First, two confessions: One, I’ve only read one Martha Wells’ novel that wasn’t a Murderbot. Two, I have read all of the Murderbot novels plus the last novel well over twelve times (I stopped counting then) and I’ll re-read them another twelve times at least. Wells is a terrific writer so I’m sure all of her books are terrific, but I am a Murderbot fan (to put it mildly) so this is a Murderbot post.
I devoured science fiction in junior high and high school, so my background in the genre is Asimov, Norton, and Sheckley. (I almost drove off the road one afternoon when my pal Alisa Kwitney told me her dad was Robert Sheckley; I loved Robert Sheckley’s work. Our Laura Resnick is Mike Resnick’s daughter. Writing is a very small community.). But then I moved on to mystery and did my first master’s thesis on that (it was terrible) and then working on my PhD I finally took a good look at romance and settled in for the long haul. So when I kept hearing about Murderbot, I thought, Robots that kill, uh, no, and moved on. Then Tor offered the first four novellas for free, and readers I trusted were so enthusiastic that I took Tor up on its offer (hey, FREE) and met Murderbot and loved it from the first line:
“I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels on the company satellite.”
A character that has a choice between mass murder and watching stories and picks stories: that’s my kind of robot.
Murderbot is a construct, machine parts inextricably combined with cloned human parts, a mash-up that leaves it in constant existential crisis because, as it explains, its not two halves working together, its one whole in conflict with itself. Designed to augment computer services to humans working on strange planets, it has decision-making capibilities but is in total thrall to the Company, which can break it down for parts if it doesn’t obey orders. (This is where I should say that calling Murderbot “it” is dehumanizing and bothers me because Murderbot is in my mind entirely and delightfully human, but it has no gender identity which it’s pretty forceful about, so “it” it is.). Then one day, the humans who have taken a contract with it as part of the equipment are hacked, and the hack goes wrong, and Murderbot, helpless to refuse an order, murders fifty-seven people. Shortly after that, it gives itself a name–Murderbot–hacks its governor so it’s no longer controlled by outside forces, and quietly begins life as rogue but still obedient AI. It’s just not going to kill anybody because of human error again. That’s all back story, neatly taken care of in the first novella and built on later. Have I mentioned that Wells is a terrific writer?
There are many things I love about this character–its self-deprecation, its wry humor, its character arc, its essential goodness–but one of things I love most is that its character arc is fueled by the TV series it watches constantly, mostly adventure shows, in conjunction with what it learns by reluctantly interacting with humans. (Okay, it doesn’t watch TV, it downloads the series directly into its memory bank, but it’s pretty much watching Battlestar Galactica while munching metaphorical popcorn every chance it gets.) Its education is sketchy since the Company cheaps out on that, but watching thousands of story hours about heroic humans in tense situations has made it, by osmosis, a competence porn hero in its own way, fed up with the clusterfuckery around it but dedicated to preserving life (or as it says in exasperation when it realizes how bad the situation is in the first novella, “I’ve got four perfectly good humans here and I didn’t want them to get killed”). It knows the story series are ridiculous, not realistic in any way, and it appreciates that because its had enough reality in its life (yeah, me, too, Murderbot, that’s why I read fiction). Another thing I love about Murderbot: it takes in its experiences across the books, examines them carefully, and rejects anything it considers bad code and accepts the useful, even if its uncomfortable. It’s a beautiful character arc for a fascinating character that just happens to be Artificial Intelligence that’s also human from its opaque helmet to its manufactured feet.
“All Systems Red” (novella):
Murderbot is standing around bored on a planet whose name it doesn’t know and doesn’t care about when a monster erupts from the bottom of a crater and snatches one of the people Murderbot is responsible for. Murderbot immediately leaps into the monster’s mouth, saves the woman who is horribly injured, and takes her and her stunned-and-going-into-shock partner to safety. That’s in the first two pages. The rest of the novella is about Murderbot working with the survey leader, Dr. Mensah, and her small crew to get the hell off the planet before another survey team, dubbed EvilSurvey, can murder them all. It’s a great adventure story, a great introduction to a great character, but above all the story of Murderbot integrating into a group of very human people it comes to trust (some of them) and who come to understand it as one of them. In other words, it’s my kryptonite: a team story with a competence porn protagonist who has a lot to learn and learns it. In fact, the entire series is about Murderbot’s character arc, while fighting off really evil, greedy bad guys and defending the humans its been hired to protect. No wonder I’ve read these books over a dozen times. (This novella is $3.99 right now on Amazon. You should buy it. No, I don’t know Martha Wells. I just love Murderbot.)
“Artificial Condition” (novella):
Murderbot is now on its own, traveling the galaxy but hitching rides on empty ships with robot pilots, giving them access to its tremendous collection of stories (35,000 hours worth) as payment for the ride. That goes well until it meets the ship Perihelion, who allows it on board, takes off, and then reveals itself to be an AI of tremendous power. After its first moments of terror, Murderbot calls it “Asshole Research Transport” or “ART” for short, and while the story is about Murderbot researching what made him kill fifty-seven people and also about saving very young programmers from an evil, greedy employer, what it’s really about for me is the beginnings of its relationship with ART, a testy, wrangling, exasperated interchange that evolves into mutual respect and connection. It’s probably pushing it to describe it as a romance, but that’s how I see it: two intelligences connecting on both an intellectual and emotional level. Murderbot can deny it, but later on, everybody else will see it. And it’s great.
“Rogue Protocol” (novella):
Having put the mystery of the massacre behind him, or at least understanding it now, Murderbot secretly hitches a ride on a transport going to a site last worked by the EvilSurvey company that tried to kill him and his team in the first novella; its looking for evidence that EvilSurvey did something horrible here, too. But when it reaches the planet, it realizes the new team there is about to be wiped out by treachery and greed–Murderbot sees a lot of treachery and greed–so it makes friends with a little bot named Miki that has bonded with its team, as they have with it. Murderbot tries to dismiss it as a pet bot, but the relationship there is clearly more than that, and while it’s dealing with this new input into its own confused response to its original team, it has to keep moving to save Miki’s team. As in every Murderbot story, the action is non-stop, the plot is twisty, but the real power is in Murderbot, doing what it does best while wondering why the hell it’s doing that.
“Exit Strategy” (novella):
Murderbot’s been keeping an eye on the news feed to find out what’s happening to his first team from “All Systems Red” and especially on what’s happening with EvilSurvey when it sees a newsfeed item that makes it suspicious that Dr. Mensah has been kidnapped. So of course it goes to save her, meeting up with the rest of team and coming full circle from its beginnings in “All Systems Red.” Again, exciting, funny, and full of heart, with the kicker that Murderbot finally accepts that it is part of a group it truly cares about and (so much worse) that truly cares about it. Great character arc over four novellas.
Tor is not stupid; having given me the first four novellas for free, it informed me that the next book was a novel (YAY!) and it wasn’t cheap. I didn’t care, I loved Murderbot so much I bought it without blinking. And it was marvelous.
Network Effect (novel)
I remember thinking at one point while reading the novellas, “I wish these were novels.” When I finally got to the novel, I could see why Wells had started with novellas: Network Effect isn’t just a terrific story, it keeps its narrative clean and its subtext layered and complex as all hell, and while I devoured it the first time as a reader, later re-reads evoked in me that greatest of writer reactions: “God, I wish I could write like this.” Every time I read Network Effect, I see more layers. It’s just brilliant. Murderbot is back with its team, and as the story opens, its just been shot (no worries) and has fallen off a boat into the water (really, no worries) and has swum around to board the other boat from which the shot was fired (the people on that boat should worry) and things move rapidly on from there, Murderbot working with its team to escape danger, another job well done– Oh, wait. Murderbot and Dr. Mensah’s teenage daughter have been snatched from space by an evil, greedy unknown entity and now are captive aboard . . . Listen, this plot moves fast (that’s probably the first chapter) and the twists keeps coming, but all you need to know is that Murderbot meets new people and comes up against a powerful evil, greedy force, and oh yeah, ART’s back. I love this book.
Fugitive Telemetry (novel)
The newest entry in the series drops on Monday; I pre-ordered it last May, and I cannot wait.
Look, I know the Murderbots are expensive, but the first one is $3.99 right now, so the entry level is affordable, and great fiction is priceless. I think of it as cost-per-read, and I’ve read them so many times I’m down to pennies a re-read. Start with the first one. One of two things will happen: You’ll decide they don’t appeal to you or justify the price and move on to another author or you’ll be so hooked you’ll work your way through the novellas and the novels and then start over again at the beginning. Or maybe that’s just me. No, it’s not just me, Murderbot is really that good.
I’m re-reading them all right now, having finished my Dick Francis binge, but mostly, I’m just getting set up for Monday’s release. There’s a murder on Murderbot’s new home planet (the planet his team lives on) and of course Murderbot’s exasperated–“No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall”–and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the whole team and ART will be back . . .
Hurry up, Monday.
81 thoughts on “Argh Re-Reads: Martha Wells’ Murderbot Books”
Fabulous stories. Another thing I love about them is Tor publishes DRM-free, so I could convert them from Kindle to Mobi and include them in The Great Library.
That’s it, you’ve convinced me.
I bought the first one and really enjoyed it but I balked at the prices of the novellas. Unfortunately in the UK, we didn’t get the freebie offer from the publisher. Very unfair.
The thing is I never begrudge paying good money for books and I don’t like buying secondhand books because I want the author to get their cut. So now, I am going to shell out happily for these 😃.
I keep wondering if Tor is going to do the free-novellas thing to set up the new novel, but I think at this point, the Murderbots are so popular plus having won every major award (Hugo AND Nebula) in the SF writer-verse, that they probably won’t.
To be fair, they literally already did it!
I finally gave in to peer pressure (thank you, Argh people) and read the first novella last month. Then I read all the rest and the novel as fast as I could get my hands on them. Yes, you were all right.
What’s wonderful is that even the novellas are out in hardcover. I was able to get them all from my local library through interlibrary loan. Mind you, if they don’t have the new novel RIGHT NOW, I’m probably going to have to buy that one.
I grew up on SF too. Asimov and Heinlein and Andre Norton, among others. In fact, when I was in my young teens and started doing most of the cooking for my family, my father called me “the Galactic Gourmet” because I read so much SF and cooked with wine at the age of 12. LOL. I still have the occasional author I love (Bujold, for instance) but read a lot more romance these days, so I kind of resisted the robot that kills people.
You know, until I read that first one. Thanks, Jenny.
I buy because of the re-reads. They’re just comfort reads at this point. Such great people doing good things in the fight against Evil. Sigh.
Most of the books I buy these days are either by author who are friends or who I love enough that I know I’ll reread. I suspect I’ll end up buying these at some point.
I grew up on SF too. I started off with Asimov and Heinlein because that’s what my dad read but when I started buying my own books in my late teens, I discovered all the female SF and fantasy writers that were not translated into French: Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne Mc Caffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula Le Guin and Bujold of course, a bit later. There was a great English bookshop, Brentano’s on avenue de l’Opera which had a brilliant SF and Fanstasy selection. I went there once a week and I was sure to come out with 3 or 4 books, enough to last me the week alongside a few other books.
I love love love that you cooked with wine at 12. Galactic Gourmet makes my face joy.
Loved Andre Norton.
She was a huge influence on my young writer self.
You’ve convinced me I need to give the novel another try. I loved loved loved the novellas and although I’m a bit behind in re-reads— I think I’m at four or five— when I read the novel, for some reason I didn’t like it as much. Maybe because of reading them all in a row. I’m an anti-binge reader, not that I’m opposed to binging, but if I binge read, I often get tired of the voice and decide I don’t like the series anymore— whereas if I spread them out, it works better. thanks for the heads up about the new novel. I preordered it ages ago but for some reason I had it pegged in my head as “end of April” so my task is clear: re-read Network Effect this weekend. Someone’s got to do it.
FWIW, I sort of viewed the novel as three novellas. You can sort of see the turning points, where SPOILER that changes everything happens at about 1/3 through, then there’s another SPOILER that changes everything at 2/3 through. And the SPOILERs kind of wrap up everything to that point, and establish a new challenge/quest. Or it might have been 4, I forget now, but I did one read when I checked the page count at each of the big events, and they were very evenly spaced. I marveled over the plotting/writing skill it took to do that!
Anyway, if you want, you could try reading the sections separately and take a break in between. You’ll recognize the turning points that I’m not mentioning because spoilers.
I love the Murderbot series fiercely and have re-read it multiple times. Gender, and Murderbot’s gender in particular, is one of the many chewy topics getting tugged along in the story’s wake. Murderbot is crystal clear that its pronouns are it/its. Jenny wobbles between ‘it’ and ‘he’, which is what happens in my head as well. But when Murderbot passes as human and adopts a human name, other characters respond to the name using she/her.
I was very happy to see Martha Wells get two Hugo nominations for Murderbot 🙂
She won a Hugo and a Nebula.
Did I accidentally stick a “he” in there? That’s wrong of me.
Edit: I went back and found the mistakes, I think. Thanks for the head’s up!
She is up for best series Hugo for the Murderbots (for this year’s Hugo awards).
There are still some instances of “him” and “his” in there, Jenny, fyi (I too sometimes tip Murderbot into he/him pronouns, I think because I’m so used to “military” defaulting to “male”)
I searched again and thought I’d caught them all.
Where did I miss a wrong pronoun? (Trying to catch them all.)
Huh, I double-checked in case you’d gotten them already, but it doesn’t seem to be a cache issue on my side. This is what I’m seeing (pronouns marked for easy visibility):
• • •
while the story is about Murderbot researching what made ~HIM~ kill fifty-seven people
Having put the mystery of the massacre behind ~HIM~, or at least understanding it now, Murderbot secretly hitches a ride on a transport going to a site last worked by the EvilSurvey company that tried to kill ~HIM~ and ~HIS~ team in the first novella
Murderbot’s been keeping an eye on the news feed to find out what’s happening to ~HIS~ first team from “All Systems Red”
I did a search for “he.”
Yes, I know that’s not the only masculine pronoun.
Friends and I were discussing Murderbot and commented that we hear its voice as more female than male, because we find it easy to believe a woman would caretake like that but harder to believe in a man doing so. Which of course makes the audiobooks a challenge because they have a male reading it.
I think of Murderbot as they, which seems more humanising, but if Murderbot thinks ‘it’…
For anyone who enjoys audiobooks, or even is just a little bit open to audiobooks, the audio versions of these books are absolutely brilliant. Kevin R. Free has even supplanted Kobna Holdbrook-Smith at the top of my narrators’ list (although it’s close).
Free did an interview somewhere and said he viewed the books, individually and I think as a series too, as coming-of-age stories, which fits in with how Jenny describes Murderbot’s growth.
But really, I can’t say enough about what an amazing job Free does. Sort of like James Marsters IS Harry Dresden, and no substitutes are allowed, Free just IS Murderbot (and ART and Dr. Mensah and Pin Lee and ….). He performs the stories, doesn’t just read or narrate them. You can FEEL how Murderbot feels when he says, “My humans are the best humans.” (And everything else, but that one stood out for me as being a perfect interpretation.)
Oh oh! My library has them! I just borrowed the first one. I Haven’t read them yet, either! I still have a mystery in my holds pile from last week with Francis! XD
To me James Marsters as Harry Dresden is Spike talking with a fake accent. (I know, he’s an American, that’s his accent.) Much as I love him, for me the association is too strong to picture him as another character of a very different physical type. My loss.
Interesting. It’s not how I reacted, but I can totally see it.
I too am just waiting for Monday and that pre-order which I have checked the status of, well, a few times okay.
My very favorite moment in the earlier novellas was a point when Murderbot decides he can’t take all the *yuck!* human emotion and all, and writes a note that goes:
“Goodbye, Dr. Mensah, my favorite human….”
Almost made me cry, that did.
Oh, the moments are always grabbers. The way it feels about Dr. Mensah is so deep, and when it rescues her and has to pretend to be a human and takes her hand … and then they’re alone and it sees she’s pushed to the edge after having been held hostage for three weeks and it tells her she can hug it if she wants, which is huge and she knows it . . . I love that relationship. It’s the best non-romantic relationship I’ve ever read; it would die for her, and she moves planets to save it. So wonderful.
Murderbot + Mensah = best platonic ship. Though I concur Murderbot + ART is a close second.
Yes! And the thing is, Wells has created that depth and consistency of feeling in quite a complicated character very gradually and over multiple scenes and settings, so when those moments happen, they have impact.
It’s pretty amazing to me that an author can do that with a character so not-human. Too often, I read books that feel like either:
a. the writer wrote about someone who’s just the writer, in various types of drag, or
b. the writer imagined a perfect somebody, and wrote what she wished to hear.
The former I often find really dissatisfying, because to do that seems to happen only when writers don’t understand themselves all that well to begin with, so they oversimplify and assume readers have the same reactions to everything that they themselves do.
The latter is just billionaire/film star/perfect Duke thinking, and it bugs me.
Can’t wait! Have to. OK then, rushing off to pre-order now.
Ugh, I asked my mom to pre-order it for me since it is Birthday Season. I hope she actually DID it.
I just finished re-reading Network Effect and enjoying the heck out of it even though I’ve read it at least 4-5 times. I, too have pre-ordered a print copy of Fugitive Telemetry and can’t wait to get my hands on it. Actually went to Barnes & Noble this morning to buy the first two Raksura books because I love Martha Wells so much I want to read all her books.
You’ll have to report back when you read them, since I haven’t read anything else by her.
They’re good too, although very different genre!
I’ve reread them as much as murderbot, which is about as much as Jenny has. I had them on loop for months last year.
I read the first two of the Raksura books, and then sort of lost interest. I’m not sure why. I was totally hooked by the Fall of Ile Rien series, although I read them out of order, starting with the second one, where the protagonist is suicidal, and usually a suicidal protagonist doesn’t work, but Wells made it work (and the suicidal ideation only lasts for a few pages, so she’s not suicidal the whole way through the book).
There are also a few stand-alones that I really enjoyed. I think Wheel of the Infinite is one, but it was probably ten years ago when I read it. I just remember thinking during one of her earlier books, “Hmm, I didn’t know that about desert societies,” only to realize belatedly that she was describing a FICTIONAL society, not a real one, but it felt so real, because it was based on solid understanding of anthropology (which I think is what her college degree is in).
I listened to them all and they are fabulous. The narrator manages a mostly flat affect with an exasperated edge that is perfect for Murderbot. I didn’t know the new one was coming out Monday, so now I have to decide if I want to wait an indeterminate amount of time to hear it in Kevin Free’s voice for the first time. Ordinarily I would dive in to the book without audio in a heartbeat, but audiobooks give me a chance to read while I do art and the combination fills me with joy. Especially Murderbot because there’s something about its character arc that connects to the animals I’m digitally painting.
I agree about Kevin R. Free, he is a fantastic narrator. Sometimes I rewind to hear again certain moments, they still make me laugh.
Aaaaannd I just saw on Audible that, not only does Fugitive Telemetry come out on 4/27, but I had already pre-ordered it. Win for me!
Because several comments mentioned Bujold, you might like to know that she has completed the draft for the next Penric & Desdemona book, The Assassins of Thasalon.
Yay! Thanks for the heads up.
And it’s LONG! Full novel length, not novella. I can’t handle ebooks much (too many concussions) but I save brain for the Penric and Desdemona ebooks.
I agree with everything you said, Jenny. This series is so good that I pre-ordered the new one as soon as it got posted on Amazon even though it is a ridiculous amount of money for me.
Interestingly, I too was reluctant to try the first book back in the day because the name Murderbot sounded like it belonged to some grim military SF that I wouldn’t enjoy. But I always like to try everything at least once (thank you public library for making my choice risk free!). After reading that first novella, Murderbot became an autobuy. I wonder how many people (unfortunately) still have not read the series because of this misconception.
The other thing I think is interesting is that although you (initially at least) thought of Murderbot as male, I did the opposite and assumed Murderbot was female (probably because I projected myself onto the character). But I am trying hard to remember and respect the fact Murderbot is genderless.
That’s really important, and yet it defaults to male every time in my imagination, which is just weak-minded of me.
That’s our culture for you. Especially when we think of someone who is (kind of) a soldier. I have similar issues with Chris from the Lock In series.
I default to female every time. I know they are a they not a she, but they are definitely a she in my head.
For me too, Murderbot seems built from a human female base.
I’ve also wondered about how much of them is human. Maybe because of The ship who sang, and old TV series, I’ve wondered if they are basically human but sold to the company, rebuilt like the bionic man, mindwiped and reprogrammed; or a human clone ditto, without the need for a mindwipe if the clone can be brought to adult size in vitro. Or an augmented and reprogrammed brain transplanted into a machinery body, but that seems less likely if she can masquerade as human while out of armor.
Transplanting a brain into a ship, like Helva or perhaps ART might give additional functionality, but transplanting just a brain into a human-shaped machine does seem less efficient than using and upgrading the existing human.
There has not been any mention of young AI crèches, where baby and toddler and child future soldiers etc. are raised and trained. They are adults who get modules installed and get programmed and trained, but how does that human-looking body get to that adult stage?
Maybe it’s all 3D printed to the final size and shape, then gets the necessary chips and digital programming installed a and walks off the assembly line fully finished. For simpler, less human looking robots I believe so.
But the company can also use mindwipes and aversion programming, and that governor module, which seems a strange thing to do to something that is no more than the computer modules and programming the company put in it.
AI might arise spontaneously if you add enough information processing modules, but would that AI, without biological instincts or subconscious memory influences be inclined to spontaneous impulses against company policy often enough that that governor module is a standard necessity?
I’ve had a horrible feeling from the start that the base the company builds these more advanced units on was originally human. Maybe people who die in company accidents on company planets, or don’t have the money for necessary medical/hospital costs, or who sell themselves into company slavery for whatever reason.
It talks about early AI constructed with the body part of severely damaged humans, and it seems they retained consciousness of self, but Murderbot seems to have been constructed as as adult AI with a combination of metal parts and cloned human tissue.
Can’t wait for the new Murderbot! I have re-read them multiple times. I also liked her other books, but Murderbot is far and away the best!
OH! The new one is out Monday?! I pre-ordered it so long ago, thinking how painful it was that April 2021 was soooooo far away. How did it get to be April already?
I bought the first novella on my son-in-law’s recommendation — a very low key, “I think you’d like this.” I loved it! I was alerted to the free offer for the other novellas since I subscribe to the Tor newsletter [they have a surprisingly (for a publisher) inoffensive and informative newsletter, for anyone who might be interested, and often offer free books]. By then, I was completely hooked and didn’t even look twice at the price of the novels. And I never pay that much for ebook novels.
I’m going to have to clear some time and brain space. I’m decidedly not a re-reader, but your recaps above have me thinking I’m going to re-read all of them before I dig into the new one.
Thanks for the heads-up, Jenny!
I got to read the new one in electronic ARC firm and found that e-reading is not for me. I, too, have ordered the “real” book and can’t wait to re-read it the RIGHT way. (Just an FYI, there’s no ART–this is a prequel to the last novel.)
And I have to fight not to think of Murdetbot as female. I had the same reaction to Chris in John Scalzi’s Haden’s Syndrome books. I didn’t even realize that he gave no indication of Chris’s gender until I read an essay he wrote about it.
Hah, I JUST CITED THAT ABOVE!!!!
I’m glad you told me that, otherwise I would be waiting and waiting for ART to show up.
I love Murderbot. It took me a little while to pick up the first one, but once I did, I devoured the rest. I’ve reread them a few times, and like The Goblin Emperor I’m always sad when I come to the end.
Murderbot’s denial of wanting / having emotions, but still actually having them is one of my favourite things in the books, for all that it dislikes the idea of being human, it still gets caught by it’s emotions, a lot like the rest of us.
I didn’t know that the next one was due on Monday! Yay! I’ve already pre-ordered it, but now I can anticipate it.
Need to have a reread: I bought the first, and the library had the second, but I baulked at the prices and decided to wait in the hope they’d come down, which of course they haven’t. Do feel they’re too high, especially since the special offer was US only. And the library won’t buy them.
I tried a sample of one of her other novels, but didn’t warm to it. I did enjoy Murderbot, though, and will probably buy the rest of them if I enjoy the reread as much.
I’m shocked to hear that the library won’t buy them. Even with the Nebula and Hugo wins and nominations? What on earth?!
Did they give any sort of reason?
They weren’t buying any new books when I asked, over a year ago (we’ve got austerity here, and unbelievable cumulative cuts to local government; libraries have been closed).
Amazon says it’s publication date isn’t until 4/27.
Fugitive Telemetry, I mean.
Yes, I also checked. But that’s OK, I need to do other things on Monday.
Oh, hell, you’re right. I should check that stuff before I write.
I see and (properly) appreciate your Murderbot love! Which other Wells book did you read? I found her work through some series of recommendations, and have read everything she’s written.
It is interesting to me what people love about different books of hers. I am deeply fond of Murderbot, but the ones I reread routinely are The Wizard Hunters/Fall of Ille Rein, and my friend prefers the intricacies of the Raksura for comfort. There is so much to explore!
I think it was the first Raksura; not sure. Arranged marriage? Ships on water? Flying people? It was awhile ago and it didn’t have Murderbot’s tone so I never read on.
Yes that’s the Raksura.
You might like Wheel of the Infinite. A fantasy with an older female protagonist and a younger love interest. It’s standalone so there’s no series buy in either.
Clarification, because I was confused (I’d been bummed that Fugitive Telemetry wouldn’t be available for me to read as a reward and relaxation after my vax this coming Thurs.), but the book on Monday is just a short story (and there’s no description of it): https://www.amazon.com/Home-Habitat-Territory-Tor-com-Original-ebook/dp/B091NSFH5H/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=martha+wells&qid=1618677674&s=digital-text&sr=1-4
Fugitive Telemetry comes out the 27th.
For some reason, I thought Monday was the 26th. I was so excited. Sigh.
Yeah, I was excited too until I looked at my calendar with the vax appt. But there’s the short story on Monday to tide us over!
And the short story is only $0.99.
The short story is up on tor.com today for free. It’s excellent. https://www.tor.com/2021/04/19/home-habitat-range-niche-territory-martha-wells/
I just paid ninety-nine cents for it, but I’m okay with that. I think Wells deserves it.
Maybe because the author is a woman, but I always see the Murderbot as a she. And, frankly, that adds so much to the story for me.
I’ve found that going back and fixing all the “he”s to “it”s in my comments gives me a different view on the stories. They really are better with it.
I think I just cast Murderbot with a male actor whose persona reminded me of it, and that pushed me into the “he” mistake.
I have her first one and didn’t really get into it. Time to try again.
I am late reading this post, but whenever I look into buying the Murderbot series, can’t justify paying 10 dollars or so for 150 pages. And my library doesn’t have them.
The price is a problem. Talk to your librarians; they might order them since they’re award-winning.
I resisted them for a long time because of the name (and despite the many many good book Thursday recommendations), but finally it occurred to me (or someone made a comment that made me think) that “Murderbot” didn’t really describe the series. Thank goodness.
I tried the Fall of Ile-Rien series, but despite its excellent world-building, I never really took to it. In fact, I put the final book down after a few pages and haven’t picked it up again. I’ll probably finish it eventually because I sort of want to know how it all works out, but I fear it’s not going to work out well. War stories so seldom do.
I also just discovered that past me put Fugitive Telemetry on hold at the library a long time ago, so I am 5 on the list and should get it pretty quickly. They also have the audiobook versions, which are apparently very popular and I won’t get for a while. I hope I like that narrator as much as I like Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Gildart Jackson.
Since I haven’t seen anyone mention it, there is also a (quite short) short story called “Compulsory”–afaik it’s not available in ebook form anywhere, but it’s available to read online (in WIRED) here: https://www.wired.com/story/future-of-work-compulsory-martha-wells/
I picked these up on your recommendation, and I borrowed all from my library (I tried the audio version and hated it). I wanted them, but they were expensive, so I hunted in used bookshops, but I finally (after 6 rereads) said screw it and bought them. I haven’t got the last one – it’s just been published – but it makes me feel safe and comfortable knowing that they’re all on my phone and I can reread them any time I want.
I love Murderbot’s voice. It reminds me of some of your snarkier heroines.
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