Kiesha's Reviews > Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr.
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Jun 06, 2010

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bookshelves: sci-fi, hugo-award, nebula-award
Read in June, 2010

This is a compilation of short stories written under Alice Bradley Sheldon's pseudonym, James Tiptree Jr. The writing is "convincingly masculine"; if I didn't know Tiptree was a pseudonym, I never would have guessed the author was female, though that probably has more to do with socialized gender stereotypes than anything else.

Favorites in this compilation include: "Houston, Houston, Do You Read?" (winner of the Hugo award), "The Screwfly Solution" (winner of the Nebula award), and "We Who Stole The Dream."

"We Who Stole the Dream" had my heart hammering for the entire 23 pages. It definitely makes Kiesha's recommended/required reading list. The Joilani are a people enslaved for centuries by a 'Terran' race who rape, beat, mock, abuse, and generally mistreat them on a daily basis. Their Terran slavers drink a beverage ('Stars Tears') that comes from the "body secretions of a race of beautiful, frail winged creatures on a very distant world. Under physical or mental pain their glands exuded this liquid which the Terrans founds so deliciously intoxicating. To obtain it, a mated pair were captured and slowly tortured to death in each other's sight." The Joilani make several rebellious attempts at freedom before finally successfully managing to send their children off to a mysterious planet eons away through space, that they believe might be their ancestral land. It is their only chance at freedom. This short story was a serious kick to the heart. The Stars Tears make me think of blood diamonds... As with all Tiptree works, I sped toward the ending even though I was afraid to get there, and of course I was shocked. Even if short story sci-fi isn't your bag, I still think this is a piece that everyone should try.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Alicen Not a big short story person but I am going to give this one a go!


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