Fantasy short story ID

I think this was published in one of the Asimov SF magazines in the 1980’s. The story is told from the perspective of a lead character, as you follow them though a mild adventure. I think they’re a lone traveler arriving at an inn and needing a room. There’s some conflict, it’s resolved, and the character ends up in the room, alone, at the end of the story and it is subtly revealed that the character is female. Not once did the author use a gendered pronoun and it’s clear that most readers would assume the character was male. I thought it was a clever story idea, playing on the reader’s expectations and using them as part of the narrative.

So, anyone remember this?

Gahhh- I think I remember this, which means that AndyL almost certainly remembers it right off the top of his head.

Sounds similar to Joanna Russ’s “The Mystery of the Young Gentleman.” The gender of the “young gentleman” is totally ambiguous.

Pulling out my Thieves’ World/Sanctuary books later today; I have a hunch it was in one of them. Plus I haven’t read them in a while and this will be a good excuse. :smiley:

Are you thinking of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Lythande” stories? I think Lythande’s gender was an important plot point in the beginning.

But at least one of them appeared in F&SF in the 80s.

Ooh, that sounds familiar. I know I had a few of those books back in the day. If it helps, I think the person in question was a mage/wizard of some sort.

This is a possibility as well. I might be able to track this down online. It would have been the character introduction, so if that happened in a short story this could be it.

Ah, looks like it was “The Secret of the Blue Star” by MZB.


Yep; that’s the story I was thinking of. From Thieves’ World, alright!