy, kirj ...more
Katie
Dec 24, 2015 Katie rated it it was amazing
This book is wild. So complex and nuts that I can't even accurately tell you what happens. Not to say that it's to difficult a read, so don't be put off, it's just nuts. This is exactly what sci-fi should be like. I mean in the world of sci-fi or fantasy you can do literally anything. Nothing is off limits, but so many people play it safe and don't take enough risks. Not this one. It's got imagination out the ass, characters that you really like, humor, drama, awesome aliens, (a lot) of body swa ...more
Drew Perron
Aug 15, 2015 Drew Perron rated it it was amazing
This book is filled with amazing and wonderful stuff. Idea-driven science fiction, abstract psychic experiences, alien lives that feel truly alien, and feminist ideas suffused throughout, plus a dedication to the ideal of diversity, and the conviction that life is meaningful.

If there's one problem, it's with the pacing; (view spoiler) But this feels like a mad rush to explore more
...more
Julie
Nov 03, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it
Tiptree employs lyrical, gorgeous prose throughout this novel of destruction and rebirth. There are telepathy and psychic phenomena, alien body-snatching and parental love, youthful energy and the exhaustion of old age. So many themes resonate throughout this gorgeously written, ambitiously imagined, and perfectly realized novel. A must-read for all fans of science fiction.
Lindsay (Santafefan)
Tiptree is awesome at giving an experience of other-than-human lifeforms, and this book excels in that. I finished the book with a satisfied sigh, and a feeling of having learned something, become expanded in some way.
Tom Britz
Mar 21, 2016 Tom Britz rated it really liked it
This book was a Hugo nominee for the year 1979. What began as an interesting story line kinda petered out towards the end. There were some great ideas and Tiptree developed some of them. I suppose the book seems a bit dated now. I still enjoyed it.
Stacia
Jun 26, 2011 Stacia rated it it was amazing
I first read this when I was 13, and I've read several times since. This book is amazing--its structure, the characterization, the worldbuilding, the language--superb. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sff.
Nadine Jones
Apr 30, 2015 Nadine Jones marked it as to-read
One of "The 23 Best Sci Fi novels by women" http://best-sci-fi-books.com/23-best-...
Erik Graff
Apr 06, 2012 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
A quick, pleasant read. The author, Alice B. Sheldon, whom I thought was male at the time, writes well and sensitively.
Steve
Steve rated it it was amazing
Oct 13, 2012
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"James Tiptree, Jr." was born Alice Bradley in Chicago in 1915. Her mother was the writer Mary Hastings Bradley; her father, Herbert, was a lawyer and explorer. Throughout her childhood she travelled with her parents, mostly to Africa, but also to India and Southeast Asia. Her early work was as an artist and art critic. During World War II she enlisted in the Army and became the first American fem ...more
More about James Tiptree Jr....

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“Se anche ci capitasse d’incontrare Geova, o Allah, o Visnù, io continuerei a basarmi sulla seconda legge della termodinamica.” 3 likes
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