Sunday, July 12, 2020

REVIEW: Rogue Protocol (novella) by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol
is the third entry in the Murderbot Diaries series. I bought it brand new.


Murderbot is on its own again and now has a plan to help Dr. Mensah take down GrayCris Corporation and hopefully go back to Preservation, where she will be safe and Murderbot can stop worrying about her. Some time ago, GrayCris set up a terraform facility at Milu that somehow failed. Since GrayCris Corporation's standard operations include lying, murdering, and stealing, Murderbot figures that the terraform facility was just a cover and is now heading to Milu to get proof. As usual, its work is complicated by the need to protect humans in dangerous situations.

There was almost no media watching and the ending was a gut punch, but aside from that, this might be my favorite entry in the series so far. The pacing was excellent, and I enjoyed watching Murderbot struggle to get a handle on the relationship between Miki, a bot, and Don Abene, the human Miki referred to as its friend. Which also led to Murderbot struggling with its feelings about that relationship - although Miki's child-like innocence and trust irked it, and it figured that Don Abene probably viewed Miki as a pet, it occasionally felt something almost like envy while watching them.

One of the things that struck me while reading this was that Murderbot's universe is bigger and more varied than even it seems to grasp. This makes at least the second time it has encountered humans who don't automatically view bots and SecUnits as disposable objects, even though Murderbot has repeatedly told us that everyone hates and fears SecUnits.

It's going to be interesting to see what Murderbot does after this - it knows it doesn't want to be property or some kind of pet, but it also clearly can't just go around watching serials and doing nothing. For one thing, it would eventually get caught, and for another, it can't seem to help but perform its function, even as it tries its best not to care about the humans it's driven to protect.

Again, I'm glad I already own the next work. No need to wait around - I can start reading it tonight.

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