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Creator / Sheri S. Tepper

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Sheri Stewart Tepper (July 16, 1929 – October 22, 2016) was an author, born in Colorado, America. She wrote primarily sci-fi and fantasy; and also had a couple of horror and mystery titles, written under various pseudonyms.

Works by Sheri S. Tepper with their own trope pages include:

  • The Gate to Women's Country
  • The True Game seriesnote 

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    Other works (as Sheri S. Tepper) 
  • After Long Silence
  • The Arbai Trilogy:
    • Grass
    • Raising the Stones
    • Sideshow
  • The Awakeners series:
    • NorthShore
    • SouthShore
  • Beauty
  • The Companions
  • Ettison Duo:
    • Blood Heritage
    • The Bones
  • The Family Tree
  • The Fresco
  • Gibbon's Decline and Fall
  • The Margarets
  • The Marianne Trilogy:
    • Marianne, the Magus, and the Manticore
    • Marianne, the Madame, and Momentary Gods
    • Marianne, the Matchbox, and the Malachite Mouse
  • Plague of Angels series:
    • Plague of Angels
    • The Waters Rising
  • The Revenants
  • Shadow's End
  • Singer from the Sea
  • Six Moon Dance
  • The Visitor
  • The Further Adventures of Batman contribution "Someone Like You"

    Under other names 
  • Jason Lynx Mysteries (as A.J. Orde): six novels
  • Shirley McClintock Mysteries (as B.J. Oliphant): seven novels
  • Still Life (as E. E. Horlak)

Other works by Sheri S. Tepper provide examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: The Marianne trilogy is one doozy of an example: Marianne, the Magus and the Manticore, then Marianne, the Madame, and the Momentary Gods, and finally Marianne, the Matchbox, and the Malachite Mouse.
  • Assimilation Plot: The Hobbs Land Gods in the Arbai Trilogy unite those under their influence into a collective hive-mind. They're actually primarily a psionic communication device, and people retain their individuality. In the third novel, Sideshow, the planet Elsewhere has planetary-government mandated diversity as a countermeasure to this.
  • Author Tract: Much of Tepper's work reads as thinly-disguised feminist utopianism, particularly The Gate to Women's Country and The Revenants. Beauty paints a rather extreme picture of the human race's 'destruction' of Earth's environment.
  • Body Horror: It's found in spades in Tepper's novels. In Shadow's End, in exchange for humans being permitted to live on the planet Dinadh, when a woman experiences her first pregnancy she is then gang-raped by a native race called the Kachis. Several Kachis grow in her womb, eating the human foetus for sustenance. When the woman goes into labour, if there isn't a special container to restrain the Kachis when they are born, they will proceed to attack the woman. In Gibbon's Decline and Fall the main villain envisions a world where women exist in mindless suspended animation, the only part of their body utilised is the womb in order to create more men for his "perfect reality." It seems that Tepper's pre-author career working for Planned Parenthood gave her plenty of material for this trope. See also the novel Sideshow for dinka-jins.
  • Bride and Switch: Towards the end of The Companions, main character Jewel does this to her ex-husband, who is still infatuated with her. She has the identity of the fake bride concealed by telling him that veiling the bride until the wedding night is a tradition of the planet she now lives on. On the wedding night itself, she uses scent-language shenanigans to de-infatuate him with herself and re-infatuate him with his new bride. He doesn't mind, but his mother doesn't take it well.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": In the novel Grass there is a native breed of animal specifically called the Hippae, but those who live on the planet of Grass commonly refer to them as "mounts" and ride them in their fox hunt. Due to some miscommunication, offplanet equestrians arrive to join in the hunt and encounter the horrifying reality - the Hippae are three times as large as horses, their neck is covered in spiny barbs, and with their vicious intelligence they control the hunt and those who ride upon them. The Foxen and the Hounds aren't much like foxes or hounds, either. Tepper initially leaves the reader just as much in the dark as to the nature of the Hippae as she does the offplanet tourists.
  • City Planet: Tepper has a novel called Beauty, in which the Earth has had all its wilderness wiped out, followed by any and all crop growing facilities. And in Shadow's End, the governing planet of an entire solar system is a City Planet.
  • Conjoined Twins: in Sideshow, also a major plot point in the Margarets
  • Contemplate Our Navels: In Grass the hyper-intelligent Foxen are being killed off by the less intelligent, but more ambitious, Hippae. Hippae can rarely catch mature Foxen but go after ones that have just metamorphosed. The Foxen could band together and destroy the threat but refuse to do so until convinced to act, because they have degenerated into passive navel-gazers consumed by guilt over having destroyed a peaceful civilization while they themselves were Hippae.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Sideshow is set on a planet obsessed with preserving cultural diversity, to the point that there are Enforcers whose job is to prevent its various subcultures imposing their values on each other — even values like "sacrificing infants to stone idols is bad".
  • "Day of the Week" Name: In Raising the Stones siblings were named after days of the week. They didn't know what the words meant - their parents took them from an old list in an obsolete language, and thought they'd make good names.
  • Fixing the Game: In Marianne, the Matchbox, and the Malachite Mouse, Marianne's sorcerous husband goes into a high-stakes game armed with a pair of dice he's enchanted to throw any number he requires — even if the number he requires is 1.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: In Beauty, based on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, Beauty tricks her half sister into being pricked by the magical spindle. Once escaping the sleeping curse, Beauty travels through different eras in history and unwittingly causes other fairy tales to happen.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: In the section of Beauty set in the future, the population produces only one type of food. It is small, squarish, and cracker-like. The artificial colours indicate what vitamins each cracker provides. They are largely tasteless and textureless (although one of the blues has a slight flavour).
  • Gaia's Lament: In Beauty. In the section of the book set in the future, the wilderness and all its animal species are wiped out (even the oceans) to make way for crop growing facilities and housing for the rapidly growing population. People live packed on top of each other in tiny appartment 'boxes' and eat artificial food.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: In Tepper's The Fresco, a miracle is faked to allow the eponymous fresco to be repainted.
  • Half-Identical Twins: In Sideshow, two of the main characters are conjoined twins of different genders. This is justified in that they were both born intersexed, with ambiguous genitalia. The doctors asked their parents for their opinion on what to do, and while the father was certain that the first one was male (the Virgin Mary had told him so), the mother thought it would be nice to have a little girl. Naturally, the two run into some problems at puberty, since they share a circulatory system, but they each identify as the gender they were assigned and raised as.
  • Heir Club for Men: Played with.
    • In Six Moon Dance the founding mothers of the planet Newholme create an artificial scarcity of female babies, and a dominant ideology that females are the stronger sex and males are the weaker, leading to the population desiring female heirs.
    • In Raising the Stones the power derived by males from their heirs is eradicated by legally denying the father-child relationship. Heirs are are only accepted through the maternal line, and any male claiming fathership is frowned upon.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: In The Family Tree, a magical force of nature shows up to force humanity to live in a more ecological way. Among its traits is causing magical abortions on women pregnant with their third or later child, and making third or later children under the age of two disappear without a trace. Presumably murdered, though they never find the bodies. (It is, by the way, presented as a benevolent force.)
  • Lady Land: Is used in Six Moon Dance and The Gate to Women's Country.
  • Mister Seahorse: In The Fresco, some aliens temporarily stranded on Earth pick on a group of powerful conservative American men to incubate their young, reasoning that since the men are opposed to abortion, they'll agree that it is their duty to help the aliens out. The men are not happy, especially when it turns out the young aliens will have to eat their way out of their bodies. The whole incident provides an anvilicious moral: don't force others to do what you aren't willing to do yourself.
  • No Woman's Land: Many examples. Raising the Stones, Sideshow, Shadow's End, and Gibbon's Decline and Fall offer examples of entire planets that are women-unfriendly.
  • Our Angels Are Different: In Grass the main character has a dream/vision of heaven in which an angel has a conversation with God. Instead of the traditional bird wings it sports dragonfly wings which she notes make more anatomical sense.
  • Persecution Flip: Six Moon Dance is about a repressive matriarchal society. Tepper has a very feminist message in a lot of her work, so this is sort of like "examining demographics that would lead to men being oppressed in the same way as women".
  • Prophecy Twist: In The Revenants, the protagonist sets out to fulfill a prophecy, not knowing that it's actually a distorted transcription-from-memory of the real prophecy. By the end of the book, both versions of the prophecy have come true.
  • Religion is Magic: In Beauty, Christian miracles are unconsciously drawn from the same magical energy that pagan magicians and fairies consciously work with.
  • Robotic Torture Device: In Six Moon Dance there's a sexual bondage device which is set to inflict sadistic pleasure at first...before it just gets sadistic. And deadly.
  • Ruritania: The micronations of Alpenlicht and Lubovosk, tucked away somewhere where Iran, Turkey, and the Soviet Union get their borders muddled up in the mountains, in the Marianne trilogy.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Ranges from Level 6 in Grass, to level 9 in The Gate to Women's Country.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: In Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Sophie, one of the central group of friends, is described as radiantly and effortlessly beautiful. However, she is disturbed by any sort of male lust towards her (including the Male Gaze, even when it's not acted on), and her friends help her by fashioning an "ugly" disguise, including drab makeup, large glasses, baggy clothes, unflattering hair, and a giant book to carry around, the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. Later in the book it is revealed that she was genetically engineered by a female-only society, who failed to consider the consequences of making someone perfect in appearance. Being raised without any males around explains her discomfort when suddenly exposed to them at university.
  • Starfish Alien: Many, but especially the rather strange life-cycle in Grass. Spoilered, as it's a major plot point. All three are stages in the Foxen lifecycle which runs from eggs; to unintelligent slug-like Peepers; to Hounds, a semi-intelligent and vicious predator; to intelligent, but malignant, Hippae; to hyper-intelligent, but navel-gazing, Foxen. Foxen themselves are bizarre and near-incomprehensible to look at, even to people who've made friends with them.
  • Tomato Surprise: In The Family Tree, the story is told from two disconnected points of view through most of the novel, until it is revealed when the two groups meet that the second set of characters are all talking animals. Then shortly thereafter we find out that the talking animals' dumb beasts of burden are actually human beings.
  • To Serve Man: In The Awakeners, humans are allowed to immigrate to the planet Northshore after the government essentially makes a Deal with the Devil with a native species (that resemble human sized, talking birds). When a person dies they are fed a liquid, The Tears of Viranel, which "supposedly" helps them on into the afterlife. In reality this liquid turns them into walking zombies, and tenderises their flesh so the native species can eat them. Um, yeah...
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The Marianne trilogy is the inverted form, a duology followed by a single-volume sequel.
  • Villainous Incest: Duchess Alicia in The Waters Rising clearly lusts after her father who, unknown to her is not actually her father and has relations with The Old Dark Man who actually is, although she thinks he might be her grandfather and her half-brother.