Two Otherwise Auctions on Saturday at WisCon, and our Gathering plans

This year’s WisCon is both in-person and online, so this Saturday, we’re hosting both an in-person benefit auction and a virtual auction! Register now to get a chance to win one-of-a-kind items, and enjoy the entertainment.

Liz Henry, in shiny metallic purple and yellow, CC BY-ND
Your in-person host Liz Henry, shiny and ready to rock

Liz Henry will be your auctioneer in Madison! The in-person auction will raise money to benefit the Otherwise Award and entertain you with comedy, stunts, mystery guests, 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. Liz chaired the 2020 and 2005 Otherwise juries, has participated in WisCon for decades going back to WisCon 20, and will bring a wealth of stories and an incisive sense of humor to the stage! In-person attendees will be able to bid (with money) on memorabilia, books (including a signed copy of Charlie Jane Anders’s City in the Middle of the Night), and weird stuff. As usual, Otherwise will be able to accept payments and donations via cash, check, and credit card.

Sumana Harihareswara, gesturing as if holding something, photo courtesy Jeff Fortin
Sumana Harihareswara will host the online auction through WisCon’s virtual offerings

The in-person auction will start at 19:30 CDT and will run for probably 60-90 minutes, ending by 21:30 CDT. It will be captioned with CART and it will be livestreamed for the benefit of WisCon’s virtual attendees as well.

Sumana Harihareswara will be your host for the virtual auction, which will start 21:00 CDT on Saturday night [CORRECTION: 21:15] and run for 45-60 minutes, ending by 22:00 CDT. Online participants will be able to view the auction via Zoom or YouTube, and participate via Zoom and Discord. Sumana has hosted the Otherwise auctions at WisCon (online and in person) for the last several years, and this year will again entertain the audience with comedy, special guests, and obscure, fun, or even desirable objects to bid on. As we did in 2020, this year our virtual auction will be moneyless! Instead of bidding in dollars, you’ll try to one-up each other with recommendations, poems, and more in the Discord chat. Enjoy using the gestures of “bidding” while prefiguring how auctions might work in postscarcity societies! A guest from the Carl Brandon Society will share an update on CBS’s work increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction, and Sumana will solicit donations for the Otherwise Award and for the WisCon Member Assistance Fund.

All that is this Saturday, May 28th. We’ll also host a table at the Gathering on Friday afternoon, 12:30 pm to 4 pm, in-person in Madison. Our table will include posters celebrating the history of past Otherwise award winners and recent Honor List honorees — plus, local bookstore A Room of One’s Own will be on hand to sell you books from those lists, with a portion of those proceeds going to the Otherwise Award.

Register now if you’d like to experience either or both! Registration for the virtual convention is only USD$25, with no cap on attendance and no deadline to register.

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!

2022 Otherwise Fellowships

We are pleased to announce the selection of three new Otherwise Fellows: children’s fiction writer Cat Aquino, speculative fiction writer Naseem Jamnia, and speculative fiction writer and illustrator Dante Luiz.

Cat Aquino is a Filipino children’s fiction writer, currently working on a young adult graphic novel titled Champion of the Rose. This graphic novel is a fantasy reimagining of the centuries-long Spanish colonization of the Philippines and South America, and features two main characters: Rey, a trans “indio” swordsman, and Rosa, a“mestiza” princess. Through the story of these characters, Cat hopes “to explore how the intersections of race, class, trauma, and gender interact, neither favoring one identity pole over the other, to talk about how empires and governments restrict human lives, but can also be defied because of human choices and actions.” Cat will use the fellowship to fund Dominique Duran, illustrator Champion of the Rose‘s illustrator and co-creator. Cat’s work creates BIPOC-led, anti-colonial, and anti-monarchical narratives for young adults.

Naseem Jamnia is a speculative fiction writer whose work contains “unquestioned and undoubted queerness so deeply embedded in the worldbuilding that it can no longer be called queer, and gender is a central focus of that inclusion.” For Naseem, queer genders are central to their fiction, even though their stories are seldom about queerness. They will use the grant money for historical research on non-Western genders that exist outside the binary, in order to better understand the world in which their novella The Bruising of Qilwa (Tachyon Publications 2022) takes place. In Naseem’s novella, “the main character Firuz, an agender nonbinary trans person—who would not use those terms for themself, but rather, call themself a binoh, ‘one without type’—grapples with their responsibilities as a clinician and a magic user in a city overrun by refugees like them. Meanwhile, their younger brother, Parviz, a binary trans boy, is desperate to transition with the magic only Firuz can do in their new home. The issue here is not whether Parviz is actually a boy, or whether Firuz runs the risk of being misgendered; the issue is while the city is in crisis, while an ethnic genocide of Firuz’s people happens in the background, the rest of life continues on and demands Firuz’s attention and time when they’re stretched so thin.” Naseem’s work is “a promise of possibility” and a love letter to their queer, brown communities,

Dante Luiz is a Brazilian speculative fiction writer and illustrator. In the application, Dante wrote about wanting to “write flawed yet humane trans men who are adults, responsible for their actions, both the good and the bad” as a way to combat inadequate and often infantilizing representations of transmasculine people. Dante’s story My Mother’s Hand, which was part of the application as a writing sample, is a historical fantasy set in 19th century Desterro. This story “is a short tale of a trans man dealing with the ghost of his mother possessing his dominant hand—a witch mother who never accepted his gender identity, or his love for women.” Dante is currently working on a graphic novel, Thicker Than Blood, which follows a “trans man who does a Faustian deal with the devil to keep the ancestral land of the family who does not see him as the legitimate heir, and separates him from his former lover and current enemy, a woman after the same land.” He is also working on a Brazilian romantasy novella with a trans man protagonist. Overall, Dante is deeply invested in creating fully-rounded trans characters who find themselves in exciting speculative situations and spaces.

In addition to choosing three Fellows, the Fellowship Committee announced an honor list, which includes L.J. Phillips, Calvin Gimpelevich, A.L. Major, Nicole Martinez, and Eugen Bacon. These writers and artists are all doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction.

The members of the 2022 selection committee for the Otherwise Fellowships were Aqdas Aftab (chair), Shreya Ila Anasuya, and Eleyna Sara Haroun.

Perhaps you noticed that we did not award Fellowships in 2021. In these difficult times, our selection process took longer than usual. We decided it really didn’t make sense to give out 2021 Fellowships in 2022. So to catch up, we skipped a year. Fortunately, we managed to give out the same number of Fellowships by providing three Fellowships in both 2020 and 2021, rather than our usual two. Applications for the 2023 Fellowships will be due in summer 2022.

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!

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki wins 2020 Otherwise Award for “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon”! Honor List announced

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki has won the 2020 Otherwise Award for “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” (in Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, edited by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Aurelia Leo, 2020). This novella was a unanimous favorite of the jury.

2020 Otherwise Award winner Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon”

The Otherwise Award (formerly known as the Tiptree Award) celebrates science fiction, fantasy, and other forms of speculative narrative that expand and explore our understanding of gender. The jury that selects the Award’s winner and the Honor List is encouraged to take an expansive view of “science fiction and fantasy” and to seek out works that have a broad, intersectional, trans-inclusive understanding of gender in the context of race, class, nationality, disability, and more. The winner of the Otherwise Award receives $1000 in prize money, a specially commissioned piece of original artwork, and (as always) chocolate.

The 2020 jury comprised Chesya Burke, M.L. Clarke, Liz Henry (chair), Annalee Newitz, and Tochi Onyebuchi.

We invite everyone to come celebrate with us at a virtual award ceremony on Saturday, October 30, 2021, at 3pm EST. For details on how to join, please check the website for A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, which is hosting the event.

Jury statement

This year’s winner, “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, was a unanimous favorite in a rich field of literary explorations around gender, sex, and related societal roles. We are delighted to present Ekpeki’s tale, a novella first published in Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (Aurelia Leo), as this year’s recipient of the Otherwise Award.

And we were overjoyed to find a bounty of vibrant discourses among 2020’s nominated stories, reflected in eight Honor List titles.

In the winning story and the Honor List, several overlapping themes stood out. Like “Ife-Iyoku,” many of the Honor List stories treat gender in the context of intersectionality—we see how racialized, national, and ethnic identity, as well as disability, affect gendered experience. Several stories grapple with the fact that trans men, trans women, nonbinary people, and other embodied entities walk different paths than cisgender people, and that affects how they experience the world as gendered beings.

We also saw a number of stories that deal with queer elders, including City of a Thousand Feelings, The Seep, and The Four Profound Weaves. Though science fiction and fantasy have a long tradition of celebrating wise elders, whether they are high-level wizards or ancient AIs, it is rare to see them explored in a queer context. These stories demand we acknowledge that one doesn’t stop growing, healing, hurting, or being lost and in need of re-forging community and place with age. They also describe ways that queer elders provide models to the young, how they may fall short, and how younger generations engage with them, while also celebrating the different ways each generation expresses themselves.

Given the events of the past several years, perhaps it is no surprise that exile was a theme that came up in these stories over and over: in “Ife-Iyoku,” “The Moon Room,” Depart, Depart!, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea, City of a Thousand Feelings, and Four Profound Weaves, we meet characters who have been cast out of their homelands and are searching for a way back. As they struggle with their sense of dislocation, our heroes and antiheroes must find a way to construct new kinds of home, with their chosen communities. Often, this sense of exile is compounded by environmental destruction associated with climate change—another theme in many of these stories, which grapple with the multi-generational legacy of industrial production and agricultural waste.

The environment isn’t just a force “out there”—it affects our bodies, both physical and political, as well as our social roles. In these stories, we can feel those effects. We meet people who can wring rain out of the air, build floating cities, transform themselves into clouds of gas, merge with machines, and transcend the world altogether. We feel the heat and moisture and sickness that come with a carbon cycle that is perturbed beyond all measure. Our identities do not end where our skin meets the air, but instead are part of ecosystems. And when those ecosystems are under attack, so are we.

Many of the Otherwise honorees grapple with this idea by showing us how our bodies are permeable to the environment. This is especially apparent when it comes to the mechanized bodies of the characters in “Helicopter Story” and “Custom Options Available.” Here we see characters whose gendered bodies have been rebuilt to function as weapons, or hyper-productive workers—a literalization of the ways that patriarchy and capitalism demand that we refashion ourselves as things-to-be-used rather than people.

The Otherwise Award honors stories that expose the many ways we experience gender in this world and others. This year we were thrilled to see so many brilliant authors taking a nuanced, complex approach to the topic—giving us characters we will never forget, in worlds as alien as our own.

Lastly, the jury for the 2020 Otherwise Award wishes to thank readers and writers alike for their deep engagement with works that explore and expand our concepts of gender.

Winner: 2020 Otherwise Award

​​In a year crowded with stellar work that interrogated, celebrated, and contextualized gender in the way that only speculative fiction can, “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” stood out. Not only did it distinguish itself with the thematic concerns in which it engaged but also through the cohesion with which the story’s concerns were handled. This story situated discussion and depictions of gender, attendant expectations, constrictions, and transcendence in a situation and cultural and religious schema still vanishingly rare in the genre, and remained an entertaining and emotionally scopic story in the process.

What could have easily slipped into a stereotypical depiction and affirmation of patriarchal norms among the pre- or post-colonial African societies presents itself instead as the struggle of a community in the context of colonialism and colonization, a context that pits the impetus for communal survival against the dictate toward individuality. What does it look like to have gender roles enlisted in the pursuit of a community’s survival against larger, aggressive, unreasoning entities? How does the threat of annihilation further entrench that social schema? In the context of the story, childbearing isn’t a mandated duty because those identified by the community as women are too weak for combat but because childbearing is the only vehicle of the community’s continued existence. Such a distinction read to us, the jury, as a lived principle among the characters rather than mere scaffolding for oppressive policies, and the skill to which this dynamic was pulled off in the story impressed us greatly.

We loved the story’s critique of the idea that an extremely special, powerful place can ever be magically protected from the ravages of colonialism. Here, Ekpeki is careful to show us the downside of living inside this protected shell: the village is still operating as a monarchy, where women’s views are marginalized, and this leads directly to repeating the very scenario that made many African civilizations vulnerable to the incursions of European slavers. As the story unfolds, we realize that it is impossible for any community to remain isolated from imperialism, even if they have superpowers. And this makes the story a more powerful allegory—as well as a more truthful account of how power works.

A story that contains everything that “Ife-Iyoku” contains could easily have burst at the seams, but one of this work’s most stunning and impressive qualities is its cohesion. In the exciting cinematic opening, a team of psychically gifted hunters battles a mutant, winged, lava-breathing dinosaur. Over the next few chapters, the complex web of the community, its history, its divisions, and its context in the world are revealed, leading us to a situation that shows the disruptive power of a single woman’s choices, and her insistence on self-determination. In addition to presenting a dramatic and three-dimensional discourse on gender, community, and sacrifice, the story also gives us an inversion of a creation myth wherein the gendered nature of such tales is treated in a grounded and nuanced manner. Not once did it feel like the story’s many themes and aspects existed in isolation. That the story, as much as it holds within it, reads as a seamless piece is a testament to the craft on display.

“Ife-Iyoku” is a work of daring moral imagination as well as a story expertly constructed. What makes this story’s achievement even more spectacular is that it hardly emerged as the lone blossom in an otherwise fallow field of storytelling on gendered themes. Rather, this year’s winner stood out for the jury in a bumper crop of thought-provoking and challenging speculative fictions. For this reason, we are delighted to share the following Honor List, of eight other 2020 tales that significantly advanced our genre’s explorations of gender, sex, and societal roles, in unranked order but with the deepest of congratulations to all.

Honor List: 2020 Otherwise Award

2020 Otherwise Award Honor List
R.B. Lemberg, The Four Profound Weaves (Tachyon Publications, novella)
R.B. Lemberg’s The Four Profound Weaves explores the intertwined lives of genderfluid and trans elders who live in a world that hovers between dreams and ancient history. It centers on a nameless man, exiled from his home for moving between genders. He’s on a quest to find an old friend, Benesret, who has the power to weave textiles that embody the four “profound” human experiences of hope, change, wanderlust, and death. Haunting and delightful by turns, the story explores a world of nomads and city-states, magic and art, youth and age, and ultimately what it means to remain friends even as the world and our identities shift like desert sands.
Anya Johanna DeNiro, City of a Thousand Feelings (Aqueduct Press, novella)
In a swooping poetic allegory, Anya Johanna DeNiro’s City of a Thousand Feelings takes us with trans exiles into battle as they try to enter a city of dreams and wonders, only to be turned away by militant patriarchal villains. Relationships form under pressure, lapse, and are taken up again years later, as the protagonists hide in exile or continue to fight in wars. Finally, new generations are born with new goals, creating their own amazing city, built on the work of the elders who fought so hard to make a world where that was possible. Deeply moving.
Maggie Tokuda-Hall, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea (Candlewick Press, novel)
Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea is an exciting, complex story about a young nonbinary pirate and an aristocratic young woman figuring out who they are in the face of danger. Unable to return to their homelands, pursued by nasty colonizers, they form an alliance that grows into a fierce and wonderful romance. We can’t wait to return to the world of The Mermaid to learn more about these delightful characters, their cool magic system, and the ways they might start to resist a tyrannical empire!
Sim Kern, Depart, Depart! (Stelliform Press, novel)
Depart, Depart! follows Noah, whose escape from climate disaster in Houston to a refugee camp further north is complicated by more specific needs for safety and key resources as a young trans man. Luckily, he has a ghostly ancestor for an ally, and a wealth of ethno-familial history to lean on as he navigates his distinct instant of a struggle for a sense of home, belonging, and acceptance that stretches back eons.
Chana Porter, The Seep (Soho Press, novel)
The Seep, set in San Francisco in homage to Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing, takes a somewhat bitter, leather-jacket-wearing butch dyke protagonist into a post-singularity future where alien nanobots ingested as a drug make almost everyone super happy. Her search for meaning and connection takes place within a community indifferently giving up specific embodied histories, to become whoever and whatever they wish with seemingly no adverse consequences, while she questions whether identity can have meaning without its histories.
Isabel Fall, “Helicopter Story” (Clarkesworld Magazine, short story)
Isabel Fall’s “Helicopter Story” created an intense and divisive reaction. For the jury, this is a story that extols the triumphant gender/sex-messiness of the protagonist’s transition into a military weapon, exposes the ways that the military industrial complex can co-opt some of our deepest human social structures to weave our identity construction into components of a bigger machine, a military force. With beauty, depth, and sensitivity, Fall describes Barb’s gendered precision, feelings, fierceness, and relationships built on the trust developed in battle. It is a love story in the mil-sf tradition, one where its heroes, whose identities are tied to war, begin to question the ethics behind that war.
Amy Griswold, “Custom Options Available” (Fireside Magazine, short story)
Another story that explores mechanization and gender-modelling is Amy Griswold’s “Custom Options Available,” a joyous romp in which a retired mining robot chooses gender and sexuality configurations, then cruises for partners. The protagonist then starts to uncover feelings and preferences that they didn’t choose, including a fierce desire for freedom and self-determination.
Maria Romasco Moore, “The Moon Room” (Kaleidotrope, short story)
Maria Romasco Moore’s “The Moon Room” brings us into a glittering, but gritty, urban world of drag bars and clandestine identities as seen through the eyes of an alien. Trained from a young age to hide her true nature, she takes photographs of drag queens and revels in their ability to be seen—while the pressures of hiding her polymorphous body drives her to drink and blackouts. Luckily, queer joy saves her from a life of hiding—and she’s finally able to come out as the beauty she is.

Recommendations and more

The Otherwise Award invites everyone to recommend works for the Award. Please submit recommendations via the recommendation page of the Otherwise Award website. On the website, you can also donate to help fund the award and read more about past winners and works the Award has honored.

In addition to presenting the Otherwise Award annually, the Award Council presents two annual $500 fellowships to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today.

The Otherwise Award began in 1991 as The James Tiptree, Jr. Award, named after Alice Sheldon, who wrote under the pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr. By her choice of a masculine pen name, Sheldon helped break down the imaginary barrier between “women’s writing” and “men’s writing.” In 2019, the Award’s governing body, the Motherboard, decided, in response to community concerns, to rename the Award. The Tiptree Award became the Otherwise Award. (For more on the reasons behind the change, visit the history section of the Award’s website.)

The Otherwise Award, under any name, is an award with an attitude. As a political statement, as a means of involving people at the grassroots level, as an excuse to eat cookies, and as an attempt to strike the proper ironic note, the award has been financed through bake sales held at science fiction conventions across the United States, as well as in Britain and Australia. Fundraising efforts have included auctions conducted by Ellen Klages and Sumana Harihareswara, the sale of T-shirts and aprons created by collage artist and silk screener Freddie Baer and others, and the publication of four anthologies of award winners and honor-listed stories. Most of these anthologies, along with other publications, can be purchased through the Otherwise Award store.

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.

Eligible for nomination: 2020 books & stories by past Otherwise winners

As nomination and voting deadlines get closer for the Hugo Awards (nominate by March 19th!) and other honors, we bring to your attention books and short stories published in 2020 by past Otherwise Award winners.

Also, past Otherwise winners have forthcoming books you can preorder now to read in 2021, including:

 

Happy reading and nominating!

2020 Otherwise Fellowships Announced

The Otherwise Award is pleased to announce the selection of three new Fellows. Usually, the Award presents Fellowships to only two emerging creators each year. But because this year has been so difficult for everyone, the Motherboard decided to choose three new Fellows this year. It is a great time to imagine futures that are unlike the world we live in today.

This year’s Fellows are speculative fiction writer Shreya Ila Anasuya, independent filmmaker Eleyna Sara Haroun, and poet FS Hurston.

Shreya Ila AnasuyaShreya Ila Anasuya writes short fiction set in real and imaginary South Asian cities. In the application, Shreya wrote, “I find that my work repeatedly asks this question – who are women and femme people in their fullest manifestations, and how does their experience of themselves contrast to their culture’s expectations and demands of them?” Her work is informed by lived experience as a queer non-binary femme person from India who lives with chronic illness. Funding from the Fellowship will give Shreya the time needed to work on a collection of historical speculative fiction set in South Asia or South Asia inspired secondary worlds. The Fellowship funding will also make it possible for Shreya to take classes that will connect her to the greater speculative fiction community, combating the loneliness of being “a writer of strange fiction in Calcutta during a global pandemic.”

The work of independent filmmaker Eleyna Sara Haroun has focused on encouraging children to to question, challenge and discuss the effects of issues like minority rights, gender equality, climate change and child abuse on their communities and themselves. Her project “Filmwalli” is a series of five short films, to be produced in both Urdu and English. Each story is a folk tale that challenges traditional narratives of women in Pakistani society. These films/folk tales will encourage children to realize that everyone has the right to live to their full potential. Funding from the Otherwise Fellowship will allow Eleyna to develop two out of the five stories into scripts, complete the research and treatments for the other three scripts, and collaborate with a storyboard artist on these tales. With that work in place, she can submit her work to festivals and writers labs and apply for greater funding to begin the animation production of the films and the development of a campaign built around these films.

Poet FS Hurston will be working on a novel in verse with a fascinating main character: a teenager in contemporary Dakar who was born with the memories of a 400-year-old shark. Through this connection with a shark, the teenager meets ghosts of the past. FS Hurston writes that each character in the novel will be based on “a queer trans African person from anthropological archives, journals of slaveowners, colonial administrative documents, slave ledgers. The story will explore “the wide and capacious space of what white anthropologists couldn’t or didn’t want to understand of queer Africans,….speculating on what is possible on the other side of the colonizer’s gaze….” The funding from the Fellowship will help cover the cost of travel in Senegal and Cameroun, the two places where most of the novel takes place.

In addition to choosing three Fellows, the Fellowship Committee announced an honors list, which includes Jasmine Moore, Kailee Marie Pedersen, Timea Balogh, and Wren Handman. These writers and artists are all doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction.

The members of the 2020 selection committee for the Otherwise Fellowships were Martha Riva Palacio Obón, Devonix, Kiini Ibura Salaam, and Betsy Lundsten.

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The Otherwise Award celebrates works of speculative fiction that imagine new futures by exploring and expanding our understanding of gender. Through the Fellowship program, the Award also encourages those who are striving to complete works, to imagine futures that might have been unimaginable when the Award began. Now in its sixth year, the Fellowship program seeks out new voices in the field, particularly from communities that have been historically underrepresented in science fiction and fantasy and by those who work in media other than traditional fiction.

Each Fellow will receive $500. The work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Otherwise Award.

Over time, the Fellowship program is creating a network of Fellows who can build connections, provide mutual support, and find opportunities for collaboration. This effort complements the ongoing work of the Award — that is, the celebration of speculative fiction that expands and explores gender by imagining otherwise in thought-provoking, nuanced, and unexpected ways.

If you would like to donate to the fund for future Otherwise Fellowships, you can do so here. Let us know if you would like your donation to support the Fellowships program specifically.

 

 

 

2020 Otherwise Fellowship Applications Due October 31

For the sixth year, we are welcoming applications for Otherwise Fellowships: $500 grants for emerging creators who are changing the way we think about gender through speculative narrative.

If you think that description could apply to you — even if you are not working in a format most people would recognize as part of the science fiction or fantasy genre — you are eligible to apply for a Fellowship. Otherwise Fellows can be writers, artists, scholars, media makers, remix artists, performers, musicians, or something else entirely. So far our Fellows have been creators of visual art, performance, poetry, fiction, and games.

The Otherwise Fellowship is designed to provide support and recognition for the new voices who are making visible the forces that are changing our view of gender today. The Fellowship Committee particularly encourages applications from members of communities that have been historically underrepresented in the science fiction and fantasy genre and from creators who are creating speculative narratives in media other than traditional fiction. In keeping with the focus of the Otherwise Award, the selection committee is seeking projects that explore and expand understandings of gender, particularly in relationship to race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age, and other factors that set individuals or groups apart as “other.” Fellowship applicants do not need a professional or institutional affiliation, as the intention of the Fellowship program is to support emerging creators who lack institutional support for their work.

Applications are due on October 31. To apply, you will need to write short responses to two questions and to share a sample of your work – you can learn more about the application process at this link.

To read about the work of our previous Fellows, click on their names below: