Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6)

By Martha Wells

Rating: 4 stars

There’s been a murder on Preservation station, and no, it wasn’t Murderbot, it would have hidden the body way better. But it reluctantly joins the team assigned to investigate, and has to spend valuable media time voluntarily talking to people.

I’ve loved every Murderbot story I’ve read to date, and this novella does nothing to change that. Against its better instinct, our favourite failed psychopathic killer is learning to interact with the people around it in the open, not pretending to be an augmented human or hiding behind a faceless helmet. In other words, learning to be a person itself.

The mystery here is as twisty as you’d expect from Wells with a number of satisfying twists and turns. We mostly get a new supporting cast here, particularly Indah, the senior investigating officer, and Special Investigator Aylen, and while some of the people we know already do make cameos, they’re mostly off-stage, or brief. Indah is interesting, as the senior officer who really doesn’t like the idea of a rogue SecUnit running around without anyone watching it. It’s classic buddy-cop, as the initially antagonistic relationship grows, on both sides, into grudging respect.

There are few big action scenes in this book, but it’s always special when we do get one, and Murderbot shows off what it can do. But mostly it’s a murder mystery, and follows those tropes. (There’s no “I expect you’re wondering why I’ve called you all here…”, but it would have been brilliant if there had been!)

I couldn’t quite figure out where this fit in the timeline of the series, but after a bit of thought, I think it comes after Exit Strategy and before Network Effect, since the events of the latter aren’t mentioned (and there was quite some fallout from that). It’s pretty standalone, so can nominally be read without any knowledge of the rest of the series, but I’d still suggest reading all the other novellas before reading this one. That way you’ll have have an idea of Murderbot’s character and care about it and the people that it has come to care for.

Book details

ISBN: 9781250765376
Year of publication: 2021

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