Pseudopod 400: The Screwfly Solution

by James Tiptree Jr.

“The Screwfly Solution” first appeared in the June 1977 issue of Analog, won the Nebula award for Novelette in 1978 and has been reprinted multiple times since then. In 2006 it was adapted by Sam Hamm and Joe Dante as an episode of Showtime Network’s Masters of Horror series. It is being podcast with the permission of Jeffrey D. Smith and the Virginia Kidd Agency, Inc..

JAMES TIPTREE JR. was the pseudonym of Alice B. Sheldon (1915-1987). She was a photo-intelligence officer in WWII as well as a CIA agent, which formed the bulk of her career before academia. This experience was influential on her stories, including her in-depth understanding of national and international responses to crises. After her career with the CIA, she achieved a doctorate at George Washington University in Experimental Psychology in 1967, and her doctoral dissertation was on the responses of animals to novel stimuli in differing environments. You can see this reflected in her work and in this story. It was at this time that she started writing science fiction stories under a pseudonym to protect her new academic career, and chose a male name to fit in better at the magazines. In addition to James Tiptree, she published under the pseudonym Raccoona Sheldon. Tiptree also won two more Nebulas, two Hugos, and a World Fantasy Award. She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2012. In 1991, the James Tiptree, Jr. Award was named in her honor, and recognizes speculative fiction that expands or explores our understanding of gender. This story was later collected in Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. If you only pick up one Tiptree collection, and you should, this is a great place to start.

Your readers on this special episode include Matt Franklin as Alan, Tina Connolly as Anne, Anna Schwind as Amy, Matt Weller as Barney and Rish Outfield, Eric Luke, George Hrab & Jarus Durnett in supporting roles.

Please consider helping out P.G. Holyfield’s family here.

We mourn the loss of Larry Santoro. Please visit http://www.cancer.org/ and http://www.imermanangels.org/ to learn more about cancer support.

Also, Saladin Ahmed could really use your help.

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“AP/Nassau: The excursion liner Carib Swallow reached port under tow today after striking an obstruction in the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras. The obstruction was identified as part of a commercial trawler’s seine floated by female corpses. This confirms reports from Florida and the Gulf of the use of such seines, some of them over a mile in length. Similar reports coming from the Pacific coast and as far away as Japan indicate a growing hazard to coastwise shipping.”

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