Sheri S. Tepper, RIP

The Gate to Women's Country
I should have done this yesterday, but I was rather preoccupied. Sorry.

I met Sheri Tepper once, which just goes to prove that old adage about never meeting your heroes. It was when she was a Guest of Honor at WisCon. She was very grumpy all weekend.

Tepper did not think much of men. Given what I have heard about her life, I can see why.

Some of her later novels weren’t just bad, I found them morally abhorrent. She was a committed environmentalist who appeared to believe that, for the good of the planet, most of the human population should be culled. She flirted with eugenics.

Nevertheless, she was an amazing woman. She published her first novel in 1983 at the age of 54 and went on to have a prolific and successful career. In Grass, The Gate to Women’s Country and Beauty she produced three remarkable novels. Not perfect, because no novel is, but very powerful and thought-provoking.

All of which goes to show that you can admire problematic people, and problematic work. All it requires is an acceptance that nothing is wholly good or wholly bad. Not even Brussels sprouts or dill pickle.

For all of my often annoyance at Tepper, she made me think hard, and for that I am very grateful. I hope that wherever she has gone she has found a place where she can be less angry at the world.

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