It began with the French Revolution and the ideologically cannibalistic Left can’t stop devouring its own children… and parents.
Here’s another scene from the cultural revolution.
Since 1991, the James Tiptree Junior Award has been given annually to a work of “science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.” The award was founded by two women science fiction writers, Pat Murphy and Karen Jay Fowler. From next year, it will be called the Otherwise Award.
James Tiptree, Jr. was the pseudonym of Alice Sheldon. Born Alice Bradley in 1915, she travelled the world with her parents as a young child. In 1940, after a brief unhappy marriage, she joined the women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and worked in intelligence. She married Huntington “Ting” Sheldon in 1945, and in 1952 they both joined the CIA. She later earned her doctorate and took up writing. She wrote short stories and novels, but it is the former that stand out as truly remarkable. With prose as subtle and precise as the most refined literary fiction, she penned imaginative tales like “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” and “The Girl Who was Plugged In,” which became classics of science fiction and also important works of feminist fiction. Later in her life, she suffered from heart troubles and depression. Her husband went blind. She recorded in her diary in 1979 that she and her husband had agreed to a suicide pact if their health worsened. In 1987, she shot her husband, called her lawyer and told him that they had agreed to suicide, and then shot herself.
The award is being renamed because of this suicide. Although the prize was founded to recognize fiction “exploring gender,” the current board of the award see their expanded mission to be to “make the world listen to voices that they would rather ignore.” The issue is that some of these voices have decided that Sheldon killed her husband because she was ableist (that is, bigoted toward the disabled).
The irony here is that Tiptree/Sheldon only became famous and had an award named after her because of her pathological hatred of men.
In one of Alice Sheldon’s most powerful stories, “The Women Men Don’t See,” a woman named Parsons and her daughter hire a pilot to take them to Chetumal. The plane crashes en route, and they are stranded with the pilot and a fisherman in the wilderness. The fisherman struggles to understand the women. The feelings and hopes and goals of Parsons are invisible to him, and all he can do is project his prejudices onto her. Understanding this, Parsons likens herself to a nocturnal animal, present but not genuinely seen. She tells the fisherman, “What women do is survive. We live by twos and threes in the chinks of your world machine…. Think of us as opossums…. Did you know there are opossums living all over? Even in New York City.” When an alien spaceship lands nearby and the group encounters an extraterrestrial explorer, the fisherman panics, but Parsons and her daughter beg the aliens to take them away. They would rather leap into the unknown than return to their life in America.
And then there’s, Houston, Houston, Do You Read?
The story portrays a crew of three male astronauts launched in the near future on a circumsolar mission in the spaceship Sunbird. A plague wiped out most human life, including all males. Only about 11,000 women survived, mostly concentrated in Australasia and a few other areas. Until recently, they reproduced only by cloning, so most women are clones of the original 11,000 genotypes.
The Sunbird’s crew react to these revelations in different ways. The commander considers this to be a great tragedy, and believes he was chosen by God to subjugate the women to their intended roles and lead them back to the true path with men as leaders of society and family. Another eagerly anticipates the prospect of millions of women who have not known a man’s touch, believing that the women are all sexually unfulfilled without a man, and he engages in violent sexual fantasies of domination.
But, eventually, the thing that once made your politics edgy has become passe. And something about you offends one of the multitude of groups that exist to be offended by things. And then it’s time for another purge. Your past politics no longer matter. Once you were a hero, but now you’ve become the villain.
Sic transit gloria proggie.