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Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
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Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,620 ratings  ·  408 reviews
These 18 darkly complex short stories and novellas touch upon human nature and perception, metaphysics and epistemology, and gender and sexuality, foreshadowing a world in which biological tendencies bring about the downfall of humankind. Revisions from the author's notes are included, allowing a deeper view into her world and a better understanding of her work. The Nebula ...more
Paperback, 508 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Tachyon Publications (first published June 1st 1990)
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mark monday
"Ahead lies only the irreversible long decline. For the first time we know there is nothing beyond ourselves."

when do you know that the book you've just read is one of your favorite books? that an author you've been reading is one of your favorite authors? probably a variety of factors come into play. for me, the love affair often begins when i realize that the author or book has a few specific attributes: genuine compassion and empathy for human beings combined with a dark and despairing view o
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's get one thing out of the way right at the start of this review: James Tiptree Jr. is the pen name of Alice Hastings Bradley Sheldon. Yep. A woman!
And, sadly, there was good reason why she published under a man's name as can be seen from the fact that even hardcore fans walked away and suddenly scoffed at originally hailed and beloved work once they found out the author was female.

Alice Sheldon was born on August 24, 1915. James Tiptree Jr. was one of two pen names she used, the other bein
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: sf, feminism
James Tiptree Jr. wrote short stories like a goddamned ninja. Each of these well-selected pieces feel perfectly machined, a clockwork of unknowable complexity and beauty. There is humor, sadness, and stunning beauty here, as well as moments of utter darkness, Tipree has stared into the void, and it permeates her worldview and her voice.
Manuel Antão
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Capellanus: "Her Smoke Rose Up Forever" by James Tiptree Jr.

It's a great question isn't it (and one I don't remember C.S. Lewis posing!) but I guess the 'kind of society' would be a ruling class one, whereas I doubt whether the same freedoms and female agency would be envisaged or countenanced for the rest of society. While the female in what Lewis saw as the 'allegory of love' was attributed with powerful choice and discretion, I tend
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Joell Smith-Borne
This is going to be a long review because this book took me two months to finish! I had this anthology for several years before I cracked it. My podcast co-host mentioned one story from it and I decided to thumb through it too, and I was hooked. These stories command attention in a way hardly anything I read does. I had to read several of them multiple times. I couldn't skim. I had to ask questions and think about them, and several are still swirling in my head. I had to take breaks in between t ...more
I would like to say that each one of these stories by James Tiptree Jr., or rather, Alice Sheldon, are gender dystopian SF shorts that sharply highlight the darkness, doing it in miniature... but I would be wrong. Nothing she wrote is miniature.

In fact, all her stories are huge, not in length, but definitely in imagination, scope, and their inherent darkness. Even the ones that seem rather delightfully hopeful usually come from mate-eating gigantic alien spiders or from psychopathic and heavily
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
John Clute said, “I felt that simply to read a Tiptree story was to yank it, bleeding, from its dark home.”

Tiptree herself said one of her pieces was “screaming from the heart.”

I had these two sentences up on the screen all day, and I finally realized I wasn’t reviewing because I was hoping they would give me perspective, a master key to this book so I could talk about it as a whole. Respond to the chorus these stories are. But I can’t yet. So the disconnected things I do have:

Thematically, you
I have been meaning to get to this book for years, partly out of curiosity about a well-spoken-of author's work that I haven't had a lot of exposure of, and partly to illustrate the author's legacy in terms of the now-renamed Tiptree Award. Prior to reading this I would say I've read far more of the books and stories that received the James Tiptree Jr Award than I have of her actual work.

I would describe most of the stories in here as powerful and ground-breaking in their time. It's clear that t
James Tiptree, Jr. was the pseudonym for Alice B. Sheldon, a brilliantly evocative, fiercely intelligent, and thoroughly inventive writer who kept her true identity secret for much of her career. The incredibly diverse stories in this collection are fueled by many bracingly cathartic and moving energies: a vital and vibrant rage at the disastrously unjust treatment of women throughout human history; an unceasingly curious obsession with the effects of animalistic, predetermined urges on both hum ...more
Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
I think about the stories in this collection so often 🥰. (Besides Jemisin) I don't think I have found stories that have affected me so deeply and that I think about so often. Will probably reread soon!

Side note: I have some notes on this so eventually I write a full review.
So good! RTC
What a strange, unnerving and beautiful collection of stories this book is! I had heard so much about Alice Sheldon, a.k.a. James Tiptree Jr., but had never gotten around to reading her work, and I have to admit that part of me wondered if all the buzz around her writing was more around her own highly colorful life and the way she kept her identity secret for so long. But I was wrong: while everything about his woman sound fascinating, the words she put on the page don't need any help leaving a ...more
Oct 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: digested
i borrowed her smoke rose up forever from my mother. i saved her from it, so it wouldn't distract her from the bar, the horrible, horrible hurdle baby lawyers have to throw themselves over. and now that i've returned it, i feel i must go purchase a copy, so i can share a little tiptree with everybody.

except it isn't really by james tiptree jr. at all. that's the pen name of alice bradley sheldon. and i have to say, i have no idea how she pulled this off. the stories are sparkling and poetic but
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kirk by: mark monday's review
[4.5 stars]

James Tiptree jr. was a respected science fiction writer and notably reclusive, who turned out to be a woman, Alice Sheldon. And somehow in the years I read alot of sf slipped entirely under my radar until awhile back I found mark monday's review of this book, and decided I had to read it. Thanks mark! It was great diving into sf again, and I now have many more in the genre mentally lined up to read or reread. These stories collectively knocked me out. The imagination at work, the inv
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
The best stories in this collection are brilliant and devastating science fiction - I was particularly grabbed by the slow build up of tension in 'A Momentary Taste of Being' - perfectly paced and pitched, with just enough depth given to the protagonist to make his struggle against the tragedy very moving. Some of the shorter stories seemed more like capsule sketches of one of Tiptree's (real name, Alice Sheldon) bleak points. She usually needs a longish short story (of which there a good number ...more
Not a light read. In story after story the author shows she is willing to put humankind up to the most unflattering of mirrors. If beauty or joy is found, it is fleeting. Still, it's easy to see why James Tiptree Jr. was so exciting to the SF establishment when "he" burst on the scene. There's something dangerous and intense about the prose, and a sort of gathering of confidence if you look at the stories in a roughly chronological order, from "The Last Flight of Dr. Ain" to "With Delicate Mad H ...more
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
James Tiptree Jr. (pen name for Alice Sheldon) was a truly amazing writer. Her life - both public and internal - is fascinating in itself, but her collected fiction is a rare and precious legacy.

This particular collection of many of her short works is an impressive, daunting hunk of wordage. There are so many stories here and so many ideas within that one could spend a lifetime mulling them over. Unfortunately, my copy must be returned to the library for the enjoyment of a waiting patron, so I w
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Read these all again to discuss them with Luke on the SFBRP podcast! As great as ever. Please see my previous review. ...more
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm not even a full quarter through these stories and I'm flabbergasted. The writing is quite challenging, but the payoff is so incredible. Already I've read one of the most unusual alien invasion concepts I've ever come across ("The Screwfly Solution"), I've also been subjected to a mind-bending idea for future advertising ("The Girl Who Was Plugged In") and a horrifying and beautiful time travel tale ("The Man Who Walked Home"). What a beautiful intellect was Alice's. Gone too soon, but I expe ...more
Linda Robinson
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Yowza. Missed this author completely in the scifi years. The introduction to this collection discusses the change in status for the author when it was discovered that James Tiptree Jr. was really Alice Sheldon. Why no one questioned the profound feminism of somebody named James is weird, but unmistakenly feminist this 2004 collection be. Sheldon/Tiptree has some of the swankiest titles ever devised - little pieces of standalone/standup poetry, starting with the book title from the short story co ...more
A Moment's Halt--a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amid the Waste--
And Lo!--the phantom Caravan has reach'd
The Nothing it set out from--Oh, make haste!

——from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam

In the late 1960s at the age of 51, Dr. Alice Bradley Sheldon, a scientist and artist who had served in the U.S. Army and Central Intelligence Agency, began, covertly, to write. Under the masculine persona of James Tiptree Jr., and occasionally as the masked-woman Raccoona Sheldon, she published a body of
aPriL does feral sometimes
I begin my review quoting from the short stories in 'Her Smoke Rose Up Forever' written by psychologist Alice Sheldon, aka science fiction author James Tiptree, Jr. To me, Sheldon has an enormous talent of astonishingly vivid writing and muscular symbolism, each story full of vibrating 3-D emotional strings, and poetic and powerful language.

"A great pearl-colored blush spread upward before him, developed bands of lavender and rays of coral-gold fire melting to green iridescence overhead. The bo
Links in this review lead to my Blog.

James Tiptree, Jr. was praised as the male voice of feminism back in the 70s before fandom blew up the cover and exposed writer Alice Sheldon behind this pen-name. What a fascinating life! The author was a high ranked officer during WWII, worked for the CIA in the 50s, went back to school, achieved a bachelor of arts, and achieved a doctorate in psychology in the 60s. Unsure, what to do with it, she started publishing 1968 under her pen-name and was soon rewa
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first work of science fiction that I can say I've fully enjoyed and, in parts, even admired. As a collection of stories, the volume is naturally uneven, and one could as easily give this four stars as five.

The best parts, in my opinion, were the two novellas: a momentary taste of being and slow music. But some of the stories in the beginning of the volume were also wonderful. Of course, much of this is simply a matter of taste. Tiptree, herself, is also an interesting figure. Her me
Bryan Alexander
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a reread for me. I read the book when it came out circa 1990, and read some of the stories in collections before that. "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" I taught in an ambitious literature class at the University of Michigan, around 1997.

Why reread now? My dear friend, podcast maven, and Goodreads user Jenny Colvin has been describing her reading of these stories in several places. Her reflections (and an odd discussion with another podcaster/reviewer) made me want to revisit these stories.
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Like any short fiction collection, there are lots of speedbumps, but among some unforgettable reads. Sheldon/Tiptree is graphic: she writes trancelike sex and gut-wrenching violence. Stories alternate between catchy, aggressive prose, and overly-poetic narrative (I prefer the former.) Led by memorable, eye-opening moments like "The Screwfly Solution," "A Momentary Taste of Being," and "We Who Stole the Dream", as well as historically-critical works ("The Girl Who Was Plugged In" "And I Awoke and ...more
‘Her Smoke Rose Up Forever’ is one of the SF Masterworks that I hadn't read and was intrigued by. I didn’t have any particular preconceptions about Tiptree’s stories, other than that she used a pseudonym and commented on gender roles. What I definitely didn’t realise is that she had a deeply pessimistic and essentially nihilist perspective. Every single story in this collection follows the same pattern: the main character(s) tries to escape from a trap (environmental, physical, social, and/or ec ...more
F.F. White
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Pros: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever is a collection of short stories and novellas, but I had very different reactions to many of them. The better of them are character-focused and Tiptree/Sheldon lets her gift of description and drama run free. When this is happening, the story can be truly enthralling -- staggeringly so. Also, these stories are generally about big ideas, so there are quite a few that held my interest on the merit of the core concept in play.

Cons: In total, about 1/6 stories were br
The only Tiptree work I'd read prior to this was "The Screwfly Solution" in a short story anthology, and it was one of my favorites in that work, so I was excited to read this collection. It took me longer than I thought it would, because despite the stories' length, it takes awhile to get through each one. These are not happy stories. Not to say there isn't happiness, or beauty, or hope to be found, but that's certainly not the point. Any of that is ancillary - it matters, it has a place, but i ...more
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
The apocalyptic return to eden and the dance of eros and thanatos are the key themes of James Triptree jr./Raccoona Sheldon/Alice Sheldon so probably not beach reading, yet brilliant nonetheless.
A pretty good collection of some of James Tiptree Jr's short stories. Pretty much all the stories are depressing, which isn't an encouragement (at least for me) to binge read them. This is best consumed in small chunks. There is also a lot of similarity: the women in so many of these stories are are routinely marginalized, oppressed, brutalize, were treated as sexual slaves. An intense point of view is nice in a story, but Tiptree is unrelenting, at least within the context of the stories in thi ...more
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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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