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Transgendered Ozma as Model for SF writer

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  • David Lenander
    ... A recent reference to Tip/Ozma in the sequel to Wizard of Oz comes in John Clute s review of the James Tiptree, Jr./Alice B. Sheldon biography: . . .
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 7, 2006
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      On Dec 7, 2006, at 2:26 PM, Diane Joy Baker quoted John Rateliff:

      > If it weren't for the
      > film, the book (& its interminable string of sequels,* authorized and
      > otherwise) would today be a minor historical footnote

      A recent reference to Tip/Ozma in the sequel to Wizard of Oz comes in
      John Clute's review of the James Tiptree, Jr./Alice B. Sheldon
      biography:

      . . . Alli's use of "Tip" as a nickname [might have been] created
      with this association in mind´┐Ż[. . .] that for Alice in Wonderland to
      call herself Tip lays down a broad urge-to-confess hint for anyone
      trying to plumb Tiptree's true identity, Tip being of course the
      magicked lad in L. Frank Baum's Ozma of Oz (1907) who is "really"
      Princess Ozma of Oz. Ozma may not be quite as well-known as Alice,
      but in 1920s America the Oz books were hugely popular and bore with
      them moreover a piquance of risk (the hatred librarians felt for Baum
      and his work-shy utopia has been well attested).

      Clute errs in placing Tip in _Ozma_, when in fact he means _The
      Marvelous Land of Oz_ (1904), and the relevance of _Land_'s
      popularity in the 20s to Alice Sheldon's choice of a pseudonym in the
      70s is a bit strained (I suppose he may be making a case that Sheldon
      would've been aware of the books from her childhood?) but in any
      case, it's easily established that many SF writers were well aware of
      the Oz stories, especially Tip's transgender odyssey from male to
      female in the 1904 children's book. I'll certainly grant his point
      that Alice was better known than Dorothy, but Dorothy makes a good
      foil for Alice (see Ruth Berman's story, "In a Season of Calm
      Weather" in the Mythcon 24 program book, and online on the Ruth
      Berman page), but in any case, this all seems relevant to our recent
      discussions of these books and their potential banning. Surely Clute
      and probably Sheldon were familiar with Stockton's work, but they're
      not only familiar with Baum's but referencing it to make important
      points.



      David Lenander
      d-lena@...
      2095 Hamline Ave. N.
      Roseville, MN 55113

      651-292-8887
      http://www.umn.edu/~d-lena/RIVENDELL.html




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John D Rateliff
      [re. the suggestion that Tiptree might derive from Tip/Ozma in THE MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ] Actually, I d say that the possibility that one of Sheldon s pen-
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 11, 2006
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        [re. the suggestion that "Tiptree" might derive from Tip/Ozma in THE
        MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ]

        Actually, I'd say that the possibility that one of Sheldon's pen-
        names might (or might not) have been inspired by a character in one
        of the early Oz sequels is exactly what I'd call a minor historical
        footnote. My point is and was that if the Oz books have survived at
        all, it's because of the movie. Without the movie, they be known only
        to specialists. WITH the movie, they've avoided that fate but still
        almost slipped out of public consciousness: now they're known to
        specialists and a few aficionados, the latter largely due to the Del
        Rey re-releases [circa 1979] attempted to revive interest in them.
        Even granting Clute's premise, if Sheldon had picked Horvendile as a
        pseudonym it'd have been just as much a tribute to once-popular
        fictions.

        I'd also want to know where the "Tree" in Tiptree came from before
        I'd take Clute's suggestion seriously that the name comes from Baum
        and not, say, a lumberjack. Too bad Python's "I'm a lumberjack, and
        I'm okay" sketch is too late to have been a source.

        --JDR
      • David Emerson
        ... My understanding is that Alice Sheldon took the name Tiptree as a whole, from a brand of jams and jellies. Picking it apart into the Tip and the Tree is,
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 11, 2006
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          >[re. the suggestion that "Tiptree" might derive from Tip/Ozma in THE
          >MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ]
          >
          >I'd also want to know where the "Tree" in Tiptree came from ...

          My understanding is that Alice Sheldon took the name Tiptree as a whole, from a brand of jams and jellies. Picking it apart into the Tip and the Tree is, I believe, erroneous.

          emerdavid

          ________________________________________
          PeoplePC Online
          A better way to Internet
          http://www.peoplepc.com
        • David Bratman
          She did, however (in her persona as James Tiptree) choose to sign her personal letters Tip, refusing to answer to James. I suspect the equation with Ozma is a
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 11, 2006
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            She did, however (in her persona as James Tiptree) choose to sign her personal letters Tip, refusing to answer to James. I suspect the equation with Ozma is a bridge too far, but the separate name Tip is there.

            -----Original Message-----
            >From: David Emerson <emerdavid@...>
            >Sent: Dec 11, 2006 11:20 AM
            >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            >Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Transgendered Ozma as Model for SF writer
            >
            >>[re. the suggestion that "Tiptree" might derive from Tip/Ozma in THE
            >>MARVELOUS LAND OF OZ]
            >>
            >>I'd also want to know where the "Tree" in Tiptree came from ...
            >
            >My understanding is that Alice Sheldon took the name Tiptree as a whole, from a brand of jams and jellies. Picking it apart into the Tip and the Tree is, I believe, erroneous.
          • David Bratman
            ... I should have read this before responding to David Emerson. DE is quite correct: the name Tiptree came from a jar of jam, and was not constructed by
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 11, 2006
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              At 10:43 AM 12/11/2006 -0800, John D Rateliff wrote:

              >I'd also want to know where the "Tree" in Tiptree came from before
              >I'd take Clute's suggestion seriously that the name comes from Baum
              >and not, say, a lumberjack.

              I should have read this before responding to David Emerson. DE is quite
              correct: the name Tiptree came from a jar of jam, and was not constructed
              by forming Tip + Tree. Good grief. It's a good thing we know that
              Tolkien's name came from his ancestors, or we'd be reading learned lectures
              to the effect that it's formed of toll + keen (toll = the cost to Frodo of
              wearing the Ring; keen = Sam's eagerness to travel with him). See, you can
              make up any old BOAS without even trying very hard.

              (BOAS is my new acronym, formed during a discussion last week of the kind
              of Mythcon papers we don't want. It stands for Boring Old Academic and you
              can guess what the S stands for.)


              >My point is and was that if the Oz books have survived at
              >all, it's because of the movie. Without the movie, they be known only
              >to specialists. WITH the movie, they've avoided that fate but still
              >almost slipped out of public consciousness

              That really depends on your definition of "survived" and "known" and
              "public consciousness", doesn't it? No doubt Oz is better known today than
              if the film had never been made, but there are few other childrens' books
              of that period that are as well remembered without the help of films. Even
              Pooh, famous as he'd be without any adaptations, is known today just as
              much for the Disney films, if the films' popularity and that of film-based
              illustrations is any judge. There is a Pooh shop in the Hundred Acre Wood
              today: I've been there. Thirty years ago when I first visited there was
              none, nor any Pooh directions on the trails either.

              How about Freddy the Pig? Never had a major movie, definitely less well
              known today than Oz is. Would you say that those books have not survived,
              that they're known only to specialists and have slipped out of public
              consciousness? Or would you say that without the MGM Oz film Oz would be
              less-known today than Freddy, that the Freddy books have more survival
              value on their own merits than Oz does?

              I would answer a firm no to both these questions.

              David Bratman
            • John D Rateliff
              Yes, I know about the jam story (cf. www.tiptree.com), though I don t know enough about Sheldon to know if it s true. Re. the Freddy the Pig books, you have me
              Message 6 of 6 , Dec 14, 2006
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                Yes, I know about the jam story (cf. www.tiptree.com), though I don't
                know enough about Sheldon to know if it's true.

                Re. the Freddy the Pig books, you have me at a disadvantage. My local
                library in the town where I grew up didn't have them, and I never
                heard of the books until I was nearly thirty, when someone pointed
                out the "To and Again" subtitle of FREDDY GOES TO FLORIDA as a
                possible parallel to THE HOBBIT's "There and Back Again". I've still
                never read any of Brooks' work. I will point out that a quick check
                shows not a single copy of any book from the series on the shelves in
                three large local bookstores here (Elliott Bay Books, the best of the
                independents, and also the nearest Borders and Barnes & Noble),
                though they can special order. Seems they were popular during their
                initial run (1927 to 1958), went out of print and pretty much
                disappeared thereafter, and were revived in recent years by Overlook
                Press (the name speaks for itself) as those who'd enjoyed them as
                children wanted copies to share with their own kids or grandkids. The
                same check in two of the above stores shows multiple copies of
                WONDERFUL WIZARD on the shelves (seven different editions on the same
                shelf in one store) and virtually none of the other books (the sole
                exception being one copy that had two of the sequels bound with the
                first story).
                So my guess wd be yes, the Freddy books have slipped down into
                the same nitch Oz would have were it not for the famous film. That's
                the fate of many a series, I'm afraid; the best way to avoid it is
                for a work to be exceptional in and of itself (WIND IN THE WILLOWS,
                THE HOBBIT) or to be tied to a famous movie (OZ), or both (ALICE,
                POOH), or for a book in the series to win the Newbery (DOLITTLE,
                PRYDAIN, &c).

                --JDR


                > <David Bratman wrote>
                > That really depends on your definition of "survived" and "known" and
                > "public consciousness", doesn't it? No doubt Oz is better known
                > today than
                > if the film had never been made, but there are few other childrens'
                > books
                > of that period that are as well remembered without the help of
                > films. Even
                > Pooh, famous as he'd be without any adaptations, is known today
                > just as
                > much for the Disney films, if the films' popularity and that of
                > film-based
                > illustrations is any judge. There is a Pooh shop in the Hundred
                > Acre Wood
                > today: I've been there. Thirty years ago when I first visited
                > there was
                > none, nor any Pooh directions on the trails either.
                >
                > How about Freddy the Pig? Never had a major movie, definitely less
                > well
                > known today than Oz is. Would you say that those books have not
                > survived,
                > that they're known only to specialists and have slipped out of public
                > consciousness? Or would you say that without the MGM Oz film Oz
                > would be
                > less-known today than Freddy, that the Freddy books have more survival
                > value on their own merits than Oz does?
                >
                > I would answer a firm no to both these questions.
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