Oh what a read!
MurderBot, the self-adopted name of a keenly intelligent, self-aware “SecUnit” robot designed for corporate protection and combat skills, has managed to hack its governor. Its corporate owners had installed the governor in all SecUnits to ensure strict behavioral control and prohibiting any free will. That keeps humans from being completely terrified at their fighting capabilities, which includes built in weapons.
Once Murderbot gains control, it embarks on a perplexing journey to understand itself, while also being thrust into precarious situations that inspires it to voluntarily save and protect humans in danger around it. A blend of robotics, biology, and human tissue, MurderBot mostly tolerates humans, though it surprises itself, as well as all the humans interacting with it, as it forms strong attachments and friendships with those it has saved. The sheer humanity of Murderbot irresistably draws you in, as it wrestles with emergent emotions and a general dismay at humans and their relationships with other humans.
While Murderbot likes to pose as a detached outsider, it’s anything but. Left to its own devices, MurderBot would be happy perusing thousands of episodes of TV space opera, from which it gleans most of its human interaction insights. Drawn into human relationships and thus away from its placid entertainment, Murderbot proves endearing while keeping a running annoyed internal dialog as it attempts to figure out its place in the world and master human idiosyncrasies such as sarcasm.
In Fugitive Telemetry, we’re at the tolerant, humanitarian Preservation Space Station, where a gracious leader rescued by MurderBot has offered up shelter as well as “personhood.” That being said, the security services on the station want nothing to do with MurderBot – and in fact have insisted on safety measures to keep MurderBot completely out of their computer systems. But when a mystery dead body appears in a remote hallway on Preservation, station security is flummoxed as to what’s going on, especially given their remote location and rarity of violence. Is it a community insider? A wayfarer from the many traveling ships that refuel at Preservation in transit elsewhere in the universe?
Security services reluctantly hires Murderbot to help, who has a leg up on humans in detective work, as it can seamlessly communicate with and query any other robots, even those with extremely limited functionality, as well as process data at astonishing speed. What follows is a great mystery, brilliant detective work by Murderbot, and the security teams’ slow move from hostility to admiration to trust.
The growing pride you feel in Murderbot and the thrill of the perplexing mystery being solved leaves you both heart-warmed and wanting more.
You can jump right in, but you’ll savor it much more if you venture back to read all of Martha Well’s tremendous MurderBot series, which is comprised of 4 novellas and one novel.