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Houston, Houston Do You Read -- Tiptree, James

Houston, Houston Do You Read -- Tiptree, James

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Published by: Lv99 Slacker on Oct 05, 2009
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Version 1.0 dtd 033000JAMES TIPTREE, JR.Houston, Houston,Do You Read?James Tiptree, Jr., aside from the award-winning story that follows thisintroduction, has been justly lauded as one of the excellent writers to appear inscience fiction in recent years. Precise biographical data, however, have beendifficult to come by. However, with the author's assistance, the following factshave at last been collected and are hereby presented to the reader.James Tiptree, Jr., was born in September 1967, in the import section of theMcLean Giant Food Store. His birth occurred in front of a display of Tiptree'sEnglish Marmalade, which appeared to him to be a nice inconspicuous name thateditors would not recall having rejected. The subsequent acceptance of his nextthirty or forty stories shocked and nonplussed him, but gave him the opportunityto form many genuine epistolary friendships, since he had the bad habit of writingfan letters to writers he admired. In the course of a correspondence with JeffreyD. Smith, a fanzine editor in Baltimore, he gave a biographical interview, inwhich he mentioned having been brought up by a pair of explorer-adventurers whoalternated life in the Congo and the Midwest. He also reported that he hadenlisted in the Army Air Force in World War II, becoming a photo intelligenceofficer, and subsequent to what was then hoped to be the outbreak of World Peace,he went in for a little business, a little government work, and finally settledupon a doctorate and a short research and teaching career in one of the "soft"sciences. (A "soft" science is one where you bounce back when you trip.) Herefrained from mentioning to his friends that he had started life as a seriouspainter, because a companion personality, Racoona Sheldon, then being slowly born,seemed to need that as a biographical touch. Tiptree's writing career took aparabolic form, the downside of the curve being accounted for by a depressionwhich caused his stories to grow blacker and more few. The coup de grace was givenhim in October 1977, when it was revealed that he did not exist. He feels that itwas, though brief, a wondrous existence. He is survived by a short story or two inpress and a novel to be published by Berkley as well as one Hugo, for THE GIRL WHOWAS PLUGGED IN, and two Nebula Awards for LOVE IS THE PLAN, THE PLAN IS DEATH, in1973, and for HOUSTON, HOUSTON, DO YOU READ?, in 1976.Lorimer gazes around the big crowded cabin, trying to listen to the voices, tryingalso to ignore the twitch,, in his insides that means he is about to remembersomething bad. No help; he lives it again, that long- tago moment. Himself running blindly-or was hepushed?-into the strange toilet at Evanston JuniorHigh. His fly open, his dick in his hand, he can stillsee the grey zipper edge of his jeans around his paleexposed pecker. The hush. The sickening wrongnessof shapes, faces turning. The first blaring giggle. Girls.He was in the girls' can. -He flinches wryly now, so many years later, not looking at the women's faces. Thecabin curves around over his head surrounding him with their alien things: thebeading rack, the twins' loom, Andy's leather work, the damned kudzu vinewriggling everywhere, the chickens. So cosy.... Trapped, he is. Irretrievablytrapped for life in everything he does not enjoy. Strutturelessness. Personal
 
trivia, unmeaning intimacies. The claims he can somehow never meet. Ginny: Younevertalk to me . . . Ginny, love, he thinks involuntarily. The hurt doesn't come.Bud Geirr's loud chuckle breaks in on him. Bud is joking with some of them, out ofsight around a bulkhead. Dave is visible, though. Major Norman Davis on the farside of the cabin, his bearded profile bent toward a small dark woman Lorimercan't quite focus on. But Dave's head seems oddly tiny and sharp, in fact thewhole cabin looks unreal. A cackle bursts out from the "ceiling"-the bantam hen inher basket.At this moment Lorimer becomes sure he has been drugged.Curiously, the idea does not anger him. He leans or rather tips back, perchingcross-legged in the zero gee, letting his gaze go to the face of the woman he hasbeen talking with. Connie. Constantia Morelos. A tall moonfaced woman in capaciousgreen pajamas. He has never really cared for talking to women. Ironic."I suppose," he says aloud, "it's possible that in some sense we are not here."That doesn't sound too clear, but she nods interestedly. She's watching myreactions, Lorimer tells himself. Women are natural poisoners. Has he said thataloud too? Her expression doesn't change. His vision is taking on a pleasing localclarity. Connie's skin strikes him as quite fine, healthy-looking. Olive tan evenafter two years in space. She was a farmer, he recalls. Big pores, but without thecaked look he associates with women her age."You probably never wore make-up," he says. She looks puzzled. "Face paint,powder. None of you have.""Oh!" Her smile shows a chipped front tooth. "Oh yes, I think Andy has.""Andy?""For plays. Historical plays, Andy's good at that.""Of course. Historical plays."Lorimer's brain seems to be expanding, letting in light. He is understandingactively now, the myriad bits and pieces linking into pattern. Deadly patterns, heperceives; but the drug is shielding him in someway. Like an amphetamine high without the pressure.Maybe it's something they use socially? No, they'rewatching, too. '
"Space bunnies, I still don't dig it," Bud Geirr laughs infectiously. He has afriendly buoyant voice people like; Lorimer still likes it after two years."You chicks have kids back home, what do your folks think about you flying aroundout here with old Andy, h'mm?" Bud floats into view, his arm draped around atwin's shoulders. The one called Judy Paris, Lorimer decides; the twins are hardto tell. She drifts passively at an angle to Bud's big body: a jut-breasted plaingirl in flowing yellow pajamas, her black hair raying out. Andy's read head swimsup to them. He is holding a big green spaceball, looking about sixteen."Old Andy." Bud shakes his head, his grin flashing, under his thick dark mustache."When I was your age-.: folks didn't let their women fly around with me."
 
Connie's lips quirk faintly. In Lorimer's head the pieces slide toward pattern. Iknow, he thinks. Do you. know I know? His head is vast and crystalline, very nicereally. Easier to think. Women.... No compact generalization forms in his mind,only a few speaking ;f faces on a matrix of pervasive irrelevance. Human, ofcourse. Biological necessity. Only so, so . . . diffuse? Pointless? . . . Hissister Amy, soprano con tremolo: `50f course women could contribute as much as menif you'd treat us as equals. You'll see!" And then marrying that idiot the secondtime. Well, now he., can see."Kudzu vines," he says aloud. Connie smiles. How they all smile."How 'boot that?" Bud says happily. "Ever think j we'd see chicks in zero gee,hey, Dave? Artits-stico. Woo-ee!" Across the cabin Dave's bearded head turns tohim, not smiling."And of Andy's had it all to his self. Stunt your, growth, lad." He punches Andygenially on the arm, Andy catches himself on the bulkhead. But can't be drunk,Lorimer thinks; not on that fruit cider. But hedoesn't usually sound so much like a stage Texan either. A drug."Hey, no offense," Bud is saying earnestly to the boy, "I mean that. You have toforgive one underprilly, underprivileged, brother. These chicks are good people.Know what?" he tells the girl, "You could look stupendous if you fix yourself up aspeck. Hey, I can show you, old Buddy's a expert. I hope you don't mind my sayingthat. As a matter of fact you look real stupendous to me right now."He hugs her shoulders, flings out his arm and hugs Andy too. They float upward inhis grasp, Judy grinning excitedly, almost pretty."Let's get some more of that good stuff." Bud propels them both toward the servingrack which is decorated for the occasion with sprays of greens and small realdaisies."Happy New Year! Hey, Happy New Year, y'all!"Faces turn, more smiles. Genuine smiles, Lorimer thinks, maybe they really liketheir new years. He feels he has infinite time to examine every event, theimplications evolving in crystal facets. I'm an echo chamber. Enjoyable, to be theobserver. But others are observing too. They've started something here. Do theyrealize? So vulnerable, three of us, five of them in this fragile ship. They don'tknow. A dread unconnected to action lurks behind his mind."By god we made it," Bud laughs. "You space chickies, I have to give it to you. Icommend you, by god I say it. We wouldn't be here, wherever we are. Know what, Ijus' might decide to stay in the service after all. Think they have room for oldBud in your space program, sweetie?""Knock that off, Bud," Dave says quietly from the far wall. "I don't want to hearus use the name of the Creator like that." The full chestnut beard gives him apatriarchal gravity. Dave is forty-six, a decade older than Bud and Lorimer.Veteran of six successful missions."Oh my apologies, Major Dave old buddy." Bud chuckles intimately to the girl. "Ourcommanding ossifer. Stupendous guy. Hey, Doc!" he calls. "How's your attitude? Youmaking out dinko?""Cheers," Lorimer hears his voice reply, the complex stratum of his feelings about

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Oddly the author's name is a psuedonym this is writen by a man hating feminist, your kind's obession with extermination is sickening
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