CBR10 Bingo – Exist Strategy, This is the End
I fell in love with Murderbot in the very first paragraph of All Systems Red. I loved the first two novellas without reservation. The third novella, Rogue Protocol, was more of a challenge, and then Exit Strategy wrapped the series up nicely and left room for more Murderbot. I would really like more Murderbot. Perhaps some Murderbot and ART adventures.
Murderbot and I both had a harder time with Rogue Protocol because of the human form robot Miki. Miki is the Barney of robots.
Miki has possibly never encountered humans that abused robots and thinks everyone is her friend. Miki’s childlike innocence was stressful for both Murderbot and me. After looking into it’s own mass murder episode in Artificial Condition, Murderbot refocuses on the evil GreyCris corporation and travels to an abandoned terraforming station to see what they were doing there. Another company has sent a team, including Miki, to explore the possibility of restarting the terraforming operations. As expected, GreyCris was up to no good and Murderbot, pretending to be a human security consultant, must once again save the humans. It has to save everyone while also dealing with it’s second worst nightmare – a happy pet robot.
When Murderbot left Dr. Mensah, it was afraid that it was going to be expected to act like a cheerful pet SecUnit – useless and restrained in an entirely different manner than it was before it hacked it’s governor module.
Exit Strategy returns Murderbot to its initial crew of humans, but with the experience of having successfully impersonated an augmented human. Murderbot has both more and less confidence in itself. On the one hand, it is now more comfortable moving through human spaces. On the other, it has realized that it’s actions on Milu have had consequences for Dr. Mensah. Murderbot sets out to rescue Dr. Mensah and the Preservation Aux crew. Exit Strategy returned me to identifying heavily with Murderbot. Obviously, I am still not as skilled at system hacking, fighting, or murdering. I am very skilled at resenting interacting with people when I would rather be watching my shows, running out of bandwidth to talk to people, and knowing what I don’t want more than what I do want.
I very much identified with Murderbot’s desire to destroy the bad people to it’s own detriment.
I noted in my review of Artificial Condition that I was seeing a trend in complicated AI characters. One of the interesting distinctions that Murderbot makes is being a person verses being human. Murderbot wants the autonomy of being a legal person, but does not want to be human, treated as human, or expected to act like a human.
“I don’t want to be human.”
Dr. Mensah said, “That’s not an attitude a lot of humans are going to understand. We tend to think that because a bot or a construct looks human, its ultimate goal would be to become human.”
“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
What I have taken away from this year’s science fiction reading is – be nice to the robots. They are trying to do their jobs, the jobs we designed them to do. They aren’t trying to take our humanity, but they may save us someday. If we live that long.