Review: “Fugitive Telemetry” by Martha Wells

Release Date: April 27, 2021
Publisher: Tor.com Publishing
Series: Murderbot Diaries #6
Genre: Science Fiction, Space

Description

“When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people–who knew?) Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans! Again!”

My Thoughts

Fugitive Telemetry is the sixth book in the Murderbot Diaries series, it takes place before the events of the fifth book, Network Effect. Happily for new readers, you don’t have to have read any of the series to jump into this new standalone (although you’ll miss a whole lot of the background). 

Martha Wells brings us back to our favorite snarky cybernetic killing machine with what is essentially a detective mystery on a space station. A murdered corpse is discovered in a back corridor of Preservation Station, the unaffiliated space station that exists outside the purview of dictatorial corporate empires (like GrayCris, from which Murderbot just escaped). If you are new to the series, here’s the really quick and dirty summation of what you need to know. Murderbot is a SecUnit. It (“it” is Murderbot’s chosen pronouns) hacked its governor module, went rogue, and royally pissed off GrayCris, its former “owner.” It now lives with Dr Mensah and her extensive family on Preservation Station where bots are free, and is anticipating a sneak attack by GrayCris in retaliation. 

Murderbot, in need of an activity, is assigned to investigate the murder alongside the Preservation equivalent of a police force. It is not thrilled to have partners, especially human ones and even more especially when it is prohibited from accessing Preservation’s surveillance technology. And because this is the first time Murderbot has ever had to really investigate something like this, it falls back onto detective shows from all the entertainment it streams to distract itself from the mundanity of humanity. What follows is a whole lot of dry sarcasm, unexpected betrayals, and Murderbot having to once again save a bunch of troublemaking humans from the consequences of choices made by bad actors. 

It’s as great as every other installment in this series. New readers, this is a great place to jump on, but be prepared to get so hooked you have to go back and read the other five immediately. Longtime fans, get ready for more fun.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.

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