Monday, August 13, 2018

Rogue Protocol, by Martha Wells

[Tor Novella]
★★★★★ Great Protagonist, Thrilling and Moving Plot.

(SF Thriller; Murderbot Diaries) Murderbot’s hunt for evidence against the GrayCris corporation leads it to a supposedly abandoned terraforming facility it thinks was a cover for illegally extracting alien remnants. (35,206 words; Time: 1h:57m)

You need to start from the beginning of the series; this story would be hard to understand on its own. See related articles on

"Rogue Protocol," by (edited by Lee Harris), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: As in the previous installments, the best reason to read this story is Murderbot itself, with its endearing mix of cynicism, loyalty, and just plain honorableness. It knows just how bad things can be, and yet it dives in and does the right thing even at great personal risk. It has great capabilities, but also great weaknesses, and it’s a rounded, sympathetic character at all times.

NaΓ―ve, affectionate Miki wins our hearts with a combination of enthusiasm, curiosity, and—when the chips are down—loyalty unto death. One constant throughout the story is Miki’s anxious concern for the welfare of its human friends, so it is no surprise at all when Miki puts itself into harm’s way to protect them. Even though we’re never really sure if Miki is more than just a machine, it’s hard not to shed a tear.

Don Abene is a refreshingly competent human (by the standards of this series) whose only serious quirk is her insistence on treating Miki like her pre-teen child.

The plot maximizes tension with Murderbot’s attempt to sneak onto the station, followed by the surprise of active combat units, and the double-cross of Wilken and Gerth trying to kill everyone else adds still more. None of the plot complications is caused by dumb decisions by any of the major characters, which makes for a very satisfying tale.

Con: There are a few too many characters to keep track of, and, of course, the story is too dependent on the rest of the series to stand alone.

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