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.

Date: 2017-06-26 06:29 pm (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
Breq and Murderbot both have that "no touching my annoying humans" thing going on.

Date: 2017-06-27 08:41 am (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
Also *I* kept thinking of Murderbot as 'he' but that's because the book was recced to me as "if you had Bucky from Owlet's Infinite Coffee and Protection Detail, without Steve and in space". Which got my attention and was not inaccurate :-)

I'm really looking forward to the next one, and I may have to go investigate Leckie's other two recs in the meantime.

Date: 2017-06-26 06:34 pm (UTC)
marthawells: (Jack and Teal'c)
From: [personal profile] marthawells
That's a really interesting breakdown.


I feel like Murderbot and Breq could have a profitable conversation, really.

I'll be disappointed if nobody writes that fic. I have an image of them both in one of those "standing in uncomfortable silence in an elevator" scenes.

Date: 2017-06-26 06:47 pm (UTC)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
From: [personal profile] melannen
I kept* wanting Murderbot to be a she, but I think that's at least partly Leckie's fault.

But it wants to be an it so it will keep being an it to me until or unless it changes its mind.

I also really appreciated the - what was it, half a line? - where Murderbot makes it clear that it considers its asexuality to be something that would be part of it even if it had different design specs.


*I have read it three times already but this is not my fault

Date: 2017-06-26 07:04 pm (UTC)
spiralsheep: The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity (ish icons Curiosity Cures Boredom)
From: [personal profile] spiralsheep
I did a quick tally of them

Edited Date: 2017-06-26 07:08 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-06-26 10:17 pm (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: commas & apostrophes in sex positions (@ comma sutra)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
I woke up this morning to a handwritten tally on the back of her paycheck envelope, lol. ❤

Date: 2017-06-27 12:11 am (UTC)
nenya_kanadka: Spock captioned "emotion inside" (ST Spock emotion inside)
From: [personal profile] nenya_kanadka
I actually guessed right! You'd been talking about people having different pronouns for Murderbot, so it seemed plausible. Though I didn't know what the "???" category was for (non-English reviews, apparently).

Date: 2017-06-27 12:33 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
OMG, <333

Date: 2017-06-27 08:45 am (UTC)
spiralsheep: Woman blowing heart-shaped bubbles (Bubble Rainbow)
From: [personal profile] spiralsheep
And the fact you appreciate this is also adorable, obv. ♥

Date: 2017-06-26 08:50 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I don't think of Murderbot as female exactly, but I default to "she" when talking about her (see?!), because I overidentified so much.

Date: 2017-06-27 12:32 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I think I tried using "they" at first and then "she" just kept slipping out so I went with it.

WHERE IS THE SEQUEL, MAN

Date: 2017-06-26 09:43 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
Murderbot is the best character name.

Date: 2017-06-27 08:50 am (UTC)
sparowe: (See)
From: [personal profile] sparowe
Interesting. While "it" would seem to work for the narrative, I have to wonder if I wouldn't default to "they"--if only because being taught that the latter is insulting. But if one chooses it for ones own self, is it necessarily my place to invalidate that because of personal feeling or habit?

Date: 2017-06-27 04:26 pm (UTC)
sineala: Detail of The Unicorn in Captivity, from The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestry (Default)
From: [personal profile] sineala
I have no idea what I used in my review but I feel like I assumed Murderbot was a she, FWIW.

Date: 2017-06-27 07:01 pm (UTC)
sineala: Detail of The Unicorn in Captivity, from The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestry (Default)
From: [personal profile] sineala
Now that I think about it, I remember going to write "she" and catching myself because the book hadn't actually said that and everyone else in the book called Murderbot "it" and Murderbot had seemed okay with that.
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