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Star Songs of an Old Primate

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  29 reviews
A marvelous medley of Tiptree's best - 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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 270 pages
Published January 12th 1979 by Del Rey
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Andy Her Smoke Rose Up Forever includes 5 of 7 of the stories in Stars Songs of an Old Primate. The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Awful Things To Rats and H…moreHer Smoke Rose Up Forever includes 5 of 7 of the stories in Stars Songs of an Old Primate. The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Awful Things To Rats and Her Haploid Heart are not included in Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. It's too bad, because The Psychologist Who Wouldn't... is one of my favorite Tiptree stories, and worthy of inclusion in a best-of anthology.

Her Smoke contains a number of stories not found in Star Songs, including The Man Who Walked Home, And I Woke And Found Me On The Cold Hill's Side, With Delicate Mad Hands, and Love Is The Plan And The Plan Is Death, among others.

For that reason, I highly recommend reading Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, first. If you love Tiptree enough to look for more, check out Stars Songs, as well as her other collections: Warm Worlds And Otherwise, Out Of The Everywhere And Other Extraordinary Visions, and Ten-Thousand Light Years From Home.(less)

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Nate D
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: aspiring humans
Recommended to Nate D by: mark monday
James Tiptree Jr, or Alice Sheldon as she was known when publishing psychology papers instead of science fiction stories, is one of the best of an innovative era for the form, beginning to publish right at the cusp of the 60s and 70s. Whether originally intended or incidental, her choice of a male pseudonym allowed her uncommon approaches to questions of gender and identity, so that many of her short works simultaneously subtly satirize male literary gaze while gracefully exploring the changing ...more
-Cuando la trama es la excusa.-

Género. Relatos.

Lo que nos cuenta. El libro Cantos estelares de un viejo primate (publicación original: Star Songs of An Old Primate, 1978) es una recopilación de relatos de James Tiptree, Jr. publicados entre 1969 y 1979 (pero la mayoría son de mediados de los setenta), con prólogo de Ursula K. Le Guin, que nos permitirán saber más de la vida y la muerte de un par de formas distintas, de charlas intrascendentes (o no) durante un Salto Transgaláctico y, entre otros
Al Maki
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story
The easiest way I can think of to describe her stories is to quote Ang Lee. He said that the way he plotted a tragic story was to put his characters into an impossible situation and watched how they responded. Tiptree's protagonists often resemble a worm on a hook and since most of us know that feeling she can grab your interest. This set of stories and Up the Walls of the World are my favourites.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi
"Your Haploid Heart" (First published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, September 1969.) **
"And So On, And So On" *
"Her Smoke Rose Up Forever" (First published in Final Stage edited by Edward L. Ferman and Barry N. Malzberg.) *
"A Momentary Taste of Being" (First published in The New Atlantis edited by Robert Silverberg.) *
"Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" (First published in Aurora: Beyond Equality edited by Susan Janice Anderson and Vonda N. McIntyre.) **
"The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Awful
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
This was a great collection of stories by Tiptree. As well as shorts, there is a novella, A Momentary Taste of Being which starts off like a normal colonisation tale, with a ship looking for planets to colonise to relieve pressure from an Earth creaking at the seams, but becomes something much darker.

Houston, Houston Do you read? is a story that's stayed with me for some time after reading, telling the story of three astronauts who get bumped forward in time by a few hundred years and the world
Nihal Vrana
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Tiptree Jr. is a semi-hidden gem of science fiction. Her stories have the best titles and an inherent quirkiness that set them apart. Although personally I enjoyed Warmworlds collection more; just reading Houston, Houston do you read? is enough to give a high rating to this collectiong. That story is one of the 100 best stories of all-time in my opinion and completely rewired my thinking about some subjects. The stories that fail in this collection fail due to the focus on technical difficulties ...more
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
One of those authors that I am vaguely suprised is out of print.[return]There are a few scholarly works available but the actual stories? No, They are maybe not simplistic enough to be comercial in the modern sf genre, But they won awards and acclaim in their day. Indeed, nowadays there is a James Tiptree Jr. memorial award.[return]Perhaps instead the estate has no interest. There were after all no children. An argument maybe for changing copyright laws?
Marek Waldorf
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For "Momentary Taste of Being" -- one of my top scifi stories of all time. "Houston's" also pretty good. When it's not tough enough, stories don't date all that well.
Antonio Ippolito
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non sto leggendo continuativamente questa raccolta, ma dopo aver letto "A momentary taste of being" dietro consiglio di un conoscitore, il romanzo breve che ne costituisce la maggior parte (la raccolta originale comprendeva anche il bellissimo "Houston, Houston, do you read?", ma Curtoni decise di pubblicarlo a parte su un altro numero di Robot, e lì lo lessi), vorrei anticipare una prima recensione per consigliare questo racconto, questa raccolta, questa scrittrice a chiunque ami la fantascienz ...more
I read this collection in 1982. In particular, it contains her award-winning "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?"
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read for the LGBTQ Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge, the Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge, and the Collections! Reading Challenge at Worlds Without End. Two of the novellas in this collection were also counted towards similar, but not the same, reading challenges.

James Tiptree Jr. was the pseudonym of Alice Sheldon, who traveled extensively in her childhood, joined the CIA in her adulthood during the McCarthy era, and resigned in the mid-50s to study experimental psychology. This ga
Eric Lawton
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Even though these stories are old, they haven't aged a lot.

Entertaining reading.

For the one that opens with conversation between misogynists, remember that James Tiptree is a pseudonym so you don't get the idea that the opening portraits are with approval and throw the book across the room.
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
The fact that many of these stories still have meaningful and relevant things to say about sex, gender identity, scientific curiosity and our culture, even after 40 plus years, is a mark of how good they are. There are dated ideas, and sometimes eyeroll inducing stylistic choices, but on the whole I found the stories very enjoyable.
Lo de siempre, como es una antología no quiero dar nota de estrellas.
Procedo a decir que me ha parecido cada relato:
- Vuestro corazón haploide: Es un empiece que creo que condensa muy bien lo que caracteriza a la narración de Tiptree en esta antología: movidas genéticas, nada es lo que parece y el ser humano como un ser ínfimo en la galaxia. Es un relato que va a ser más listo que tú quieras o no. Recomendado.
- Y así sucesivamente: Es un cuento muy corto y si digo la verdad ya no me acuerdo de n
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ursula Le Guin's introduction for this collection shows the depth of friendship and admiration that existed between these two people, both before Tiptree's identity was revealed and after. And Le Guin was right: the stories collected here are very good and very intense.

I'd read all but two of these stories already in another collection: "Your Haploid Heart" and "The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Awful Things to Rats." Of the two, "Psychologist" was the most affecting because ABS (writing as Racco
I liked most of these, but the highlight of this collection is probably "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" the award-winning novella about the crew of a spaceship called Sunbird which is damaged by a solar flare. They attempt to contact NASA in Houston, but they can't get through. They do pick up some radio communications, though... it's a fantastic story, but I won't say more than that.

Jenny Mackinlay
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some of these are going to look pretty dated, which means some of the failures, or what read to me like failures, are going to stand out worse than they did when the book was new. But this book is still very, very well worth reading, not least for how often you jolt in your chair about how much *hasn't* changed (enough) in gender politics and social attitudes.
Graham Vingoe
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you discount Her Smoke Rose Up Forever as a greatest hits package, then this is pretty much the all-round best collection by James Tiptree Jr( although each one is excellent of course). Every story in Star Songs is excellent and well worth reading.
Classic SF from the 1970s. I enjoyed "Houston Do You Read Me" and the first story. Some of this bordered on horror which I don't enjoy.
There wasn't a moment of reading this book where I wasn't engaged, excited, or delighted. Ursula Le Guin's excellent introduction was especially fun, as this collection came out very soon after Tiptree was revealed to be Alice Sheldon. Le Guin insists that saying Tiptree "doesn't exist" is absurd (after all, she's exchanged many letters with him) and urges the reader to think about how identity is formed, and how an author shapes our expectations. She also points out a tidbit I didn't know but t ...more
Jan 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
[review written in my book lover's journal:]
Don't recall being as impressed with her stuff as i expected to be based on all the praise -- especially from Ursula LeGuin, i guess. Of course i'm writing down my impression months later (January 2, 1998). One piece of evidence in favor of this tardy belief, however, is that i never read the longest tale in the collection even though i re-read "Houston...". On the other hand, i also never read (haven't yet?) the last 2 stories of The Island of Dr. Dea
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This pulls together just eight stories in 270 pages, including two which I had already read ("Your Haploid Heart" and the Hugo and Nebula winner "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?"). With the exception of the shortest story, a five page stream-of-consciousness vignette, I found them all not only enjoyable but also thought-provoking. Tiptree was really good at not so much subverting the genre's conventions but more putting subversive material int ...more
Matthew Reads Junk
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
A collection of short stories, that while feature some interesting writing they don't offer much in the way of charactersization. In fact most of the stories are more about getting some sort of theme or point across. Gender/Sex debates that probalby seemed out of date even in the 70s.
Not the mind expanding, thought proviking writnig I was expecting when this author was suggested.
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
A fascinating group of short stories. Each story was so unique and complex. I have to admit that I was more disturbed by the stories then I was anything else. The plots were fascinating but kind of scary all at the same time.
M Scott
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Powerful stories from a fine practitioner of 60s / 70s SF shorts. Special respect for "Houston, Houston do you Read?" which sustains a powerful mood of disquiet. If you're a fan of the Delaney, Dick, Ellison, LeGuin... era of speculative fiction - check this out!
Dave Smeds
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Tiptree (aka Sheldon) was a master (mistress?) of science fiction at short lengths. This particular collection left out lesser works and showcased some of her best. Highly recommended.
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" is I guess the famous one, but I found "A Momentary Taste of Being" the more gripping, terrifying story.
rated it it was ok
Jul 21, 2012
Marcelo B
rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2016
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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 traveled 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 femal ...more

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