Has the Present Outpaced the Future? Nonbinary Gender in Science Fiction


Women's and Gender Studies / American/Diaspora

Jess Flarity (University of New Hampshire)

Science fiction is a genre with a long history of pushing the boundaries of embodiment and gender identity, whether in Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness or Delany’s Trouble on Triton. More recent examples of nonbinary gender identities occur in Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy, Robinson’s 2312, and in a wide variety of publications online. This panel seeks to explore examples of SF literature where nonbinary pronouns feature as innovative elements in the narrative, with possible examples being works like Miller’s Blackfish City and in the collection Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction. Presenters are especially encouraged to analyze how the personal or singular pronoun they/them intersects with its role as a third person or plural pronoun, and how authors have minimized the obfuscation of these two different “they’s” when composing in modern English.

This panel welcomes a wide range of papers based on SF literature incorporating queer studies, gender and sexuality studies, LGBT and transgender studies, Indigenous Futurisms, Afrofuturism, space opera, cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk, and works in translation.