Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Request for stories with non-binary gender or sex

I have a request! I read primarily fantasy and science fiction with a strong preference for speculative works, and I'm regularly frustrated by the paucity of diversity in gender and sex representation. It's a little nonsensical, since both are already complicated for humans and other animals. It's especially irksome when you consider fiction often restructures social and physical norms, sometimes wildly. How is it authors can imagine entire economies based around dragon flight but not women who don't like cooking and dresses? Or a more complex set of sexes than the two-sizes-fits-all model to which most stories default? Okay, slight exaggeration, but seriously, how are dragons more plausible than a different set of clothing division?

I admit this is more rant than request so far, so let me take a moment to try and flesh put what I'm looking for; book recommendations that include non-binary genders or sexes. Examples would be a culture or species that has more (or less) than two distinct sexes that are male/female, or gender roles that vary wildly from "boys like math, girls like feelings" stuff. I would enjoy books that focus on this, but I'm primarily looking for stories where this is just part of the world.

For reference, the following media are the sort of thing I'm looking for:
Lilith's Brood by Octavia E. Butler
The Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie
The Worldbreaker Saga by Kameron Hurley
Knights Errant by Jenn Doyle (webcomic)
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold (I would count the men of Athos as being a non-traditional society in terms of gender)

Plesse, let me know what you've seen! I know this is oddly specific, but it's become a pet peeve of mine after noticing speculative fiction stories always default to the traditional, reductive binary for sex and gender. I think it would be nice to read novels with an understanding that things are more complicated than that, and especially an exploration of how complex they could be.

(crossposted at Librarything)

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