Our pause and interim plans

As has been the case for many volunteer-run organizations, the Otherwise Award has struggled since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Our (volunteer) board and other volunteers have had to juggle many more issues than previously around health, paid work, and caretaking concerns than previously, which has resulted in our falling behind on the administration and maintenance of the Award. We’re sorry that we didn’t communicate about this earlier—that made it hard for readers, authors, and publishers to know what to expect.

Our Motherboard met recently to discuss how to move forward. We remain dedicated to our mission: to celebrate science fiction, fantasy, and other forms of speculative narrative that expand and explore our understanding of gender . But we’re discussing how, as an organization, to continue to pursue that mission in a sustainable way, given our limited resources.

Here are the decisions we’ve made so far.

Most of our programs are paused. This is us acknowledging what’s already been happening. We were later than usual at deliberating and announcing the Awards for work published in 2020 and in 2021, and did not run a Fellowships process in 2021 or 2023. We have not yet convened a jury to consider works published in 2022, 2023, or 2024.

We intend to run the Fellowships this year. We will open applications in several months—August at the earliest, October at the latest.

We may honor 2022 and 2023 work in a different way. We’re exploring various approaches to celebrating work from those years. That celebration may end up taking a very different form than usual.

We’re considering alternative approaches to the Award in the future. It could be that we’ll convene a jury soon to read 2024 work and deliberate towards an Award, but if we do, we may change our practices to reduce the workload on individual jury members and to make our procurement system for recommended works less laborious. Also, we currently rely on volunteer work for almost all of the organization’s labor (exceptions being technological work on our website, and art commissioned to give to Award winners); we may try to find ways to focus more on paid labor.

We’ll be at Readercon. We usually honor the most recent Award winner at WisCon , but this year we have no new award winner, and WisCon is taking a break . So we will instead hold some Otherwise-related events at Readercon (July 11-14, 2024, near Boston, Massachusetts). Specifics to be determined.

We’ll say more soon. Within the next few months, we’ll have further announcements about our activities, and will announce them on this blog, on our mailing list, and on social media.

Thank you for your support for the Award.

-Sumana Harihareswara, Motherboard chair

Eligible for nomination: 2023 books & stories by past Otherwise winners and fellows

We bring to your attention books and short stories published in 2023 by creators whose works have previously won the Otherwise (formerly Tiptree) Award, and our past Fellows. As nomination and voting deadlines get closer for awards for 2023 work (Feb. 28th is the nomination deadline for the Nebulas!), consider adding these to your reading list:

Happy reading and nominating!
And thanks to Zoe Samer for researching this list.

Comings and goings

We’re bidding a fond farewell to some of our longtime dedicated volunteers, and welcoming two new members of the Motherboard.

We’d like to thank the following people for their years of service and support of the award:

  • Alexis Lothian was the chair of the Motherboard until 2022, and had been a Motherboard member since 2012.
  • Kate Schaefer had been managing our mailing list for years—sending out emails to the list, adding and removing people on request, and more.
  • Liz Henry had been on the Motherboard since 2021, and was the chair of the jury for the 2005 and 2020 awards.
  • Pat Murphy is one of the Founding Mothers of the award, having co-founded it with Karen Joy Fowler in 1991, and had served on the Motherboard since that founding.

We’ll miss all of them, and we look forward to seeing what they do next.

We’d also like to welcome our new Motherboard members:

  • Jed Samer is a feminist, queer, and trans media and cultural studies scholar; remix artist; and documentary filmmaker.
  • Jed Hartman is an editor and writer of fiction and nonfiction.

Otherwise Award recommendations deadline: December 31

It’s not too late to recommend works for the Otherwise Award!

If you want to recommend a work of science fiction or fantasy that explores or expands our notions of gender and that was published in 2023, fill in the recommendation form on or before December 31.

The bottom of that page lists the works that have already been recommended for the 2023 award.

(You can also recommend 2022 publications that weren’t considered for the 2022 award. To see what works were considered for the 2022 award, see the 2022 recommendations list.)

After December 31, you can make recommendations for next year’s award. (The 2023 recommendation form will be closed, and there will be a new recommendations page for the 2024 award.)

Otherwise Award activities at WisCon 2023

Come join us in celebrating the 2021 Otherwise Award winners at WisCon next week!

WisCon is an annual science fiction convention with a focus on feminism and social justice, held in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. This year’s convention runs from May 26 through May 29.

WisCon is capping its in-person membership at 600 people this year, and they have only a few of those in-person memberships remaining. So if you want to attend in person, register as soon as you can.

Alternatively, you can register to attend the online parts of WisCon. There’s no cap on online attendance.

This year, as usual, the convention’s program will include several panels and other events related to the Otherwise Award, including the traditional live auction on Saturday night to benefit the Award.

Program items listed in this post are in-person except where marked as online.

Celebrating the winners

The winners of the Otherwise Award for 2021 were Light from Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki, and Sorrowland, by Rivers Solomon.

Aoki and Solomon will both be at WisCon 2023 in person. We’ll celebrate them and their winning novels on Sunday night of the convention, during the Dessert Salon, with a brief awards ceremony. We’ll present both authors with their awards and the most important Otherwise accoutrement: chocolate.

(The award for 2021 was announced early in 2023 rather than in 2022, for pandemic and other reasons. The award for 2022 will be announced later in 2023.)

Two panels that are specifically relevant to the Otherwise Award:

  • Otherwise Award 2021 and Beyond (Sun 1:00 PM–2:15 PM CDT), discussing such topics as:
    • The 2021 winners and Honor List.
    • Trends in the handling of gender in speculative fiction.
    • Plans for the award to catch up from pandemic delays.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in SF/F (Sat 2:30 PM–3:45 PM CDT), which will discuss Otherwise as well as many other organizations.

Rivers Solomon’s panels

Rivers Solomon will be on the following program items:

  • Guest of Honor reading and reception (Thurs 6:00 PM–8:00 PM CDT)—Solomon is one of this year’s Guests of Honor at WisCon.
  • Fighting the Good Fight with Limited Resources (Fri 1:00 PM–2:15 PM CDT)
  • Healing From Cissupremacy (online; Fri 4:00 PM–5:15 PM CDT)
  • Opening Ceremonies (Fri 5:30 PM–6:00 PM CDT)
  • Too Disabled to Labor? (Sat 1:00 PM–2:15 PM CDT)
  • Colonialism and the Social Sciences (Sat 2:30 PM–3:45 PM CDT)
  • Guest of Honor Reading: Rivers Solomon (Sun 10:00 AM–11:15 AM CDT)
  • Abolition and Transformation (Sun 1:00 PM–2:15 PM CDT)
  • What We’ve Gained and What We Grieve (Sun 2:30 PM–3:45 PM CDT)
  • Guest of Honor Speeches & Otherwise Ceremony (both in-person and livestreamed; Sun 8:00 PM–9:00 PM CDT)
  • The SignOut Autograph Party (Mon 11:30 AM–12:30 PM CDT)

In addition, the following program items will include discussion of Solomon’s work:

  • The Fiction of Rivers Solomon (online; Fri 4:00 PM–5:15 PM CDT)
  • Generational Trauma in Rivers Solomon’s Fiction (Sat 1:00 PM–2:15 PM CDT)
  • Sea & Sky: Spaces of Black Liberation & Dreams (Sun 4:00 PM–5:15 PM CDT)

Ryka Aoki’s panels

Ryka Aoki will be on the following program items:

  • Fighting the Good Fight with Limited Resources (Fri 1:00 PM–2:15 PM CDT)
  • Healing from Cissupremacy (online; Fri 4:00 PM–5:15 PM CDT)
  • Opening Ceremonies (Fri 5:30 PM–6:00 PM CDT)
  • Otherwise Award Winner Reading: Ryka Aoki (Fri 9:00 PM–10:15 PM CDT)
  • Nonviolence in SF/F (Sat 10:00 AM–11:15 AM CDT)
  • Redemption 2: Beyond Good and Evil (online; Sun 2:30 PM–3:45 PM CDT)
  • Guest of Honor Speeches & Otherwise Ceremony (both in-person and livestreamed; Sun 8:00 PM–9:00 PM CDT)
  • The SignOut Autograph Party (Mon 11:30 AM–12:30 PM CDT)

Aoki was added to the program late, so may not be listed in some printed or online program listings, but will be listed in errata for each day.

Fundraising auction

Our fabulous live auction will be on Saturday evening of the convention (7:30 PM–9:30 PM CDT), featuring fabulous auctioneer Sumana Harihareswara. It will be livestreamed, but only in-person attendees will be able to bid.

Items to be auctioned include the following:

  • A signed copy of 1998 Otherwise Award winner Raphael Carter’s novel The Fortunate Fall, which is currently out of print, donated by the author. (The author has since transitioned and is now Cameron Reed.)
  • Cover of The Fortunate Fall, by Raphael Carter.
    The Fortunate Fall cover
  • A ’zine created by Sumana: Quill & Scroll.
  • Two pages from Sumana’s ’zine Quill & Scroll, describing Hedgehog’s all-night bookstore.
    ’Zine pages
  • Dead in the Scrub (A Shirley McClintock Mystery) by B.J. Oliphant, a pseudonym of Sheri S. Tepper, donated by Sigrid Ellis.
  • A first edition of Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, donated by Heather Rose Jones.
  • An item to benefit the Carl Brandon Society: a lot of three handspun yarns and a project bag, all made by Carl Brandon Society co-founder Candra K. Gill. These fine-weight skeins include a tonal blue Merino & jewel-toned rainbow sparkle Merino/Cashmere/Stellina (80/10/10), each spun from fiber dyed by women of color fiber artists and a one-of-a-kind mini-skein of mill-end wool mixed with other fibers that Candra blended herself. (Note that these were made in a cat-friendly home.)
  • A handmade project bag containing three skeins of handspun yarn.
    Yarn in bag
    Three skeins of handspun yarn in blue and jewel tones.
    The yarn without the bag
  • Keepsake bookmarks.
  • Three bookmarks: one for Choose Your Own Adventure books, one for Goosebumps, and one for Pinky & the Brain.
    Nostalgic bookmarks
    Six bookmarks commemorating important African American historical figures.
    African American history bookmarks
    Two bookmarks, one depicting a rose emerging from a woman’s forehead, the other depicting a fantasy space scene with dragons and spaceships.
    Fantasy-art bookmarks
    Bookmark advertising America Online.
    AOL bookmark
    White lace bookmark depicting cats playing with yarn.
    Lace bookmark

And lots more!

For those of you attending WisCon in person, auction items will be displayed ahead of time at the Gathering on Friday of the convention.

Hope to catch you—in person or online—at WisCon!

Eligible for nomination: 2022 books & stories by past Otherwise winners

We bring to your attention books and short stories published in 2022 by past Otherwise Award winners. As nomination and voting deadlines get closer for awards for 2022 work (Feb. 28th is the nomination deadline for the Nebulas!), consider adding these to your reading list:

  • Eleanor Arnason, 1991 winner for A Woman of the Iron People, wrote the short story “Grandmother’s Troll,” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction in the September/October 2022 issue. You can buy that issue digitally on Magzter. The print issue may be available from Asimov’s.
  • Maureen F. McHugh, 1992 winner for China Mountain Zhang, wrote the short story “The Goldfish Man,published in Uncanny Magazine in March 2022. You can read it for free on Uncanny‘s website.
  • Elizabeth Hand, 1995 winner for Waking the Moon, wrote the novel Hokuloa Road, published by Mulholland Books on July 19, 2022. You can order it from Room of One’s Own Bookstore.
  • Geoff Ryman, 2005 winner for Air: Or, Have Not Have, wrote the short story “Not Best Pleased,” published on February 15, 2022 as part of the book Vital Signals. You can buy the book from Bookshop.org.
  • Catherynne M. Valente, 2006 winner for The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden, wrote the novel Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods, published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on April 26, 2022. You can buy the book from Bookshop.org. Also, Valente wrote the short story “The Difference Between Love and Time,” published on May 10, 2022 as part of the book Someone in Time. That book can be purchased at Room of One’s Own Bookstore.
  • Nisi Shawl, 2008 winner for Filter House, wrote the short story collection Our Fruiting Bodies, published by Aqueduct Press in November 2022. You can purchase it directly from Aqueduct Press.
  • Anna-Marie McLemore, 2016 winner for When the Moon Was Ours, wrote the novel Lakelore, published by Feiwel & Friends on March 8, 2022. You can buy the book from Room of One’s Own Bookstore. McLemore also wrote the novel Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix, published by Feiwel & Friends on September 6, 2022. This book can be purchased from Bookshop.org.
  • Akwaeke Emezi, 2019 winner for Freshwater, wrote the novel You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty, published by Atria Books on January 25, 2022. You can buy the book from Room of One’s Own Bookstore. Also, Emezi wrote the novel Bitter, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on February 15, 2022. You can order it from Room of One’s Own Bookstore.
  • Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, 2020 winner for “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon”, co-edited the anthology “Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction”, published by Tordotcom on November 15, 2022. You can purchase it from Room of One’s Own Bookstore. Also, Ekpeki published the short story “Destiny Delayed,” published in the May/June 2022 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction. You can buy that issue digitally on Magzter or contact the magazine to try to purchase it in print.
Happy reading and nominating!

WisCon and Otherwise events in 2022

Otherwise’s home convention, WisCon, is holding both an in-person and a virtual event this year (May 27th-30th) to maximize accessibility. Otherwise will be there as well and we’re planning multiple events within this year’s WisCon, including our traditional benefit auction! Auctioneer Sumana Harihareswara will raise money to benefit the Otherwise Award and entertain you with comedy, stunts, special guest stars, and bizarre and special auction items. It’s an opportunity to donate and support fantasy and science fiction that explores and expands gender — and to laugh for a while.

Currently our plan is to run the auction in person and to host a table as part of the Friday afternoon Gathering, adhering to all of WisCon’s COVID-19 health precautions. As of yesterday, the WisCon COVID-19 vaccination policy includes required booster shots for many participants, so do make plans to get boosted if that includes you.

We’re still figuring out whether there will also be a virtual auction, or whether/how virtual WisCon participants will be able to participate in the in-person auction. We’ll post here on our blog when we know more.

If you are planning to visit WisCon in person, register and book your lodging soon. (And please subscribe to the WisCon email newsletter so you can stay up to date..) If you’ll join us online, please register soon. And WisCon needs both in-person and online volunteers so please consider volunteering if you can!

Otherwise-honoree authors with Hugo-nominated works this year

Past Otherwise Award honoree authors have had works nominated for this year’s Hugo Awards!

Here’s a list of this year’s Hugo-nominated authors who’ve been Otherwise honorees in the past, along with links to where to buy or read copies of their Otherwise-honored works. Join us in celebrating these Otherwise honorees who have gone on to be honored by other parts of the sf community.

(The categories listed here are the Hugo categories in which the authors’ works were nominated this year.)

Best Novel nominated works by Otherwise honorees

N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became. Author’s The Obelisk Gate was longlisted by Otherwise in 2016. Also, author’s The Fifth Season was longlisted by Otherwise in 2015. Also, author’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was honored by Otherwise in 2010.

Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Relentless Moon. (Kowal also has a series nominated in the Series category.) Author’s The Calculating Stars was honored by Otherwise in 2019.

Best Novella

Nino Cipri’s Finna. Author’s “Opals and Clay” was honored by Otherwise in 2016. Also, author’s “​​The Shape of My Name” was honored by Otherwise in 2015.

Seanan McGuire’s Come Tumbling Down. (McGuire also has works nominated in the Series and Graphic Story categories.) Author’s Every Heart a Doorway was honored by Otherwise in 2017. Also, author’s “Each to Each” was honored by Otherwise in 2015.

Best Novelette

Aliette de Bodard’s “The Inaccessibility of Heaven.” Author’s “Heaven Under Earth” was honored by Otherwise in 2013.

Meg Elison’s “The Pill.” Author’s The Book of Flora was honored by Otherwise in 2019. Also, author’s The Book of Etta was longlisted by Otherwise in 2017.

Sarah Pinsker’s Two Truths and a Lie. Author’s “No Lonely Seafarer” was longlisted by Otherwise in 2014.

Best Short Story

Yoon Ha Lee’s “The Mermaid Astronaut.” Author’s “The Contemporary Foxwife” was longlisted by Otherwise in 2015.

Best Series

John Scalzi’s The Interdependency. Author’s Lock In was longlisted by Otherwise in 2015.

Best Graphic Story or Comic

Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress, vol. 5. Monstress vol. 1 and vol. 2 were longlisted by Otherwise in 2017.

Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings). Author’s Parable of the Talents was honored by Otherwise Award in 1998.

Best Editor, Short Form

Ellen Datlow. Editor’s Silver Birch, Blood Moon (co-edited with Terri Windling) was longlisted by Otherwise in 1999. Also, editor’s Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (also co-edited with Terri Windling) was longlisted by Otherwise in 1998.

We hope you’ll take a look at any of the above Otherwise-honoree works that you haven’t read.

Congratulations to all of the Hugo nominees!

Otherwise Auction open for bidding – plus a free crossword puzzle!

Stack of fiction books
A stack of five fiction books bundled together as one auction item for the Otherwise Auction 2021: “Black Water Sister”, “Love in Penang”, “The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water”, “Fugitive Telemetry”, and “Chaos on CatNet”.

This year’s Otherwise Auction is now open for bidding at https://otherwise.betterworld.org/auctions/otherwise-award-auction. You can bid from anywhere in the world for art, books, and more!

You’ll need to create a BetterWorld.org account and use a credit card to bid. If you run into trouble bidding, please let us know AND contact Better World.

Bidding is in US dollars, but it’s free to attend the live auction performance. Here are WisCon’s instructions on how to visit!

And, for your free enjoyment, please check out our new custom crossword puzzle sprinkled with Otherwise-specific clues, constructed by volunteer Parker Higgins — thank you, Parker — and published as CC BY-SA! You can download it as a PDF to print out and solve, or solve it in your browser using amuselabs.com.

If you get stuck, it might help to look at our past awards and honorees! And you can choose “Reveal: Reveal grid” at amuselabs.com for the answers.

This year’s Otherwise Auction is tomorrow!

A low-key virtual WisCon is happening this weekend, May 29-30, and you can register now (free or pay-what-you-wish)! And WisCon has confirmed that we’ll have an auction Saturday night to benefit the Otherwise Award, at 7pm Madison time:

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Ms Marvel figure
One of our auction items this year: an action figure of superhero Ms. Marvel — with embiggened hands! — signed by writer G. Willow Wilson at WisCon 43 in 2019.

Here’s what Pat Murphy says:

We didn’t think it would happen — but it’s happening!

The 2021 Otherwise Auction — an event that combines fund-raising, humor, political commentary, and zany hijinks — will be held online on May 29th at 7PM Central Time!

To attend, just register here — it’s free!

This Auction will be part of what the folks who put on Wiscon are calling “a very low key virtual event.” But I’m baffled by how anything involving Otherwise Award auctioneer Sumana Harihareswara could possibly be considered low-key.

Last year, Sumana’s online auction was amazing, compelling, and impossible to describe. I’m a science fiction writer; I should be able to describe just about anything. But somehow Sumana managed to auction off things that didn’t actually exist but were (despite that) real. It was one of those “you had to be there” events — even though none of us were actually there.

This year Sumana promises that there will actually be some physical things that people can buy and possess — along with a custom crossword puzzle with Otherwise-related clues. Just a few tangible objects and a lot of intangible fun — which seems appropriate as we slowly ease back into the physical world.

For the past 26 years, the Otherwise Award has raised money each year at an auction like no other. Apparently even a pandemic can’t stop us.

I hope to see you there!

This year, you’ll be bidding on gorgeous and captivating books (including a hard-to-get book with a story by Zen Cho, one of next year’s WisCon Guests of Honor), a Ms. Marvel figurine signed by WisCon 43 GoH G. Willow Wilson, and more. You’ll bid via our new online auction platform — we’ll post here and on social media when it opens for bidding Saturday night.

And you’ll get a few special guests, a couple off-kilter “commercial breaks”, and a pass-the-hat stunt. Oh, and yes, a free custom crossword puzzle with Otherwise Award clues and answers!

Register now; WisCon will send you a link to the virtual event platform in time for you to join us on Saturday.