The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Crown of Stars collects stories written by Alice Sheldon under both of her pseudonyms, James Tiptree, Jr., and the less frequently used Raccoona Sheldon. Although most of these stories first appeared in print in science-fiction magazines and anthologies between 1985 and 1988, “Last Night and Every Night” and “The Earth Doth Like a Snake Renew” are products of the 1970’s, and one story, “Come Live with Me,” appears in print for the first time.

“Yanqui Doodle” and “Morality Meat,” though published under different pseudonyms, are similar in theme and tone. Both are set in the near future and examine the impact of political decisions on unprivileged citizens. In “Morality Meat,” the crusade to end abortion rights has resulted in a huge number of unwanted babies. So overcrowded are adoption centers that many babies are butchered and sold as suckling pigs to the very rich, who, it is indicated, know what they are eating. In “Yanqui Doodle,” a young soldier is given pills to make him both willing to kill and able to forget his deeds. When he is wounded, his supply is cut off, and he begins to remember the atrocities he has committed. Unable to live with his memories but realizing that the real enemy is the government that used and abandoned him, he attacks a convoy of his own military leaders.

Another theme common in the collection is the role of religion in providing meaning for existence. “In Midst of...

(The entire section is 532 words.)