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Meet Me At Infinity: The Uncollected Tiptree: Fiction and Nonfiction Paperback – June 2, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

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The last collection of the fiction and nonfiction of Alice Sheldon, a.k.a. James Tiptree Jr., is introduced by Jeffrey D. Smith, who tells the reader that, by its very nature, this collection is less a book by Tiptree than one about her. Although the essays and stories and articles here were assembled by Tiptree before her death, Smith has interleaved Tiptree's words with notes of his own, including quotes from private correspondence between the two. The results are revealing and surprisingly moving.

During the 10 years Sheldon wrote and interacted with others using the Tiptree persona, she became known as one of the finest SF writers in the world. Her short fiction (perhaps the most notable collection is Her Smoke Rose Up Forever) has always been more highly regarded than her full-length pieces, and it was during the years 1967 to 1976 that her most famous work, mainly in novella form, was conceived and written. Once the male Tiptree was exposed as the female Sheldon, her work--and her relationships with colleagues and fans and critics, previously conducted solely by mail--changed.

This change lies at the heart of the nonfiction and is the strength of the book. The breezy "Tiptree" letters and articles written from Central America depict a wiry older man who is nonetheless still active--vigorous enough to notice attractive women--making his way capably through a sometimes dangerous environment. It is fascinating to superimpose upon this picture that of the "real" writer--the small, rather vulnerable, middle-aged woman. It becomes clear that both pictures are true, and the reader is left desperately wanting to learn more about Sheldon and Tiptree and the strange intersection of truth, art, and lies that was their life. Until we get a full-scale Tiptree biography, however, this is all we have. --Luc Duplessis. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Tiptree is one of science fiction's greatest assets."—Science Fiction Chronicle

"James Tiptree, Jr. is one of science fiction's greats. Tiptree emerged in the late '60s, writing luminous, heartbreaking stories, each written in a distinct voice, each obliquely but beautifully narrated with an eccentric subtlety and a mordant wit."—San Jose Mercury News

"Should whet readers' appetites."—Dallas Morning News

"Tiptree is a master . . . In all ways, she is a truly great writer, perhaps the greatest in science fiction today . . . Her characters are real and human; her word portraits are exquisite and her construction is flawless."—Baltimore Sun

"One of SF's most gifted stylists."—NY Daily News
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (June 2, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031286938X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312869380
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,993,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rory Coker on January 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
What we have here is a sort of Tiptree scrapbook. The first 190 pages, apart from some bits and scraps, mainly include Tiptree's worst science fiction story, "Happiness is a Warm Spaceship," as well as "Trey of Hearts," written for an anthology of erotic fiction by women but never published there, and "The Color of Neanderthal Eyes," a short novel that's her last completed work. It explores themes always close to Tiptree's heart, in detailing an earthman's interference with the inevitable when, on an alien planet which is mainly ocean, a land-based species begins a war of extermination against a nonviolent, idyllic species of amphibians. Tiptree's usual equation, love=sex=motherhood=death, is very much to the forefront, despite the concentration on war and preparations for war.

In the nearly 200 pages remaining, we get some Tiptree letters, articles, reviews and travelogues. In Tiptree's accounts of her vacations in Yucatan, it's interesting to spot the real-life equivalent of the Mayan pilot who appears in one of her best-known stories, "The Women Men Don't See." It's also interesting to see the several dismissive summaries of and references to what is probably her best short story, "Love is the plan the plan is death." I suspected after rereading the tale recently that she had Global Warming in mind while writing it, all the way back in 1971, and so indeed she says here. I was also able to confirm, as I suspected from re-reading many of her tales recently, that Theodore Sturgeon was the science fiction writer she admired most, and was the most influenced by.

Probably the most enlightening part of the second half of the book is a long autobiographical sketch Tiptree wrote for the reference series CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS.

I don't think there is anything here that you really have to have, that's not available elsewhere. But if you feel the need to own a "Tiptree Scrapbook," this is it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eukrate on August 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Jeff Smith has collected private letters and musings of the wildly imaginative Alice Sheldon. Included are some rarely found stories: "The Color of Neanderthal Eyes" and the amazing "Trey of Hearts". Tiptree was the best of the best, and Smith's collection throws some light onto this great writer's complex personality. It's a fine collection, a must-have for any Tiptree fan.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Lilley on March 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Meet Me At Infinity by James Tiptree, JR. Hardcover - 352 pages (February 2000) Tor Books; ISBN: 0312858744 Who was the most convincing imposter in Science Fiction? Robert Heinlein's Double Star? Lois Bujold's "Admiral" Miles Naismith? Nope...it would be James Tiptree, Jr. aka Alice Sheldon, gender bender, Hugo winner, psychiatrist and onetime member of the CIA. Editor David Hartwell deserves our thanks for putting together this illuminating collection of stories previously published and not, and adding his insights into this important and interesting author's writing and life. It's not a polished group of stories, but a gathering of full pieces and fragments...all fascinating. As Harlan Ellison remarked; "Quite a different can of worms. It has something...I have no idea what." Highly recommend
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By Eric L. Jackson on October 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alice Sheldon wrote some good stories. These are a subset of them which should be read.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sophie Sheldon on February 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
James Tiptree, Jr. was my grandmother. This was the only one of her books that I have read so far in my life because I didn't realize that her real last name was Sheldon. I enjoyed it a lot because it is a great sci-fi.
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