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Jackson, Shelley

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist, Author, Game.

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(1963-    ) Philippines-born author and artist, married 1987-1998 to Jonathan Lethem, who began to publish work of genre interest with the Hypertext novel Patchwork Girl (1995 ebook). This Interactive Narrative in Gothic SF mode encourages the reader to explore portions of a woman's body which are to be stitched together – both by the reader's growing comprehension and by Mary Shelley, a character in the tale – to assemble a female version of the Frankenstein Monster which becomes her creator Shelley's lover; further adventures follow. Besides its obvious source Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus (1818; rev 1831), Patchwork Girl also draws on L Frank Baum's The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913); quotations from both these sources appear.

Jackson's first conventional print novel Half Life (2006) has an Alternate-History setting in which the advent of Weapons based on Nuclear Energy has led to a considerable increase in births of conjoined twins, who have developed their own subculture with some overtones of the Pariah Elite trope. The richly complex and ironic story is driven by the plan of one such twin to have her conjoined sister murdered. Half Life won a James Tiptree Jr Award. [DRL]

see also: Gamebook.

Shelley Jackson

born Philippines: 1963

works (selected)

  • Patchwork Girl (Watertown, Massachusetts: Eastgate Systems, 1995) [ebook: na/]
  • Half Life (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) [hb/Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich]



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