James Tiptree, Jr. (aka Alice Sheldon) is primarily renowned for her short fiction, but this piece, which won the Hugo for best novella in , is also top-notch. If James Tiptree Jr.’s The Girl Who Was Plugged In () were published today nobody would think it dated. Ahead of its time, it was. The Girl Who Was Plugged In: James Tiptree, Jr.: In “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (; winner of a Hugo Award for best novella), an ugly homeless girl in a.

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I just came across your blog and I’m following you now. Great reviews of authors I love, and some I want to know more about. I’ve just been digging into Tiptree and wanted to know what others have said about ths story. Great, and thanks for stopping by!

I love her willingness to challenge status quo, not to mention the wax to produce brazen prose in non-standard stories. I think her inability to produce a few quality novels is what prevented her from becoming more well known in the genre, as otherwise, her short fiction was recognized. Enough of the rambling, and again, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy reading other sites on the web about Tiptree.

Title: The Girl Who Was Plugged In

If James Tiptree Jr. Ahead of its time, it was cyberpunk before the movement had a name and post-human before it too became a craze. Telling of an abused, heavily augmented girl taken advantage of by the system, the novella remains fully human in scope, the motifs of sci-fi used to spectacular yet poignant effect in this tale of self-perception in a media-ensconced world.


Burke is an abused, cyborgized teenage girl, biologically and mechanically modified to the point of disfigurement. Found near death in a park and brought to a hospital, a caretaker recognizes her implants and phones a friend.

A company representative showing up and asking questions a short time later, P. Burke will do anything to escape the bleakness of the hospital and into the home of someone who cares.

James Tiptree Jr, “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” and Pat Cadigan “Pretty Boy Crossover.”

Graphic advertizing outlawed in the world of the future, she is made a proposition: Agreeing to the terms, P. Burke is locked inside a cabinet, cables and tubes attached, and is connected wirelessly to a living doll.

Reality taking a twist in this environment, so too is P. Before digging deeper into the story, a point must be made: Tiptree striking an amazing balance between metaphor, symbolism, and just plain electric lexical dexterity, the surface of the story is a joy to read. Jamea the opening paragraphs:.

What I could tell you—you with your silly hands leaking sweat on your growth-stocks portfolio. You doubleknit dummy, how I’d love to show you something. Look, dead daddy, Girll say.

See for instance that rotten girl? In the crowd over there, that one gaping at her gods. One rotten girl in the city of the future. That’s what I said. She’s jammed among bodies, craning and peering with her soul yearning out of her eyeballs.

Her gods are coming out of a store called Body East. Tipree young-bloods, larking along loverly. Dressed like simple street-people but.


The Girl Who Was Plugged In/Screwtop by James Tiptree Jr.

See their great eyes swivel above their nose-filters, their hands lift shyly, their inhumanly tender lips melt? This whole boiling megacity, this whole fun future world hhe its gods. A pleasure to read from the first to last word, Tiptree presents her best skills as a poetess futura in this story. But the fact a pair of consequential, provocative sub-texts underlie the surface are what make the novella spectacular.

The first is the fairy-tale aspect, and its subsequent subversion. The second major sub-text is the manner in which the virtual-self interrelates with the actual self. Though incorporating some aspects of the psyche into this scenario, Tiptree Jr. The advertizing motif is thus wholly suitable—a tidal wave, in fact—that makes the whole story click like clockwork from beginning to end.

Prosaic, intelligent, and possessing a lot of heart, what appear simple elements are combined to tell a story that wrenches compassion from the reader. Burke without empathy and wonder in amazement at the society—one not so far removed from our own—she is a part of. Delphi becomes a doll, a puppet for big business, the strings of cyberpunk lurching her forward.

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