The Murderbot Diaries #5

Network Effect by Martha Wells

Publication Date: May 5, 2020

Summary from NetGalley:

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot’s human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

ARC provided by MacMillan-Tor/Forge via NetGalley for an honest review.

“After spending my entire existence having to gently suggest to humans that they not do things that would probably get them killed, it was nice to be able to tell them in so many words to not be so fucking stupid. But I didn’t regret doing it.”

I was so excited that Murderbot finally got a full length novel, and I was not disappointed either. This was just as funny, exciting and thrilling as the novellas. If you have not yet read the novellas, that is ok, you don’t really need to, but it does help, especially when it comes to Murderbot’s backstory and its relationship with ART, another AI that was in one of the novellas.

Murderbot hasn’t changed much in the few months living with humans. I continue to love how the humans accept and trust that Murderbot, or SecUnit, will always be there to protect them, even if they don’t completely understand its view of the world. Murderbot still mostly wants to be left alone, to watch serial shows and brood a bit. But it does look out for the humans and even cares for them in its own way, although don’t use the f-word (feelings). Murderbot is still sarcastic and quite astute in its assessment of humans and their strange behavior.

The plot of this novel was quite good, but there were a couple of slow parts, and then I was confused a bit towards the end, when some weird and technical stuff happened. But lots of action with alien sentient killware, space raiders, explosions, catastrophic failures of all kinds, and lots of sarcastic thoughts and comments by both Murderbot and ART. The over all theme of personhood and friendship is still there and Murderbot is getting closer to understanding what it wants out of life, besides sitting in a corner and watching tv by itself.

The Murderbot diaries are some of the best in science fiction today. The novellas are short and easy reads and so much fun. I think this is the only science fiction stories I have read with a smile on my face almost the entire time. I love them!

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