JAMES TIPTREE JR. AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED
A gender-exploring science fiction award is presented to Greer Gilman for Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales and Fumi Yoshinaga for Ooku: The Inner Chambers, (volumes 1 & 2)
The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council is pleased to announce that the 2009 Tiptree Award has two winners: Greer Gilman’s trilogy of interconnected stories, Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales (Small Beer Press 2009) and Fumi Yoshinaga’s alternate-history manga, Ooku: The Inner Chambers (volumes 1 & 2) (VIZ Media 2009).
The Tiptree Award will be celebrated on Memorial Day weekend at WisCon (www.wiscon.info) in Madison, Wisconsin. Each winner will receive $1000 in prize money, an original artwork created specifically for the winning novel or story, and (as always) chocolate. A panel of five jurors selects the Tiptree Award winners and compiles an Honor List of other works that they find interesting, relevant to the award, and worthy of note. The 2009 jurors were Karen Joy Fowler (chair), Jude Feldman, Paul Kincaid, Alexis Lothian, and Victor Raymond.
Cloud & Ashes contains three memorable and poetic tales that draw images and elements from folk tales and ballads of the British Isles. Told in lyrical Jacobeanesque dialect, the stories are striking for their language and their originality.
Juror Paul Kincaid praised Cloud & Ashes as “A book whose hold on your mind, on your memory, is assured. It is a story about story, and stories are what we are all made of.” Jury chair Karen Fowler reflected on the intriguing complexity of the interwoven themes in the work: “Patterns repeat, but also mutate in kaleidoscopic fashion and then mutate again…. Power shifts about, much of it gender-based; time eats itself like a Möbius strip.”
The first two stories in Cloud & Ashes were published previously. The first, "Jack Daw's Pack," was a Nebula finalist for 2001. The second, “A Crowd of Bone,” won the 2003 World Fantasy Award. The third story, “Unleaving,” is original to Cloud & Ashes.
Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ooku: The Inner Chambers (volumes 1 & 2) explores an alternate version of feudal Japan, in which a plague has killed three out of every four boys. In this world, young men are protected and sheltered; women have secretly taken positions of authority and power. The Japanese ruler or shogun and the feudal lords are women and much of the story takes place among the men in the shogun's harem. The title of the work refers to the living quarters for the shogun’s harem, contained within Edo Castle.
The selection of Ooku: The Inner Chambers marks the first time that manga has been chosen for the Tiptree Award. Though no one on the jury is an expert on manga or on Japanese history, the jurors fell in love with the detailed exploration of the world of these books, a world in which men are assumed to be weak and sickly, yet women still use symbolic masculinity to maintain power. Throughout the two books, Yoshinaga explores how the deep gendering of this society is both maintained and challenged by the alteration in ratios. “The result,” juror Jude Feldman writes, “is a fascinating, subtle, and nuanced speculation with gender at its center.
Ooku was awarded the Sense of Gender award by the Japanese Association of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy (2005), the Excellence Award at Japan's Media Arts Festival (2006), and the Grand Prize in Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize (2009).
The Tiptree Award Honor List is a strong part of the award’s identity and is used by many readers as a recommended reading list for the rest of the year. This year’s Honor List is:
“Beautiful White Bodies” by Alice Sola Kim (online at Strange Horizons, 2009; published in two parts on 12-7 and 12-14) — a heartbreaking meditation on the meaning of beauty and femininity in the media and popular culture.
Distances by Vandana Singh (Aqueduct Press 2008) — a novella-length work packed with an amazing complexity. Expands and challenges a number of inherently gendered cultural categories.
“Galapagos” by Caitlin R. Kiernan (in Eclipse 3 edited by Jonathan Strahan, Night Shade Books 2009) — a mysterious space disaster, a terrifying alien reproductivity, a story reminiscent of the work of Octavia Butler. There can be no higher praise.
Lifelode by Jo Walton (NESFA Press 2009) — explores the coexistence of a very traditional social hierarchy and understanding of marriage alongside an accepted polyamorous structure. Makes the world of polyamory feel comfortable and cozy and the threat of a new monogamous order feel alien and terrifying.
“Useless Things” by Maureen F. McHugh (in Eclipse 3 edited by Jonathan Strahan, Night Shade Books 2009) — A non-reproductive woman makes idealized child-objects in an uncertain world. An incredibly evocative, sparely written, powerful story.
“Wives” by Paul Haines (in X6 edited by Keith Stevenson, coeur de lion 2009) —A sharp and powerful but deeply ugly look at white working class Australian masculinity in a world where women are scarce.
In addition, the jury wishes to extend a special honor to L. Timmel Duchamp’s Marq’ssan Cycle, noting the importance of this stunning series, which envisions radical social and political change. Published over a period of four years, this five-book series began with Alanya to Alanya (Aqueduct Press, 2005) and concluded with Stretto (Aqueduct Press, 2008).
The James Tiptree Jr. Award is presented annually to a work or works that explore and expand gender roles in science fiction and fantasy. The award seeks out work that is thought provoking, imaginative, and perhaps even infuriating. The Tiptree Award is intended to reward those writers who are bold enough to contemplate shifts and changes in gender roles, a fundamental aspect of any society.
The James Tiptree Jr. Award was created in 1991 to honor Alice Sheldon, who wrote under the pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr. By her choice of a masculine pen name, Sheldon helped break down the imaginary barrier between “women’s writing” and “men’s writing.” Her insightful short stories were notable for their thoughtful examination of the roles of men and women in our society.
Since its inception, the Tiptree Award has been an award with an attitude. As a political statement, as a means of involving people at the grassroots level, as an excuse to eat cookies, and as an attempt to strike the proper ironic note, the award has been financed through bake sales held at science fiction conventions across the United States, as well as in England and Australia. Fundraising efforts have included auctions conducted by stand-up comic and award-winning writer Ellen Klages, the sale of t-shirts and aprons created by collage artist and silk screener Freddie Baer, and the publication of four anthologies of award winners and honor-listed stories. Three of the anthologies are in print and available from Tachyon Publications and one is in print and available from www.lulu.com and directly from the Tiptree Award website. The award has also published two cookbooks featuring recipes and anecdotes by science fiction writers and fans, available through www.tiptree.org.
In addition to presenting the Tiptree Award annually, the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council occasionally presents the Fairy Godmother Award, a special award in honor of Angela Carter. Described as a “mini, mini, mini, mini MacArthur award,” the Fairy Godmother Award strikes without warning, providing a financial boost to a deserving writer in need of assistance to continue creating material that matches the goals of the Tiptree Award.
Reading for the 2010 Tiptree Award will soon begin. As always, the Tiptree Award invites everyone to recommend works for the award. Please submit recommendations via the Tiptree Award website at www.tiptree.org. You can also find more information about the award and about past winners at the website.
For more information on the Tiptree Award or this press release, contact Pat Murphy at email@example.com or write to the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council at 680 66th St., Oakland, CA 94609.
Winners of the 2009 Tiptree Award:
Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales by Greer Gilman (Small Beer Press 2009)
Ooku: The Inner Chambers, volumes 1 & 2 by Fumi Yoshinaga (VIZ Media 2009)
“Beautiful White Bodies” by Alice Sola Kim (online at Strange Horizons, 2009; published in two parts on 12-7 and 12-14)
Distances by Vandana Singh (Aqueduct Press 2008)
“Galapagos” by Caitlin R. Kiernan (in Eclipse 3 edited by Jonathan Strahan, Night Shade Books 2009)
Lifelode by Jo Walton (NESFA Press 2009)
“Useless Things” by Maureen F. McHugh (in Eclipse 3 edited by Jonathan Strahan, Night Shade Books 2009)
“Wives” by Paul Haines (in X6 edited by Keith Stevenson, coeur de lion 2009)
A special honor to L. Timmel Duchamp’s Marq’ssan Cycle