James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award https://tiptree.org An award encouraging the exploration & expansion of gender Sun, 24 Mar 2019 15:46:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 2018 Honor List https://tiptree.org/award/2018-james-tiptree-jr-award/2018-honor-list Sat, 23 Mar 2019 02:08:08 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6307 Gabriela Damián Miravete wins 2018 Tiptree Award! Honor and Long List Announced https://tiptree.org/2019/03/gabriela-damian-miravete-wins-2018-tiptree-award-honor-and-long-list-announced Sat, 23 Mar 2019 01:22:11 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?p=6803 Continue reading ]]> Gabriela Damián Miravete has won the 2018 Tiptree Award for her short story “They Will Dream In the Garden,” translated by Adrian Demopulos and published online by Latin American Literature Today (May 2018).

About the Winner

“They Will Dream In the Garden,” a beautifully written and translated story, uses the future tense to imagine a Mexico in which femicides are already part of history. In a collective attempt by survivors to preserve memory and justice, traces of the minds of the women murdered are encapsulated in interactive holograms “living” in a beautiful garden. The story looks at the economic, social, and racial dimensions of violence against Mexican women today, focusing on indigenous women, poverty, and unemployment, on repression of women’s educational opportunities, and of women’s ability to move about freely. The story hints at positive change as some women decide to fight back through collective action, mutual support, and self-defense, eventually shifting the public perception of gendered violence and improving the actions of the next generation. By offering a possible look into the future, far from giving the sense of a closed chapter, the story itself is a device of memory preservation, a call to action, and a fine example of science fiction as a tool for feminist exploration and social change.

Gabriela Damián Miravete is a writer of narrative and essay, a film and literature journalist, a professor at CENTRO university, and (according to her bio) the imaginary granddaughter of Ursula K. Le Guin. Miravete was part of “The Mexicanx Initiative,” a group of Mexican and Mexican American artists who attended WorldCon 76. With other authors, artists and people from different scientific disciplines, she co-founded Cúmulo de Tesla, a collective that wishes to strengthen the relationships between art, science, and science fiction. She has published short stories in several anthologies in Spanish. You can find her work in English in Three Messages and a Warning, an anthology of contemporary Mexican stories of the fantastic (Small Beer Press, 2010) and in A Larger Reality. Speculative Fiction from the Bicultural margins, an anthology of 14 stories, presented in both Spanish and English.

The Tiptree Award judges also wish to recognize Adrian Demopulos, the translator of “They Will Dream in the Garden,” with a special honor for a wonderful translation.

About the Honor List

In addition to selecting the winners, the judges choose a Tiptree Award Honor List. The Honor List is a strong part of the award’s identity and is used by many readers as a recommended reading list. These notes on each work are excerpted and edited from comments by members of this year’s jury. This year’s Honor List is:

A collection of delightful, thought-provoking stories that fulfill the intended purpose of normalizing diverse pronouns as well as suggesting that the binary can be broken or even left behind. Buchanan writes: “In English, the personal pronouns we’re most used to are he and she. Not only do these require the speaker to know the gender of the person they’re talking about, but they only properly cover two genders. Humans don’t always fit in these boxes.” This collection addresses the complaint that people find it hard to learn new pronoun sets. Buchanan writes that the answer is to normalize new pronouns — “in conversation, yes, but also in our stories, in fiction, in all media. In stories about spaceships and about magic, heroism and exploration, families and home.” As an added bonus, the authors and editor make recommendations for other works to read.

This ghost story set in a small depressed Ontario town in the 1990s explores concepts around sexual agency and slutdom with extraordinary doses of humanity, humor, and lyricism. With issues of women’s sexual autonomy being currently (and always) very much under the spotlight, the author presents myriad ways in which the book’s characters’ sexualities clash with (or struggle under) patriarchal power structures and lays them across queerness, whiteness, poverty, religious and moral values, and public opinion. Through the eyes of the protagonist and of the queer ghost who is haunting her, the reader experiences the pains and thrills of inhabiting a gendered, sexualized, queer body in this story full of caustic language and powerful images. WARNING: descriptions of child sexual abuse and adult suicide.

This cerebral, investigative novel presents a future society in which humans have divided into Paxans and Outsiders. Paxans are committed to “a collegial, laterally organized meritocracy.” In this technologically advanced society, Paxans spend only a small portion of their lives in “meatspace” and the majority of their lives in virtual realities, inhabiting and conversing with their secondary and tertiary bodies, which represent selected and isolated aspects of their consciousness. Paxans have been given FTL travel by an alien race they call Delta Pavonians, and some women, cis and trans, are able and willing to undergo body modification and training to be able to communicate with the aliens. The story traces the mystery of a second alien planet, La Femme, and its telepathic inhabitants. The novel is an absorbing exploration of the many ramifications of the notion of gender and the myriad ways in which it is represented and exploited.

  • Meg Elison, “Big Girl” Fantasy and Science Fiction (Nov/Dec 2017)

A story about a common problem in society—fat shaming. This is especially a problem for women, both white and of color, and for teens who lack self-confidence and easily fall prey to ads and movie portrayals. With satirical condemnation of society and media reactions, this story portrays how internalizing the perceived norms of “feminine” leads to low self-esteem.

As the cover promises, so the book delivers: 15 graphic short stories by “seventeen women, demigirls, and bi-gender creators of color.” The rich heart-warming fantasy stories deal with folk tales, fairy tales, disability, immigration, race, grandmothers, baking, depression, romance, and much more magic. This anthology is a good way to find authors you’ll want to read again, and a great display of the dramatic potential and innovative storytelling in contemporary comics today.

An anthology of over 30 short stories and poems. About half were originally published in Glittership Magazine, and all have queer themes and characters. “The Little Dream” by Robin M. Eames (in which a character wears a t-shirt that reads “IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU INSIST THERE ARE ONLY TWO GENDERS”) and “Graveyard Girls on Paper Phoenix Wings” by Andrea Tang are particularly recommended. A wonderful variety of stories and a great way to find authors you want to read more of.

Because of a plague that kills men more frequently than women, one society in this polluted future has mostly women. But men still have more power and women still need to fear sexual assault. The other society is all women — many with special powers, including doublers who have multiple clone births, “starfish” who can grow new body parts, and girls given special treatment so they can help breast feed the multiple babies. The religion is Mother-based. A beautifully written novel.

This album follows the struggles, joys, incarceration, and eventual liberation of a queer, Black woman who is punished by a system that seeks to “cleanse” her of all elements in her life that deviate from the norm. She is sent to a prison in which her memories (each of which is a separate music video and an ode to mutual love in rebellion) will be erased. The workers in charge of the erasure, who sit back and enjoy the memories prior to destruction, serve as a sharp metaphor of the white supremacist, cisheteropatriarchal system that is obsessed with Black bodies and creativity while still remaining profoundly anti-Black. This concept album forms a cohesive science fictional narrative, introducing futuristic elements in a way that is rarely seen so explicitly in the medium, opening up new pathways for the musical exploration of feminist science fiction.

This story portrays a culture in which gender pronouns change depending on a multitude of factors for each individual at any given time. This story shows a character at the beginning of a new life whose sense of identity is affected by this new language with a multitude of unfamiliar pronouns. The story also touches on issues of immigration, poverty, unemployment, romance, and building a new family. The reader is given linguistic issues and endearing characters in a well-done story.

This young adult novel was translated from Swedish. In it, a society of women (in groups acknowledging the Maiden, Mother, and Crone) live apart from a patriarchal world. They populate their society by rescuing women and girls from poverty, evil men, and lack of education. The leader of the Abbey is the First Mother. This story is told in the time of the 32nd First Mother. The women of the Abbey preserve knowledge within a vast library. The novel ends with the narrator, a teenage girl, deciding to go back out into the world to see if she can help change how men and women see themselves and one another.

This visceral story with vivid writing explores in a literalized way the dysphoria that can come with being trans. The monster in the basement works as both a powerful metaphor and a plot device.

But Wait — There’s More!

In addition to the honor list, this year’s jury also compiled a “long list” of twenty-eight other works they found worthy of attention.

Now What?

The Tiptree Award winner, along with authors whose works are on the Honor List, will be celebrated at WisCon in Madison, Wisconsin during Memorial Day weekend. The winner will receive $1000 in prize money, a specially commissioned piece of original artwork, and (as always) chocolate.

Each year, a panel of judges selects the Tiptree Award winner. The 2018 judges were Margaret McBride (chair), Marina Berlin, Ritch Calvin, and Arrate Hidalgo.

The 2019 panel of judges will be chaired by Carol Stabile, and reading will begin soon. The Tiptree Award invites everyone to recommend works for the award. Please submit recommendations via the recommendation page. Full information on all the books mentioned above will be in the Tiptree Award database by late April 2018.

 

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2018 Fellowship Recipients Announced https://tiptree.org/2019/02/2018-fellowship-recipients-announced Sun, 17 Feb 2019 20:47:59 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?p=6783 Continue reading ]]> We are pleased to announce the selection of two Tiptree Fellows: Vida Cruz and Ana Hurtado.

Vida Cruz is a Clarion graduate and the first Filipina to win first place in the Writers of the Future contest. She was born in the Philippines and is currently based there.

In her application, Cruz described the many faces of feminism and resistance in the Philippines: “Together, warrior, witness, writer, and witch amount to a uniquely Filipino feminist identity that live on in strains despite the erasure of colonization. I hope to reclaim and round these out by telling stories led by such characters.” Funding from the Tiptree Fellowship will help Cruz continue her work on an ongoing series of alternate-history stories set in a present-day Philippines inhabited by Filipinos and local mythological creatures. Each story is written as a feature article by a sharp-eyed Filipina journalist who seeks to heal and galvanize her society by writing and bearing witness, and eventually by becoming a warrior and perhaps even a witch.

Cruz’s fiction has appeared in LONTAR (The Journal of Southeast Asian speculative fiction), Expanded Horizons, Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up to No Good, Kathang Haka: The Big Book of Fake News, the Philippine Speculative Fiction series, and Phantazein.

Ana Hurtado holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University and is a professor of English at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Her work has been published in Uncanny, Strange Horizons, Noble/Gas Qtrly, RHINO Poetry, and other publications. Her writing falls under the genre of magical realism and reflects a blending of Andalusian traditions, indigenous cosmovision, and African mythology, all shaped by Hurtado’s Venezuelan origin and location in Ecuador.

In her application, Hurtado wrote about the role of ghosts in her young-adult novel-in-progress: “In this novel, gender is explored in the ‘real’ world and ‘ghost’ world; when these two collide, we understand how sexuality is fluid..…. With an entire cast of ghosts, my young adult novel wants to highlight the pre-Columbian cosmovision of ancestors: ancestors, like ghosts, never leave us – they are forever between us and with us, sharing their ancestral knowledge and guessing our future.”

The Fellowship Committee also awarded honorable mentions to Eleanna Castroianni, Theresa Hottel, Lulu Kadhim, Zora Mai Quynh, and Courtney Young.

The Tiptree Fellowship program, now in its fourth year, is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are changing our view of gender today. Each Fellow will receive $500. The work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Tiptree Award.

Over time, the Fellowship program will create a network of Fellows who can build connections, provide mutual support, and find opportunities for collaboration. This effort will complement the ongoing work of the Award — that is, the celebration of speculative fiction that expands and explores gender roles in thought-provoking, imaginative, and occasionally infuriating ways.

The members of the 2018 selection committee for the Tiptree Fellowships were the 2017 Tiptree Fellows, H. Pueyo and Ineke Chen-Meyer, past Tiptree honoree Julie Phillips, and Motherboard member Gretchen Treu.

If you would like to donate to the fund for future Tiptree Fellowships, you can do so here. Let us know if you would like your donation to support the Fellowships program specifically.

To read about the work of our previous Fellows, click on their names below.

 

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2018 Tiptree Fellowships https://tiptree.org/tiptree-fellowships/2018-tiptree-fellowships Sun, 17 Feb 2019 20:43:07 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6785 Continue reading ]]> We are pleased to announce the selection of two Tiptree Fellows: Vida Cruz and Ana Hurtado.

Vida Cruz is a Clarion graduate and the first Filipina to win first place in the Writers of the Future contest. She was born in the Philippines and is currently based there.

In her application, Cruz described the many faces of feminism and resistance in the Philippines: “Together, warrior, witness, writer, and witch amount to a uniquely Filipino feminist identity that live on in strains despite the erasure of colonization. I hope to reclaim and round these out by telling stories led by such characters.” Funding from the Tiptree Fellowship will help Cruz continue her work on an ongoing series of alternate-history stories set in a present-day Philippines inhabited by Filipinos and local mythological creatures. Each story is written as a feature article by a sharp-eyed Filipina journalist who seeks to heal and galvanize her society by writing and bearing witness, and eventually by becoming a warrior and perhaps even a witch.

Cruz’s fiction has appeared in LONTAR (The Journal of Southeast Asian speculative fiction), Expanded Horizons, Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up to No Good, Kathang Haka: The Big Book of Fake News, the Philippine Speculative Fiction series, and Phantazein.

Ana Hurtado holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University and is a professor of English at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Her work has been published in Uncanny, Strange Horizons, Noble/Gas Qtrly, RHINO Poetry, and other publications. Her writing falls under the genre of magical realism and reflects a blending of Andalusian traditions, indigenous cosmovision, and African mythology, all shaped by Hurtado’s Venezuelan origin and location in Ecuador.

In her application, Hurtado wrote about the role of ghosts in her young-adult novel-in-progress: “In this novel, gender is explored in the ‘real’ world and ‘ghost’ world; when these two collide, we understand how sexuality is fluid..…. With an entire cast of ghosts, my young adult novel wants to highlight the pre-Columbian cosmovision of ancestors: ancestors, like ghosts, never leave us – they are forever between us and with us, sharing their ancestral knowledge and guessing our future.”

The Fellowship Committee also awarded honorable mentions to Eleanna Castroianni, Theresa Hottel, Lulu Kadhim, Zora Mai Quynh, and Courtney Young.

The Tiptree Fellowship program, now in its fourth year, is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are changing our view of gender today. Each Fellow will receive $500. The work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Tiptree Award.

Over time, the Fellowship program will create a network of Fellows who can build connections, provide mutual support, and find opportunities for collaboration. This effort will complement the ongoing work of the Award — that is, the celebration of speculative fiction that expands and explores gender roles in thought-provoking, imaginative, and occasionally infuriating ways.

The members of the 2018 selection committee for the Tiptree Fellowships were the 2017 Tiptree Fellows, H. Pueyo and Ineke Chen-Meyer, past Tiptree honoree Julie Phillips, and Motherboard member Gretchen Treu.

If you would like to donate to the fund for future Tiptree Fellowships, you can do so here. Let us know if you would like your donation to support the Fellowships program specifically.

To read about the work of our previous Fellows, click on their names below.

 

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Recommend Works for the 2019 James Tiptree, Jr. Award https://tiptree.org/award/2019-james-tiptree-jr-award/recommend-works-for-the-2019-james-tiptree-jr-award Tue, 04 Dec 2018 11:16:05 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6737 Continue reading ]]> Most of the books and stories that Tiptree Award jurors read to pick a winner are nominated by authors and readers. We need your suggestions. If you’ve read a work of science fiction or fantasy that explores or expands our notions of gender, please tell us about it by filling out the recommendation form below. If you have more than one, just fill out the form again with a new recommendation and repeat the process until you’ve told us about them all.

Recommendations close on the 1st of December, 2019. Because recommendations are accepted from everyone, and haven’t been reviewed by the jury, we request that nominated creators not publicize their appearance on this list: if you win, or your work shows up on an honor list or long list, please publicize to your heart’s content!

The 2019 James Tiptree, Jr. Award will be given in 2020, location to be determined.

To let us know something related to recommendations that doesn’t fit in the form, please email recommend@tiptree.org.

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2019 James Tiptree, Jr. Award https://tiptree.org/award/2019-james-tiptree-jr-award Tue, 04 Dec 2018 11:16:03 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6733 Applications for Tiptree Fellowships due October 31 https://tiptree.org/2018/09/applications-for-tiptree-fellowships-due-october-31 Wed, 12 Sep 2018 22:49:37 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?p=6624 Continue reading ]]> For the fourth year, the Tiptree Award is welcoming applications for Tiptree Fellowships: $500 grants for emerging creators who are changing the way we think about gender through speculative narrative.

If you think that description could apply to you — even if you are not working in a format most people would recognize as the science fiction or fantasy genre — you are eligible to apply for a Fellowship. Tiptree Fellows can be writers, artists, scholars, media makers, remix artists, performers, musicians, or something else entirely; so far our Fellows have been creators of visual art, poetry, fiction, and games.

The Tiptree Fellowship is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. The Fellowship Committee particularly encourages applications from members of communities that have been historically underrepresented in the science fiction and fantasy genre and from creators who are creating speculative narratives in media other than traditional fiction. In keeping with the focus of the Tiptree Award, the selection committee is seeking projects that explore and expand understandings of gender, particularly in relationship to race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age, and other factors that set individuals or groups apart as “other.” Fellowship applicants do not need a professional or institutional affiliation, as the intention of the Fellowship program is to support emerging creators who lack institutional support for their work.

The deadline is coming up soon, but there is still plenty of time to submit – applications are due on October 31. To apply, you will need to write short responses to two questions and to share a sample of your work – you can learn more about the application process at this link.

To read about the work of our previous Fellows, click on their names below:

 

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Privacy Policy https://tiptree.org/privacy-policy Tue, 12 Jun 2018 12:53:43 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6517 Continue reading ]]> Who we are

This is a very simple Privacy Policy. This is the website of James Tiptree Jr. Literary Council, 173 Anderson Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA. The website address is: https://tiptree.org.

What personal data we collect and why we collect it

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The website is built on WordPress (Privacy Policy), which does not collect personal data. Webhosting is provided by DreamHost (privacy policy), which is GDPR Compliant, and based in USA.

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When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection.

After approval of your comment, the information you provided, (name, website, but excluding email address) is visible to the public in the context of your comment.

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We use WordPress plugin Ninja Forms (Privacy Policy) for all Contact and Submission Forms on the website. Ninja Forms is GDPR compliant. All information you provide is stored on the website and additionally forwarded to Tiptree Motherboard emails.

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If you have made a Recommendations submission, approval of your comment, the information you provided about the recommended work is visible to the public in the context of your recommendation. No personal details of yours (name, email, etc) is included on the publicly visible website.

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If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year.

If you have an account and you log in to this site, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser.

When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select “Remember Me”, your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed.

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Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos form YouTube or Vimeo, images from Instagram, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website.

These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracing your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

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If you leave a comment, or use one of the contact forms, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely.

For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

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If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

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All users registered users are required to use 2FA Two Factor Authentication.

In addition to website-specific security, DreamHost provides a range of security services.

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A note about the WisCon 42 Tiptree celebrations https://tiptree.org/2018/06/a-note-about-the-wiscon-42-tiptree-celebrations Mon, 04 Jun 2018 13:31:57 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?p=6508 Continue reading ]]> This was originally posted at WisCon’s official blog. We are grateful to WisCon for making the post for us.

It has come to our attention that, at WisCon 42, our introduction and celebratory song & materials for Tiptree Award winning book Who Runs the World / The XY by Virginia Bergin contained language that suggested the novel portrays a trans-exclusionary view of gender. We want to apologize unreservedly for any harm this caused to audience members. While Bergin’s novel was exciting to the jury because of what they believe to be its trans-inclusive, non-essentialist approach to a trope that has often relied on a dangerously reductive understanding of gender, we also now recognize that the invocation of the trope can in itself be harmful.

Since the ceremony, the Tiptree Motherboard has spent time discussing what we can do to make sure a similar situation does not arise again. We have set in place a policy for vetting of future Tiptree songs and materials prior to public announcement, and we have reaffirmed our commitment to making sure each Tiptree Award jury incorporates a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. We also recognize that no oppressed community is a monolith and that any representative marginalized community member’s reaction, opinion and experience differs from another’s, and as such we need to be careful to include multiple marginalized perspectives in all aspects of the Tiptree organization, including the development and approval of celebratory materials for the winning work. This discussion is ongoing and we welcome suggestions and recommendations.

We would like to offer a little background on the award and the book for those who may wish to understand how it came to be selected. The Tiptree Award is selected by a jury of five people. The Motherboard selects the jury members, then gives them a free hand both to choose the winner and to interpret the Award’s remit to “expand and explore our understanding of gender.” Bergin’s novel was chosen by Alexis Lothian (chair), E.J. Fischer, Kazue Harada, Cheryl Morgan, and Julia Starkey along with a 9-item honor list and 26-item long list that you can read about here.

2017 Juror Cheryl Morgan, who was unable to travel to WisCon, wrote a review that offers her perspective as a trans woman on the novel. This review was posted shortly after the winner was announced in March. With her permission, we are reproducing it here so that readers can gain a sense of how the novel’s gender politics was understood by the jury. You can read the original here.

Note that this review contains major spoilers for key plot points in Who Runs the World / The XY.

Ah, another XY plague book. What a tired old trope. And it is YA as well, so presumably the politics will be very simplistic. Yes, I am as susceptible to unconscious bias as anyone else. But in this particular case I had the pleasure of meeting Virginia Bergin and talking to her about the book before reading it. On the basis of that chat I decided to give it a try. I am so very glad I did.

An XY plague is, of course, a plague that wipes out everyone with a Y chromosome, while leaving those with only X chromosomes untouched. It is a staple of feminist separatist fantasy; let’s get rid of all of the men, and then we will have a utopia.

Of course an XY plague will kill a bunch of intersex women as well, not to mention almost all trans women. That’s another reason why hardline separatists love the idea. If you cling to the biological essentialist idea that XX = good, XY = evil, then of course you are going to be excited by such a concept.

This, however, is science fiction. Disasters that wipe out much of mankind don’t happen simply for revenge, or at least they should not do. They happen because that allows us to imagine significant changes to human society that could perhaps not occur in any other way. And they allow us to interrogate the results of such changes.

At first sight the setting for Who Runs the World is indeed a feminist utopia. Life is idyllic for young women like our heroine, River. She has a safe and supportive home. She’s well educated. She loves aircraft and dreams of one day flying and designing them. As she’s smart and well connected she will doubtless go to university and gain the skills necessary to do so. And she is also expecting to marry her best friend and one day raise a family with her.

River’s world is blessedly free of men. She’s never seen one, but her school work has taught her all about the terrible things they did. Her world is better off without them.

Utopias, however, are generally only pleasant on the surface. Peer beneath that and you start to see the cracks.

One way of introducing such cracks might have been to make the book about trans people. Bergin chose not to do that, at least in part because she felt that she didn’t know enough to get it right. A wise writer does not choose to plunge into waters she doesn’t know how to swim in.

So instead Bergin makes the book about biological essentialism. That, as it happens, is a cornerstone of anti-trans ideology. As a result, the book is all about trans people, even though it barely mentions them.

Our story begins when River, traveling home alone because in her world it is safe to do so, encounters a strange animal. It is clearly sick, and rather violent, but it is nothing she can’t cope with so she takes it home to see if it can be nursed back to health.

That animal turns out to be something called a “boy”.

And thus the cracks in River’s idyllic life begin to appear. They show up thanks to the multi-generational cast. Simplistically, women in River’s world come in three types: young women like her; mothers; and grandmothers.

The mothers are the generation of women who inherited the world after recovery from the economic collapse caused by the plague. They now run everything from business to politics to the military. Most of them have never met a man, but they know what awful things men are capable of and know what a mess of a world they inherited.

The grandmothers are women who, in their teens or twenties, lived through the plague. They saw their boyfriends and husbands die in their arms. They gave up their boy babies to government hospitals in the desperate hope that a cure would be found and they would one day see them again. That day never came.

Until now. Because River has brought home a teenage boy called Mason. He’s alive out in the world, which should not be possible. The grandmothers are suspicious, and they want to keep this miracle boy.

Slowly but surely the underpinnings of River’s world are revealed. Unlike many separatist societies, this one does not benefit from parthenogenesis. If the women want children they need sperm. There is only one way to get that, and very few sources. Human sperm has become one of the most valuable commodities on the planet, and the UK is a world leader in its production. River’s idyllic home life is based squarely on economic exploitation of this important resource.

The men who survived the plague, and those boys who have been bred since, are kept in “sanctuaries”. Ostensibly this is because they would contract the plague and die if let out; and because men are violent and dangerous and should not be permitted to roam freely in the women’s world.

Inside the sanctuaries the men are groomed to be exactly the violent, misogynistic monsters the public is told that they are, in the belief that this will make them better producers of sperm. It is all about the best quality product, after all, and there are marketing narratives to be fulfilled.

Mason’s arrival in River’s community gives the lie to the official government line on men. If he’s violent, it is because he’s terrified having been fed stories of what awful creatures women are. Treated kindly, he’s perfectly capable of responding in a similar vein. But the government wants him killed before the story can spread. If River and the grandmothers want to keep Mason they will have to fight for him. River decides to do that using the only weapons open to her: transparency and democracy.

So what we have here is book that strikes right at the heart of TERF ideology. Having a Y chromosome does not automatically make you a violent monster. People who say it does are probably using that story to cover up some ulterior motive. Also, having a feminist, separatist society does not make you free of the temptations of power politics and capitalism. Given the chance, matriarchy can quite unpleasant in its own way.

Many current arguments against trans rights, especially in the UK, are based squarely on the idea that anyone with a Y chromosome is automatically violent and dangerous; probably a rapist. It is biological nonsense, but a very powerful narrative that men have done a lot to bolster because it helps keep women cowed. Having a book that strikes directly at that idea, and asks us to consider how we might build a society that men, women and all other genders share in equally, seems to me like perfect timing. I’m glad it turned up in my year on the Tiptree jury.

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Visit our online auction! https://tiptree.org/2018/05/visit-our-online-auction Sun, 27 May 2018 08:33:58 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?p=6501 Continue reading ]]> For those in the Tiptree community who aren’t attending the Tiptree Award auction at WisCon, we created an online auction. We don’t want you to miss out on all the fun—and the opportunity to possess something beautiful, really cool, or wonderfully odd.

So we put together an auction of ten items, all with a connection to the Tiptree Award—from an amazing silk-screened print created by Freddie Baer to a votive candle featuring Saint Karen Fowler for those who agree with Karen’s contention that writing should be more exuberant than is strictly tasteful.

Check it out. Submit a bid. The auction will run from midnight on May 15 to midnight on June 16. And as those of you who have attended the Tiptree Auction already know, extra karmic points for bidding prime numbers!

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