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Old 09-01-2017, 01:05 AM   #1
GeoffR
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James Tiptree, Jr.: "best-of" short stories or full collections?

I'm trying to decide whether to buy the "best-of" omnibus: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, or the four collections it draws from: Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home; Warm Worlds and Otherwise; Star Songs of an Old Primate; Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions. (The omnibus is about half the word count and about one quarter the price of the full collections.)

If anyone has read them, is there a clear quality divide between the stories that made the omnibus and the ones that didn't? Any stories in particular that should have made the cut but didn't? This is the full list, stories included in the omnibus are marked in green:

Spoiler:

Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home:
And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill's Side (1972)
The Snows Are Melted, the Snows Are Gone (1969)
The Peacefulness of Vivyan (1971)
Mamma Come Home (1968)
Help (1968)
Painwise (1972)
Faithful to Thee, Terra, in Our Fashion (1969)
The Man Doors Said Hello To (1970)
The Man Who Walked Home (1972)
Forever to a Hudson Bay Blanket (1972)
I'll Be Waiting for You When the Swimming Pool Is Empty (1971)
I'm Too Big but I Love to Play (1970)
Birth of a Salesman (1968)
Mother in the Sky with Diamonds (1971)
Beam Us Home (1969)

Warm Worlds and Otherwise:
All the Kinds of Yes (1972)
The Milk of Paradise (1972)
And I Have Come upon This Place by Lost Ways (1972)
The Last Flight of Dr. Ain (1969)
Amberjack (1972)
Through a Lass Darkly (1972)
The Girl Who Was Plugged In (1973)
The Night-Blooming Saurian (1970)
The Women Men Don't See (1973)
Fault (1968)
Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death (1973)
On the Last Afternoon (1972)

Star Songs of an Old Primate:
Your Haploid Heart (1969)
And So On, and So On (1971)
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (1974)
A Momentary Taste of Being (1975)
Houston, Houston, Do You Read? (1976)
The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Awful Things to Rats (1976)
She Waits for All Men Born (1976)

Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions:
Angel Fix (1974)
Beaver Tears (1976)
Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light! (1976)
The Screwfly Solution (1977)
Time-Sharing Angel (1977)
We Who Stole the Dream (1978)
Slow Music (1980)
A Source of Innocent Merriment (1980)
Out of the Everywhere (1981)
With Delicate Mad Hands (1981)
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Old 09-01-2017, 01:57 AM   #2
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She is without a doubt one of the very best. I would buy the lot. In fact I did, I think from Kobo India some time ago. The Omnibus seems to have a good selection but there are many excellent stories left out. Some of her best work is included, but I would not say that there is a clear quality divide between those in the omnibus and others. In particular, at a quick glance, you should not miss Mama Come Home, Painwise, "Faithful to Thee, Terra, in Our Fashion", Forever to a Hudson Bay Blanket, Time-Sharing Angel, A Source of Innocent Merriment and Out of the Everywhere. Some other stories I can't recall off the top of my head. But my advice is don't skimp on this author. She is one of my favourites, though of course our tastes may not be similar. She also wrote two novels, regrettably not as good as her short stories, and there was a very good biography of her life, which was quite a remarkable one which ended too soon with her suicide after the death of her husband.
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Old 09-01-2017, 06:46 AM   #3
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Thanks Darryl, that is helpful.

Normally I would read some of an author's novels first, and use that as a gauge for how deeply I want to read into their short story collections, but from what you have said and I have read elsewhere, this author's novels might not be the best guide.
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:29 PM   #4
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Who has these, by the way?

I'm thinking of buying (perhaps) one of them.

Thanks.
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Old 09-01-2017, 05:49 PM   #5
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I've never read anything by her, but I recognize the name as well as I recognize the name of Robert A. Heinlein or Ursula K. Le Guin. For some reason, I just haven't bothered to read anything by her.

But that's going to change. I, too, would like to know which ONE ebook is the one to buy.

By the way, here's a link to TOR on her:

https://www.tor.com/2015/08/18/where...es-tiptree-jr/


-- Thanks.
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:44 PM   #6
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Looking at the list in Geoff's original post the omnibus, "Her Smoke Rose Up Forever", is not a bad starting point for you. Of course it does not include all of her worthwhile short stories either from the books Geoff mentioned or others. But it is a good sample.

From time to time, no matter how voraciously I read, I occasionally come across an author where my response goes beyond wishing i had come across that author earlier. That response becomes a crusade to remedy an important gap in my literary education. I was fortunate enough to first come across Tiptree in my teens. I loved her work then and I still love it. Had I just discovered her I would now be on a quest to read every story she ever wrote. We are all different and you may not share my opinion, but please do read at least some of her stories.
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:53 AM   #7
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^ I'll check out that title and see what all the fuss is about.

Thank you.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:45 AM   #8
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Just to report back, now I've read both of her novels all the available short story collections except for Tales of the Quintana Roo:

Most of the stories I liked best are included in the omnibus Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, the main exceptions being "Your Haploid Heart" and "The Psychologist Who Wouldn’t Do Awful Things to Rats" which were both only in Star Songs of an Old Primate.

It could be the omnibus collection was selected for breadth of ideas rather than just quality or popularity, so some good stories were left out because they explored similar ideas to some others that were selected.

Last edited by GeoffR; 02-12-2018 at 12:54 AM. Reason: ... rather than just quality ...
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