Poland — A Trip Report by Pat Murphy

This is what happens when you send a couple of fiction writers to Eastern Europe to collect a prestigious award. You get a trip report several months late* and parts of it are entirely fictitious.

You could consider this as a good thing or as a bad thing. That’s your choice. As always, the Tiptree Award encourages you, as a reader to think deeply, to question the narrative, to imagine the possibilities, and (of course) make your own choices. Therefore, at various points in this trip report, you will have the opportunity to decide what really happened.  Can you find the true story?

Stop. Consider that question for a moment. The true story?  Oh, come now! You’ve read my fiction. You know that truth is not always easily defined.

I will begin with the facts: In 2011, the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) honored the Motherboard of the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award with the 2011 Thomas D. Clareson Award for Distinguished Service. The Clareson Award was presented in a ceremony in Lublin, Poland, on July 9. The Tiptree Award sent Motherboard members Karen Joy Fowler and me to Poland to accept the award.

Of course, the facts don’t begin to tell the story — true or false.  For that, you need a narrative — and a bit of fiction.

Begin here with a very important discussion of cobblestones.

The bottom of Pat's purse
The bottom of Pat’s purse

*Of course “late” is a relative term. Personally, I say that a trip is not over until you put away the map — and just yesterday I found a dog-eared map of Warsaw at the bottom of my purse. So by my reckoning, the trip just ended.

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