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Sometimes they puzzle me exceedingly. I have no idea why Camouflage won.
(On the other hand, winning Tiptree honors has helped put Camouflage on my TBR list.)
But generally, the Tiptrees are worth looking into.
On the Tiptree Award website, I see that Haldeman's book shared the 2004 award with Johanna Sinisalo's 'Not Before Sundown', the US title of which is Troll: A Love Story. That is a fabulous book; one of the best of all the Tiptree winners to my taste.
Tiptree winners past that I've enjoyed include Hiromi Goto's The Kappa Child, Elizabeth Hand's Waking the Moon, 'The Matter of Seggri' by Ursula K. Le Guin, and China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh. I haven't read Gwyneth Jones Tiptree winner, The White Queen, but I thought her recent short-listed book 'Life' (which I can't touchstone because it's not among the 250 choices LT offers me) was excellent.
I thought Theodore Roszak's The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein was awful though. I gave up on it three-quarters of the way through. I just couldn't take any more purple prose and silly sex magick. I have a hard time understanding how even the most politically or philosophically motivated judge could have overlooked the truly dreadful prose in this one.
Matt Ruff on his website talks about what he disliked about A Brother's Price (Shortlisted) and then adds that the sheer amount of debate it generated made it a worthy contender, feelings, I gather ran high. That is what I look for in in this award something that primarily promotes disscussion of gender roles and issues.
It's made me read some stuff I would never have looked at as it skews too heavily toward fantasy for my taste, but there's usually something of interest.
Camouflage to me is good, old-fashioned science-fiction, and while I'm not sure it should have won, for me the alien's slow process of trying to understand gender rolesin human relationships makes it a valid entry into the Tiptree list.
I've been changed by each of the Tiptree Award winners that I've read:
1993: Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
2002: Light by M. John Harrison and (not read) Stories for Men by John Kessel
2005: Air by Geoff Ryman
2008: Filter House by Nisi Shawl and (not read) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
2012: The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan and most definitely Ancient, Ancient by Kiini Ibura Salaam
I plan to make Camouflage my next read.
(edited to correct spelling -- my first time using the word "gilded")
Of the Tiptree's I've read:
China Mountain Zhang, Ammonite, Larque on the Wing, The Sparrow, Black Wine, The Conquerors Child, Wild Life and, as it happens, I'm reading The Carhullan Army currently. There are a fair amount of unread Tiptoe winners on our shelves, but I've moved away from reading the quantity of SF I used to.