• Emily Win

Season 2 Episode 9: What are Spivak Pronouns? And More on the Queer Sci-fi World with Cam Coulter

If you're a book nerd, space nerd, Sci-fi nerd, queer nerd, or all of the above, this episode might be your favorite piece of podcast work that exists on the internet. Join me as I pick Cam Coulter's brain on how Sci-fi and Fantasy lend themselves to radical queer representation. Cam shares their experience in finding queer/trans community within the internet Sci-fi niche and walks me through the many different (and totally rad) pronouns that exist in alternate universes. Come to get your mind blown, stay for the book recs.


Produced, hosted, and edited by Emily Win. Artwork by Lizzie and Emily Win. Theme song by Prod. Riddiman.


Books Recommendations from Cam!

  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (my blog post about it) — wonderful early book that did radical stuff with gender (also about loyalty/betrayal and patriotism/nationalism)

  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin — juxtaposes a capitalist oligarchy with an anarchist communist society

  • Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany — space opera novel where you use "she" to refer to everyone, unless you're thinking of them as a sex object, in which case you say "he"

  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (my blog post about the trilogy) — a profound and enjoyable meditation on empire, identity, and justice; takes place within a civilization that doesn't have gender ("she" pronouns used as default")

  • Provenance by Ann Leckie (my blog post about it) — intelligent and fun space opera novel that takes place within a society in which gender is trinary and characters use Spivak pronouns (e/em/eir)

  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers — fun, character-centered space opera filled with different species and cultures

  • Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn (my blog post about it) — post-apocalyptic murder mystery in which households are the base units of society

  • A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (my blog post about it) — monks in the post-apocalypse!

  • Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather — nuns in space!

  • Finna by Nino Cipri — not mentioned in our discussion, but an awesome story about capitalism featuring nonbinary representation

  • Walkaway by Cory Doctorow (my blog post about it) — not mentioned in our discussion, but it's a amazing novel about the end of capitalism and the end of death (it's also got trans representation)

Short Stories:

  • “You Can Make a Dinosaur, but You Can’t Help Me” by K.M. Szpara (my review) — a challenging but rewarding story about family and found family, featuring dinosaurs and a trans relationship

  • “I Sing Against the Silent Sun” by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor and Ada Hoffmann (my review) — a stunning space opera featuring poetry, rebellion against a god of silence, and nonbinary & genderfluid representation

  • “Graveyard Girls on Paper Phoenix Wings” by Andrea Tang (my review) — not mentioned in our discussion, but it's an awesome trans romance set within a fleshed-out world where religion plays a key role in social-political life

  • Capricious Issue 9 – Gender Diverse Pronouns (my review)

  • “Ad Astra Per Aspera” by Nino Cipri — I mentioned Nino Cipri in our discussion, but didn't shout out any of their stories. This is a short good one of theirs

  • “Volatile Patterns” by Bogi Takács — I mentioned Bogi Takács in our discussion, but didn't shout of any of eir stories. This is a great starting place

  • "Phaser” by Cameron Van Sant — funny, sophisticated time-travel story about the complexities of gender identity

  • “Harmony” by Seanan McGuire (my review) — queer folks making their own community

  • “Spectrum of Acceptance” by Nyla Bright (my review) — radically centers neuroatypical folks

  • “The House on the Moon” by William Alexander (my review) — not mentioned in our discussion, but it's an awesome story about the politics and constructedness of (dis)ability

  • “Nation Building and Baptism” by Octavia Cade (my review) — not mentioned in our discussion, but it's a beautiful tale about welcoming refugees into a nation where citizenship and conservation are fundamentally intertwined

  • Also, here's my "Favorite 2018 Short Stories" blog post where I shout out some fav stories

Poem (mentioned)

  • "Your Life" by Andrea Gibson — "your pronouns haven't even been invented yet"

  • Andrea also has interesting things to say about religion. Here's a Queery interview where I think they touch on religion.

#scifi #spirituality #religion #fantasy #queer #lgbtq #writing #pronouns

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