Otherwise Auction at WisCONline May 23rd

This year’s WisCon will be online, and you can register now. Register for WisCon by tomorrow — Wednesday, May 20th — to make sure you can attend!

And no WisCon is complete without our annual benefit auction! Here’s the WisCon schedule. The annual Otherwise Award auction will be Saturday night, May 23rd, 7:30pm-8:30pm Central Time.

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Sumana Harihareswara as auctioneer
Sumana Harihareswara in two pairs of trousers onstage, as auctioneer, at a past auction at WisCon.

WisCon will stream the auction — including comedy, stunts, and special guest stars — via YouTube, and you’ll be able to bid and converse using a live Discord chat. And the entire auction will be hosted by auctioneer Sumana Harihareswara and live-captioned by a CART (“Communication Access Realtime Transcription”) transcriptionist.

Since this year’s auction is transcending the material plane, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re taking this opportunity to play with the auction format in a few ways.

First: the Otherwise Motherboard has decided to use pass-the-hat challenges this year to raise money for the Carl Brandon Society and WisCon’s general fund, instead of raising money for Otherwise. (We’re fortunate enough to be able to keep the award going this year without the auction’s income. And celebration, community, and fun have always been key to the auction, besides the fundraising, and those things are more important than ever this year.)

Second: to reduce the risk and difficulty of mailing things, and receiving mail, most of the auction items are electronic.

And third: for the items below, instead of bidding in money, you’ll try to one-up each other with recommendations, colors, and poems in the Discord chat. Enjoy using the gestures of “bidding” while prefiguring how auctions might work in postscarcity societies!

Cover of China Mountain Zhang
New Tor Essentials edition of China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh, with new introduction by Jo Walton

The auction items will be:

Want to win one of those? Want to see the surprise guest who’ll sing if we reach a donation challenge? Want to support science fiction that explores and expands gender (with the Otherwise Award)? Want to help increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction (with the Carl Brandon Society)? Want to roar with laughter?

There are dozens of possible reasons to visit this year’s auction. Hope to meet you there! Please register by May 20th.

Here’s a trailer!

More Information on Le Guin Symposium

Interested in coming to the “Tiptree symposium” celebrating the work of Ursula K. Le Guin? (Ms. Le Guin’s birthday was October 21. Happiest of birthdays, Ursula!)

We wrote about the symposium here, and now we know more.

Copyright (c) 2003 by Joyce Scrivner

The University Libraries haven’t published a final schedule yet; they have been moving some items around since we last posted. Both the Le Guin and Feminist Science Fiction panel, featuring several Tiptree Award winners and motherboard members, and Tiptree Award founding mother Karen Joy Fowler’s keynote will be on Friday, December 2. We recommend coming a day early for motherboard member Alexis Lothian’s presentation “Queer Longings in Straight Futures” and, of course, staying through Saturday for the second day of the symposium.

The University has reserved a block of rooms at the Phoenix Inn, very easy walking distance from the symposium events. The Tiptree Award will host an open party at the Phoenix Inn on Friday night, December 2, exact time to be determined. To reserve your room, email reservations704@phoenixinn.com or call 800) 344-0131. Be sure to tell them you’re coming for the Tiptree Symposium.

We hope to see you there!

2016 “Tiptree Symposium” Celebrates Ursula K. Le Guin


Clockwise from left: Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen Joy Fowler, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Brian Attebery

This year’s 2016 James Tiptree Jr. symposium is a celebration of Ursula K. Le Guin. Last year’s inaugural symposium featured James Tiptree, Jr., and was such a success that the University of Oregon (at Eugene) has made it an annual event.  It will be held December 2 and 3 on the Eugene campus. The Tiptree Award will almost certainly host a party; watch this space for details.

Tentative keynote speakers are Brian Attebery, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Karen Joy Fowler.

Along with the tentative keynoters, here’s a peek at the tentative schedule.

At 3:00 on Thursday afternoon, December 1 (before the symposium starts), Dr. Alexis Lothian will give the Sally Miller Gearhart Lesbian Lecture, “Queer Longings in Straight Futures: Notes Toward a Prehistory for Lesbian Speculation.”

On December 2, festivities start at 10:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. Joan Haran will moderate a panel on The Dispossessed, and another panel will feature Dr. Carol Stabile’s feminist SF students discussing The Lathe of Heaven. That day’s keynote (and question and answer session) will be by Karen Joy Fowler.

On December 3, the schedule runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5;00 p.m. Alexis Lothian will chair the panel on The Left Hand of Darkness, and Karen Ford will moderate a panel on  Ursula Le Guin and the Field of Feminist Science Fiction. The two keynotes that day will be: Kelly Sue DeConnick and Ben Saunders having a conversation about Le Guin’s influence; and Brian Attebery.

We couldn’t resist counting: the speakers include: one Tiptree Award founding mother, three award winners , two Motherboard members, at least six previous jurors, and our inaugural Tiptree Award Fellow. Ursula Le Guin, who has won twice and been on the jury twice, may also attend. We’ll be well represented. And for the fun of it, also several past WisCon guests of honor and one upcoming one.

Will you be there?

MidAmericon Auction Report plus Tiptree/Sheldon Birthday Links

The Tiptree Award Auction at MidAmericon II was a smashing success, thanks to so many people!


Worldcon gave us the space. Motherboard members Jeanne Gomoll and Pat Murphy (shown above on the Soap box, and also modeling the Spacebabe hoodie) did a lot of planning. Jeanne, Scott Custis, Jim Hudson, and Diane Martin transported Stuff from Madison to Kansas City. Jim also handled the sales. Many others provided essential help. And auctioneer Sumana Harihareswara cajoled almost $1500 out of the audience!

The prize item, unsurprisingly, was the signed copy of Octavia Butler’s Kindred, her most famous novel and one of her finest.

A great time was had by all!


We were pleased to see these birthday tributes to Alice Sheldon:

Leah Schnelbach talks about “What James Tiptree Jr. Can Teach Us about the Power of the SF Community” at tor. com . Schnelbach’s excellent long essay recaps Sheldon/Tiptree’s history. The piece ends with this:

I think it’s worth pointing out, though, and repeating, and underlining, and emphasizing, that Alice Sheldon, a person who felt out of joint for most of her life, found in SF a community that didn’t just tolerate her weirdness, but celebrated it. And that celebration helped her to create some of the greatest work the genre ever saw.

Tachyon Press also gives Tiptree a birthday shout-out here:

Alice adopted her “James Tiptree, Jr.” persona to protect her academic reputation. As Tiptree, she garnered immense praise for her numerous tales that often stretched the boundaries of the genre by challenging the perceptions of gender. Her many awards include two Hugo (1974 novella, “The Girl Who Was Plugged In”; 1977 novella, “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?”), three Nebula (1973 short story, “Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death”; 1976 novella, “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?”; 1977 novelette, “The Screwfly Solution”), and a 1987 World Fantasy for the collection TALES OF THE QUINTANA ROO.

Both articles are also kind enough to namecheck the Tiptree Award as part of her legacy.

Tiptree Auction at Kansas City Worldcon, Friday, August 19


Can’t get enough Tiptree auctions at WisCon? Don’t get to WisCon, but curious about Tiptree auctions? Fan of Sumana Harihareswara? Want to support science fiction that explores and expands gender? Want to roar with laughter? There are dozens of possible reasons to go to the Tiptree Auction at MidAmeriCon II.

You’ll find us in the auction space in the Exhibits Hall, on Friday, August 19 at noon. We’re auctioning a short list of prime items, such as a signed first edition of Octavia Butler’s Kindred. We will also be selling this year’s lovely Freddie Baer 25th anniversary t-shirt–with the names of all the winners–as well as the two Tiptree cookbooks.

James Tiptree, Jr. 25th Annual Award T-Shirt
James Tiptree, Jr. 25th Annual Award T-Shirt

We hope to see you there!

Tiptree Award Presented to Pat Schmatz in Minneapolis

Because Pat Schmatz, author of Lizard Radio, was unable to attend WisCon 40, we arranged a special ceremony for her in her home town of Minneapolis, thanks to the generosity of the folks who run 4th Street Fantasy.


Elise Matthesen, the jeweler who designed and made the beautiful Tiptree tiara, crowns Pat, who rocks her temporary headgear.

Schmatz 2

Elizabeth Bear presents Pat with Tiptree award schwag, including an original piece of art by likhaininspired by Lizard Radio. Pat didn’t write down her acceptance speech, but she graciously gave us a paraphrased version to publish here:

If last week’s shooting in Orlando was the poison – and it was for me, a poison to creativity and freedom of expression that made me want to hole up, shut up, keep my head down and stop writing – then the Tiptree is the antidote.

Just knowing that for decades, the Tiptree Motherboard and Juries have been encouraging expansion and exploration of gender in Sci-fi and Fantasy…that’s a beautiful thing, and I thank you for an antidote at a point when I really needed it.

Lizard Radio was my first departure from realistic fiction, and I know I have a lot to learn in that realm. I look forward to learning from you all this weekend.

We cannot say how gratifying it is for us to be considered an antidote to the shootings in Orlando; we cannot imagine a compliment more meaningful … we only hope we can, in our small way, live up to it.

More from WisCon 40

All Tiptree awards come with an original piece of art inspired by the winning fiction. In our WisCon wrap-up post, we neglected to show off the marvelous nesting doll art created by Rebecca (Foxy) Ford for Eugene Fischer’s “The New Mother.” (Thanks to the 2015 jury for the nesting doll concept!)

Except for the very smallest doll, which is wraparound, each doll has two pieces of art. Together the art reflects fertility images from various cultures plus scientific images of reproduction.


The art we commissioned for Pat Schmatz’s Lizard Radio will be revealed later this month, after Pat has bee celebrated and has had a chance to see it herself.


In our previous WisCon report, we mentioned Dr. Theresia Sauter-Baillet’s Tiptree costume, which she made and wore to a conference in Germany, and then donated to the auction. We raised over $300 to give this to Ellen Klages, and we thought you’d like to see exactly what Ellen now owns.


The Tiptree Jam logo is embroidered on the front, and a constellation on the back.

Tiptree Award at WisCon 40

EJ Collage

WisCon 40 is over, and it was a smashing success for all concerned. With enormous thanks to the committee, and the fabulous (unionized) staff at the Madison Concourse Hotel, the Tiptree Award is now looking back on our WisCon experience.

On Friday afternoon, we had an auction and direct sale display at The Gathering, WisCon’s opening swap/craft/exhibit market. People got a chance to pose with Leslie What’s fabulous Space Babe raygun in front of a space poster. (You can see our Tiptree winner E.J. Fischer taking his turn in the second picture above.)

Also on display at the Gathering was the amazing 2016 Tiptree cake made by Georgie Schnobrich (bottom left with E.J.). Note the beautiful way Georgie captured both Tiptree winning covers in one design.


On Friday night, one of the co-winners of the very first Tiptree Award crowned E.J. with his tiara-for-the-weekend (first picture above).

Saturday afternoon Darrah Chavey, ably assisted by various others, ran the Tiptree Bakesale.

Saturday night was the traditional auction, hosted by the inimitable Sumana Harihareswara. At one point, Sumana and E.J. both modeled the Superman (Supergirl!) pants which E.J. is wearing in the third picture above. Those pants were donated to Nicole, our delightful CART (“Communication Access Realtime Transcription”) transcriptionist, and her assistant Brit, who were thrilled to get them.

Other auction highlights included everything from a signed copy of Octavia Butler’s first book through getting to watch Sumana smash a Pilates for Weight Loss DVD with a hammer. Dr. Teresia Sauter-Baillet brought her hand-made James Tiptree Jr. outfit from Germany, and we passed the hat to send that to retiring auctioneer Ellen Klages.

And on Sunday, after unbelievably powerful speeches by WisCon 40 guests of honor Justine Larbalestier, Sofia Samatar, and Nalo Hopkinson, we celebrated this year’s winners and honor list. (Pat Schmatz could not attend WisCon and will be celebrated in person at 4th Street Fantasy in Minneapolis later this month.)

Now the auction materials are safely stowed for next year (or maybe sooner?) and we’re all catching up on sleep.

University of Oregon Tiptree Symposium A Huge Success!

About 150 people attended last weekend’s James Tiptree Jr. Symposium at the University of Oregon, celebrating the University’s acquisition of James Tiptree, Jr./Alice Sheldon’s papers, donated by Jeff and Ann Smith, as well as the centenary year of Alice Sheldon’s birth. The symposium was organized by Linda Long, Carol Stabile, Jenee Wilde, and many other people from the University of Oregon. We extend our heartiest thanks to all of them!

Alice B. Sheldon
Alice B. Sheldon

In attendance were both Tiptree Award founding mothers (Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler), several Tiptree Award winners, including Suzy McKee Charnas, Molly Gloss, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Nisi Shawl, two special Tiptree Award winners (L. Timmel Duchamp and Julie Phillips) and three motherboard members in addition to the founding mothers (Jeanne Gomoll, Debbie Notkin, and Jeff Smith), as well as a host of other fascinating people. Jeff Smith’s report on the symposium is here.

The event began with a keynote speech by Julie Phillips, author of James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, a definitive and fascinating account of Sheldon/Tiptree’s very complex life.

Julie Phillips Keynote Speech
Julie Phillips Keynote Speech

Julie spoke about Tiptree’s friendships-by-letter with Ursula K. Le Guin and Joanna Russ (both of whom also donated their papers to the University of Oregon collection). She read excerpts from letters, and spoke about the effect of the discovery that “Tiptree” was a woman on her close correspondents, and on the science fiction field. In distinction to the use of Internet pseudonyms for personal gain of various kinds, Julie said “Alice Bradley Sheldon used her pseudonym for good; she used it to figure out something about herself.”

Ursula Le Guin came to the podium to read her response to the letter Tiptree wrote her “confessing” that she was actually a woman.

Ursula Le Guin
Ursula Le Guin

The first day of the symposium also included several students from Professor Carol Stabile’s feminist science fiction class reading their selections from Tiptree’s letters, and an audiotape of Tiptree’s famous story, “The Women Men Don’t See.” Linda Long and Jenee Wilde, both of the University of Oregon Special Collections, led a tour of the exhibit available through February in the Knight Library. The Tiptree Award quilt could not be hung downstairs with the exhibit because of the size of the quilt and the historic status of the building (so no hooks can be installed), but it was beautifully on display on a table in the special collections room:

Tiptree Award Quilt
Tiptree Award Quilt

The Tiptree Award hosted a party on Friday night at a nearby hotel. All thanks to Margaret and Dale McBride, Leslie What, James Stegall and Gré, without whom we could not have had such a wonderful event.

The second day of the symposium featured a panel of science fiction editors (L. Timmel Duchamp of Aqueduct Press, Lisa Rogers and Gordon van Gelder of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Jacob Weisman of Tachyon Publications), followed by a panel of authors who knew Tiptree.

Author Panel: (l-r) David Gerrold, Suzy McKee Charnas, Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen Joy Fowler.
Author Panel: (l-r) David Gerrold, Suzy McKee Charnas, Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen Joy Fowler.

In the afternoon, Jeff Smith answered questions from students in Professor Stabile’s class and from the audience, Julie Phillips elaborated on her keynote and answered more questions, and we closed with a panel on the Tiptree Award itself.

Award Panel: (l-r) Jeanne Gomoll, Pat Murphy, Joan Haran, Heather Whipple, Margaret McBride.
Award Panel: (l-r) Jeanne Gomoll, Pat Murphy, Joan Haran, Heather Whipple, Margaret McBride.

When Joan asked how many people in the audience had been on a Tiptree jury, about half of us raised our hands. At the end of this panel, Nisi Shawl came down from the audience and she and Pat led us in a rousing chorus of the song from the year Catherynne M. Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales won the award.

A good time was had by all! And perhaps the most exciting thing is that the folks at University of Oregon are talking about making this an annual event, focusing next year on Joanna Russ! Start thinking about your trip to Eugene in late 2016. You won’t regret it.

Tiptree Award presented at Borderlands Books​, August 2015

On August 9, 2015, the 2014 James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award was presented to Jo Walton for her novel My Real Children (Tor 2014) at Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia Street in San Francisco.

As is traditional at the Tiptree Award ceremony, Jo was crowned with a tiara, serenaded with a song, and given chocolates and art — all specially created to honor her novel, My Real Children. In addition, this event also included an interview with Jo Walton, a reading by Ada Palmer, an a capella musical performance by Trickster and King (Ada Palmer and Lauren Schiller), and a cake.

Walton is the co-winner of the 2015 Tiptree Award. Monica Byrne and her novel, The  Girl in the  Road were celebrated at Wiscon 39 in May.