Thursday, April 11, 2019

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Series

Story

Murderbot does some investigating and ends up shadowing a team doing a parallel investigation. Surprising issues make completing their two different tracks very difficult.

Concepts

Pay it Forward: This definitely builds off of the interactions that Murderbot had in the previous book. In fact it is hinted how Murderbot would have carried out its actions if it hadn’t had the experience in the last book. While it isn’t very subtle having read the books as close to back-to-back as I could have checking them out from the library, I think it is a well illustrated lesson that really builds the humanity, or at least independence from being “just a killing machine” that Murderbot often reminds us that SecUnits are.
Acceptance is what you make it: Anybody can accept anything. It doesn’t make it a good acceptance, and sometimes it doesn’t mean it’s even a done deal. However, Murderbot is slowly coming to the realization and acceptance that, while it seemingly free, that it wants to really be free and what that might even mean. What are the actions it will have to execute in order for it to “save” itself and its chances?
Bots Fleshed Out: Bots are really maligned by Murderbot, that is to say, fully-inorganic bots. It’s like they are a separate species. And they are, but if humans made them and trained them… I think this gets to humans as creators. Obviously whoever made a construct like the SecUnits wasn’t going for kindness or aesthetics, but some perfect, twisted entity. Bots seem to also be very specifically built, but when Murderbot runs across one that isn’t, it becomes apparent that there are deep seated biases that have to be inspected.

Recommendation

Again, this series is excellent. I would suggest that you read from the beginning with caveats of course. These novellas include Artificial Condition #2 which is nominated for a Hugo for best novella this year. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing #4, and have some trepidation for the novel that follows.

These have been quite successful as a series of novellas, what is the pressure or reasons that led to #5 being a full novel? As an unpublished writer my most optimistic guess would be that the universe has really just bloomed for Wells, but I have to balance that with the possibility of publisher pressure. If it’s doing so well, why don’t you write a real book?

Either way, I look forward to reading more about Murderbot’s adventures.

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