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The James Tiptree Award Anthology 3: Subversive Stories about Sex and Gender

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Returning again to the fertile ground of sex and identity, this third entry in a successful and controversial anthology series continues to celebrate thought-provoking and provocative fiction that explores and expands gender. Through their subversive, engaging stories, Tiptree Award-winning authors offer fascinating speculations on the ever-increasing mutability of our pub Returning again to the fertile ground of sex and identity, this third entry in a successful and controversial anthology series continues to celebrate thought-provoking and provocative fiction that explores and expands gender. Through their subversive, engaging stories, Tiptree Award-winning authors offer fascinating speculations on the ever-increasing mutability of our public and private selves. James Tiptree, Jr. was the pseudonym of Alice Bradley Sheldon, whose lasting contributions to the gender-bending genre are honored with this annual award, now in its 15th year. Previous winners of the Tiptree Award include Karen Joy Fowler, Ursula K. Le Guin, M. John Harrison, Kelly Link, Joe Haldeman, and Joanna Russ. Content Introduction by Jeffrey D. Smith “Dearth” by Aimee Bender “The Future of Femail: Octavia Butler’s Mother Lode” by Dorothy Allison “Knapsack Poems” by Eleanor Arnason “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” by James Tiptree, Jr. “Dear Alice Sheldon” by L. Timmel Duchamp “Wooden Bride” by Margo Lanagan “The Glass Bottle Trick” by Nalo Hopkinson “Shame” by Pam Noles “Liking What You See: A Documentary” by Ted Chaing “Mountains Ways” by Ursula K. Le Guin “Little Faces” by Vonda N. McIntyre


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Returning again to the fertile ground of sex and identity, this third entry in a successful and controversial anthology series continues to celebrate thought-provoking and provocative fiction that explores and expands gender. Through their subversive, engaging stories, Tiptree Award-winning authors offer fascinating speculations on the ever-increasing mutability of our pub Returning again to the fertile ground of sex and identity, this third entry in a successful and controversial anthology series continues to celebrate thought-provoking and provocative fiction that explores and expands gender. Through their subversive, engaging stories, Tiptree Award-winning authors offer fascinating speculations on the ever-increasing mutability of our public and private selves. James Tiptree, Jr. was the pseudonym of Alice Bradley Sheldon, whose lasting contributions to the gender-bending genre are honored with this annual award, now in its 15th year. Previous winners of the Tiptree Award include Karen Joy Fowler, Ursula K. Le Guin, M. John Harrison, Kelly Link, Joe Haldeman, and Joanna Russ. Content Introduction by Jeffrey D. Smith “Dearth” by Aimee Bender “The Future of Femail: Octavia Butler’s Mother Lode” by Dorothy Allison “Knapsack Poems” by Eleanor Arnason “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” by James Tiptree, Jr. “Dear Alice Sheldon” by L. Timmel Duchamp “Wooden Bride” by Margo Lanagan “The Glass Bottle Trick” by Nalo Hopkinson “Shame” by Pam Noles “Liking What You See: A Documentary” by Ted Chaing “Mountains Ways” by Ursula K. Le Guin “Little Faces” by Vonda N. McIntyre

30 review for The James Tiptree Award Anthology 3: Subversive Stories about Sex and Gender

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zen Cho

    What didn't I learn? -- Oh, wait, no, I have a few things! They are not very interesting, I'm afraid. But here they are: THINGS I LEARNT FROM THIS BOOK - I should read more Ted Chiang. - More Southeast Asian fiction by actual Southeast Asian people is required. - Potatoes are more interesting than I think. - Love stories are a million times more significant when you are in love. (I'm sorry, this is such a cliche. But it is true!) - It is still necessary to be a feminist. I knew this already, but this What didn't I learn? -- Oh, wait, no, I have a few things! They are not very interesting, I'm afraid. But here they are: THINGS I LEARNT FROM THIS BOOK - I should read more Ted Chiang. - More Southeast Asian fiction by actual Southeast Asian people is required. - Potatoes are more interesting than I think. - Love stories are a million times more significant when you are in love. (I'm sorry, this is such a cliche. But it is true!) - It is still necessary to be a feminist. I knew this already, but this confirmed it. I have several favourite stories, but I must mention Eleanor Arnason's Knapsack Poems, just to remind myself. The spirit of it felt very Chinese to me -- or maybe all itinerant poets will do that. But I am interested in reading more by her.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Abe Books 11/9/21 $6.98

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I just love these anthologies. I love what it showcases - the diversity of what the different Tiptree panels have judged as falling into the category of 'exploring and expanding gender,' which is the remit of the Tiptree Award each year. I love that it shows diversity within the genre, full stop. I love that the anthologies don't just have fiction, and don't just have fiction from one or two years, but that there's non-fiction and older works as well. And that the introduction and sometimes the I just love these anthologies. I love what it showcases - the diversity of what the different Tiptree panels have judged as falling into the category of 'exploring and expanding gender,' which is the remit of the Tiptree Award each year. I love that it shows diversity within the genre, full stop. I love that the anthologies don't just have fiction, and don't just have fiction from one or two years, but that there's non-fiction and older works as well. And that the introduction and sometimes the introduction to each piece are interrogating themselves, the pieces, and the scene in general. There's a lot to love. I've had this volume waiting to be read for aaaages. I thought it appropriate to read as I rode public transport on my way to interviewing Rosaleen Love - what I've read of her work fits into the broader milieu of the works represented here. As I read, I couldn't believe that I'd allowed myself to leave this book festering on the shelf for so long. The non-fiction includes an essay of Pam Noles', called "Shame," which struck me very deeply: about the experience of watching and reading science fiction as a person of colour, and not seeing yourself. Her dad sounds awesome: he called the movies she was watching "Escape to a White Planet," and "Mars Kills the White People." There's an enormous amount in this essay that I, as a privileged white reader (gender does not trump race - it's not a competition) probably need to read it again. Several times. And that the editors paired it with Dorothy Allison's essay on Octavia Butler was very nice - the latter doesn't talk all that much about race, more about Butler's vision of women in the future, but the two are surely entwined... perhaps not especially in Butler, but certainly in Butler. And then there's a letter from L Timmel Duchamp to Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr, which is a lovely musing on what Sheldon/Tiptree as person and as author has meant to one individual. Geoff Ryman looks at some possible consequences of the internet arriving in an out of the way village; Nalo Hopkinson goes domestic, sinister and mythological all in one hit; Margo Lanagan does weird weird things that I'm still figuring out in "Wooden Bride" - the story that, I think, gets the shortest introduction of all, since "some stories shouldn't be introduced" and doesn't that just describe all of Lanagan's work? Aimee Bender's "Dearth" is a devastating, heart warming, bewildering story about maternity and mothering... and I've just realised the protagonist is never named. And isn't that a statement in itself. All of the stories so far were new to me, and Bender was a new name. And then it gave me Ursula Le Guin's "Mountain Ways," one of my favourites of her short stories. I can't possibly pick a favourite story, because that would mean choosing between Le Guin and Ted Chiang: "Liking what you see: A Documentary" is another of his glorious mucking-with-structure stories in which the question about whether you should turn off the ability to see/appreciate beauty is presented as if as a transcribed documentary. And the fact that there are no visuals to accompany this story about visuals just adds to its power and general gloriousness. And for the editors to pair this with Tiptree's "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" - well, I'll admit that I did not reread the Tiptree. It was just going to be too raw an experience. So too was "Litte Faces," by Vonda McIntyre, but I didn't know that before going in. Deeply disturbing and weird (but not entirely in an unpleasant way), as well as powerful and impressive - and so very different. So, too, the final story - different that is, slightly less weird and disturbing - is "Knapsack Poems," from Eleanor Arnason. She uses a character who is effectively distributed over eight bodies to tell a story of travel and experience, and I couldn't help but be reminded of Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice. I'm not sure the similarities are much more than superficial, but they're intriguing anyway. This anthology works as something read from cover to cover in a sitting or two; it could be dipped into over months; it could be hopscotched. It should be read in any way you can.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Schnaucl

    This anthology has some very good stories and some forgettable stories. I know the Tiptree Awards are about rethinking gender but I must confess there were some stories that I didn't understand how gender fit in. I liked Have Not Have by Geoff Ryman, which is apparently the first chapter in a longer work. The section included in the book suggests the novel is about the Internet reaching the farthest corners of the earth so that everyone is connected and how that would affect previously isolated p This anthology has some very good stories and some forgettable stories. I know the Tiptree Awards are about rethinking gender but I must confess there were some stories that I didn't understand how gender fit in. I liked Have Not Have by Geoff Ryman, which is apparently the first chapter in a longer work. The section included in the book suggests the novel is about the Internet reaching the farthest corners of the earth so that everyone is connected and how that would affect previously isolated peoples and communities. I've put the full book on my reading list. Liking What You See by Ted Chiang posited a world where technology makes it possible to prevent people from recognizing a face as beautiful. It was interesting, but I couldn't help thinking it was rather pointless. If you take away beauty people will just find something else to use to put people into hierarchies. Clothes, eye color, hair color, etc. And it did nothing about body image. It also focused on faces and I think a bigger issue is fitness and weight, which weren't mentioned at all. There was some discussion as to whether using technology to blind people to a face's physical beauty was a good idea, but I would have liked more. And there was little recognition of the fact that if people don't use beauty they would use some other standard. Another interesting question might be whether beauty is a valid standard. People go to pretty amazing lengths to be beautiful, cosmetic surgery, lengthening bones, etc. But is intelligence any better? Everyone is born with a certain level of both intelligence and beauty but there's only so much a person can do to raise those levels. The Girl Who Was Plugged In by James Tiptree, Jr. was an interesting tale about subversive advertising but I'm not sure what it had to do with gender. Little Faces by Vonda N. McIntyre was strange. It's full of women, but they have male companions living inside them. However, there's nothing particularly feminine about the women (they actually felt asexual to me). The male companions inside them are mostly depicted as hungry and attention starved. They apparently have personalities, but I didn't get a real sense of that and they felt asexual too. Shame by Pam Noles is an interesting essay on the fiction of Ursula K. LeGuin and what it means to be a fan of color. I liked it a lot, but it's another piece where I didn't see how it was related to gender. The Future of the Female by Dorothy Allison is an essay on Octavia Butler's fiction that confirms my opinion that Butler is most definitely not for me. It sounds too much like Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland, all about raising kids. There were other stories and essays, but those were the ones that stood out to me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    M.

    I discovered that I find stories concerning different interpretations of nurturing kinship and inherent "female" and "male" qualities cast in alien lights tiresome. They too easily turn into aspirations for a searching reader, and not critical metaphors. Within the anthology, Tiptree's own "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" is a scathing dystopian masterpiece, and many of the stories that surround it . . . are charming reads. I chalk this sentiment up to my own penchant for mirrors of harsh reality–– I discovered that I find stories concerning different interpretations of nurturing kinship and inherent "female" and "male" qualities cast in alien lights tiresome. They too easily turn into aspirations for a searching reader, and not critical metaphors. Within the anthology, Tiptree's own "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" is a scathing dystopian masterpiece, and many of the stories that surround it . . . are charming reads. I chalk this sentiment up to my own penchant for mirrors of harsh reality––others may find the other stories much more enjoyable. Essays in the anthology are solid, but the letter directed to a post-humous Sheldon reads as obnoxious. That also might just be because I'm a cyborg and dislike women writing about what it is like to live in the confines of being regarded a woman, with that inevitable and resigned tone as if we should know better. This book was put out in 2005, though, so I guess it's still within reason that an sf writer should write to a dead author about how they shouldn't have been so shocked when the revelation that their pseudonym is falsely male gets them kicked out of the boys' club. ¬_¬ I think it might just be better to read about Tiptree's life and then read The Girl Who Was Plugged In than deal with this anthology in full.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pamster

    Definitely several five star stories. Love love love the Tiptree awards and my reading would suffer so much without their recommendations. The Geoff Ryman short story that became his novel Air started out the collection—great, made me want to reread the whole novel. Ursula Le Guin's story about a society where marriages are always between four people was awesome, and something I keep thinking about. LOVED Nalo Hopkinson's take on Bluebeard. Short piece by Dorothy Allison on Octavia Butler, anoth Definitely several five star stories. Love love love the Tiptree awards and my reading would suffer so much without their recommendations. The Geoff Ryman short story that became his novel Air started out the collection—great, made me want to reread the whole novel. Ursula Le Guin's story about a society where marriages are always between four people was awesome, and something I keep thinking about. LOVED Nalo Hopkinson's take on Bluebeard. Short piece by Dorothy Allison on Octavia Butler, another piece on people of color and fandom. Okay, I want to read the first two anthologies now.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I'm not a huge sci-fci fan, but was intruiged by things that focus on issues of gender and such? ...which these do mostly in name only (with probably LeGuin's piece as a stand-out exception). A couple of gripping stories, but most sort of "meh" - but then again, that could be my sci-fci aversion talking, or the shit winter weather. I'm not a huge sci-fci fan, but was intruiged by things that focus on issues of gender and such? ...which these do mostly in name only (with probably LeGuin's piece as a stand-out exception). A couple of gripping stories, but most sort of "meh" - but then again, that could be my sci-fci aversion talking, or the shit winter weather.

  8. 4 out of 5

    K T

    Not what I was looking for. Some of these were just segments of novels. I was also under the impression that it would be a science fiction-oriented collection. I skipped the essays and letters and so on. About a third of the book was interesting to me. enjoyed: Liking What You See: A Documentary (scifi!), Little Faces, Knapsack Poems

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maerdi

    Ah, (Science) Fiction for a thinking person! How lovely, and wonderful, and thought-provoking. This particular collection also includes an interesting and insightful essay regarding race. I'm very much convinced that these are books worth buying, so that I can re-read them, loan them out, and re-visit their themes and stories. Ah, (Science) Fiction for a thinking person! How lovely, and wonderful, and thought-provoking. This particular collection also includes an interesting and insightful essay regarding race. I'm very much convinced that these are books worth buying, so that I can re-read them, loan them out, and re-visit their themes and stories.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nat Smith

    much better than the first two. beutiful stories, each powerful and things tio think about in their rights. Alice Sheldon left such a legacy. I would be interested in more radical/teaching gender play, but this is good nonetheless.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Schwarz

    A bit of a mixed bag here. Really enjoyed some stories, and a couple of the essays, couldn't finish others. I love the concept behind these anthologies (and the lit prize) I am curious to check out the latest anthology to see how this series had developed. A bit of a mixed bag here. Really enjoyed some stories, and a couple of the essays, couldn't finish others. I love the concept behind these anthologies (and the lit prize) I am curious to check out the latest anthology to see how this series had developed.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Norman Howe

    This contains stories of fantasy and science fiction dealing with gender issues. There are also essays about Alice Sheldon (who used the pseudonym James Tiptree Jr.)"," and Octavia Butler and one (Shame) about race in speculative fiction. This contains stories of fantasy and science fiction dealing with gender issues. There are also essays about Alice Sheldon (who used the pseudonym James Tiptree Jr.)"," and Octavia Butler and one (Shame) about race in speculative fiction.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    Fiction J294 v.3

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steph Mills

    "Mountain Ways" and "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" were my favorites. "Mountain Ways" and "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" were my favorites.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie Madsen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  18. 4 out of 5

    Farzana

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Smith

  20. 5 out of 5

    Loyal

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Seth Frost

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cassie Carter

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave Newton

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  27. 4 out of 5

    John

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  29. 5 out of 5

    Crow Meris

  30. 4 out of 5

    ErinK

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