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James Tiptree Jr. and Alice Sheldon - ContactZone

Organization: AISFF
Categories: American, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, Genre & Form, Popular Culture, Gender & Sexuality, Women's Studies, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Adventure & Travel Writing, Children's Literature, Comics & Graphic Novels, Drama, Narratology, Poetry, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, Science
Event Date: 2023-01-09 Abstract Due: 2023-01-09

Peer-reviewed International E-Journal

Call for Papers
James Tiptree Jr. and Alice Sheldon
edited by Oriana Palusci and Umberto Rossi

The 1970s were indeed an innovative decade in the development of American science fiction, also
thanks to the massive foray of women writers employing the genre in its fluidity, its openness
towards the Alien Other, by achieving a new depth of utopian and dystopian visions. Among them,
one of the most interesting authors is Alice Bradley Sheldon aka James Tiptree Jr. aka Raccona
Sheldon. After her death in 1987, her novels, short stories, and poetry have been put aside for some
time by critics. It is time that her role as a science fiction writer, especially of short stories, should
be reconsidered in the light of recent methodological perspectives. This special issue wants to first
of all to explore Sheldon’s relationship with contemporary writers such as Ursula Le Guin, Joanna
Russ and P.K. Dick, with whom she/he corresponded. Obviously, her playing with pen names, that
is, with a male pseudonym, in the field of science fiction which was perceived as the privileged
domain of male writers, made her literary persona much more intriguing in the 1970s. Recent work
has been done at At Eugene, University of Oregon, where James Tiptree Jr. Symposium was held in
December 2015. After that event a digital exhibition on the writer’s life and work was inaugurated
in the Special Collections and University Archives of the University of Oregon.
Winner of Nebula Awards and Hugo Awards, Sheldon has stimulated debates by both writers
and critics: her ‘irreverent’ and often unconventional voice questioned, reshaped, and turned upside
down some of the fundamental concerns of the SF genre. Sheldon/Tiptree investigates the
traditional white male identity from an alienated point of view, while manipulating previous
formulaic devices and introducing ironical twists.

Possible areas of inquiry may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Possible areas of inquiry may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

- Gender and genre.

- Gendering bodies.

- Sexual mimicry.

- Reproduction, abortion, mothering

- Sex, rape, death, annihilation.

- The boundaries of humanity.

- Apocalyptic visions.

- The annihilation of Earth and human survival.

- The influence of experimental psychology in her works.

- The influence of visual arts on her writing.

- Ethological perspectives.

- Eschatological ecology.

- Humans/aliens and the postcolonial viewpoint.

- Mating with alien forms.

- Tiptree/Sheldon and feminist SF: influences and legacy.

- Narrative techniques, points of view, style.

- Adaptations of her works: radio, theatre, comic books, TV, films.


Abstract submission:

Please send a 300-word abstract and a 100-word bio-note to the following email:

umbertorossi_000@fastwebnet.it and aisff.starfiction@gmail.com

Language: English or Italian


Important dates:

Deadline for abstract submissions: 9 January 2023

Notification of acceptance: 19 January 2023

Submission of paper: 20 March 2023


ContactZone is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal.



Oriana Palusci