RogerBW's Blog

Fugitive Telemetry, Martha Wells 09 June 2021

2021 science fiction novella, sixth in the Murderbot series. On Preservation Station, one of the largest polities that's not part of the Corporate Rim, someone's been murdered. And it's Murderbot who finds the body.

While there have clearly been mystery elements to these stories before, I think this is the first it would be fair to classify as "a mystery" with the classical structure: someone is dead; someone did it; order must be restored by finding out who and why.

"A good question," Aylen said. Her expression was still in the neutral range but I could tell she was intrigued by the report, just like my threat assessment module.

Something I continue to appreciate about this series is that Murderbot is true to itself; it's learning to be better able to interact with people, but not by compromising who it is. It has abilities that the other investigators don't, but it's not perfect or omnicompetent, and it will have to cooperate with humans to get the job done. Ew. (And even though here it's not technically property any more, the locals still have problems with free bots, even before considering the whole murdery skillset.)

I found the menu for monitoring life support, such as it was. The bag had lights but turning them on would just be stupid plus I didn't really want to see what was happening.

This is near the conventional upper bound for novella length, but it doesn't feel padded: every piece here has a necessary function. An excellent continuation of the series. I suppose you could start here; there's enough explanation to work out roughly what's going on. But there are references to earlier events, and emotional weight attached to them, which would be lost without having been there.

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Previous in series: Network Effect | Series: The Murderbot Diaries | Next in series: System Collapse

  1. Posted by Chris Suslowicz at 11:39am on 09 June 2021

    The whole series is excellent, and this one fills in much of the detail as to how and why Murderbot came to be trusted on Preservation.

    It's intriguing, amusing, and contains the expected industrial quantities of snark.

    Thoroughly recommended. (I haven't finished the text version yet, but have repeatedly listened to the audiobook - which is also excellent and recommended.)

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