Alice Eleanor Jones (1916–1981)
From The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women
For many years Alice Eleanor Jones, writer of nonfiction and fiction for such mainstream magazines as The Saturday Evening Post and Seventeen, was also a contributor to The Writer. In one of her columns, “The Ones That Got Away,” she asks readers if they had ever composed letters that they ended up not sending, “yet it did you good to write them. Some of your stories will be like that. You know, even as you labor over them, that they’ll never sell. The plot is preposterous or the characters are taboo, and you’re wasting your time . . . but I contend you are not wasting anything.”
Jones also encouraged her readers to stretch the boundaries and conventions of fiction and advised them how they could “learn to get around the taboos in many subtle ways without compromising yourself.”
From the very beginning of her career, Jones had stretched those boundaries, pushing her stories in new directions. A contributor’s note remarks that Jones had “been successful in selling her ‘offbeat’ fiction” and, in fact, the five stories that launched her writing career were published in science fiction magazines. One of those stories, “Created He Them,” has been resuscitated by critics in recent years and is now considered a classic. (Readers may note eerie and prescient parallels to The Handmaid’s Tale.) The story has been included in the new Library of America anthology, The Future Is Female: 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, and we present it here as our Story of the Week selection.