Verdict: SO MUCH FUN.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Published by tor, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Novella
In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.
But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.
On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.
But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
I had so much fun reading this short little novella. I needed something quick and easy to read after Leviathan Wakes, and this just fit the bill. It is snarky and witty and surprisingly well-rounded.
Our main character and point of view is Murderbot, as it likes to call itself. It is working security for a group of explorers when things start to go sideways. Murderbot is the clear focus of this book and rightfully so: it is hilarious in its pessimism and sympathetic in its apathy. Its arc was (mostly) believable and I loved seeing the world from its point of view. (Aside: I was picturing Murderbot as female and kept thinking of it as such until I read reviews… and realized it is never called thus; the humans in this book refer to Murderbot as it, and so does it itself. I don’t know what that says about me but I found it fairly fascinating to think about my biases. If you have read the novella, please do let me know whether you thought of Murderbot as female or male. The audiobook narrator is a man fyi.)
I enjoyed how fast-paced this was and how much kept happening. Martha Wells did not waste a single page of this book which is something I am really appreciating about novellas at the moment.
I have already pre-ordered the next books in the series (they will all be coming out later this year) and cannot wait to see where Martha Well takes her story next.
First sentence (which I read and knew I would love this): “I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized that I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.”