The Murderbot Diaries - cynical, ironic, sarcastic, and occasionally touching

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 12/02/2022 - 20:07

No one likes or trusts SecUnits, especially a SecUnit, and most especially Murderbot who hacked it's own governing module and now has to worry about detection as well as rogue SecUnits. Technically, it's a rogue SecUnit itself. which are usually easily identified by the trail of dead bodies but before it could start killing helpless humans it was distracted by the entertainment serials it downloaded. Turns out it would rather watch soap operas while going through the motions of its job than kill the clients it's contracted to protect. Not that it's never tempted, humans are definitely irritating. Murderbot's narrative is cynical, ironic, sarcastic, and occasionally touching. Its adventures are full of action but also include a running commentary on the foibles of human nature. Hence, the irony and sarcasm. 

The self labeled Murderbot is a self aware genderless construct made of inorganic parts and cloned human tissue. Their behavior is a combination of programming and organic brain that is controlled through negative reinforcement by their governing module. Their inorganic parts, including the governing module, are of the cheapest make. Their education modules, which give them knowledge of necessary subjects like weapons use, are also the cheapest available. Murderbot's whole life has been one of boredom and anxiety punctuated by desperate action. It fears humans, it fears failing its clients, and most of all it fears other SecUnits because at any time they could go rogue, and while humans are rarely capable of doing permanent damage to it, a rogue SecUnit definitely can.

Its current contract is fairly typical. Murderbot was included in the equipment for a small research survey on a new world. As usual the humans are avoiding it as much as possible, so it's spending most of its processing ability watching Sanctuary Moon until being forced to rescue two humans from the local fauna. Now that they've really noticed Murderbot they keep trying to include it in their discussions and activities. It was originally relieved that these humans were nice as it hadn't had to break up a single fight, but now their empathy brings nothing but confusion. Then it' clients decide to investigate another research group that has suddenly quit communicating and Murderbot finds itself facing its worst fears; rogue SecUnits and exposure of its own rogue nature to the humans.

The first four novellas, All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy, follow Murderbot's adventures as it seeks the truth of its own past and tries to help Dr. Mensa and her research team. While it tends to complain about wasting time protecting humans instead of watching its entertainment serials, Murderbot still feels compelled to help humans. It finds this very annoying since it's usually protecting the humans from doing things they know are dangerous. These first four form a complete story arc that could stand as a complete novel with four parts. Next up is 5th book and complete novel Network Effect. The series has great reviews for both the story and narration as well as Hugo and Nebula awards. Its available in print, ebook, and audiobook. As an added bonus the series is included with Kindle Unlimited.