The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

One of the odd behaviors of a book addict is that they regularly stop at bookstores and browse even though they have dozens of books at home which they purchased but have yet to read.  They go to the library and check out books even though they have piles of books in the TBR stack and books they promised to review for publishers. Like a drunk hanging around the local watering hole they can’t seem to stay away.

This does however pay off sometimes.  Like recently, I stumbled upon Artificial Condition by Martha Wells at the local library.  I soon realized it was part of a series and tracked down the first book, All Systems Red.  I read them each practically in one sitting.

I had stumbled upon a gem of a series: The Murderbot Diaries.  I don’t read a lot of science fiction but this was quirky and funny and a quick read. Just what I needed.

I tracked down Rogue Protocol and furiously read it on a plane both happy to have such a great diversion during the flight and feeling a pang of regret knowing it would be over soon and I would have to wait for the final entry Exit Strategy.

Here is Publishers Weekly on All Systems Red:

SecUnit, aka Murderbot, is a semi-organic corporate profit center, genderless and constructed of cheap parts to perform contract bodyguard services for clients who mostly don’t want them. SecUnit can choose its attitude because it has hacked its governor (a hat-tip to Susan R. Matthews), blocking the functions that would punish it for anything but robotic obedience. Disgusted by humans and secretly addicted to a video serial called Sanctuary Moon, SecUnit is simply enduring another assignment until something completely outside of its data parameters tries to kill its humans. Nebula finalist Wells (Edge of Worlds) gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity. The creepy panopticon of SecUnit’s multiple interfaces allows a hybrid first-person/omniscient perspective that contextualizes its experience without ever giving center stage to the humans.

Just so.  This all comes together in a perfect mix of humor, action and suspense.  Plus, it is an interesting way to look at our self-awareness particularly for introverts.  Each book moves the story forward in some way and adds another layer of detail but contains the same great ingredients.  Just thoroughly enjoyable novellas.

Whether you are a sci-fi fan or not, I highly recommend this series

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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