#AtoZChallenge 2024 letter T

Sherri S. Tepper

This is my yearly post demanding that everyone read Sherri S. Tepper. She was amazing. I found her books in my little rural library where I was living in the early 2000s. I read The Family Tree first. I was enjoying it just fine. It is about nature fighting back against overdevelopment. Right up my alley. Then, in the middle, there is a twist that made me a Sherri Tepper fangirl for life. I remember sitting there with my mouth open.

She was a very ardent ecofeminist and this came through in her writing. Sometimes it can get preachy. She was a director for Planned Parenthood and a lot of her writing deals with rising fundamentalism and oppression of women.

She’s an author who I feel wrote better standalone books than series. My absolute favorite is The Fresco.

A woman in an abusive relationship is chosen by aliens to be the person who announces to the world that contact has been made. There are two threads to the story. One is the story of how the aliens are forcing Earth to become “Neighborly” in order to get us in line with their laws so they can protect us from another species who wants to hunt us. I love this and want to live in this world. They just come in and fix all our problems in hysterically logical ways. The second thread is the aliens telling Benita their story, which is a conflict about religious fundamentalism.

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall is also directly influenced by her work with reproductive rights.

A political candidate is taking advantage of anger over a case of a teenage girl abandoning a baby. The attorney on her case is a woman with a strong group of friends from college who band together to help her, including a friend who they all thought was dead.

Tepper has a lot of other books but these are good starting places. She even has some mystery series written under other names. She’s funny, she’s smart, and she’s angry at the injustice she saw in the world. She deserves to be remembered along side Atwood and other classic feminist writers.