mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
Good grief, I have so many feels about this book. This is the best damn biography that I have read in a long time.

August is Tiptree month at my favourite podcast, (Hugo Award Winning!) Galactic Suburbia, as yesterday would have been the 100th birthday of Alice Bradley Sheldon aka James Tiptree Jnr aka Racoona Sheldon. I had never read this author, though I knew about her due to hearing many discussions of the James Tiptree Jnr Award and I knew Tiptree being revealed as a woman was a big shock and controversy at the time. I knew that she was known for science fiction that explored gender and sexuality. So when GS said they were going to do a spoilerific podcast (now 2) in celebration of her birthday I picked up an ebook containing the appropriate short stories (only partially read at this point) and sought the biography from my local library.

It's enthralling.

I read this oddly slowly for me, with 9, 10 or 11 page chapters taking much longer than usual, yet it didn't feel like it was dragging at all. I am utterly fascinated by this woman who is so very different from me, but yet I sympathise with her. I am a fairly calm and sensible person with a tendency towards laziness & procrastination and very little drive or ambition, and yet I felt that to have Alice's ambition and life experience would be something special. She lived so much, for all that she was rarely satifsied and not always happy. I wonder if I'm missing out on something, yet could I really cope with the agonizing confusion and self-hate that Sheldon went through?

She had such complex and difficult relationships with people, she was isolated, yet had warm friendships. She did extrodinary things at the same time as trying be a 'good daughter' and struggling with the role of wife.

Julie Phillips has written a sympathetic, honest, personal biography that made me fall completely in love with a woman I will never meet and never experience as anything other than part of history.

I'm looking forward to delving into her fiction and the commentary surrounding it.

And of course I can now liste to the Galactic Suburbia discussion. ;)


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