As some of you will have noticed, a bit of an upset happened over the weekend over the review site, Rocket Stack Rank. As usual, File 770 is on the case.
For those who can’t be bothered to click through, the site’s owner apparently has a policy of giving an automatic one-star review to any work that uses non-binary pronouns. He also allegedly has the cheek do describe himself as a trans ally, which is an utter nonsense, and even manages to recommend stories that he thinks have good trans content. It is all very head-explody stuff.
This reminds me that when Ann Leckie’s Provenance first came out some annoying people tried to have the book removed from Amazon because they claimed that the non-binary pronouns that it uses were errors.
I’m sure you are familiar with the way these stories go now: “oh -clutch pearls- all of this non-binary stuff is so new and confusing and horrible, how will we ever be able to read if we are subjected to these awful, oppressive, bullying pronouns?!”
At which point it is necessary to remind people that this is science fiction we are talking about. Apparently inventing whole new languages for Klingons, Elves and so on is OK, but inventing new pronouns for people who have different gender systems is not. What ever happened to the “literature of ideas”, people?
Of course there are people out there who “go too far” with all of these new fangled pronoun things. Take this, for example:
Which is to say: everyone is referred to by female pronouns—unless the speaker wants to have sex with the person they are referring to, in which case the pronoun shifts to ‘he’.
Head exploded yet? Ready to write a rant about “kids today”?
Well before you do I should note that the quote above comes from a Tor.com essay by Alex Daly McFarlane. It is about a book called Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. That book was written by some guy called Samuel R. Delany, and was published in 1984.
Young people today, eh?
Update: I’m told the policy is to automatically subtract 1 star for non-binary pronouns rather than give 1 star. I can see I may have mis-understood one of the tweets in the File 770 piece. Either way though it is silly.