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Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  3,020 Ratings  ·  336 Reviews
James Tiptree, Jr. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. Sauk City: Arkham House, [1990]. First edition, first printing. Octavo. 520 pages.

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. Revisio
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Hardcover, First Edition, First Printing, 520 pages
Published 1990 by Sauk City: Arkham House
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Trevor Doyle In many respects, Philip K. Dick was a hack writer, but he was a hack who tapped into the most interesting SF ideas to surface in the the topsy-turvy…moreIn many respects, Philip K. Dick was a hack writer, but he was a hack who tapped into the most interesting SF ideas to surface in the the topsy-turvy world of the 1960s.

James Tiptree, Jr. is not all that mind bending--if you've read Dick. Her prose, however, is delicious, and her attention to character and setting put her in a class all her own, when it comes to sci-fi.

I don't particularly enjoy reading Dick even though I enjoy delving into his mind. I do enjoy reading Tiptree although I'm not always impressed by her explorations into the unknown and the unknowable.

If you're a huge fan of Philip K. Dick, chances are that you won't be overly impressed with James Tiptree, Jr., who was really a better short story writer than she was a novelist.

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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
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Chadwick
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
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
Lightreads
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
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Bright
Oct 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jlawrence
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kirk
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Candiss
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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Matt
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
Sarah
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
AC
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Hendrik
Hinter dem Pseudonym James Tiptree Jr. versteckt sich eine der erfolgreichsten Schriftstellerinnen aus dem Science-Fiction-Genre. Ihr bürgerlicher Name lautete Alice B. Sheldon. Aus beruflichen Gründen, aber auch um den zu ihrer Zeit verbreiteten Vorurteilen gegenüber schreibenden Frauen zu entgehen, wählte sie die Anonymität für ihre schriftstellerische Arbeit. Der ungewöhnliche Nachname Tiptree, verdankt sich übrigens einer Inspiration durch die gleichnamige englische Marmeladenmarke.
Her Smoke
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Andreas
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
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Linda Robinson
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Caterina
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caterina by: Shawn Ingram
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
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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.
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
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Bryan Alexander
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.
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F.F. White
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
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G33z3r
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
Anna
‘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
Nicole
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
Lulu
Many more good than bad. The bad are only classed as such because they were too bizarre for my sensibilities, or I failed to understand the ideas or themes Tiptree was driving at. A phenomenal science fiction author, with an incredibly interesting life. I think it's an important read, especially for anyone interested in feminist science fiction of the 70s.

Particularly highlights for me were "The Screwfly Solution", "The Girl Who Was Plugged In", "A Momentary Taste of Being", "Your Faces, O My Si
...more
fromcouchtomoon
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ally
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian, post-apoca, sf
I love me some Tiptree. I have a star-struck crush on her, and often mention to friends that "I want to have sex with her brain"; I love her mind, and her voice that comes through her writing.

My introduction to the author came a year ago, when the Introduction to Science Fiction class had us buy this book, in order for us to read/study a selection of stories from it.

Her real name was Alice Sheldon, but she wrote under two pseudonyms, James Tipree Jr and Raccoona Sheldon, and her works are often
...more
Andrea Blythe
One of my goals this year was to start reading books that have won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, which is presented for stories that explore aspects of gender, primarily in SciFi and Fantasy. Since I was reading these award winners, I figured I should also read some of the work by the author after whom the award is named. James Tiptree, Jr. is a pseudonym for Alice Bradley Sheldon, who wrote hard science fiction for years without readers knowing she was a woman.

Tiptree is a perfect namesake for
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Kerry
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, anthology, sf, 2016, 8, ebooks
COMPLETED 5 March 2016

After listening to the ladies on the Galactic Suburbia podcast talking about a number of Tiptree stories, I was minded to buy the ebook version of this and slowly get it finished. Tiptree wrote some amazing stories, but they tend to be so depressing and there's an entrenched misogyny (that she is clearly writing against) that is hard to read - and makes one sadder to realise still exists all these years later. I hope, and generally believe, we've come some distance since th
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Roxanne
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it
I've been working on this on and off for probably close to a year. I've wanted to read Tiptree for a long time; she was a ground-breaking sci-fi writer and one of the few women who gained recognition in this field in the 1970s. The stories in this collection were all really... haunting. Almost every story followed me around for a few days after I finished it, which is partly why reading this took so long.

In many ways, her stories present a really hopeless future, but Tiptree's characters also ke
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Dorothea
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'll probably come back and review this collection more thoroughly later, if (when) I read the whole thing again.

For now, I'll just say that there's a part of me that needed this book so badly. It's the part that makes my heartrate speed up when I read the text of Andrea Dworkin's speech I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape; the part of me that considers all of the patriarchal condescension, the misogynist hostility, the sexual assaults that I have experienced or witness
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon
  • So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology
  • Daughters of Earth: Feminist Science Fiction in the Twentieth Century
  • China Mountain Zhang
  • A Door Into Ocean
  • Filter House
  • Bloodchild and Other Stories
  • The Birthday of the World and Other Stories
  • Women of Wonder, the Contemporary Years: Science Fiction by Women from the 1970s to the 1990s
  • The Female Man
  • Aye, and Gomorrah: And Other Stories
  • Stories of Your Life and Others
  • At the Mouth of the River of Bees
  • The Secret History of Science Fiction
  • Ammonite
  • The James Tiptree Award Anthology 1: Sex, the Future, & Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora
275 followers
"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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“Man is an animal whose dreams come true and kill him.” 11 likes
“Before he could lose courage he flung himself back and slammed his sleep-inducer to full theta.” 6 likes
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