The Otherwise Award is pleased to announce that the award ceremony for the 1991 Otherwise Award winner(s) has been held, and the winners have received their award and accolades.

Award Information

Conference Information

  • Award Year: 1991
  • Award Year Number: Year 1
  • Conference: WisCon 16
  • Date: 07-03-1992
  • Location: Madison, WI

Award Winners

The 1991 jury chose 2 works for the Otherwise Award.

A Woman of the Iron People by Eleanor Arnason (William Morrow, 1991)

“Four-square grumpy humor and effortless inventiveness. It explores the situation of a people much more obviously (if not more deeply) fixed in mammalian psycho-sexual wiring than we are (or think we are). No easy answers, no question begging, just a clean, clever job.”

“That wonderful mix of ‘sense of wonder’ (alien-ness) and shock of recognition (humanity) which … the very best science fiction has and which … ‘courage’ in SF demands.”

Work Information

Title: A Woman of the Iron PeopleAuthor:
Publisher Name: William MorrowCountry: USYear: 1991
Work Type: NovelOriginal Language: English
Eleanor Arnason – A Woman of the Iron People
Eleanor Arnason – A Woman of the Iron People

White Queen, The Aleutian Trilogy Book 1, by Gwyneth Jones (Gollancz, 1991)

“The real reason this book is so good is its moral complexity. You don’t know whether to root for the heroes as they challenge the seemingly benevolent aliens or to pity the heroes for their xenophobia. Jones makes that decision as difficult for us as the decision to support the PLO or the IRA or the Mojahadeen (take your pick) is for people today. The book is infuriatingly and justifiably inconclusive; the characters are as confused as most of today’s viewers are.”

Work Information

Title: White QueenAuthor:
Series Title: The Aleutian TrilogySeries Number: 1
Publisher Name: GollanczCountry: UKYear: 1991
Work Type: NovelOriginal Language: English
Gwyneth Jones – White Queen
Gwyneth Jones – White Queen

Award Honor List

The 1991 jury chose 5 works for the Honor List

Orbital Resonance, The Century Next Door Book 1, (Tor, US, 1991)

“This book deserves serious consideration because of the viewpoint character (a teenage girl on a space station) and because of the changes Barnes postulates in people living in a new environment. It’s very good science fiction; excellent speculation. Quirky and interesting politics. He’s done a fine job of imagining what living in his creation would be like.”

Sarah Canary, (Henry Holt, US, 1991)

Karen disqualified this one early, because she administers the Tiptree with Pat Murphy, but the judges didn’t let her keep it off the shortlist. “Every bit as distinguished as The White Queen. After eight years of cyberpunk as a more masculine than feminine endeavor, two very strong writers [Fowler and Jones] have invented a feminist reply. In so doing, they’ve made a long overdue contribution to the great dialog of the SF field.”

The Architecture of Desire, White Crow Sequence #2, (Bantam Press, UK, 1991)

“Gentle not only successfully blurs the gender lines around rape, she raises all the questions so prevalent in contemporary culture about date rape, marital rape, and other situations where the lines are blurred. … One of the best things about the book is that the protagonist understands what she’s done, and why, and through that, comes to understand what the rapist did, and why. Gentle also, in the relationship between the protagonist and her husband, deals with two [essential] gender issues (or at least relationship issues)-love without beauty and love in a context of controlled jealousy.”

Moonwise, (Roc / New American Library, US, 1991)

“Women of various ages and stages and forms struggle over a most basic and grand ‘magical’ achievement, the accomplishment of the winter solstice and release towards spring. A victory is won without the toot of a single war-horn or clash of battle, and it works-without argument, without over-protection, without polemic of any kind, but just by being told, and well-told.”

He, She and It, (Alfred A. Knopf, US, 1991)

“Women tend to talk differently from men … Part of the reason women speak differently is because their concerns are different. I think that Piercy has taken on cyberpunk and made it answer the questions that women are most likely to ask about the future. Shira and Malkah, the protagonists, are not sleazoid-underworld-street-samurai; they’re women who’d like to raise a kid successfully as well as jack in. … This was new; it is not a minor triumph.”


Non-attributed commentary harvested from correspondence among the judges.

  • Debbie Notkin (chair)
  • Suzy McKee Charnas
  • Sherry Coldsmith
  • Bruce McAllister
  • Vonda McIntyre

Award Ceremony

The 1991 Otherwise Award was given to Eleanor Arnason and Gwyneth Jones at WisCon 16, March 07, 1992, in Madison, Wisconsin.