Recommend

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

James Tiptree, Jr. Award 2004 Winners

Winner Short List Long List Jurors

Camouflage
Joe Haldeman
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Haldeman is a Hemingway scholar, and it shows in the elegance of his minimalist prose in this thought-provoking book. In the best tradition of “hard” sf, Haldeman mixes scientific speculation with purely human “what if?” in wondering what would happen if a shape-shifting alien predator became, essentially, human? This book explores the human condition as thoroughly as any literary work, with understanding of gender at the crux of that understanding. For me it was one of the best science fiction books I have read in years.–ct

An ageless, sexless entity who can take any form is at first indifferent to gender; as it grows more human, the choice becomes more important to it; it ends up a woman by preference. If gender isn’t the central concern of this novel, it’s near the center, and the handling of it is skillful, subtle, and finely unpredictable.–ukl

I like the problem-solving: how do we figure problems out and how do people relate to others, how do they understand themselves and others and even figure out that some of their instinctive (or learned) sexual responses are not healthy ones.–mm

Not Before Sundown
Johanna Sinisalo
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A deft novel of how human society is ruled by complex territorial relationships. In particular, Sinisalo reveals the life of the human male as closely as zoologists/biologists do chimpanzee social groups, only she does it through a quick-paced story of gay bars, advertising agencies and veterinarians. Does it matter who the king of the urban jungle is, when a real live troll cub turns up on the doorstep of a lovelorn 30-year-old photographer? Well written and affecting.–ct
The subject is the dehumanisation of the Other – a great subject. It may be the fault of the translation, but the apparent gendering of the trolls as all male sentimentalises what might have been a more powerful story. Still, very much worth looking at.–ukl

This one has grown on me, perhaps, the most out of any of the books read.

The excellent world-building and intriguing use of pheromones really impressed me. The troll’s own gender issues were interesting, as a kind of unspeakable Other.–ad

I always wondered what happened to changelings when they grew up, both the humans in Fairyland and the trolls coping with humans. This book retells troll stories, with some major twists, in the context of the current commercialization of sexuality in jean ads and picture book brides/sex slavery.–mm
The two books stand completely opposed in so many ways–you could almost say they define the opposite edges of what is conceivable for the Tiptree. Haldeman, the well-known, Hemingwayesque, male, very American, hard sf writer at one end, and Sinisalo, the European, not-well-known (in the US and within our genre, I mean), female contemporary fantasy writer at the other. Hmm, and we have the male writer creating a female protagonist (well, eventually female) and the female writer creating a male protagonist. That clicks in my head as a balance I would enjoy.-ct

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