muccamukk: Holmes examines a Santa hat. (SH: Christmas Hat)
[personal profile] muccamukk
One of the things I liked about Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries series is that the title character is some sort of android/human clone hybrid and has neither a sexuality nor a gender. The books are written in first person, but all the outside characters refer to the Murderbot as "it," and frankly it's fine with that. Wells mentioned on a recent AMA: "I feel the core of the character is that while Murderbot is obviously a person, it isn't human and doesn't want to be human, so while other characters might give it pronouns, it's not going to want to pick any for itself."

I know at least one person who found the use of "it" over "they" for non-gendered pronouns uncomfortable, while Nenya liked it for reminding the reader of the profoundly non human nature of the SecUnit. Reading reviews, I noticed that people used a variety of approaches to deal with Murderbot's gender, and I did a quick tally of them.

214 Reviews on Goodreads as of this writing
  • 137 of them don't use pronouns for Murderbot (a few seemed to be deliberately avoiding doing so, but mostly these reviews just said something like "Good book, will read the next one.")

  • 5 of them are in a language I don't speak (I'm taking a Murderbot approach to this, and half-assing my research)

  • 44 (61%) of them used "it"

  • 12 (17%) of them used "he"

  • 8 (11%) of them used "they"

  • 8 (11%) of them used "she" (Ann Leckie's got them trained!)

Speaking of Leckie, she has recced this series as well. I feel like Murderbot and Breq could have a profitable conversation, really.
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