Monday, March 19, 2018

WisCon's Member Assistance Fund

This just in from the SF3 Fundraising Committee:

Hello from WisCon’s Fundraising team!

We’re thrilled to announce that a group of our generous WisCon Member Assistance Fund donors have set us a challenge to raise funds to meet the needs of the folks in our community who need a little help to attend.

Sigrid Ellis, Jesse the K, Andrea Hairston, Kayla Fouch, Jed Hartman, Phredd Groves, and Aqueduct Press have stepped up, combining forces to make your donations go twice as far, and matching your donations up to $2,600. We’re so incredibly grateful to them!

If you donate $10, thanks to their generosity and belief in WisCon, $20 will go into the Fund. Give now to help meet their challenge—head to our Donation page to send a check or set up recurring donations, or keep it simple and go straight to!

(By the way, you have seen our beautiful WMAF t-shirts, right?)


Back to me again: if you can possibly spare just a small donation, please do. Some of Aqueduct's authors, & of course many of its readers, have been able to attend because they've received assistance from this fund. And that matters to all of us.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The 2017 Tiptree Award

The winner of the 2017 Tiptree Award is Virginia Bergin for her novel Who Runs the World? (Macmillan, UK, 2017). The novel is scheduled to be published in the US in September 2018 under the title The XY (Sourcebooks, 2018).

Who Runs the World? is a young adult novel that tells an intricately layered tale of intergenerational struggle and cooperation, the dehumanizing force of gender stereotypes, and the moral courage it takes to challenge cultural and political norms. The premise is familiar in feminist science fiction—a plague that kills nearly everyone with a Y chromosome. Bergin uses this premise first to develop a vividly imagined feminist society, and then to grapple with that society’s changes and flaws over time.

And for any who look to the Tiptree Award for a reading list each year, the jurors provide the Honor List, a group of exceptional works:

  • Charlie Jane Anders, “Don't Press Charges and I Won't Sue" (Boston Review, USA, 2017)
  • Indra Das, The Devourers (Del Rey, USA, 2016)
  • April Daniels, Dreadnought and Sovereign (Diversion, USA, 2017)
  • Maggie Shen King, An Excess Male (Harper Voyager, USA, 2017)
  • Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties (Gray Wolf, USA, 2017)
  • Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts (Akashic, USA, 2017) 
  • JY Yang, "Black Tides of Heaven" and "Red Threads of Fortune" (Tor, USA, 2017)
You’ll find more information about each work on the Honor List — and an additional  “long list” of twenty-six other works jurors found worthy of attention — on the Tiptree website.

The Tiptree Award winner, along with authors and works on the Honor List will be celebrated on Memorial Day weekend at WisCon in Madison, Wisconsin. Thanks to the support of folks like you, the winner will receive $1000 in prize money, a specially commissioned piece of original artwork, and (as always) chocolate. I hope I’ll see you at the celebration!

Reading for 2018 has begun Visit the recommendation page of the Tiptree Award website to suggest works for 2018 jury’s consideration. On the website, you can also donate to help fund the award and read more about past winners and works it has honored.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Kate Wilhelm (1928-2018)

We lost another influential author last week. Kate Wilhelm was one year older than Ursula Le Guin and also lived in Oregon (though in Eugene, not Portland). I've probably read most of her considerable body of work. Indeed, some of her characters and their situations have lodged deep within my imagination; I'm not sure when I realized that some of these have even crept their way into my own work without my noticing. Because of that, I always find it strange to hear from younger women writing sf that they were unfamiliar with the fiction she wrote before turning mainly to murder mysteries. Her speculative fiction is largely of a non-flashy type, blending a realist style with an intense interest in the psychological and social dimensions of her characters' lives; geographical setting and local politics often figure prominently.

Kate was awarded three Nebulas and two Hugos, and SFWA's Solstice Award (which was later renamed the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award in her honor). She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2003. Perhaps her greatest influence was as a teacher and workshop mentor, beginning with the Milford Science Fiction Writers' Conference in the late 1950s, and then with the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop. I believe that even after she stopped teaching at Clarion, she continued participating in and hosting workshops. When Leslie What and Nina Kiriki Hoffman took Eileen Gunn, Gwyneth Jones, and me to visit her in Eugene in 2004, Kate took us into a room  with comfortable chairs arranged along the perimeter; someone mentioned that this was where Eugene writers often gathered to workshop their stories (and a joke was made about Kate's tough critiques). Later she showed us an enclosed swimming pool that had been filled with soil and made into an indoor garden, something I'd never have imagined but afterwards struck me as fitting my previous image of her perfectly. 

You can find a good bibliography of her work in the Kate Wilhelm entry at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction). John Clute opines that her strongest speculative fiction writing was at novella length. While I largely agree with that judgment, let me hasten to add that her novels and shorter fiction are definitely worth seeking out. My top recommendations for someone unfamiliar with her speculative fiction would be: The Infinity Box, Welcome Chaos, Somerset Dreams and Other Fictions, Juniper Time, and Margaret and I. Her most famous sf novel, of course, is Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (which won the Hugo).   

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Feminist Futures Bundle

I'm really pleased too announce The Feminist Futures Bundle, a bundle of e-books that are entirely feminist sf/f, and includes Alanya to Alanya, the first volume of my Marq'ssan Cycle. The bundle goes on sale tonight and will be available for a limited time. Let me turn you over to Cat Rambo, who curated this wonderful bundle:

In time for Women's History Month, here's a celebration of some of the best science fiction being written by women today. This bundle gathers a wide range of outlooks and possibilities, including an anthology that gives you a smorgasbord of other authors you may enjoy.
I used to work in the tech industry, and there I saw how diversity could enhance a team and expand its skillset. Women understand that marketing to women is something other than coming up with a lady-version of a potato chip designed not to crunch or a pink pen sized for our dainty hands. Diversity means more perspectives, and this applies to science fiction as well. I am more pleased with this bundle than any I've curated so far.
In her feminist literary theory classic How to Suppress Women's Writing, science fiction author Joanna Russ talked about the forces working against the works of women (and minority) writers. A counter to that is making a point of reading and celebrating such work, and for me this bundle is part of that personal effort, introducing you to some of my favorites.
And in the name of expanding one's knowledge and enjoyment of women writing SF, the majority of these books are first volumes of series, and I hope if you enjoy them, you'll find the others as well as telling other people about them. The Kirstein series is the only one where not all the books are available; she's currently working on book five and plans seven altogether. Many of them are independently or small press published, showing the depth and quality of work such publishing venues can yield.
I come to the task of writing these notes having just finished reading through a slush pile for an anthology I'm editing, If This Goes On, devoted to political science fiction. Some of the themes there are echoed in some of the works here, and it's been interesting to note the resonances. Other books in the bundle are more lighthearted or escapist. I hope everyone will find at least a few they enjoy, and that many readers will join me in thinking they're all swell.
I'll be doing some video interviews with authors about their books - look for the hashtag #thefutureisfeminist on social media or subscribe to my Youtube channel ( or newsletter ( to make sure you get notified when they appear! – Cat Rambo
The initial titles in the Feminist Futures Bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
  • Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling
  • Alanya to Alanya by L. Timmel Duchamp
  • Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith
  • The Birthday Problem by Caren Gussoff
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular titles, plus SIX more!
  • Starfarers Quartet Omnibus - Books 1-4 by Vonda N. McIntyre
  • The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
  • Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A. Hogarth
  • The Terrorists of Irustan by Louise Marley
  • Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard
  • To Shape the Dark by Athena Andreadis
This bundle is available only for a limited time via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
  • Get quality reads: We've chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that's fine! You'll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there's nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you'll get the bonus books!
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for and
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