In February 1967, Alice got her doctorate in experimental psychology. That spring, she typed up and submitted a few science fiction stories. To protect her academic reputation, she submitted the stories under a pseudonym she and Ting took from a jam jar: James Tiptree Jr.
When the stories sold, Tiptree wrote more. He began corresponding with other writers: Philip K. Dick, Damon Knight, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, and especially Joanna Russ and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Two years later Alice wrote a friend, the psychologist Rudolf Arnheim, that she was no longer researching or teaching.
"'I really totally dropped out. Like a hopeless drunkard whose last virtue is to manage a clean shirt-collar, all I have done is punctiliously to send out reprints of my articles when requested. [...] But Rudy, it's been such fun. How many times in one's life does a door open to total escape, utter newness? I was so profoundly dispirited, alienated [....] And suddenly I was in the middle of a different light, a new me, first having a good joke of being someone else, and then as the stories went on and out, having started genuine friendships among delightful people whose native language—crude, childish, humourous—rational—was mine...'"
In 1977, the year Tiptree's identity was revealed, Alice Sheldon posed for her first author photo.
Alli and Ting photographed by Patti Perret, 1985.