Gavin has just put up a scan of a truly remarkable literary artifact — a gushy fan letter that James Tiptree, Jr., wrote to Carol Emshwiller in 1975. (And which Carol* graciously donated to the Tiptree Auction this year.) If you just want readable text, you can find it here. The opening’s a peach:
May a stranger make known how much your book, JOY IN OUR CAUSE has been enjoyed? Weak word, meant to include admired, goggled at, occasionally genuflected to, been rivetted in entrancement by, and, not least, suffered suicidal inferiority-convictions from.
But before I go on, please—do not, I beg of you, feel that this letter must be acknowledged, etc. etc.—I should hate to think that I had robbed your time. I’m also a writer of minor sorts and I know what a curse unsolicited communications can be. So just pop this in the round file and know that the pleasure of expressing pleasure completes the act. (It does, you know; strange thing this impulse to say, how good, how good.)
At Wiscon, Carol said that the letter was so flattering, she was never able to respond. She put it away, and wasn’t even sure if anyone would be interested when she brought it to Madison. Interested!
*It feels weird and fairly inappropriate to throw around Carol, but after serving on the Fountain Jury together, it’d be far too weird to go with the impersonal Emshwiller.
3 thoughts on “Tiptree Fan Letter”
Wow. One of the many cool revelations of the Tiptree bio is fnding out what an over-the-top gusher Tip was. No half measures there.
I blushed for Carol reading it and I think she’s an awesome writer, too. I totally understand why she never answered.
Oh, me too. I can barely bring myself to respond to a nice hello.
Great letter, great writing and awesome compliments put on paper. I can see why she didn’t answer the letter.
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