Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the third installment in the story of the cranky, irascible, antisocial, and thoroughly delightful Murderbot.
Murderbot is a cyborg (part organic, part mechanical artificial being), a SecUnit who hacked its own governor module to escape its employers' control. This is not the tale of a Skynet-like cyborg who wants to kill humans, or a Star Trek-style android who wants to be human (in fact, I call Murderbot the anti-Data). It only wants to be left alone to consume its 30,000 hours of downloaded media, highlighted by its favorite serial, The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon.
Unfortunately, by leaving its previous owner and masquerading as an augmented human security consultant, Murderbot keeps being drawn into sticky situations where it has to rescue the humans involved. This particular episode is something of a milestone in its character development, as summed up in one succinct sentence:
I hate caring about stuff. But apparently once you start, you can't just stop.
The characterizations in this novella, of both humans and robots, is just pitch-perfect. In particular, the doomed Miki, sacrificing itself for its friends, will bring a tear to your eye. This is also a fast-paced story that sets up the final novella in the series, Exit Strategy (although now there's to be a full-length Murderbot novel! Hooray!), with Murderbot on its way back to the owner it left behind. I'm looking forward to both, and you should too.
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