James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award https://tiptree.org An award encouraging the exploration & expansion of gender Wed, 11 Sep 2019 19:41:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 Alice Sheldon and the name of the Tiptree Award https://tiptree.org/2019/09/alice-sheldon-and-the-name-of-the-tiptree-award Mon, 02 Sep 2019 19:44:47 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?p=7059 Continue reading ]]>

Further update: Wednesday September 11, 2019.

We said we would be listening and we have. We’ve read your thoughtful and pain-filled emails, tweets, and Facebook posts. We are sorry for the harm that’s been done, especially to some of the most marginalized members of our community.

We recognize that the award is necessary to the community, but can’t go on under its existing name. Now we need to figure out what to do next and how to do it. We’re working on it. And we’ll say more within a month.


Update: Wednesday September 4, 2019.

We’ve seen some people discussing this statement and saying we’re refusing to rename the award. Of course it’s easy to read what we’ve written in that way; our apologies. While this post focuses on the reasons why we have not immediately undertaken to rename the award, our thinking is ongoing and tentative, and we are listening carefully to the feedback we are receiving. We are open to possibilities and suggestions from members of our community as we discuss how best to move forward. You can contact us at feedback@tiptree.org.


Content notes for discussion of suicide, mental illness, caregiver murder

In recent days, we’ve seen questions raised on social media about whether the name of the Tiptree Award should be reconsidered. The Award was named after James Tiptree, Jr., the persona under which Alice Sheldon published. The questions relate to Alice Sheldon’s actions at the end of her life. On May 19, 1987, she shot first her husband, Huntington Sheldon, and then herself.

The Tiptree Motherboard, the seven volunteers who administer the award, has been deep in intense reflection and conversation. While we are far from finished with our discussions, we wish to share some important information and some of our thoughts.

For reasons we share in this post, the Motherboard does not believe that a change to the name of the Tiptree Award is warranted now. But we believe that this is a very important discussion, and we do not think it is over. The community that has grown up around this award since its founding in 1991 deserves to have its voice heard in any conversation as significant as renaming.

Alice and Huntington Sheldon’s story

We on the Motherboard, those who remember Alice Sheldon and those who do not, have long known the story of how she and her husband, Huntington Sheldon (known as Ting), died.

Friends and family — and the science fiction community at the time — viewed this tragedy as resulting from a suicide pact: the desperate and tragic result of a combination of physical and mental illness and the Sheldons’ desire to die on their own terms. He was 84 years old; she was 71.

However, some who have read accounts of the Sheldon’s deaths more recently have pointed out a different interpretation. The story can also be seen as an act of caregiver murder: where a disabled person is killed by the person, usually a close family member, who is responsible for their support.

Both narratives fit the story. We see how much of the discussion of the Sheldons’ deaths, including our own, reflects the rhetorical tendencies identified in David Perry’s report, specifically the centering of those who kill over those who are killed. In the world outside of science fiction, Huntington Denton “Ting” Sheldon would be considered the more significant member of the couple. “Ting” Sheldon was Director of the Office of Current Intelligence of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy and is credited with building that office of the CIA.

In her 2006 biography of Tiptree, Julie Phillips quoted some sources who suggested that Ting may not have been ready to die. Since the conversation about the Sheldons’ deaths has become public, however, Phillips has shared further details from her research, reporting that Ting’s friends and family understood his death and Alice’s as the fulfilment of an agreement between the two of them. On Twitter, Phillips writes:

The question has come up whether Alice Sheldon (James Tiptree, Jr) and her husband Ting died by suicide or murder-suicide. I regret not saying clearly in the bio that those closest to the Sheldons all told me that they had a pact and that Ting’s health was failing.

Ting’s son Peter Sheldon also said there was a pact, and that Ting was declining. Alli probably wanted to die more than Ting did. But the pact didn’t have to do with his blindness or disability. He was going, and they chose to go out together.

In an email to the Tiptree Motherboard, quoted with permission, Phillips writes:

Ting didn’t leave a statement, but all Ting’s friends that I talked to plus his son Peter were unanimous that it was a pact, and that Ting’s health was failing when it happened. The only one who cast doubt on that was the lawyer who talked to her on the last night, James Boylan. He didn’t know either Ting or Alli very well, and I have doubts about how well he understood what was happening. I’m planning to write up what I know, because I left too much room for doubt when I wrote the book.

Putting Alice Sheldon’s death in the context of her life, Jeff Smith, Alice’s friend and literary executor and a longtime Tiptree Motherboard member, shares his recollection of it this way:

I knew Tiptree through correspondence, and Alli through phone calls and visits. She was very open about the suicidal tendencies that had plagued her throughout her life. She also told me that neither she nor her husband, Ting, wanted to outlive the other. (Whenever I talked to Ting, the subject never came up.) There were times when Alli said she had her gun out (including at least once when I was talking to her on the phone), but that “Ting isn’t ready yet.”

Ting’s health began to steadily decline. I hadn’t spoken to Alli in the weeks leading up to that final night, so I don’t know exactly what she was going through at that time. I know she wrote notes that she left around the house, with instructions and information that the responders and her lawyers might need. She took the unfinished manuscript of her last novella (a love story) out of her office and placed it in the living room. She called her lawyer and told him what she intended to do. He called the police, who got to the house while she was still making preparations. She convinced them the lawyer had misunderstood her. They checked in on Ting, and then they went away. Alli completed her task.

We her friends knew it was coming, but that knowledge didn’t make it less distressing. Could anyone have stopped it? Probably not: This was 1987, and the actual suicide note left out with all the new instructions was dated 1979.

We ultimately do not know what happened on May 19, 1987. We can’t know with certainty and we don’t see how anyone can know except the ones who cannot tell us. But we are as convinced as we can be, given the unknowability of the facts, by the evidence that Alice and Huntington Sheldon chose to die together.

We respect that not everyone who reads this will have the same interpretation. We recognize that the unconscionable murder of disabled people by their caregivers happens daily, driven both by the devaluation of disabled life and by the lack of available care and support. Therefore we do not seek to defend or exonerate Alice Sheldon, but to make sure the context of her actions remains part of any conversation about them. We are grateful to our community for raising these important issues and bringing them to our attention.

The “Tiptree” Award

Perhaps competing narratives about what happened in an unknowable, devastating moment more than 30 years ago are beside the point. We are in the midst of a movement away from naming awards after people, of putting intense weight on influential historical figures who inevitably disappoint when held up to scrutiny, especially at historical distance. If we want our award to continue into the future, we must be willing to re-examine the individuals, stories, and assumptions that have shaped it so far.

We think it is important to understand how the Tiptree got its name. In 1991, founding mothers Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler made a conscious choice to name the award not after Alice Sheldon herself but after the assumed persona –– more than a pseudonym –– under which Sheldon published fiction and participated in fandom. In its conception, the James Tiptree Jr Literary Award hoped to acknowledge and celebrate Sheldon/Tiptree’s dual gender identity, the boundary-crossing work published under Tiptree’s name, and the havoc the revelation of Tiptree’s gender wreaked on the male-dominated science fiction world of the 1970s.

Sheldon was a complicated individual, aspects of whose personal story have long been woven tightly into and through the idea and spirit of the Award. Yet the Award was not intended to reference a figure whose approval winners might imagine gaining or toward whose example they might aspire, in the way that other awards named for iconic individuals – most notably the former Campbell – appear to do. Jeanette Ng’s speech reminded us that science fiction has long since eclipsed the bounds by which Campbell, whose racist and fascist sympathies are a matter of public record, hoped to define it. In renaming the Astounding Award, Dell Publishing moved the focus from creator to creation, honoring the publication (Astounding Science Fiction magazine) that he edited and whose reach and influence far exceeded his grasp. The Tiptree Award is already named after Alice Sheldon’s creation.

In the years since 1991, “Tiptree” has come to hold significant meaning in the SFF world, its reach perhaps even exceeding Sheldon’s own. “Tiptree” gets used as an adjective for stories that do something particularly interesting with gender; we often meet people who know of the Award through its winners and have not heard of Sheldon’s work or life. We are very wary of losing that history and recognition, which has opened significant doors for our honorees, and has helped us to sustain and expand the award over the last 27 years.

Discussions about the naming of the award relate to broader issues that the Motherboard has been contemplating for some time. When we return to the stories Alice Sheldon wrote as Tiptree, we often find a pessimistic tendency that can seem, at times, like a horrible foreshadowing (though this is far from the only way to read them). Tiptree’s work describes the contours of gender oppression acutely and rarely, if ever, sees a way out. We have been reflecting this week on how many of our feminist icons were also women who could not see a way out. Tiptree’s stories, then and now, provide scope for multiple and complex politics. If we look at the work of our honorees, winners, and fellows, among their greatest commonalities are broad, deep, and diverse commitments to finding, or creating, ways out.

We have been, before this current conversation, asking ourselves some questions. What would an Award look like, Tiptree or otherwise, that honored what we want to honor now, the complex and overlapping intersections through which gender is lived? That’s a question we can’t answer in one single burst of sustained self-reflection. We believe it is far more important to make the right decisions than to make decisions quickly.

And so: we do not think that an immediate renaming is called for at this moment. But we do not know what the future might hold, and we recognize that this Award belongs to the community that has supported and sustained it, at least as much as it does to us. Going forward, we will be reaching out to members of the Tiptree community to seek out their thoughts. Your voices are a necessary part of our reflections.

We will begin writing individually to members of our Tiptree community this week, as quickly as our schedules allow (which is rarely as quickly as we would like). If you would like to reach us in the meantime, please email feedback@tiptree.org.


2019 Tiptree Fellowship Applications Due October 31 https://tiptree.org/2019/08/2019-tiptree-fellowship-applications-due-october-31 Sat, 17 Aug 2019 21:25:40 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?p=7016 Continue reading ]]> For the fifth 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 part of 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.

Applications are due on October 31, 2019. 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:

The 2019 Fellows will be chosen by Rox Samer (committee chair), Gabriela Damián Miravete, Ana Hurtado, and Vida Cruz.


Previous Fellows https://tiptree.org/tiptree-fellowships/previous-fellows Sun, 16 Jun 2019 20:58:16 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6907 Continue reading ]]> Each year, we invite the outgoing Tiptree Fellows to write a report, to share their work with the Tiptree community in their own words. Our hope is that the availability of these reflections as an archive will provide a way for members of the Tiptree community to learn more about each creator’s work, as well as perhaps inspiring those who read them to create new connections. We are pleased to publish these reports below, along with information about the fellowship winners and their ongoing creative projects.

2018 Fellowships: Vida Cruz and Ana Hurtado

Report from Vida Cruz
Report from Ana Hurtado

2017 Fellowships: H. Pueyo and Shelley Parker-Chan

Report from H. Pueyo
Report from Shelley Parker-Chan

2016 Fellowships: Mia Sereno and Porpentine Charity Heartscape

Report from Mia Sereno: Our Filipina Monstrosity as Kalayaan
Report from Porpentine Charity Heartscape

2015 Fellowships: Walidah Imarisha and Elizabeth LaPensée

Report from Walidah Imarisha
Report from Elizabeth LaPensée

Inaugural Fellowship (2014): micha cárdenas


Ana Hurtado Fellowship Report https://tiptree.org/tiptree-fellowships/2018-tiptree-fellowships/ana-hurtado-fellowship-report Sun, 16 Jun 2019 20:48:03 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6928 Continue reading ]]>

The magical realism of Ecuador is distinctive; the role of the Andean mountain range is to harbor secrets–eternal wisdom–and our role is to be taught and blessed by the volcanoes and mountains that enclose us. It’s not our destiny to carve our protectors, to destroy them from the inside. It’s not ours to mine.

I’m working on a novel that’s both historical and contemporary, both Spanish and English, of both our flesh and the ghostly. It’s a project that relies heavily on research. This novel has torn me apart from the inside out; it’s my Everest, I like to say to people — the analogy only paints a picture of the romanticization of my struggle. In fact, I’m too afraid sometimes to even put on my gear..

The Tiptree Fellowship Award enlightens my path. The Award has taught me to believe in myself a bit more, even if it means believing that this project is timely in nature, and maybe its time isn’t now. I’m grateful for the monetary and moral support from the Tiptree committee. Tiptree’s commitment to gender expansion and exploration has inspired me to start on another project; it’s a story that takes place in the same realm as my previous novel’s, where ghosts inhabit our Earth and we’re merely visitors.


Vida Cruz Fellowship Report https://tiptree.org/tiptree-fellowships/2018-tiptree-fellowships/vida-cruz-fellowship-report Sun, 16 Jun 2019 20:44:46 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6920 Continue reading ]]>
1754 Murillo-Velarde map of the Philippines, photographed by Vida Cruz.

I began the Archipelago Daily series––fictional news reports of a fantastic nature––in 2013, fresh from college. It was something that I did for fun, in order to make fun of some of the truly ridiculous news articles I had to write and edit.

In six years, I went from idealistic young journalist, always ready to jump into the fray, to cynical fiction writer who gets a panic attack after interviewing for another journalism-related position. The world, too, has changed drastically; in the Philippines, for example, journalists are now accused of spreading fake news and openly attacked–on line and offline. Arrested. Tried. Murdered. All for doing their jobs, and not nearly enough people are outraged. In an effort to preserve my mental health, I have stopped actively reading/watching/listening to the news altogether.

But I have also written more of these fictional–not fake, there’s a difference–news articles in the last three years than I had when I first started. No longer just a vehicle for mockery, I have used this format to discuss how global warming has whipped up storms that can kill thousands. How the Marcos family would suppress and erase and revise their bloody history to return to power. How the Duterte administration has cheapened the lives of the women, the children, the impoverished, the sick, the desperate, the dissenting. And I do it all by having a wide range of creatures from Philippine mythology–from powerful women to hulking monsters–demonstrate the sorely needed empathy we struggle to show our fellow human beings, as seen through the eyes of a female journalist who slowly realizes that her society is broken and in need of mending.

In journalism, it is said that the news must be objective, that all sides of the story must be covered. I know now that, even when using a reportorial voice devoid of personality, no one can be truly objective–the subjects whose stories you choose to flesh out alone speak of what your bias is. The news is shaped by those who deliver it.

And this is the shape of one who is delivering the news to you: female. Brown. Disabled. Filipina.

So let me be biased. Let me offer up a two-way mirror to the poor, the indigenous, and the working class as they are buffeted by forces beyond their control; to the creatures of Philippine mythology, some of the last bastions of local culture, as they struggle to find a place in a thrice-colonized nation and rapidly globalizing world; to the Filipina women of every shape and size as they begin to understand that to be a warrior, witness, writer, or witch is to be committed to the truth and to fight for it. And in so doing, maybe we can inch a little closer toward seeing and upholding the truth in our own world. This is the work my Tiptree fellowship supports.

Since receiving my grant in February, I’ve been beset with carpal tunnel syndrome, mild pneumonia, burnout, joblessness. As such, I was only able to write one more story set within the world of the Archipelago Daily: “In the shadow of the typhoon, humans and Mahiwaga cooperate for survival,” which is set two months after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), a category five storm that killed thousands in Central Philippines. It will be part of the Calque Press anthology ​An Invite to Eternity: Tales of Nature Disrupted​, whose Kickstarter is now ongoing. I’m proud to share a segment from that story here:

Since time immemorial, Maria Cacao and Mangao would regularly sail their golden ship around the islands of the Visayas region, acting as exporters of her famous cacao seeds and importing other agricultural and mercantile goods for the use of the natives of Argao, Cebu and beyond. Not even the guerilla wars against the Spanish, Americans, Japanese, and the Marcos regime could stopper her overflowing generosity.

Naturally, in the face of calamity, she is the first to deliver relief goods. In a country that experiences 20 typhoons a year, her boat is always loaded with food, water, and clothing, ready to sail to the next disaster scene.

“I’d rather she didn’t do this. We’ve been taken advantage of by humans too many times before,” says Mangao, who does most of the rowing while Maria Cacao navigates and takes inventory of the hundreds of bottles of water, canned goods, biscuit packs, cracker tins, boxes of medicine, and donated clothes. “But my wife wouldn’t be who she is if she wasn’t enormously generous. Giving is what makes her happy and her happiness is all I want.”

However, Typhoon Yolanda’s wrath left many of the Diwata’s usual riverways choked with the debris of houses, boats, vehicles, and bodies.

“We’ve had to find different routes, meaning we take the longer way around Cebu,” says Mangao as he adjusts the sails. “After the storm cleared, we had to stick to skirting the coast instead of the river leading down from Mount Lantoy. And that’s why the relief goods didn’t arrive sooner–why they still don’t.”

“But sticking to the coast doesn’t mean the distribution gets easier,” explains Maria Cacao. “Before, there was a wall of garbage and rubble between us and the shore. The harbors had to be cleared first, and that took a long time. Things are better now, but the garbage is still there.”

One would think that the Diwata could simply wave away her obstacles, but it isn’t that simple. Reason one, neither her nor Mangao’s powers extend over water or manmade objects. Reason two, even if they did, the couple has too much respect for the environment and for human beings to do this.

“It seems ridiculous to be worrying about littering at a time like this,” says Maria Cacao. “Especially when everything is all over the place. But even if I could move the debris and the bodies, where would I put them–on top of all the other piles of debris and bodies? With the relief goods in my boat?”

1754 Murillo-Velarde map of the Philippines. Photograph by Vida Cruz“That wouldn’t help anyone, certainly not those who are searching for their loved ones or counting on receiving aid. I might even snuff out more lives in the process,” she adds.

“I cannot bring myself to make more of a mess than there already is,” she concludes, her voice cracking at the last syllable.

“It’s not ideal, but there isn’t much we can do about it,” Mangao says. “We usually ask the Kataw of Bantay Tubig for help, but their hands are full of their own problems.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the couple have the additional problem of survivors running away screaming at the sight of their boat.



Shelley Parker-Chan Fellowship Report https://tiptree.org/tiptree-fellowships/previous-fellows/2017-tiptree-fellowships/shelley-parker-chan-fellowship-report Sun, 16 Jun 2019 20:33:37 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6918 Continue reading ]]> I received the Tiptree Fellowship in late 2017, which coincided perfectly with my search for a literary agent to represent the novel that was the basis of my fellowship application: She Who Became the Sun, a queer, feminist alternate history based on the 14th century rise of the rebel leader who would end Mongol rule in China and become the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

I had started writing She Who Became the Sun a few years earlier on the principle of “write the book you want to read, but that doesn’t exist.” During a stint living and working in Asia, I had become obsessed with Chinese historical TV dramas. As a Western-raised member of the Chinese diaspora, to me these dramas were revolutionary: it was the first time I had ever encountered mainstream media that took my own cultural values as its default. My family had left China for Malaysia prior to the Cultural Revolution, with our culture since diverging from that of contemporary PRC, but the romanticised, mythologised vision of imperial China shown in these dramas provided an escapist fantasy based on cultural touchstones still retained to some degree by my own diaspora community.

When I looked for an English-language book version of these melodramatic female-gaze historicals and found they didn’t exist, I decided to write one of my own. It would be commercial, fun, use both Eastern and Western genre tropes, and—unlike nearly all Chinese-made TV dramas—be very, very queer. Since I had zero writing credentials at the time I finished the book and started looking for an agent, the Tiptree Fellowship was a piece of industry recognition that contributed hugely to the strength of my pitch. It did turn out to be a difficult book to pitch, since its real-world setting and lack of magic made it not quite a fantasy (according to the US)—but the gender-swap of a historical figure and its fantasy register meant it wasn’t a historical, either. I received more than one agent rejection that said, verbatim: “I love it, but I have no idea how to sell it.”

Luckily, I received a number of offers and chose my amazing agent, Laura Rennert, who wholeheartedly believed that She Who Became the Sun could sell to a mainstream publisher. During 2018 I worked extensively with Laura to polish the book, and have since submitted the manuscript to publishers. Perhaps it’s true that She Who Became the Sun wouldn’t have been a commercial proposition ten years ago due to its explicit queerness and unfamiliar (to Western readers) historical setting. Its chances have been helped immeasurably by the diverse voices movement, and genre publishers in particular are doing amazing work bringing previously unheard perspectives into mainstream SFF. The Tiptree Motherboard has actively contributed to this diversification through its Fellowships, the receipt of which allowed me to break into the mainstream—and which will hopefully pave the way for even more queer Asian historical melodramas in the future!


H. Pueyo Fellowship Report https://tiptree.org/tiptree-fellowships/previous-fellows/2017-tiptree-fellowships/h-pueyo-fellowship-report Sun, 16 Jun 2019 20:33:14 +0000 https://tiptree.org/?page_id=6916 Continue reading ]]> Trauma, culture and violence — those are some of the elements of my work that I once found very hard to sell. In Brazil, there are little options for writers, and the international market felt unattainable at times. It still does, but a lot of things have changed since 2017.

When I submitted my application, I had little stories out in the world, and was in the middle of a health crisis caused by chronic illness and caregiver burnout. I didn’t even have a place to write: I wrote either in the kitchen, or in a box on my bed. The Tiptree fellowship helped me have better work environment, one I would not have been able to afford otherwise. Not only that, but it also gave me motivation to keep trying again and again. I have written more, published more, and had the chance to participate in the fellowship committee to give someone else this chance, a rewarding moment in its own right.

Today, I have my own desk, and stories out at Clarkesworld, The Dark and Samovar, among many other wonderful venues. Brazil is going through a terrible moment, but our literary market is slowly growing, and at least two new speculative magazines have began in the last years. My novelette “Saligia” (published in March by Samovar in English and Portuguese) is only one example of a story where I was able to examine gender in the way I told Tiptree I hoped to, back in that one application. It also made me sure there is a public for what I write, a feeling I hadn’t experienced before that.

Overall, the fellowship was an amazing incentive, and I’m more than happy to pass it along to the 2018 fellows. My focus continues to be on writing fiction and comics, and hopefully, soon I will be able to explore the realm of longer fiction too.



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.



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.