Murderbot has to help solve a mystery. I mean they all have been mysteries of one sort or another, but this feels more like a who-dunnit. There is a debate in my house as to where this falls in the timeline, if it comes before Network Effect or after. I maintain that it is after, but there are possible points that might need a bit more review.
Persistent perceptions: If a sec unit isn’t controlled by a governor, it must be a dangerous rogue, even if it is saving you. How can stereotypes get so ingrained? If most of your kind is never seen, or only seen when tightly controlled, and depicted when uncontrolled as unseeing killers of everything...
In a universe full of humans, convincing them one by one is really slow, especially if you don’t care enough to try.
Bots/Constructs/Humans circle or triangle of distrust. The relation between humans and bots seems to be well-defined, though there is still a spectrum of human thought towards bots. Constructs are the wildcard. They don’t really exist outside of company property so most people don’t see them outside of context.
Constructs only trust bots so far, but more because they are like slaves or pets, but not in Preservation space. There are a few facets that are certainly explored in this story.
One reason that this story may be out of order is because it really doesn’t deal with any other characters that we’ve had more than passing interaction with. Of course when SecUnit was on its own, it was dealing with new different people in terms of its… trusted adult. This feels much more like this than Network Effect did.
On the other hand this may be bringing some “newer” characters up to speed before they become critical in the story.
I love everything about the size of these novellas, except that I blow through them in way too short a time. Nothing against authors who write tomes, but reading this in less than three sittings often means that I am fully engaged and remember what happened, well, not too long ago.
Also, get it at a library, otherwise the price is a bit steep for a novella. I paid for it because I knew I would like it, yeah, yeah, how do I really know? Or maybe I am getting old and seeing the lower prices on much larger books from the past is hard not to compare. That must be it.