Her Smoke Rose up Forever

James Tiptree Jr

Arkham House 1990
A book review by Danny Yee © 1994 http://dannyreviews.com/
Her Smoke Rose up Forever is an anthology of eighteen science fiction stories compiled from the published collections of James Tiptree, Jr. (the pseudonym of Alice Sheldon). It includes such classics as "The Women Men don't See" and "Houston, Houston, do you Read?". Even after several months to reflect, I would rank it as the single most impressive volume of science fiction stories by one author I have read.

The mood of Tiptree's stories is almost uniformly dark, with themes centering on death and sex, and reading them is at the same time emotionally draining and exhilarating. A few of the stories (such as "We Who Stole the Dream" or "And I Have Come Upon this Place by Lost Ways") are a little contrived, but their failings are only obvious next to their companions, some of which are perfectly cut gems, almost too brilliant to be readable. Tiptree is inventive and has some original ideas, but it is the sheer power of her writing and its emotional engagement which is most impressive: I don't think I will ever be able to forget stories like "Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light!", "The Screwfly Solution" and "Love is the Plan; the Plan is Death". Her Smoke Rose up Forever is not a volume to be tackled lightly, but it is definitely worth making an effort for.

November 1994

External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Related reviews:
- James Tiptree Jr - Brightness Falls from the Air
- James Tiptree Jr - Meet Me at Infinity
- more science fiction
- more short fiction
- other "best book" selections
%T Her Smoke Rose up Forever
%A Tiptree Jr, James
%R Sheldon, Alice
%I Arkham House
%D 1990
%O hardcover
%G ISBN 0870541609
%P xv,520pp