Skip to main content

By way of explanation

I’ve recently had a number of reviews for The Wolf’s Call that express annoyance at my use of the pronoun it for one of the characters, a dog named Bob. The upset doesn’t come as a surprise for me – my editor Lee Burton warned me about it already when he was editing the book, but as I had an explanation for it he accepted, the pronoun stayed. So, for those who have been upset by it, here is the explanation.

A Newfie very much like Bob.
My Two-Natured London is a world where some of the people are genetically different from regular humans. That genetic mutation manifests as a three different two-natured races: vampires, shifters, and sentients, which are my unique creation. Humans lack the means to detect the two-natured, which makes them suspicious of everyone around them. And while most humans can pretend everyone is human, the two-natured aren’t universally tolerated by the one-natured.

That applies especially to the shifters. There are cat and dog-shifters in my world too, which makes matters more confusing for humans. As the shifters have a human form, they are referred to as he or she, even in animal form. The intolerant humans insist on making the difference between natural and shifter animals by referring to their natural pets with the pronoun it. I’ve also imagined a zealot faction among humans who would use it for pets, so that no one would think they consorted with shifters, but also, as an insult, for shifters.

The practice isn’t universal among the humans of my world. But Charly, the heroine, grew up in a family that most definitely would have kept to the practice, hence her use of it. She will grow out of it eventually. Rafe, as a shifter, doesn’t have the same reason for the use of the pronoun, but because I didn’t want to confuse the readers too badly from the start, he ends up using it in the book too. In comparison, the third book that features vampires and shifters without humans does not make the same distinction between the pets and shifters.

When readers first began to note the pronoun, I considered changing it. However, since it’s logical within the world I’ve created, I decided not to. While it doesn’t work very well in the first book, I didn’t want to tie my hands for the later books. So, as it is, I simply have to bear the disgruntled reviews. Maybe one day I’ll write a book where it all becomes clear.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading resolutions (and resolute reading)

It’s a new year and time for a new reading challenge. I’ve participated in the challenge on Goodreads for four years in a row now, and each year I’ve added to the number of books I’ve read. Last year I read sixty books, though I’d originally pledged to read fifty-five. To be on the safe side, I kept it to fifty-five this year too. I usually pick my reading based on how I feel, and it seems I’ve felt like reading quite a lot of urban fantasy and fantasy last year. You can check out here what I read last year.
This year, I decided to be more organised about my reading. So I made a list. I never make them, or if I do I don’t follow them, but a list of books to read has to be easy to stick to. Especially since I didn’t make any difficult promises, like reading classics in their original language.


My list has fifty-six books at the moment, so there’s some room for changes. And it seems I’ll be reading a lot of urban fantasy (27) and fantasy (22) this year too, and quite a lot of it from auth…

Temporality and passage of time in serial fiction

I’ve been binge watching Star Trek: Enterprise lately. I didn’t see it when it aired in 2001-2005, but thanks to the streaming services, I’ve been able to indulge. For those who aren’t familiar with the series, it’s set a hundred years before the adventures of the original series with Captain Kirk and his fellows, and follows the crew of the first starship Enterprise. I’ve always been a Star Trek fan and I’ve liked it in all its incarnations, but Enterprise might be my favourite. There are many reasons for my preference, but what sets it apart from other series is how it allows the passage of time to show.

Many episodic TV series, regardless of the genre, are curiously atemporal. Passage of time is only implied to, maybe with the compulsory Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day episodes, or if the series is set in the school world, with the start and end of the term; if it’s a long-running series, the students move from one grade to the next from season to season. Other than that, …

Reading recap: March

I had a good reading month last month. Everything I read was delightful and entertaining, on top of which they were good books too. Again, I didn’t quite stick to my reading list; two out of five books were outside it.
First up was A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. It’s the second book in her Shades of Magic trilogy set in a world of parallel Londons that have different levels of magic and which can be travelled between by a special person with enough magic and right words. Grey London is in the Regency England of the ‘real’ world with little or no magic, Red London is abundant with magic, and White London is in permanent winter and constantly struggles to regain its magic by any means necessary. In the first book, Lila gets accidentally drawn from Grey to Red London by Kell who can travel between the worlds, and decides to stay. In this second book, she enters the stage as a pirate and ends up taking part in a tournament of magic. Most of the book is taken by the tournament, and…