Winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography.

"riveting in its illumination
of the...
conflicts and
contradictions of modern female authorship."
—Elaine Showalter, TLS

“Alice Sheldon shall appeal to the masses in the year 2017.” –Roberto Bolaño, Amulet

She was born in Chicago in 1915. As a child, she crossed Africa with her explorer parents. As an adult, she became a painter, a military intelligence officer, a CIA agent, an experimental psychologist. At age 51, Alice Bradley Sheldon made yet another change of career.

James Tiptree Jr. began writing science fiction in 1967. His stories were fast-paced and hard-boiled, his letters funny, frank, and sensitive. No one had ever seen him. No one knew his true identity. There were rumors he was a government spy. It wasn't until 1976 that the cover was blown on his alter ego: Alli Sheldon, a complex woman with an unusual past.

Alli Sheldon's use of a male voice not only demolishes assumptions about writing and gender, it also speaks to the mystery of the writing persona. Why could she only tell the truth about herself when she became someone else?

On this website you can find a few excerpts from James Tiptree, Jr., illustrated with images from the book plus new photos.

James Tiptree, Jr.:The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon is published in hardcover by St. Martin's Press and in paperback by Picador USA.

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