On Friday, April 1, The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council announced its 2015 Winners and Honors List.james-tiptree-jr-literary-award-council

The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award is an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.  According to the Award’s website, “the aim of the award is not to look for work that falls into some narrow definition of political correctness, but rather to seek out work that is thought-provoking, imaginative, and perhaps even infuriating. The Tiptree Award is intended to reward those writers and other creative artists who are bold enough to contemplate shifts and changes in gender roles, a fundamental aspect of any society.”

The Award is named after author Alice B. Sheldon, who wrote under the pseudonym of James Tiptree, Jr., taking on the masculine name in order to have her works published without question.  It was not until many years later, after she had also written works with the name of Raccoona Sheldon, that the publishing industry learned that “James Tiptree” was a woman.  “The discovery led to a great deal of discussion of what aspects of writing, if any, are essentially gendered.”

Originally founded by authors Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler, the Award was incorporated as The James Tiptree Literary Award Council, and is currently run by a “motherboard” of five or more people who make financial, process, and other practical decisions for the Award.

And now, without further ado, here are the Winners of the 2015 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award:

  • Eugene Fischer, for “The New Mother” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2015)


Tiptree synopsis:  While single-gender worlds are not new in science fiction, this is a rare consideration of the start of such a transformation, by way of a sexually transmitted disease that renders the infected person’s gametes diploid. For men, the result is infertility. For women, the result is the capacity to reproduce asexually: spontaneous pregnancies (unless they take a hormonal contraceptive) of genetically identical clones. As the story guides readers through the initial outbreak via journalistic and personal lenses, a range of reactions is highlighted: legislative action, scientific study, religious outrage, and burgeoning panic. This is a timely story, given the current political climate in the United States (where the story is set) with increasingly invasive attempts to police bodies across gender lines.


  • Pat Schmatz, for Lizard Radio (Candlewick Press)


Tiptree synopsis:  Kivali gives voice to the frustration often felt by children and young adults who do not “fit” as either male or female. In this dystopian society, children are given gender tests at an early age and then trained to live as the gender they tested for. Aspects of this world, for example, post-decision gender training, speak of the lived experience of many trans people forced to earn their transition by acting as female/male as possible. The book also points out the pitfalls of a codified, binary, externally decided approach to transgender lives when there are always people who fall outside of these expectations. Some of the mysteries of this world remain unexplained to the reader just as they are unanswered for Kivali, who finds her independence when a sudden upheaval in her life leads to a choice of conforming or forging her own path.

Additionally, every year the judging panel names an Honors List in addition to the Award winners.  The year, the 2015 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Honors List includes:

  • Susan Jane Bigelow, for her story, “Sarah’s Child” (Strange Horizons, May 19, 2014)
  • Nino Cipri, for her story, “The Shape of My Name” (Tor.com, 2015)
  • Carola Dibbell, for her novel, The Only Ones
  • Matt Fraction (writer) and Christian Ward (artist), for their graphic novel series ODY-C, Vol. 1: Off to Far Ithicaa
  • Alex Marshall, for his novel, A Crown for Cold Silver
  • Seanan McGuire, for her story, “Each to Each” (Lightspeed, June 2014, Women Destroy Science Fiction!)
  • A Merc Rustad, for the story, “How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps” (Scigentasy, March 2014)
  • Ian Sales, for his novel, All That Outer Space Allows
  • Taneka Stotts and Sfé Monster, for editing Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comic Anthology
  • Rebecca Sugar, for creating and producing Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe (just announced – two more seasons!)
  • Catherynne M. Valente, for her novel, Radiance


But they didn’t stop there!  The Council also wanted to bring attention to other notable works, so they compiled an “extra-long” long-list that they felt warranted mention.  Here are the additional works noted by the Council:

  • Queers Destroy Fantasy!, edited by Christopher Barzak, Liz Gorinsky, and Matthew Cheney
  • Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
  • “When We Were Giants” by Helena Bell (Lightspeed, November 2015)
  • Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
  • Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer) and Valentine De Landro (artist)
  • Girl in the Gears by E. Chris Garrison
  • Three Songs for Roxy by Caren Gussoff
  • Thief of Songs by M.C.A. Hogarth
  • Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson
  • The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin,
  • “A Residence for Friendless Ladies” by Alice Sola Kim (Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2015)
  • Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein
  • “The Contemporary Foxwife” by Yoon Ha Lee (Clarkesworld, July 2014)
  • “Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds” by Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, June 11, 2015)
  • The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan
  • “Pocket Atlas of Planets” by Alex Dally MacFarlane (Interfictions, November 2015)
  • “The Husband Stitch” by Carmen Maria Machado (Granta, October 27,2014)
  • Things We Found During the Autopsy by Kuzhali Manickavel
  • “Sounding the Fall” by Jei D. Marcade (Escape Pod, July 20, 2015)
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
  • “The Body Corporate” by Mark Pantoja (GigaNotoSaurus, September 1, 2015)
  • Red Girls: The Legend of the Akakuchibas by Kazuki Sakuraba
  • Ariah by B.R. Sanders
  • “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games”, written and produced by Anita Sarkeesian (Feminist Frequency 2013-15)
  • Lock In by John Scalzi
  • “The Captain’s Sphere” by Malcolm A. Schmitz (Crossed Genres, December 2015)
  • “Everything Beneath You” by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Jan 8, 2015)
  • “Given the Advantage of the Blade” by Genevieve Valentine (Lightspeed, August 2015)
  • Queers Destroy Horror!, edited by Wendy N. Wagner, Megan Arkenberg, and Robyn Lupo


Congratulations to the Winners, those authors whose works are on the Honors List, and to all the long-listed honorees!


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