The 2014 James Tiptree, Jr. Awards were given out this week. The Tiptrees, named after one of the finest SF writers of the 20th Century, are awarded annually to works of science fiction or fantasy that explore and expand gender roles. This year the winners are Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road (Crown) and Jo Walton’s My Real Children (Tor).
As usual, the jury released a statement about each of the winners; here’s what they said this year.
Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road is a painful, challenging, glorious novel about murder, quests, self-delusion, and a stunning science-fictional big idea: What would it be like to walk the length of a few-meter-wide wave generator stretching across the open sea from India to Africa, with only what you can carry on your back? With profound compassion and insight, the novel tackles relationships between gender and culture and between gender and violence. It provides a nuanced portrait of violence against women, in a variety of forms, and violence perpetrated by women. Through the eyes of two narrators linked by a single act of violence, the reader is brought to confront shifting ideas of gender, class, and human agency and dignity.
Jo Walton’s My Real Children is a richly textured examination of two lives lived by the same woman. This moving, thought-provoking novel deals with how differing global and personal circumstances change our view of sexuality and gender. The person herself changes, along with her society. Those changes influence and are influenced by her opportunities in life and how she is treated by intimate partners, family members, and society at large. The alternate universe trope allows Walton to demonstrate that changes in perceptions regarding gender and sexuality aren’t inevitable or determined by a gradual enlightenment of the species, but must be struggled for. My Real Children is important for the way it demonstrates how things could have been otherwise — and might still be.
Each winner receives $1,000, original artwork created to honor the winning works, and of course chocolate. They will be honored at a ceremony during WisCon 39, held in Madison WI on May 22-25, 2015.
There’s also an honor roll of nine other novels and stories the jury found worthy of citation. See all the details here.