RIP science fiction great Sheri Tepper

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Grass is just… amazing. I’d rank it up there close to Dune and the best Culture novels. Maybe it was just my weird group of people, but we all read and loved Tepper and I’m sad to read of her passing.


She will be greatly missed…Her True Game series for me is one of the most enjoyable young readers series there is, from the simple all the way to the sublime and complex stories and ideas in books like rage of angels, simply astounding creativity and wondrous ability to create whole unique worlds with rich full cultures and societies all complete with believable yet varied desires and motivations


For me it’s The Gate To Women’s Country, Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, and a tie between Six Moon Dance, The Fresco, and Family Tree.

I don’t really get the love for Grass myself. I liked the ideas but I just didn’t feel like the plot really went anywhere.


I hate this year.
Tepper was the first author that made me feel pride in being a woman. I devoured her books like someone who discovered chocolate for the first time. Gibbon’s Decline and Fall has been on my mind a lot this year with the american election.

I strongly recommend her books, especially to young women.

Can 2016 be over already?


It’s been so long since I read Grass (or any Tepper actually – I’ll have to address that by digging out my old books) but I seem to recall a pretty stunning reveal that flipped the story on its head right in the middle of the book. Maybe it’s not as stunning as I remember it and maybe a single “twist” shouldn’t be all it takes to elevate a novel to the upper echelons but it definitely has stuck in my brain for 20 years or so.

Family Tree equally caught me by surprise with its revelation.


Scalzi is flummoxed, huh? No idea what the reason could be?

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I don’t know if I’d agree with that; Lois Bujold and Connie Willis are massive Hugo winners. But on the other hand, Tepper’s writing was often a particularly angry brand of feminism, which may have made it… unpalatable to certain audiences.


Unfortunately, the Ghostbusters thing, while spot on about social issues and nerds, isn’t really a great example to hold up on its own merits. It turns out that it was kind of a shitty movie. My wife and I just watched it and she turned to me as soon as it was done and said “Well, that sucked and I’m sad I wasted my time watching it.”

I read her early works when I was a much younger geek. I’d probably react differently now but while I lukewarm “liked” it, I didn’t feel any desire to seek out her later work. It felt very preachy to me. I prefer Elizabeth Bear or Kameron Hurley, who definitely don’t downplay issues women face.

Ouch. This piece is rather unflattering about her.

I see their points, but it’s not something that bothers me. That’s what science fiction does, to my mind. We take an aspect of our world, exaggerate it to an extreme, and attribute it to aliens or “future humans” or the post-apocalypse. “What would happen if…?” So maybe we posit “women rule the world” and maybe the answer is the placid, baffling (to the men) matriarchy of Herland, or the broken dystopia of Women’s Country.

I’ve always attributed the “we totes cured the gays” part to laziness more than malice. I think she needed pure heterosexuality for her plot to work, and that was the easiest solution. Instead of trying to write in women who actually didn’t give a damn about the men and vice versa. I think she equally could have ignored the issue; lots of science fiction does, but it came into her head as a problem and she felt the need to deal with it.

My husband got almost halfway through Gibbon’s Decline and Fall before turning to me and saying “There’s only one male character in this book that doesn’t suck.” A few chapters later he was like “…that’s probably the point, isn’t it?”

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I remember Steve Barnes, who is a gender essentialist, had a city of only gay men in the Southwest in his Cyperpunk work and a rural commune/territory in Oregon that was the same with Lesbian women. It seemed pretty different in 1990 or whenever he wrote it.

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