40 pages 1 hour read

Martha Wells

All Systems Red

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 2017

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Non-Gendered Identity and Asexuality in Speculative Fiction

Two elements of Murderbot’s characterization are its lack of both gender identity and sexual interest. Murderbot does not have sexual organs, gendered physical features, or sexual desire. In Chapter 2, Murderbot notes that the only robots that have sex-related parts are sexbots. In the same passage, while forwarding through a sex scene in Sanctuary Moon, Murderbot notes that even if it did have gender or sex-related parts, it would not find sex scenes interesting. Murderbot believes its lack of sexual interest is part of its personality rather than a consequence of its hardware or programming.

Throughout the novella, Murderbot tries to hide behind its opaque helmet to avoid being seen. In Chapter 6, when Gurathin presses Murderbot about why Murderbot does not want them to look at it, Murderbot replies: “You don’t need to look at me. I’m not a sexbot” (106-07). Murderbot finds the human gaze (or augmented human gaze, in this case) inherently sexualizing. In addition to being shy, Murderbot does not want to be seen as a sexual object or participate in a sexual or romantic relationship. Its love of relationship intrigue and

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