The Uterine Replicator in Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
This chapter argues that the centering of the uterine replicator in Lois McMaster Bujold’s most recent Vorkosigan novel, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen forces a reorientation of reproduction and kinship alongside a queering of the Vorkosigan Saga. The chapter shows how the uterine replicator provides an entry point through which the titular characters, Oliver Jole, the Gentleman, and Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, the Red Queen, can reveal and continue relationships with their dead lover/husband Aral Vorkosigan, effectively queering central relationships back through the entirety of the Vorkosigan Saga, while simultaneously gesturing towards a queer future. In these ways, the chapter suggests, the uterine replicator and its symbolic potentials produce a form of nonlinear queer temporality, defying Barrayaran expectations of generationally (and linearly) inheriting traditional Vor hierarchies and values. The alternative queer kinship relationality made possible through the uterine replicator coheres around resistance to the biopolitical nationalist project and a focus on love and the living.
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