Recommend

Recommendations are open for the 2014 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award.

James Tiptree, Jr. Award 2004 Short List

Winners Short List Long List Jurors

Little Black Book of Stories
A.S. Byatt,

None of the five stories bend gender very far–unless a woman turning bit by jeweled bit into a troll counts, which I think it might, as troll sexuality is either nonexistent or a very open question . . . But Byatt handles relationships in a way that I think is essentially tiptroid. The stories are adventurous, risk-taking (at least once to the point of falling flat on the face), nervy, savvy, genuinely imaginative, and very, very well told.–ukl

Beautiful, haunting stories that thoroughly have gender issues inhabiting them. I particularly liked “The Pink Ribbon” and “The Thing in the Forest”.–ad

All of the stories are beautifully written; the use of the fantastic in “The Pink Ribbon” & “Stone Woman” gives an original and interesting exploration of how cultural interactions affect the way we perceive gender in ourselves and others.–mm

Love’s Body, Dancing in Time
L. Timmel Duchamp,

I see most gender issues as cultural and the evocative details in “The Gift” remind me that aspects of gender, sexuality and love that I sometimes take for granted are actually societal assumptions.–mm

“The Heloise Archive” startled in how effortlessly it shapeshifts in all of its textual patterns–which are embedded in gender exploration. The narrative structure is brilliant, archetypal and clumsy at the same time. But I think it ‘s intentionally clumsy and archetypal and a brilliant attempt at trying to create a new type of story where gender transgression inhabits.-ad

“All of Us Can Almost …”
Carol Emshwiller, ,

SciFi.com

A hilarious riff on the human condition. Power plays and sexual strut. And what about hard wiring? The story could be read as a revenge story on stupid males, but I think that would miss the point of this glorious flight of fantasy.–jc

Sea of Trolls
Nancy Farmer,

Published as Young Adult, a genre we ought to keep an eye on. Tiptroid mainly in one character, a girl whom the protagonist and the reader think is a boy for quite a while, largely because she wants so much to be one and is so angry at not being one-a keen and canny portrait. Not world-shaking gender invention, but an unpretentious, slyly edgy presentation of transgendering without surgery or sf elements.–ukl

The aspects of “gendered jobs” in early history are an interesting addition to this YA novel. I love the little surprise about verse at the end.–mm

Stable Strategies and Others
Eileen Gunn,

Gunn doesn’t address gender as a central issue in these stories, but it’s there, in the title story, in “Nirvana High,” and others, and the take on it is marvelously dry and sly.-ukl

Grunge as a curriculum in “Nirvana High” by Gunn and Leslie What –what makes this story work in a Tiptroid fashion is the hard-to-do depiction of teenagers with gifts, and using the ultra-male grunge music as a lens into this society and into how femininity is constructed. Probably the faintest “pulse” of Tiptroid materials of any of my shortlisters, but it’s there, and seamlessly embedded in the narrative.

Life
Gwyneth Jones,

From a conversation early in the book: “Sex is in everything. I didn’t put it there. The most significant thing in your entire social and cultural life is your assigned gender. Everything else comes after that fact, including your relationship with technology.” In many different ways, this novel examines how gender affects our lives, our relationships with friends and children, our jobs, etc. The scientific discussions work as metaphors for gender and sexual issues.–mm

The main characters are moved through their paces in order to present the story of genes and chromosomes and the possibility of sexual shift in the growing embryo. Woven through that story is the woman, Ramone, who describes in heated hyperbole the contemporary fault-line of the sexual divide. Anna is obsessive: she often talks about her work to her partner Spence. In another conversation where she’s been drawing triggers of regulatory proteins, he adds his expertise: “Well whadd’ya know. This is Boolean Algebra. These are logic gates!” So when the A1 SURI (who had joked that she should have been named GAIA) was killed, it’s an emotional blow. “Yeah,” said Anna. “You can clone her. But it won’t be the same person.” The most interesting character to move through the social politics of this book is Ramone who, at one point, suggests that Anna was right: “Numbers were everything. You can regard what went on in the battle of the sexes as a chemical reaction, a fractional distillation… You could show how feminism in the classical model was doomed…” Ramone “set up camp on the border, on the actual fault-line of the Great Divide…” and lived her life accordingly.–jc

“Kissing Frogs”
Jaye Lawrence, ,

Short, light, deft, elegant (and the author’s first published story); one of the few magazine stories we read that really, truly fit the Tiptree guidelines.–ukl

A pleasing after-dinner mint of a story (I don’t mean that as a slur) that is very funny and does exactly what it sets out to do.–ad

I almost always like “revisions” of a well-known tale. This whimsical version of the frog who can change into a prince with a kiss–told through the medium of “looking for a partner” ads–made me smile and stop to think about gender issues in our society.–mm

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