The 2017 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award winner is Virginia Bergin, for her YA novel Who Runs the World?, set in the aftermath of a plague that kills almost every organism with a Y chromosome. The Tiptree Award is presented annually to works of science fiction or fantasy that explore and expand our understanding of gender and gender roles. For more than 25 years, the award has been seeking out work that is thought-provoking, imaginative, and perhaps even infuriating. The Tiptree Award Literary Council’s goal is to encourage writers who are examining gender roles and imagining futures that are very different from today, as Bergin does in her tale of transformative justice.
We are pleased to announce that several Tor and Tor.com titles were also honored: JY Yang’s The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune were named to the Tiptree Honor List, while Ellen Klages’ Passing Strange, Annalee Newitz’s Autonomous, K. Arsenault Rivera’s The Tiger’s Daughter, and Alyssa Wong’s “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers” were included in the Tiptree Long List.
More about Who Runs the World?, from the official announcement:
Who Runs the World? is a young adult novel that tells an intricately layered tale of intergenerational struggle and cooperation, the dehumanizing force of gender stereotypes, and the moral courage it takes to challenge cultural and political norms. Bergin invokes a premise familiar in feminist science fiction—a plague that kills nearly everyone with a Y chromosome. Without relying on biological determinism, Bergin uses this premise to develop a vividly imagined feminist society, and to grapple with that society’s changes and flaws over time.
Born three generations after the plague, into a social order rebuilt around consensus, 14-year-old River views her world as idyllic—until she discovers Mason, a teenage boy who has escaped from one of the “Sanctuaries” where “XYs” are held. As River, along with her mother and grandmother, learns about the violence of Mason’s life, she sees her community’s norms upended and hidden biases exposed. But the story does not end with the exposure of the seeming utopia’s hidden subjugations. For River has been shaped by a society that built itself with purpose and care around principles of justice. Growing up amid those principles has given River the tools to challenge her own culture’s fundamental contradictions. In an ultimately optimistic vision, Bergin dares to depict a future in which principles of transformative justice can have, if not victory over, at least even footing with the incentives of profit and exploitation.
Who Runs the World? was published in the UK by Pan Macmillan in 2017. It will be published in the US by Sourcebooks under the title The XY in September 2018.
In addition to selecting the Tiptree Award winner, the jury also chooses a Tiptree Honor List as well as a long list of works considered worthy of attention. The complete Honor List and Long List are below, and check out the official Tiptree Award announcement for selected judges’ notes on each of the Honor works.
Tiptree Honor List
- Charlie Jane Anders, “Don’t Press Charges and I Won’t Sue” (Boston Review, USA, 2017)
- Indra Das, The Devourers (Del Rey, USA, 2016)
- April Daniels, Dreadnought and Sovereign (Diversion, USA, 2017)
- Maggie Shen King, An Excess Male (Harper Voyager, USA, 2017)
- Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties (Gray Wolf, USA, 2017)
- Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts (Akashic, USA, 2017)
- JY Yang, The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune (Tor.com Publishing, USA, 2017)
Tiptree Long List
- The Power, Naomi Alderman (Viking, UK, 2016)
- “Palingenesis,” Megan Arkenberg (Shimmer, USA, 2016)
- Conspiracy of Ravens, Lila Bowen (Orbit, USA, 2016)
- O Human Star, vol. 1 and 2, Blue Dellaquanti (self published, USA, 2017)
- The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga, USA, 2017)
- The Book of Etta, Meg Elison (47 North, USA, 2017)
- “Notes from Liminal Spaces,” Hiromi Goto (Uncanny, USA, 2017)
- “The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist,” SL Huang (Book Smugglers, USA, 2016)
- “Your Body, by Default,” Alexis A. Hunter (Fireside Magazine, USA, 2016)
- The Stars Are Legion, Kameron Hurley (Saga, USA, 2017)
- The Moon and the Other, John Kessel (Saga, USA, 2017)
- Passing Strange, Ellen Klages (Tor.com Publishing, USA, 2017)
- Monstress, Volumes 1 and 2, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image, USA, 2016)
- “Coral Bones,” Foz Meadows (Monstrous Little Voices, Rebellion, UK, 2016)
- Provenance, Ann Leckie (Orbit, USA, 2017)
- “Her Sacred Spirit Soars,” S. Qiouyi Lu (Strange Horizons, USA, 2016)
- The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller (Harper, USA, 2017)
- Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, Torrey Peters (self-published, 2016)
- Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor, USA, 2017)
- Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor, Rick Riordan (Hyperion, USA, 2017)
- The Tiger’s Daughter, K. Arsenault Rivera (Tor, USA, 2017)
- Viscera, Gabby Squalia (published as Gabriel Squalia, Talos, USA, 2016)
- “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,” K.M. Szpara (Uncanny, USA, 2017)
- Known Associates, thingswithwings (self-published at Archive of Our Own, USA, 2016)
- Story sequence by Debbie Urbanski: “The Portal,” (The Sun, USA, 2016); “The Thread,” (Cicada, USA, 2016); “A List of My Utopias,” (The Sun, USA, 2017); “How to Find a Portal,” (Lightspeed, USA, 2017); “A Few Personal Observations About Portals,” (The Sun, USA, 2017)
- “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers,” Alyssa Wong (Tor.com, USA, 2016)
Each year, a panel of five judges selects the Tiptree Award winner. The 2017 judges were Alexis Lothian (chair), E.J. Fischer, Kazue Harada, Cheryl Morgan, and Julia Starkey. The Tiptree Award winner, along with authors and works on the Honor List will be celebrated during Memorial Day weekend at WisCon in Madison, Wisconsin.
Reading for 2018 will soon begin. The panel will be chaired by Margaret McBride. The Tiptree Award invites everyone to recommend works for the award. Please submit recommendations via the recommendation page of Tiptree Award website.