Sep 282020

Two years ago, I posted about All Systems Read, the first book in the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. Three novella and a full blown novel later, I am hear to tell you that Murderbot is still amazing. I finished the latest book last night and I am flush with Great-Writing afterglow.

For the uninitiated, Murderbot is an entity created to be a security guard. They are a mix of cloned organic parts, weaponry and machinery. It is property with no rights of its own. At some point, it hacked itself and was able to break the hardware that fries it if it acts out of line. It has been acting out ever since.

The series is mostly about Murderbot trying to stay alive in a universe that doesn’t consider it to be a person. What redeems Murderbot is that despite really hating interacting with humans, it has a protective fondness for weak humans it encounters. Over the course of the series, Murderbot makes friends, takes on clients and inches closer to having something resembling a life.

This is a great action series. If you like efficiency porn like Jason Bourne, you will love Murderbot. The threats are always terrible but Murderbot is always up to the task. Evil corporations, alien hostiles and other murderous cyborgs make for great enemies.

Speaking of cyborgs, there is a lot of non-human intelligences in this series. There is a giant computer mind that operates a transport ship. There are combat cyborgs that desire only destruction. There is a simplistic robot that creeps Murderbot out with its willingness to trust. This is a series that thinks a lot about how different minds think and it is fascinating to see these minds interact.

That is exemplified in the unique mind that is Murderbot. They are wonderfully anti-social and yet afraid of the fond feelings it has for the humans it trusts. They love media fiction and would happily watch soap operas for the rest of their lives. They will also straight up murder anyone that threatens the humans Murderbot takes care of. It is a lovely mix of fragility and righteous violence that is wonderfully human.

So yeah, give the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells a try. It is one of the best modern science fiction series being written today.

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