I appear to be all over the latest Writer & Critic podcast. I did my usual trick of helping out Aussie podcasters with the specifics of the Hugo rules, but also one of the books they review this month is The Courier’s New Bicycle. Naturally a lot of discussion of gender ensues.
I suspect that some of my more shouty gender activist friends will a bit annoyed by the discussion. That’s partly because we have two cis-people struggling with the idea of someone who is neither male nor female, and partly because being the well-meaning but often politically incorrect Aussie Male is party of Mondy’s schtick on the show. Personally, because I know both of them, I’m prepared to make allowances, and am pleased to hear them trying hard to get their heads, and their tongues, around the issue.
Let’s face it, I struggle with pronouns at times. Occasionally Roz has to kick me. Very few of us are (yet) perfect, and as Kirstyn notes that’s partly because there is no commonly accepted set of gender-neutral pronouns in English. So, for example, I try hard to respect the wishes of people who wish me to use “they” rather than “he” or “she”, but my inner grammar checker screams blue murder every time it sees me mix singular and plural.
I might complain about their pronunciation of “Salisbury”, but as Sal is Australian and they are Australian I have to allow that they may be pronouncing it the way that the characters in the book would.
Anyway, they both really enjoyed the book, which makes me very happy. Also there are no major spoilers. So if you are interested in the book, please do give the podcast a listen.