Pharyngula

I can live with this result

I am:
James Tiptree, Jr.
(Alice B. Sheldon)

In the 1970s she was perhaps the most memorable, and one of the most popular, short story writers.  Her real life was as fantastic as her fiction.

Comments

  1. #1 theophylact
    January 27, 2007

    Stanislaw Lem — probably because my answers were internally inconsistent.

  2. #2 ecostudent
    January 27, 2007

    Cool! I’m Gregory Benford.

  3. #3 The Science Pundit
    January 27, 2007

    Isaac Asimov

  4. #4 Rebecca Ore
    January 27, 2007

    We are all James Tiptree. At least you, one of the other Philadelphia women SF writers, and I are.

  5. #5 Zeno
    January 27, 2007

    Jeepers! I turned out to be Kurt Vonnegut!

    (Would Kurt say “Jeepers”?)

  6. #6 cory
    January 27, 2007

    William Gibson, which is ironic because I really was and am no great fan of cyberpunk.

    I was hoping for Asimov or Bradbury.

  7. #7 Evolving Squid
    January 27, 2007

    I got Arthur C. Clarke

    —-
    Arthur C. Clarke

    Well known for nonfiction science writing and for early promotion of the effort toward space travel, his fiction was often grand and visionary.
    —-

  8. #8 Johnny Vector
    January 27, 2007

    Woo-hoo, I’m Gregory Benford too! Which is extra-nifty because I (occasionally) work with his nephew Dominic.

  9. #9 Blake Stacey
    January 27, 2007

    Hi ho! I got Kurt “I’m a monopolar depressive, descended from monopolar depressives — that’s how come I write so good” Vonnegut.

    I guess I can live with this result. If not, so it goes.

  10. #10 craig
    January 27, 2007

    I got Octavia Butler, who I’m not familiar with.

  11. #11 RedMolly
    January 27, 2007

    William Gibson. Which I’m going to interpret as Neal Stephenson, ’cause I like him better.

    And craig: Butler’s “Parable of the Talents” is a terrific book.

  12. #12 Krystalline Apostate
    January 27, 2007

    I got Arthur C. Clarke. I was hoping for Zelazny or Ellison, but oh well.

  13. #13 Keith
    January 27, 2007

    I’m Kurt Vonnegut as well, which is not surprising as he is a major influence on my writing and my general outlook.

  14. #14 vairitas
    January 27, 2007

    how odd, i’m James Tiptree jr as well….

  15. #15 dzd
    January 27, 2007

    Asimov. Sideburns FTW.

  16. #16 JD Kolassa
    January 27, 2007

    PZ’s a girl? o.O

    Oh, and I’m Gregory Benford, by the way. Nice to meet y’all.

  17. #17 Graculus
    January 27, 2007

    Erm… Samuel R Delany.

    I suppose that is only just, being one of the dozen people in existance who 1) finished and 2) liked Dhalgren.

  18. #18 PZ Myers
    January 27, 2007

    PZ’s a girl?

    But I’m pretending to be a guy. Nothing confusing about that at all.

  19. #19 Kurt
    January 27, 2007

    I am Arthur C. Clarke!
    Yes!!!!!!!

  20. #20 fusilier
    January 27, 2007
    I am:
    E.E. “Doc” Smith

    The inventor of space opera. His purple space war tales remain well-read generations later.

    }{}{}{}{}{}
    And DAMNED proud of it! – heck, I even married the Red Lensman
    fusilier
    James 2:24

  21. #21 Dark Matter
    January 27, 2007

    Her real life was as fantastic as her fiction.

    And as tragic as well…

    A sample of her writing-

    Love is the Plan The Plan is Death

  22. #22 Janice in GA
    January 27, 2007

    Hey, I’m Hal Clement! Cooooool.

  23. #23 Masklinn
    January 27, 2007

    I’m William Gibson.

    As a computer geek, that makes me feel all warm inside.

  24. #24 Sir Craig
    January 27, 2007

    How odd…I seem to be the only person who turned out to be Ursula LeGuin. The only book of hers I’ve read is Left Hand of Darkness, which I don’t even remember (having read it some 20+ years ago for a sci-fi appreciation class to fulfill an English requirement).

    Still, she seems to be popular and talented…

  25. #25 marghlar
    January 27, 2007

    Ack! I’m Vonnegut. I mean, he’s okay, but it’s really not what I would have picked. Why couldn’t I be Philip Dick, or William Gibson, or Frank Herbert? Ultimately, I have a fairly low tolerance for Vonnegut, especially after reading Breakfast of Champions.

    That being said, I bet Vonnegut would have responded similarly to being told he was himself. So maybe this makes sense, even if it is depressing.

  26. #26 marghlar
    January 27, 2007

    And the really sad part? Was that I kept trying to change different answers, to see if I could get a writer I like better, and as long as I stayed within the range of things I actually thought, I couldn’t manage it. It kept giving me V.

  27. #27 rlrr
    January 27, 2007

    Erm… Samuel R Delany. I suppose that is only just, being one of the dozen people in existance who 1) finished and 2) liked Dhalgren.

    I got Gregory Benford. And I must be one of the 12 because I finished and enjoyed Dhalgren

  28. #28 Jim D
    January 27, 2007

    Hal Clement (Harry C. Stubbs)

    A quiet and underrated master of “hard science” fiction who, among other things, foresaw integrated circuits back in the 1940s.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Interesting. If anyone would like to see if that stands up, take a look at my SF Novel (downloadable for free): http://www.communionofdreams.com

  29. #29 George
    January 27, 2007

    Who the heck is Olaf Stapledon?

  30. #30 brightmoon
    January 27, 2007

    gregory benford ..i suppose ill have to read him now ….ironically ive read all of the others

  31. #31 andy
    January 27, 2007

    William Gibson. Which is strange, because I don’t like cyberpunk all that much.

  32. #32 PZ Myers
    January 27, 2007

    You don’t know who Olaf Stapledon is? You must not be any kind of True SF Fan then. Last and First Men, Starmaker — classic space opera on an immense scale.

  33. #33 Odonata
    January 27, 2007

    I got Cordwainer Smith. Now I’m going to have to read his work.

  34. #34 Michael M.
    January 27, 2007

    Samuel R. Delaney also, which is cool ’cause he’s one of the only possibilities I’ve actually met (though I didn’t sleep with him). Probably has something to do with the “opposite sex” question. You didn’t mention the survey had a heterosexual bias.

  35. #35 justawriter
    January 27, 2007

    U.K. LeGuin. I can certainly live with that.

  36. #36 Zarquon
    January 27, 2007

    Cordwainer Smith is great! Manimals (called Underpeople)! Stroon! Norstrilia! After you’ve read the stories, have a look here for illustrations.

  37. #37 Nix
    January 27, 2007

    It appears to be reliable, if it’s the same one that was around a few years ago. Hal Clement took the test

  38. #38 Baratos
    January 27, 2007

    I am Spartacus. :|

  39. #39 Krystalline Apostate
    January 27, 2007

    Cordwainer Smith is great!
    Of the Cordwainers, I prefer Bird.
    Hehehehe.

  40. #40 jufulu
    January 27, 2007

    Fank Herbert? I got so tired of Dune.

  41. #41 Monado
    January 27, 2007

    I’m Hal Clement; but if I change one answer I was iffy on, I’m Ursula K. Le Guin.

    Octavia Butler was a wonderful writer of wierd and strong-minded tales. Unfortunately, she died last year at a relatively young age. Here’s my post from that time: Octavia Butler.

  42. #42 kad
    January 27, 2007

    Note to marghlar – you have to reload the page and then re-enter all answers to get a different response – if you just hit the back button and change a few answers you will always get the same writer that you did the first time.

    Initially I got Cordwainer Smith. Like all these things many of the questions have no single satisfactory answer. Doing various combinations of responses that I thought were more or less appropriate I got: William Gibson, Kurt Vonnegut, Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin.

    I was also able to select answers that produced a Philip K. Dick outcome. However, as much as I admire his writing, actually being like Dick is not a fate I would wish on anyone.

  43. #43 Monado
    January 27, 2007

    Here’s Fantastic Fiction UK’s author page for Octavia E. Butler.

    I really like this as a resource for science fiction, and in the last couple of years it has branched off into mystery and then just about everybody. It seems to concentrate on living authors.

  44. #44 Monado
    January 27, 2007

    Thanks for the link to “Love is the Plan the Plan is Death.” That’s one of my favourite stories.

  45. #45 The Ridger
    January 27, 2007

    kad and marghlar – that’s not true. Or at least, wasn’t true for me in Firefox; just changing one answer radically gave me a different answer… Not that I objected to my assignment, mind you: Olaf Stapledon! How cool! (But I wouldn’t have minded Cordwainer Smith, either.)

  46. #46 Todd Adamson
    January 27, 2007

    PK Dick. That’s rather disturbing. I don’t remember trying for that answer. Maybe it wasn’t me.

  47. #47 fyreflye
    January 27, 2007

    I turned out to be one of the many Greg Benfords. Which is strange only in that I, and probably most of the posters here, did not vote for George in 1990 and I’d think Benford did.

    BTW, considering the number of science fiction writers there’ve been it’s strange that our results keep overlapping among a few dozen and a half. Are there really no Bob Heinleins, Stanley G Weinbaums or, god forbid, H P Lovecrafts among us?

  48. #48 pluky
    January 27, 2007

    Oh no!! I’m Ayn Rand. Tell me it isn’t so.

  49. #49 wistah
    January 27, 2007

    Gregory Benford. Now if only I knew who he was….

  50. #50 marghlar
    January 27, 2007

    Thanks for the tip, kad — I was able to rig it to give me PFD, Gibson and Lem (all acceptable outcomes) without having to put in answers that were ridiculous for me.

    But I’m still depressed that my natural tendencies lead to KV.

    And to whoever said that getting picked as Dick is unpleasant, given his life (not his writing) — how ironic is it (given his portrayal of Lincoln’s depressed simulacrum in We Can Build You) that he was the first human to have an android simulacrum, even if it wouldn’t be up to the standards of the Rosen Organ Co.? I think he would have found that far more depressing than anything in his life (except maybe the events leading up to the afterword of A Scanner Darkly).

  51. #51 Wally Whateley
    January 27, 2007

    I got Vonnegut. Damn and blast, I hate Vonnegut. :/

  52. #52 fyreflye
    January 27, 2007

    …did not vote for George in 1990…

    I meant of course to write 2000. I must have had a Philip K Dick moment.

  53. #53 Joel
    January 27, 2007

    I got John Brunner….

    “His best known works are dystopias — vivid realizations of the futures we want to avoid.”

    That’s weird because I just last week picked up a used copy of Stand on Zanzibar — I wonder if this means I’ll like it?

  54. #54 Paguroidea
    January 27, 2007

    Isaac Asimov. Ooh. I like his books.

  55. #55 Torbjrn Larsson
    January 27, 2007

    Asimov.

    Boooring, but I like his versatility otherwise. (Oh, what the heck, who am I kidding – I have the entire Foundation and Robot series, and some of his short stories kick major speculative ass.)

    Not that I have his fright for flying or parachuting; I love it, next to a fast car.

  56. #56 Torbjrn Larsson
    January 27, 2007

    Asimov.

    Boooring, but I like his versatility otherwise. (Oh, what the heck, who am I kidding – I have the entire Foundation and Robot series, and some of his short stories kick major speculative ass.)

    Not that I have his fright for flying or parachuting; I love it, next to a fast car.

  57. #57 Keith Douglas
    January 27, 2007

    Asimov for me too.

    I like that, given his non-fiction works. (I have a few of those, too.)

    And my father was/is a chemist (what does one say about retirees?), so that sort of works …

  58. #58 QrazyQat
    January 27, 2007

    Before Tiptree’s identify was made public, around late 70s, a prominent critic made the observation that for the decade before all the most interesting SciFi writers were female, except for Tiptree. :)

  59. #59 cebm
    January 27, 2007

    I think I’m gonna cry. I got Heinlein. I thought he was great, when I was 12.

  60. #60 Zeno
    January 27, 2007

    Ha! Heinlein thought he was great when he was 12, too!

  61. #61 coturnix
    January 27, 2007

    I should have taken the questions more seriously – I got Heinlein, too.

  62. #62 DuWayne
    January 28, 2007

    And I am Ursala LeGuin. Though I would have been happy to be nearly (Ayn Rand?!?!) everyone listed in this thread, I have to say, that I find being Ursala quite satisfying.

  63. #63 afarensis, FCD
    January 28, 2007

    I got Cordwainer Smith. Now I’m going to have to read his work.

    I am soooo jealous!

  64. #64 RBH
    January 28, 2007

    A second Delany, which works for me: my beard is a dab shorter than his, but just as white.

  65. #65 Hank Fox
    January 28, 2007

    Vonnegut.

    I’d rather be Terry Pratchett!

  66. #66 Fedaykin
    January 28, 2007

    Frackin’ right on; I got Frank Herbert. Now look at my name.

    2+2

  67. #67 LiberalDirk
    January 28, 2007

    I am Arthur C Clarke

  68. #68 Radi
    January 28, 2007

    I’m Asimov :) I learnt to delight in well-written science fiction with a story of Asimov’s that we had in English class, I think I was in the third or fourth grade – “The fun they had” – that, and “The Foghorn”, by Ray Bradbury, were my introduction to the world of science fiction.

  69. #69 Leslie in CA
    January 28, 2007

    Ursula K. LeGuin. Talented and popular? Okay, works for me.

  70. #70 James In Ottawa
    January 28, 2007

    I must be the outlier here…

    I’m Ayn Rand

    Then again I am an economist :-)

  71. #71 JM
    January 28, 2007

    I got Hal Clement, and I’ve read hardly any of his writing. I guess I shall have to try something else of his now!

    I wanted to get the result “Arthur C. Clarke” – what would I answers would I have to have given? For a start, for Arthur, question 1 would have had to have the answer “Contact with extra-terrestial intelligence”.

  72. #72 Thony C.
    January 28, 2007

    I just had a very strange experience with this particular piece of webb insanity. Whilst scrolling through the last 24 hours list of Science Blogs I stumbled over several of the “What Science Fiction Writer Are You” posts.Without knowing what it was about I speculated about myself whilst scrolling and came up with the answer; Samuel R Delany. Then finally I arrived here and discovered that the whole thing was one of those idiot webb multipul choice tests, so being an idiot I did the test and what came up as an answer? You’ve guessed it Samuel R Delany!

  73. #73 Magnum
    January 28, 2007

    Stanislav Lem.

    I read Solaris several years ago (a translation of course) and loved it. I’ve watched the almost 4hr Russian version (sans subtitles) and actually quite enjoyed it. I’m also one of few who liked Soderbergh’s movie version too.

  74. #74 G. Tingey
    January 28, 2007

    Olaf Stapledon got me into SF _ I read my father’s pre-war copy when I was 9 …..-

    Erm, Arthur C. Clarke is still alive!

  75. #75 Pat K
    January 28, 2007

    I turned out to be Philip Jos Farmer. My, my!

    (I’m another person read and enjoyed Dhalgren, years ago. Haunts me still.)

  76. #76 Graculus
    January 28, 2007

    I’m also one of few who liked Soderbergh’s movie version too.

    It wasn’t bad, it just bore no resemblence to Solaris ;-)

    By going through and fidddling with a few iffy answers I came up with Lem and Clement.

  77. #77 Magnum
    January 28, 2007

    Yeah, Tarkovskiy’s version was much closer to the book. I’d have loved to be able to follow the dialogue, but as I say, there weren’t even subtitles. I really enjoyed it though, I actually got off on the 10-minute long scenes just lingering on the roiling planet.

    The Hollywood version (with Clooney) was weird enough to have followed some of the original story at least, but had too much happy-ending thrown in (which is to be expected).

  78. #78 Selma
    January 28, 2007

    Ayn Rand, which I’m taking as a huge compliment!

  79. #79 David Harmon
    January 28, 2007

    Bah, it keeps insisiting I’m Wiliam Gibsonm and I gave up on his work.

  80. #80 speedwell
    January 28, 2007

    Isaac Asimov, which was complimetary. I should have gotten Ayn Rand, and I wanted,/i> Heinlein.

  81. #81 Tristram Shandy
    January 28, 2007

    Ursula K. LeGuin. Appropriate, since we’re both anarchists.

  82. #82 Mary
    January 28, 2007

    I was Tiptree, too.

    I cheated and looked at the code. What, no Ellison? And why the hell was Mickey Spillane even an option?

  83. #83 Chris Ho-Stuart
    January 28, 2007

    I turn out to be Gregory Benford. The page also provides a lovely bit of additional detail about Benford:

    The real Greg Benford once took this quiz, and it told him he was Arthur C. Clarke.

  84. #84 Dawn O'Day
    January 28, 2007

    Ayn Rand! Which was astonishing because she is one of my all-time favorite authors. I disagree with her politics, but believe she’s a brilliant (and I mean BRILLIANT) writer. I believe that if she were a guy she’d be way more respected than she is. Also, if she were writing in the 19th century, when big narratives were more popular and respected.

    I also think the sf elements of her work have been underrecognized.

    Dawn

  85. #85 bernarda
    January 28, 2007

    “Ultimately, I have a fairly low tolerance for Vonnegut, especially after reading Breakfast of Champions.”

    That is a Great Book! If you don’t like that, you probably won’t like another great book by Vonnegut, Deadeye Dick.

    I came out as Stanilaw Lem, whom I’ve never heard of.

  86. #86 andy
    January 28, 2007

    First time I did it I got William Gibson. Second time I got Olaf Stapledon. Both I’ve heard of, but haven’t read anything by.

  87. #87 Russell Blackford
    January 28, 2007

    Surprisingly (to me) I came up as Hal Clement.

  88. #88 Kristine
    January 28, 2007

    Yeah, well guess who I got. Samuel Delany for pete’s sake. Into the Star Pit with space opera queen here, I was hoping for Le Guin or at least Stanislaw Lem. That’s what you get, Kristine, for being a smartass. (“I am the opposite sex”! ha, ha! I’ll choose that!)

    Magnum, we love Solaris and we have the version with subtitles, so come on over sometime. Have you seen Stalker?

  89. #89 Ron Sullivan
    January 28, 2007

    I’m Hal Clement too. Odd.

    I’m also one of the putative twelve who read Dhalgren — more than once, and the second time I started and finished somewhere in the middle, just to see if it worked — and I join the chorus of praise for Butler. I’d start with the Pattern series, though. I think she wrote Mind of My Mind first. Or start with the short collection Bloodchild.

    I read Tiptree/Sheldon’s biography last fall, and it’s a good read. Funny, you’d think I’d end up as her on an Internet quiz. And I even answered “I am the opposite sex.”

  90. #90 Gravculus
    January 28, 2007

    Yeah, Tarkovskiy’s version was much closer to the book. I’d have loved to be able to follow the dialogue, but as I say, there weren’t even subtitles.

    My copy is subtitled. I should digitize it soon.

    A friend of mine took Russian literature (in Russian) and sat through the un-subtitled Tarkovsky three times. She didn’t get it at all, which is no suprise, as her favourite authors are the Bronte sisters. I saw he Tarkovsky first in the local rep theater when it was finally released here.

    Also a shout out for the brothers Strugatsky. Russian SF is quite interesting.

    I think the trick to getting Delaney is being a middling asshole.

  91. #91 Tristram Shandy
    January 28, 2007

    I believe that if she were a guy she’d be way more respected than she is. Also, if she were writing in the 19th century, when big narratives were more popular and respected.

    Alternatively, she could have achieved respect by writing for the BDSM crowd, for whom scenes of strong-willed women who have their wills broken by guys with the initials H.R. in a completely unnecessary quasi-rape scene are a positive plus.

  92. #92 Kristine
    January 28, 2007

    Hey, I changed one answer (not the gender-bender one) and got Gregory Benford! Okay, now I can sleep tonight.

  93. #93 marghlar
    January 29, 2007

    I came out as Stanilaw Lem, whom I’ve never heard of.

    Well, you should check him out; it’s good stuff.

    I’ve liked other Vonnegut fine (Cat’s Cradle, Hocus Pocus), but B of C was insufferable. I’m actually quite curious what you found enjoyable about it. I couldn’t believe that I had waded through that entire book only to find that a substantial portion of the ending involved the omniscient narrator describing his own “world record” penis.

  94. #94 bernarda
    January 29, 2007

    As it has been some years since I read B of C, marghlar, it is difficult for me to give you a detailed reply. I just looked to make sure I still had it on my shelves. Maybe I’ll get to it again.

    It is a book in the style of the theater of the absurd. It is in the line of pataphysics(from Alfred Jarry). I can understand not liking the book if that is not your cup of tea, but I find it hilarious. Disparate elements linked together in finally a consistent narrative that makes “sense” in its particular world.

    Other types of books in this genre are Ishmael Reed’s “Mumbo Jumbo” and books by Boris Vian, “Autumn in Pekin”, “Heartsnatcher”, and “Froth on the Daydream”. The last one is originally “L’cume des jours”, which I think would be better translated as “the froth of life” or “the froth of our days”.

  95. #95 Rupert
    January 29, 2007

    Arthur C Clarke. Which, seeing as I’m an Englishman from the West Country, is only fitting. (Incidentally, anyone visiting London can see a small permanent exhibition of ACC’s bits and pieces in the space gallery of the Science Museum).

    What I want to know is – why has Childhood’s End never been made into a movie? C’mon, chaps, we’ve got computers that draw: I know that the sequence on the Overlord’s home world doesn’t do anything for the plot (and isn’t it interesting how you never notice things like that when you’re ten), but since when has that worried H’wood?

    R

  96. #96 ArtK
    January 29, 2007

    William Gibson, whom I can’t stand.

    I’d much rather have been “Doc” Smith.

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