Sunday, 5 August 2018

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third novella in the Murderbot Diaries series, which started with All Systems Red last year and was followed by Artificial Condition earlier this year. Although each novella tells a self-contained story, they're more like chapter's in Muderbot's life and the bulk of the characterisation work was done earlier on in the first book and I think there's less recapping of backstory in Rogue Protocol. All of which is to say that if you haven't read this series before, I recommend starting with book 1. In any case, this review will contain some spoilers for the earlier books.

SciFi’s favorite crabby A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

I really like the Muderbot books and this one continued the series nicely. It continued to make me laugh and progressed the story set up in the earlier books. There was danger, action and snark, and maybe a little less watching of TV shows and more having confusing emotions. As I said before, it wouldn't work as a standalone, in my opinion. But it is quite episodic, since in Rogue Protocol we have Murderbot meeting new people in a new location but also continuing the overarching story about the dodgy GrayCris Corporation.

In this story Murderbot encounters a different set of characters. Where previously we've watched its interactions with various humans and (separately) an artificial intelligence more advanced than Murderbot, this time we get a story with humans of various stripes and a less advanced AI robot. My favourite part of the story was the feelings the robot caused Murderbot to feel. I won't spoil the story by going into details, but they were many and varied.

The end of this novella seems to set up a final chapter in Murderbot's current story arc. I will be interested to see how it ends (of course) and also the direction of the recently announced novel which will follow the novellas. I highly recommend Rogue Protocol to fans of Murderbot and the whole series to fans of snark and science fiction, who are not averse to a bit of (non-gratuitous) violence.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: August 2018, Tor.com
Series: Murderbot Diaries book 3 of 4 (though a novel set after the novella series has been announced
Format read: ePub eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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