Martha Wells’ cranky, TV-binging Murderbot, the star and narrator of four superb novellas before this novel, made for a perfect quarantine companion. Her SecUnit killing machine has favored a solitary existence ever since it hacked its way to sentience. It feels safest hunkered down in a storage bay, mainlining its favorite shows, far removed from the messy emotions and motives of people – a preference that only became more relatable as 2020 stretched on. Vividly imagined and often wryly hilarious, Network Effect stands as the strongest, richest book in the series, as the SecUnit once more must embroiled itself in human affairs, this time with a team and even a friend. Wells’ accomplished storytelling makes this a perfect entry point, but odds are once you’ve become acquainted with Murderbot you’ll want to do what it would: find a quiet spot and rush through the full series.