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EW Reviews the Tiptree Bio

About once a month, Entertainment Weekly will offer capsule reviews of four sf/f genre-related books. This is nice as it gets some publicity for the field. (As much respect as EW can muster, anyway.) What I would personally love to see is at least one prominent science fiction review per week. It’s not like there is a lack of books to review. I guess they’re shooting for the “mainstream” audience.

It’s interesting, then, that this week’s double issue (#891/#892) features a review of James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips. Sure, it’s a biography and not fiction, but we’s takes what we’s can gets. The reviewer (Jennifer Reese) had some nice things to say about it: “exquisitely detailed”, “[Reese] knows when to let her subject speak, quoting copiously from Tiptree’s letters to the likes of Ursula LeGuin, which burn with an edgy intelligence you wish had found its outlet earlier.” Final grade: A.

In a related sidebar titled “The Essential Tiptree”, EW highlights Pyr’s reprint collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever which features a cool John Picacio cover. They also call out these classic stories: “The Girl who Plugged In”, “The Women Men Don’t See” and “Houston, Houston Do You Read?”.

[Other recent reviews of the Tiptree biogrpahy biography: SciFi Weekly (John Clute), Baltimore Sun, BookWeb, Salon, The Seattle Times and Newsday.]

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

6 Comments on EW Reviews the Tiptree Bio

  1. “…Tiptree biogrpahy…”

    Hey, it’s been too long!


    Anyway, given the large number of positive reviews I’ve seen, and how everyone is talking about Tiptree’s influence, etc., I find two things strange.

    (1) Too much of her stuff is out of print, darn it!

    (2) I have yet to find the biography stocked in a local bookstore!



  2. Pete Tzinski // August 16, 2006 at 7:50 pm //

    What startled me was discovering that James Tiptree was, in fact, a woman. I still like her stories, it just surprised me. And just yesterday, I found out that Harper Lee is also a woman. Very interesting.

    The review speaks about how Alice Sheldon died, and I think that really bothered me. I have some James Tiptree stories in various anthologies around the house, and I like those stories. Somehow, it’s like finding out that Ray Bradbury secretely deals drugs out of his house.

    I would very much like to read this book, but my Barnes & Noble doesn’t seem to carry it. I suppose I can order it off this internet thing.

  3. What are you doing reading Entertainment Weekly in the first place? I mean, People magazine might have a regular expose on scifi but I’d never know it because I couldn’t bother to pick it up.

  4. It’s not a read so much as a 10-minute skim. It’s a freebie subscription from cashing in on airline miles.

  5. I was going to order the book on that internet thing, but the pipes seem to be blocked.


  6. Two more reviews…

    1. Rick Klaw in the Austin Chronicle.

    2. The NYT Times‘s Dave Itzkoff reviews the bio and it gets some reactions from Patrick Nielson Hayden, Paul Levinson and Andrew Wheeler.

    [via Locus Online]

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