Saturday, August 13, 2016

James Tiptree, Jr.: The double life of Alice B. Sheldon

Julie Phillips biography of James Tiptree, Jr./Alice B. Sheldon is one of the best biographies I've read. (For those who don't know, Tiptree was an award winning author of science fiction in the 1960s & 70s. In 1976 her cover was blown, and people discovered she was Alice B. Sheldon, a woman in her fifties who had worked in military intelligence, the CIA, and as an experimental psychologist.)

Phillips manages, on the one hand, to describe the external facts of Sheldon's life as well as providing a compassionate portrait of Sheldon's inner life and struggles.

And for me, it's the juxtaposition of her exterior life, that which others see, with her interior life, what she thinks, dreams, and hopes that makes this woman fascinating. On the outside, it looks like a pretty good life. But like many of us, Alice is often more focused on the things she wishes were better, or different, particularly her role as a woman and a writer. And I can identify with many of them.


  1. Welcome to the blogging world Ardene!

    This books looks interesting. I agree with you in that it is the juxtaposition between exterior and interior that makes a person interesting. I will be keeping a look our for this one.

  2. I so identified with a lot of the things Tip/Alli thought/wrote in her journals, so this was a great read for me.