The James Tiptree Award Anthology 2: Sex, the Future, and Chocolate Chip Cookies


Stories for women, for men, and for the rest of us.

Female, male, gay, bisexual, straight, transgender, human, alien, or simply other, the Tiptree Award honors fiction that explores and expands our notions of gender. This anthology includes the most recent Tiptree winners and short-listed stories plus thought-provoking tales from previous years and essays that continue the conversation. As one of the Tiptree judges said, “I’m damned if I know ...

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Stories for women, for men, and for the rest of us.

Female, male, gay, bisexual, straight, transgender, human, alien, or simply other, the Tiptree Award honors fiction that explores and expands our notions of gender. This anthology includes the most recent Tiptree winners and short-listed stories plus thought-provoking tales from previous years and essays that continue the conversation. As one of the Tiptree judges said, “I’m damned if I know what gender is, but I do know when a story is about it.”

This year’s winners, according to juror Cecilia Tan, “stand completely opposed in so many ways—you could almost say they define the opposite edges of what is conceivable for the Tiptree. Haldeman, the well-known, Hemingway-esque, male, very American, hard SF writer at one end, and Sinisalo, the European, not well known (in the U.S. and within our genre, I mean), female contemporary-fantasy writer at the other.”

Camouflage by Joe Haldeman considers what would happen if a shape-shifting alien predator became, essentially, human. This ageless, sexless entity can take any form. Initially indifferent to gender, the creature faces a gender choice as it grows more human. Haldeman has previously won five Hugo Awards, four Nebula Awards, and the World Fantasy Award.

Johanna Sinisalo’s winning novel was published in the United States as Troll: A Love Story (Grove Press, 2004), in the United Kingdom as Not Before Sundown (Peter Owen, 2003), and in Finland as Ennen päiävanlaskua ei voi (Tammi, 2000). “A deft novel of how human society is ruled by complex territorial relationships,” Cecilia Tan writes of this novel. Sinisalo has previously won the prestigious Finlandia Prize and is known in her home country for her writing for television and comic strips as well as for her science fiction and fantasy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“James Tiptree was the pseudonym of the late Alice Sheldon, who during a 20-year career of writing gender-bending SF concealed her true identity. The award bearing her name appropriately honors works of fiction that ‘explore and expand gender.’ Unlike other major SF awards conferred by fans and writers’ associations, the Tiptrees are bestowed by a small jury of peers, and the actual prize is something edible, ‘usually chocolate.’ The second annual collection of winners includes stories, novel excerpts, and essays as well as a sampler of Tiptree’s correspondence. The outstanding novel excerpt comes from Joe Haldeman’s Camouflage (2004), about an immortal, shape-shifting alien who alternates between male and female identities, human and animal. Other very noteworthy pieces include Ursula K. Le Guin’s examination of a family unit of two men and two women, and Gwyneth Jones’s essay on why sex and gender create so much confusion. An excellent volume of superior prose that is both intellectually and morally challenging.”

“...the contributions demonstrate a rare gift for interpreting an issue in new and surprising ways. Recommended for most libraries.”
Library Journal

“Imagination blends with science and politics in the second collection offered by SF’s most daring award.”
SF Site

“Always interesting, habitually provocative, and occasionally stunning....”
Intergalactic Medicine Show

"Both dark and sparkling, topical and timeless, these stories wrap around us."
&mdashJewelle Gomez, author, The Gilda Stories

"Each work in this recommended collection is paradoxically both entertaining and instructive."
Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet online journal
"The Tiptree Award anthology series is a great idea, well executed."
Publishers Weekly
The James Tiptree Award Anthology 2, edited by Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin and Jeffrey D. Smith, showcases 13 stories, novel excerpts and essays that explore ideas of gender. Contributors include Joe Haldeman, Jonathan Lethem, Ursula K. Le Guin and Tiptree (aka Alice Sheldon) herself. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Since 1991, the James Tiptree Awards have honored novels, short fiction, and essays that have, in the opinions of its ever-changing panel of judges, dealt in new and interesting ways with the concept of gender. This second collection of winners and short-list finalists includes seven short stories, excerpts from novels by Ursula K. Le Guin, Joe Haldeman, and Johanna Sinisale, and an essay by Nalo Hopkinson on the search for oneself in sf and fantasy literature. From Raphael Carter's story-disguised-as-scholarly-paper attempting to shed light on gender identification ("Congenital Agenesis of Gender Ideation by K.N. Sirsi and Sandra Botkin") to Jaye Lawrence's whimsical yet poignant tale of enchanted frogs and magic wishes ("Kissing Frogs"), the contributions demonstrate a rare gift for interpreting an issue in new and surprising ways. Recommended for most libraries. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781892391315
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Series: James Tiptree Award Anthology Series , #2
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Joy Fowler

Karen Joy Fowler, Pat Murphy, Debbie Notkin, and Jeffrey D. Smith are the editors of the James Tiptree Award Anthologies. They are members of the Tiptree Motherboard, a volunteer organization that administers the Tiptree Award at Wiscon, the annual feminist convention in Madison, Wisconsin. The Motherboard won the 2011 Thomas D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service to science fiction. The Tiptree Award was created by Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler and has been given since 1991 for “works of science fiction or fantasy that expand or explore one’s understanding of gender.”


A genre such as science fiction, with its deeply committed fans and otherworldly subject matter, tends to stand apart from the rest of the book world. So when one writer manages to push the boundaries and achieve success with both sci-fi and mainstream fiction readers, it's a feat that signals she's worth paying attention to.

In terms of subject matter, Karen Joy Fowler is all over the map. Her first novel, 1991's Sarah Canary, is the story of the enigmatic title character, set in the Washington Territory in 1873. A Chinese railway worker's attempt to escort Sarah back to the insane asylum he believes she came from turns into more than he bargained for. Fowler weaves race and women's rights into the story, and it could be another historical novel -- except for a detail Fowler talks about in a 2004 interview. "I think for science fiction readers, it's pretty obvious that Sarah Canary is an alien," Fowler says. Yet other readers are dumbfounded by this news, seeing no sign of it. For her part, Fowler refuses to make a declaration either way.

Sarah Canary was followed in 1996 by The Sweetheart Season, a novel about a 1950s women's baseball league that earned comparisons to Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon works; and the 2001 novel Sister Noon, which Fowler called "a sort of secret history of San Francisco." For all three novels, critics lauded Fowler for her originality and compelling storytelling as she infused her books with elements of fantasy and well-researched history.

In 2004, Fowler released her first contemporary novel, The Jane Austen Book Club. It dealt with five women and one man reading six of Austen's novels over a six-month period, and earned still more praise for Fowler. The New York Times called the novel shrewd and funny; The Washington Post said, "It's... hard to explain quite why The Jane Austen Book Club is so wonderful. But that it is wonderful will soon be widely recognized, indeed, a truth universally acknowledged." Though Fowler clearly wrote the book with Austen fans in mind – she too loves the English author of classics such as Pride and Prejudice -- knowledge of Austen's works is not a prerequisite for enjoyment.

Readers who want to learn more about Fowler's sci-fi side should also seek out her short story collections. Black Glass (1999) is not a strictly sci-fi affair, but it is probably the most readily available; her Web site offers a useful bibliography of stories she has published in various collections and sci-fi journals, including the Nebula Award-winning "What I Didn't See."

Fowler also continues to be involved with science fiction as a co-founder of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, designed to honor "science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender." The award has spawned two anthologies, which Fowler has taken part in editing.

Whether or not Fowler moves further in the direction of mainstream contemporary fiction, she clearly has the flexibility and skill as a writer to retain fans no matter what. Her "category" as a writer may be fluid, but it doesn't seem to make a difference to readers who discover her unique, absorbing stories and get wrapped up in them.

Good To Know

In our interview, Fowler shared some fun facts about herself with us:

"The first thing I ever wanted to be was a dog breeder. Instead I've had a succession of eccentric pound rescues. My favorite was a Keeshond Shepherd mix, named Tamara Press after the Russian shot-putter. Tamara went through college with me, was there when I married, when I had children. She was like Nana in Peter Pan; we were a team. I'm too permissive to deal with spaniels or hounds, as it turns out. Not that I haven't had them, just that I lose the alpha advantage."

"I have cats, too. But I can't talk about them. They don't like it."

"I'm not afraid of spiders or snakes, at least not the California varieties. But I can't watch scary movies. That is, I can watch them, but I can't sleep after, so mostly I don't. Unless I'm tricked. I mention no names. You know who you are."

"I loved the television show The Night Stalker when it was on. Also The Greatest American Hero. And I Spy. And recently Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except for the final year."

"I do the crossword puzzle in the Nation every week. I don't like other crossword puzzles, only that one. It takes me two days on average."

"I take yoga classes. I eat sushi. I walk the dog. I spend way too much time on email. Mostly I read."

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    1. Hometown:
      Davis, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1950
    2. Place of Birth:
      Bloomington, Indiana
    1. Education:
      B.A., The University of California, Berkeley, 1972; M.A., The University of California, Davis, 1974

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