Neopronouns in Speculative Fiction

I recently put out a call on Twitter for speculative fiction that uses neopronouns. I struggle with self-doubt, both in my personal life—it's rare for people to refer to me with a neopronoun, even if I may prefer it in the moment—and also in my writing—I want so much to use neopronouns for my characters, but I'm constantly scared of rejection on that basis. So, although it's not strictly necessary, it's still nice to have a list of precedents that show that people do put work with neopronouns out there.

Criteria for inclusion:

  • Must use a pronoun other than I, you, he, she, it, we, or they (singular or plural) to refer to at least one prominent character in the narrative.
  • Must not be cissexist or transphobic. (I have no interest in reading something for the pronouns if it's going to alienate me in other ways, after all.)

And that's it. This list will lean speculative, but I don't mind including literary/interstitial works or other media. "Prominent" is going to be a judgement call as well, but I tend to lean toward inclusion, especially if it's an #ownvoices story.

So here's the list of stories gathered from Twitter responses and my own poking around online, current as of June 6, 2018:

  • Aarons-Hughes, Rivka. Mr. March Names the Stars. 20,000 words; xe. March 2016. Non-speculative.
  • Anders, Charlie Jane. "Love Might Be Too Strong a Word." 5,700 words; be, po, y. June 2008/August 2012 (reprint). #ownvoices.
  • Arnold, June. The Cook and the Carpenter. 216 pages; na. 1973.
  • Blauersouth, Lee. Secondhand Origin Stories. 362 pages; xe. October 2017.
  • Bornstein, Kate & Caitlin Sullivan. Nearly Roadkill. 382 pages; ze. June 1996. #ownvoices.
  • Bryant, Dorothy. The Kin of Ata are Waiting for You. 225 pages; kin. 1971.
  • Byrne, SL. "The Thing with Feathers." Short story; ze. January 2018.
  • Carter, CJ. Que Será Serees: What Will Be, Serees? 354 pages; ey. May 2011.
  • Cherryh, C. J. The Chanur Saga. 705 pages; gtst. 1981.
  • Chu, John. "The Law and the Profits." The Revelator. 4,600 words; e. March 2016.
  • Edwards, RJ. "Black Holes." In Lightspeed 61: Queers Destroy Science Fiction! 8 pages; ze. June 2015 (reprint). #ownvoices?
  • Egan, Greg. Diaspora. 352 pages; ve. September 1997.
  • Gentle, Mary. Ancient Light. 576 pages; ke. 1987.
  • Gentle, Mary. Golden Witchbreed. 495 pages; ke. 1985.
  • Lechler, Kate. "Selections from “Volume S” of the Intragalactic Encyclopedia of Habitable Planets." In Dear Robot. 3,100 words; zhe. November 2015.
  • Lee, Jenn Manley. Dicebox. Webcomic; peh. Ongoing.
  • Lu, S. Qiouyi. "Curiosity Fruit Machine." 800 words; ey, xe. February 2017. #ownvoices.
  • Mardoll, Ana. Poison Kiss. 252 pages; nee. November 2015. #ownvoices.
  • Marks, Laurie J. Delan the Mislaid. Novel; id. 1989.
  • Piercy, Marge. Woman on the Edge of Time. 384 pages; per. May 1976.
  • Provost, A.E. "Sandals Full of Rainwater." Short story; hiy, yey. January 2018.
  • Ryman, Geoff. "Capitalism in the 22nd Century." In Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany. 14 pages; zie. August 2015.
  • Schofield, Holly. "The Scent that Treason Brings." 4,700 words; zie. September 2017.
  • Stirling, Penny. "Kin, Painted." 4,400 words; e, ze. July 2015. #ownvoices.
  • Stirling, Penny. "Love Over Glass, Skin Under Glass" 3,800 words; ey. September 2013/May 2015 (reprint). #ownvoices.
  • Stirling, Penny. "Walking the Wall of Papered Peaces." Short story; ze. January 2018. #ownvoices.
  • Sylver, RoAnna. The Lifeline Signal. 370 pages; xie. March 2017. #ownvoices?
  • Takács, Bogi. "The Handcrafted Motions of Flight." 80 lines; e. March 2012. #ownvoices.
  • Takács, Bogi. "The Need for Overwhelming Sensation." 5,200 words; e. September 2015. #ownvoices.
  • Takács, Bogi. "Volatile Patterns." Short story; e. January 2018. #ownvoices.
  • Wells, Martha. Artificial Condition. 160 pages; te. May 2018.
  • Wigmore, Rem. "Grow Green." Short story; ey, pry. January 2018.

I'll probably make a separate list later that includes stories that use singular they and/or stories about nonbinary characters in general, but I wanted to focus on neopronouns here.

Thanks to Bogi Takács and A.C. Buchanan for their help.

Comments are open; I can also be contacted on Twitter if you'd like to send more suggestions.