Murderbot is on a mission. A mission of vengeance. He’s* determined to bring the corporation GrayCris as much pain as possible, and has a plan to do it. Except he keeps getting distracted by all these pesky humans who need helping all the time; dammit, that’s not his job anymore, and he doesn’t like them anyway! (He sort of likes them.)
*I have once again reverted to male pronouns for this character. I give up and surrender to my brain. I honestly didn’t even know I was doing it until I proofread the review. Can we just have an official gender neutral pronoun already, please?
This book is all about Murderbot and contrasts. Murderbot has been free for a while now, but still hasn’t found an identity. He exists literally off the map, erasing proof of his existence everywhere he goes. He’s not a SecUnit anymore, but he’s not a person either. He doesn’t see himself as a person, either; there’s this fascinating thing that Wells does with the narration where Murderbot clearly resents not being treated like a person, but when thinking of his own personhood, is often dismissive (internalized bot bigotry!!). One minute he’s musing about how easy he finds it to sleep in a storage crate, the next he’s in a small locker for weeks on end and actually becomes uncomfortable, remembering the days when he essentially traveled from place to place as cargo (I think? I’m not entirely sure of what a cycle, their unit of time, is equal to in this world). The two things don’t add up.
The events of this book also mean that Murderbot, for the first time since not being one anymore, has to try and act like a SecUnit, and finds it difficult. Murderbot isn’t the most self-aware character, but it’s clear as a reader that Murderbot has changed since we first met him. And then there’s the pet bot, Miki, who makes a verrry interesting foil for Murderbot. (Miki is a pet bot who is treated with respect and kindness by the people who own her, but she thinks of them as friends, and they feel the same.) Murderbot’s emotions are chaos when around Miki. It’s quite entertaining.
I’m sad these novellas are almost done, but it was recently announced there will be a full Murderbot novel coming in 2020. I’m excited to see what the author can do with this beautiful grump of a character in the larger scope of a novel.
“They were all annoying and deeply inadequate humans, but I didn’t want to kill them. Okay, maybe a little.”