Alan C. Elms
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Journal Articles

Among my recent journal articles is "The Psychologist Who Empathized with Rats: James Tiptree, Jr. as Alice B. Sheldon, PhD," in Science Fiction Studies, March 2004, vol. 31, pp. 81-96. The article begins:

"We all know by now that James Tiptree, Jr., the sf writer who could fire off a masculine metaphor with the best of the boys, was in reality Alice Bradley Sheldon. When Tiptree's real name was revealed after a decade of disguise, the sf world was fascinated to hear of her far-ranging childhood travels with her explorer parents, her early career as a professional artist, her World War II and Cold War service in military intelligence and the CIA. It also became known that Sheldon had earned a PhD in Psychology in midlife. But as the Tiptree legend grew, the PhD was seldom treated as more than a filler between her CIA work and her sf writing debut. . . . To Alice Sheldon, however, her identity as an experimental psychologist was neither accidental nor incidental. She expressed a passion for psychological research that was far more intense than anything she said about her art or her CIA assignments. In various interviews and essays she repeated much the same words: '[B]ecoming a genuine research psychologist - PhD, 1967 - brought me the greatest genuine thrill of my life.'"

A fairly recent journal article is "Behind the Jet-Propelled Couch: Cordwainer Smith and Kirk Allen," in the New York Review of Science Fiction, May 2002 issue. The article begins:

"In 1978 I began to pursue the question of whether Paul Linebarger, aka Cordwainer Smith, had been the patient in 'The Jet-Propelled Couch,' a psychoanalytic case history written by Robert Lindner. . . . Lindner's book, The Fifty-Minute Hour, has sold several million copies since its first publication in 1955 and has remained almost constantly in print. The book's most fascinating case, 'The Jet-Propelled Couch,' has been reprinted in magazines and anthologies, has been dramatized on live TV, has repeatedly been optioned for a feature-length film, and even provided the basis for a Stephen Sondheim musical that (like all those potential film versions) was never completed."

(Single copies of The New York Review of Science Fiction are available for $3.50 each from Dragon Press, P. O. Box 78, Pleasantville, NY 10570.)



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