Book: System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells

System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries)
by Martha Wells
published by Tor

This is the 7th or so book in the Murderbot Diaries, so if you haven’t read these, you should go start at the beginning, as this volume rightly jumps into the action immediately without introducing the characters, including Murderbot itself.

Our favorite, broadcast-drama-obsessed, autonomous human+synthetic Security Unit is back in another round of saving humans from bad situations on planets with sketchy alien contamination!

Murderbot has even more on its mind than usual, because of a recent incident that is undermining its confidence. Confident or not, there are murderous agriculture-bots, scary ruins, evil human-enslaving corporations, and the constant threat of alien contamination that can’t wait for Murderbot to even pretend to get comfortable. Which Murderbot would not convincingly pretend anyway, despite its practice routines about imitating full humans.

I continue to appreciate the alien contamination threat that lurks in the background. The idea that ancient civilizations left behind tools to perpetuate their societies, only to have them accidentally infect later civilizations whose individuals AND machines go on to build crazy stuff under their influence… It intrigues me. There is so much potential for trouble there!

I also like Wells’ vision of nearly constant communication channels, so that information/situations/data can be shared so efficiently. I mean, I hate it in my current life, because all of those channels are filled with people who want something at work, but I love it in the wandering through abandoned ruins on unfamiliar planets practicality way. Good communication tools could support actually good communication – it could happen!

The humor, the debates about which kinds of hatches are scariest, the swearing / sarcasm / name-calling – it all gives the relationships between the characters a warmth that shows Murderbot is building meaningful relationships, especially with other machine intelligences.

This is another fun read from Wells, and a satisfying adventure.

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