Further Thoughts on the Occasion of Winning the Tiptree Award

It’s been a few days, I’ve celebrated with my family, and my email is starting to seem like a vaguely manageable part of life again, so it’s time to get a few of my thoughts down in writing.

  • The news was a total shock. It’s not that I hadn’t considered the award; I thought, given the content, “The New Mother” had a reasonable shot at being on the long list, and if I was really lucky might even make the honor list. But a win seemed vanishingly unlikely. The Tiptree almost always goes to novels or short story collections, and the last time an individual work of short fiction won was 13 years ago. So when Tiptree Award jury chair Heather Whipple called me, important parts of my brain overloaded and I rambled disbelief into the phone for several minutes before remembering I was taking up the time of a stranger with a life of her own, and I should maybe let her get back to it someday. She was very gracious about my award-induced inability to function.
  • The last novella to win was John Kessel’s “Stories for Men” in 2002 (coincidentally, another cover story of an Asimov’s double issue). I love “Stories for Men,” and used to teach it in my science fiction writing courses at the University of Iowa. I told John as much in 2013, chatting in the SFWA suite at LoneStarCon 3. He told me that he was working on a sequel novel (which I’m still very much looking forward to), and asked me what I was working on. I described “The New Mother” as it then existed, and he said, “Sounds to me like you’re writing a Tiptree winner.” I took that as a generous and encouraging compliment, but never suspected it would reveal itself in time as a prophetic vision. The next time I run into John Kessel at a WorldCon, I’m going to ask him about lottery numbers.
  • I bought a new suit to wear to the ceremony, and, while I’m not sure what it will entail yet, I think I’m going to have to Floomp big this year.

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  1. Calling you and Pat was the highlight of my week and definitely the best use of my time that day! Surprising people with unexpected happy news is a lot of fun.

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