Another Hugo Nominee

Yesterday I finished reading the second book in Ann Leckie’s series, ANCILLARY SWORD.  I really enjoyed this book, and it was in this volume that her use of only the female pronoun “she” was revealed to me in all its true genius.  I was suddenly aware of a subtle bias in myself that I had hitherto been completely unaware existed.

HERE IS A SMALL SPOILER *********************BEWARE***********

One of the sub-plots is about the heir of a house or “daughter of the house” as they are called who has been preying sexually on field workers in the tea plantation.

Because everyone in Leckie’s universe is referred to as she you have no idea of the actual gender of the person unless she gives you a physical hint which she almost never does.  When the plot revealed that this character was a sexual predator I immediately assumed the character was male.  Then I discovered the victim was a young man of 16, and I realized this person demanding sexual favors by dint of their position of power could just as easily have been female.

My bias had been revealed in the most stark way, and I loved it.  It made me stop and consider societal norms and the danger of assumptions.

That’s what good, ambitious books do.  Bravo to Ann Leckie.  I’m really looking forward to the next book.

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