The Otherwise Award is pleased to announce that the award ceremony for the 1992 Otherwise Award winner(s) has been held, and the winners have received their award and accolades.

Award Information

Conference Information

  • Award Year: 1992
  • Award Year Number: Year 2
  • Conference: WisCon 17
  • Date: 07-03-1993
  • Location: Madison, WI

Award Winner

The 1992 jury chose 1 work for the Otherwise Award.

China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh (Tor, 1992)

“Homosexuality is a useful device for a political novelist-a male homosexual is a public agent who does not stand to benefit, in the terms of his own futurity, from anything the state can do. Throughout this novel there’s an understated, building tension between the loveless embrace of the ‘caring’ state and the unassuming humane behavior of Zhang the outsider. Deep in the heart of China Mountain Zhang there’s a very old riff: the wild talent, the young male outsider who is smarter, faster, much better than the system that rejects him. McHugh has given this old, old story an elegant transformation.”

“A sympathetic and subtle portrayal of women and men in nontraditional roles.”

“Avoiding preachment without abandoning thought is hard. Characters must seem real without seeming doctrinaire; issues must arise out of the story instead of being imposed on it. By this standard I’d say McHugh’s China Mountain Zhang is the best political novel I’ve read in years, because for the most part it doesn’t seem to be about politics at all.”

“Rigorous science fiction, set in a non-western culture. It’s well written and the characters live and breathe. It’s got it all.”

Work Information

Title: China Mountain ZhangAuthor:
Publisher Name: TorCountry: USYear: 1992
Work Type: NovelOriginal Language: English
Maureen F. McHugh – China Mountain Zhang
Maureen F. McHugh – China Mountain Zhang

Award Honor List

The 1992 jury chose 7 works for the Honor List

Venus Rising, (Edgewood Press, US, 1992)

“Liked the alien sense of Emshwiller’s amphibious people. An explicitly feminist story which also has an underlying, rationalized yet subtle science-fictional rationale. I like the way Venus Rising can be read both metaphorically and as a ‘pure’ science fiction story.”

This story is in Flying Cups and Saucers.

Grownups, (Davis Publications, US, 1992)

“This taps into some basic male discomfort with what pregnancy does to women’s bodies (although there is no pregnancyper se in the story), and also with adolescent fears about adulthood, the perception of growing up as a loss of vitality and identity.”

This story is in Flying Cups and Saucers.

Time, Like an Ever-Rolling Stream, Holy Ground Trilogy Book 2, (St. Martin's Press, US, 1992)

“A good science fiction novel about incest or the threat or possibility thereof. Moffett also does a good job of showing the connection-for many conservative Christians-between religion, consumerism, disrespect for the planet and fear of different people.”

“Moffett’s writing on gender issues, and on the future of humanity, is profoundly and insidiously pessimistic. Under the placid surface of Time, there’s a truly terrible, and grimly justified, vision of the relationship between the sexes.”

Red Mars, Mars Trilogy Book 1, (Harper Collins, UK, 1992)

“Liked this book’s openly sexual interpretation of human power broking, and the way that sex-drive scrabbling for dominance is shown as being destructive on every possible level.”

“If this novel isn’t explicitly about gender roles, they certainly underlie and drive the characters and their interactions. This is rich, realistic, beautifully done science fiction with the kind of detail that makes one feel the writer has actually lived in the world he creates.”

Correspondence, (The Women's Press, US, 1992)

“Thoughtful, philosophical, intelligent exploration of human/machine interfacing and transformations.”

Lost Futures, (Grafton, UK, 1993)

“This book is a multiverse riff, strongly reminiscent of The Female Man and Woman on the Edge of Time, but the device is used for a personal, not a political story. It’s mildly yet pervasively eerie and disorienting.”

In the Mother's Land, (Bantam Spectra, US, 1992)

“Vonarburg’s writing has a seriousness of purpose that much American science fiction, even some of the best, lacks; moral issues and intellectual debates are an important and exciting part of her work. Change may be necessary, but one has a sense, in this novel, of how problematic it is and how much pain it can cause. One of the delights of this novel is that the reader learns about the protagonist’s world in much the way she does, first discovering her immediate environment and then, gradually, the world beyond it.


Non-attributed commentary harvested from correspondence among the judges.

  • Michaela Roessner (chair)
  • Eleanor Arnason
  • Gwyneth Jones
  • John Kessel
  • Pamela Sargent

Award Ceremony

The 1992 Otherwise Award was given to Maureen McHugh at WisCon 17, March 07, 1993, in Madison, Wisconsin.