Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

Under the pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr., Alice Sheldon wrote dozens of award-winning and influential stories, some of the best of which are included here. In “The Girl Who Was Plugged In,” a woman occupies an artificial body that is more desirable than her own. In “The Last Flight of Doctor Ain,” a doctor decides to take the matter of overpopulation and environmental collapse into his own hands. And in perhaps my favorite story in the collection, “With Delicate Mad Hands,” an abused woman plans an escape from her tormenters, and makes an extraordinary discovery. Many of the stories, including the well-known “The Women Men Don’t See,” attend astutely to the experiences of sexism and misogyny. Sheldon’s language is intense and compact, often cheery and upbeat in tone even when describing terrible events; it’s hard not to read her stories quickly, as they careen towards astonishing—and usually tragic—ends.