Luke Johnson
Luke Johnson asked Ann Leckie:

What influenced your decision to use she/her/herself as the 'default' pronouns for the Radchaai?

Ann Leckie There were a lot of thoughts that went into the decision--my (and presumably the majority of my potential readers') unfamiliarity with the various gender-neutral pronouns that have so far been proposed was one. I do think it would be good for those to be used more in fiction in general, though. I would love to see them used more.

And while "they" is a perfectly good gender-neutral singular pronoun, the potential confusion when you're dealing with multi-bodied people is enormous.

I also had been thinking a lot about the concept of the masculine default--when it comes to pronouns that's often expressed as "the masculine embraces the feminine," as though "he" could somehow actually be gender-neutral. It can't, of course. And using "she" in that way to a certain extent points that out, in a way that's less easy to see when you're using the standard default as though it's neutral. The drawback of course is that "she" can't be gender-neutral either. But really, any choice I made was going to have problems, and I was going to have to own whatever drawbacks my particular choice came with.

And of course the question of how Ursula K LeGuin handled pronouns in The Left Hand of Darkness was on my mind. That was definitely something I thought about.
Ann Leckie

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