The James Tiptree Award has announced the winner for 2010, and once again two works have been chosen. The winners are:
- Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales, Greer Gilman (Small Beer Press)
- Ooku: The Inner Chambers (volumes 1 & 2), Fumi Yoshinaga (Viz Media)
The press release includes the following notes:
Cloud & Ashes contains three memorable and poetic tales that draw images and elements from folk tales and ballads of the British Isles. Told in lyrical Jacobeanesque dialect, the stories are striking for their language and their originality.
Juror Paul Kincaid praised Cloud & Ashes as “A book whose hold on your mind, on your memory, is assured. It is a story about story, and stories are what we are all made of.” Jury chair Karen Fowler reflected on the intriguing complexity of the interwoven themes in the work: “Patterns repeat, but also mutate in kaleidoscopic fashion and then mutate again…. Power shiftts about, much of it gender-based; time eats itself like a Moebius strip.”
The first two stories in Cloud & Ashes were published previously. The first, “Jack Daw’s Pack,” was a Nebula finalist for 2001. The second, “A Crowd of Bone”, won the 2003 World Fantasy Award. The third story, “Unleaving,” is original to Cloud & Ashes.
Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ooku: The Inner Chambers (volumes 1 & 2) explores an alternate version of feudal Japan, in which a plague has killed three out of every four boys. In this world, young men are protected and sheltered; women have secretly taken positions of authority and power. The Japanese ruler or shogun and the feudal lords are women and much of the story takes place among the men in the shogun’s harem. The title of the work refers to the living quarters for the shogun’s harem, contained within Edo Castle.
The selection of Ooku: The Inner Chambers marks the first time that manga has been chosen for the Tiptree Award. Though no one on the jury is an expert on manga or on Japanese history, the jurors fell in love with the detailed exploration of the world of these books, a world in which men are assumed to be weak and sickly, yet women still use symbolic masculinity to maintain power. Throughout the two books, Yoshinaga explores how the deep gendering of this society is both maintained and challenged by the alteration in ratios. “The result,” juror Jude Feldman writes, “is a fascinating, subtle, and nuanced speculation with gender at its center.”
Ooku was awarded the Sense of Gender award by the Japanese Association of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy (2005), the Excellence Award at Japan’s Media Arts Festival (2006), and the Grand Prize in Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize (2009).
The full jury this year’s Tiptree Award was: Karen Joy Fowler (chair), Jude Feldman, Paul Kincaid, Alexis Lothian, and Victor Raymond.
The honor list for this year is as follows:
- “Beautiful White Bodies”, Alice Sola Kim (Strange Horizons)
- Distances, Vandana Singh (Aqueduct Press 2008)
- “Galapagos”, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Eclipse 3, Night Shade Books)
- Lifelode, Jo Walton (NESFA Press 2009)
- “Useless Things”, Maureen F. McHugh (Eclipse 3, Night Shade Books)
- “Wives”, Paul Haines (X6, coeur de lion)
The press release adds:
In addition, the jury wishes to extend a special honor to L. Timmel Duchamp’s Marq’ssan Cycle, noting the importance of this stunning series, which envisions radical social and political change. Published over a period of four years, this five-book series began with Alanya to Alanya (Aqueduct Press, 2005) and concluded with Stretto (Aqueduct Press, 2008).
The awards will be presented at Wiscon at the end of May.