Thursday, September 19, 2019

Aging Writers 4

There is a current discussion about changing the name of the Tiptree Award, since Tiptree/Alice Sheldon killed her husband before killing herself. The two Sheldons apparently had a suicide pact, but we don't know how serious it was and if Sheldon's husband had really agreed to die. Sheldon herself was deeply depressed and had apparently thought of suicide.

So was it a suicide pact or was it one of those strange exits where the killer -- usually a man -- wants to die and feels that he cannot leave his family behind? A compounding issue is the Sheldons' long years of working for the CIA. That has got to give you a strange attitude toward violence and the value of human life.

How Sheldon and her husband died has been known for decades. The question now raised by some people is -- do we want to have an award named after a woman who was a killer and whose victim was disabled, at least to some extent?

I have a personal involvement in this, because I won a Tiptree Award. In fact, I won the very first Tiptree Award. I have felt the last few years -- maybe the last decade -- that Second Wave Feminism is being written out of SF history, along with a lot of older women writers, including me. Changing the name of the Tiptree seems -- to me -- to be part of vanishing Second Wave Feminism and maybe feminism as a movement. In addition, once the Tiptree Award is gone, I will not have won it. That matters to me.

This is an interesting variation of older women's sense that they have disappeared. Even Le Guin felt this.

6 Comments:

Blogger Twinkle said...

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Blogger Julie Phillips said...

Eleanor, thank you for this.

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Blogger Boondockette said...

I just discovered your blog, doing a search to see if there were any of your novels I had missed.

I hear what you're saying about writing 2nd wave feminism out of history. I see it all around me.

If they change the name of the award, wouldn't they still include past winners on lists?

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