Recommend

Recommendations are open for the 2015 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award.

James Tiptree, Jr. Award 1999 Winner

Winners Short List Long List Jurors

The Conqueror’s Child
Suzy McKee Charnas
, TOR 1999

With this remarkable conclusion to the Alldera Cycle, Charnas brings to fruition the complex and compelling issues raised–and at the heart of feminist concerns for the past couple decades–in the previous novels, providing the cycle an inspiring and satisfying conclusion. With respect to the specific issues the Tiptree award acknowledges, this narrative also stands on its own and questions with acute vision human relationships in the context of gender, power, and history. While concluding on a hopeful note, the narrative refuses to sidestep the minefield of conflict women and especially men (who must work to overcome the consequences of what centuries of artificial gender differences have inculcated in society, resulting in unnatural distinctions that uphold male domination) must negotiate to understand and confront gender-based inequalities that inform society. (BC)

Demanding, rich, compelling, intelligent. This outstanding exploration of gender vastly expands our understanding of how gender works in significant areas of human experience and puts one of the major problems of political equality on the map in a way that has simply not been done before. In Charnas’s post-liberation Holdfast, we see that for society to become politically inclusive, not only do men have to cease to be masters, but also their conception of what a socially normative man is must change. This is science fiction as political laboratory at its finest. (LTD)

A wonderful, wonderful, complex book. One of the great pleasures of being on the jury this year was the opportunity (excuse) to reread and think about all of Charnas’s Holdfast Chronicles, and then to concentrate on this book in particular. There’s a lot in it: the current society of the Holdfast is in flux. The past is exclusionary: religion, relationships, history and storytelling (the men’s books and the Riding Women’s self-songs) all split along gender lines. The future must include both sexes: the women of the Holdfast will give birth to sons as well as daughters. I take away three images: the abandoned open Grasslands, the dark, claustrophobic structure of the Endpath, and the memorial of stones that Sorrel builds for the male child, Veree, in the shape of a Riding Woman’s tent, attempting to build a future which will include both male and female. (KL)

While The Conqueror’s Child rides on the shoulders of the previous three books in the Holdfast Series, it’s also a monumental work all by itself. It explores gender, power, and personal as well as social change. Far and away the best gender-bending novel I’ve read this past year — maybe in the past 20 or 30 years. Strong, thoughtful, relevant, and beautifully written. (DM)

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